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jmcgliss

Effectiveness of AWD

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Question from a soon-to-be MKZ owner who is coming from a Subaru Legacy GT turbo with full-time symmetrical all wheel drive (and a sporty rearward bias).

 

What is your long-term impression of the AWD system?  When accelerating in rain or snow, do you feel all four wheels pulling evenly, or is the AWD just a modified traction control system?

Test drives have so far been in dry weather, so your thoughts on long-term "feel" are appreciated.

 

Since we'll keep the Legacy GT for a daily driver, I wonder if we even need the AWD feature. Love it? Neutral? Wish it was more active?

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The AWD system on the MKZ is always active. The AWD and traction control system are totally independent from each other. Although, the PCM puts load on the front wheels first and then the rear. I believe you're referring to the "AUTO" mode in most 4x4 vehicles. In this system when slippage is detected the PCM sends a sign to the TCCM, which in turn tells the transfer case to engage and send power to the non-slipping axle. This is not the case on the MKZ or any of Ford's current AWD systems. 

 

Since I only drive my MKZ in dry conditions, I can't answer your other question. Hopefully others will chime in.

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Thanks for the explanation. Is Ford still using the Haldex system?

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The Driver's Package comes with a system built by GKN. It's a pretty trick torque vectoring unit.

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I believe the "Intelligent AWD" system is Ford-designed and built.

A powerful FWD-platform car like the MKZ 3.0T makes the AWD option a must-have, IMHO.

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I'm on my fourth AWD MKZ so obviously, I'm an advocate.   I've never gotten stuck in snow but I'm reasonable about it. I don't try to drive through two feet of snow where the car is going to get hung up. It's not a plow  It's confidence-inspiring in the rain as well.  If you like cornering, it helps there too.  Judicious use of the throttle will help by putting power down in the rear and countering the natural tendency of FWD cars to understeer.  As Airflow mentions above, this is especially true with the Driver's Package in the 2017s with torque vectoring.

 

Ford's Intelligent AWD is not just engaged only when it detects a traction issue.  Even on dry pavement, when accelerating from a stop, the rear differential is engaged up to about 40mph/1500rpm.  At that point, the rear differential disengages and the TCC locks up. Sometimes, you'll feel a slight vibration as these two events occur.  This was a serious issue in my 2010 and they replaced lots of expensive driveline parts until Ford engineers told them to stop; it can't be fixed without major reprogramming and among other things, that would have to get run by the EPA.  My 2012 was a bit better but you could still feel it.  It was much less obvious in my 2013 (different trans).  I've felt it a couple of times in the 2017 but you'd really have to be looking for it.  It's like running over a rumble strip.

 

I digress. Here's a video that explains how Ford's Intelligent AWD works.  It's for a Ford, but Lincoln is similar.  There's an animated graphic available in the left info cluster that shows how power is being applied to the four wheels. 

 

2017 Ford Escape AWD Test

 

 

BTW, Ford hasn't used Haldex AWD systems for years.

 

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Thanks everyone. I'll enjoy delving into the technical info and appreciate your butt-o-meter impressions as well.

 

For 2005, our Subaru Legacy GT "symmetrical AWD" came with a 50-F/50-R torque split instead of the typical 70-F/30-R split, for sportier handling.  There is nothing noticeable other than excellent launches in rain and snow.

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I'm on my fourth AWD MKZ so obviously, I'm an advocate.   I've never gotten stuck in snow but I'm reasonable about it. I don't try to drive through two feet of snow where the car is going to get hung up. It's not a plow  It's confidence-inspiring in the rain as well.  If you like cornering, it helps there too.  Judicious use of the throttle will help by putting power down in the rear and countering the natural tendency of FWD cars to understeer.  As Airflow mentions above, this is especially true with the Driver's Package in the 2017s with torque vectoring.

 

Ford's Intelligent AWD is not just engaged only when it detects a traction issue.  Even on dry pavement, when accelerating from a stop, the rear differential is engaged up to about 40mph/1500rpm.  At that point, the rear differential disengages and the TCC locks up. Sometimes, you'll feel a slight vibration as these two events occur.  This was a serious issue in my 2010 and they replaced lots of expensive driveline parts until Ford engineers told them to stop; it can't be fixed without major reprogramming and among other things, that would have to get run by the EPA.  My 2012 was a bit better but you could still feel it.  It was much less obvious in my 2013 (different trans).  I've felt it a couple of times in the 2017 but you'd really have to be looking for it.  It's like running over a rumble strip.

 

I digress. Here's a video that explains how Ford's Intelligent AWD works.  It's for a Ford, but Lincoln is similar.  There's an animated graphic available in the left info cluster that shows how power is being applied to the four wheels. 

 

2017 Ford Escape AWD Test

 

 

BTW, Ford hasn't used Haldex AWD systems for years.

Well i guess i'll quit worrying about my 15-40 mph vibe then. boo.

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Well i guess i'll quit worrying about my 15-40 mph vibe then. boo.

That's different.  The vibration I was talking about is brief and only occurs at 40mph/1500rpm.

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