Not every Subaru all-wheel-drive system is created equal

Yes, almost every Subaru model that you can buy today comes equipped standard with the automaker's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system (only the rear-driven BRZ does not). However, you may not know that not all Symmetrical AWD systems are created equal. Despite sharing the same name, there are at least four different all-wheel-drive systems in use today.

The standard viscous coupling First up is the system that most people tend to think of when the subject of Symmetrical AWD comes up. Found in most of Subaru's vehicles equipped with a manual transmission, the system that we'll call "… Read more

Big Infiniti QX60 gets renamed, not redesigned

The 2014 QX70's engine room offers no surprises. The midsize crossover is powered by Nissan/Infiniti's 3.7-liter VQ-series V-6 engine; the same mill that makes an appearance in nearly every vehicle in the automaker's lineup smaller than the QX80.

The power plant makes 325 horsepower in this incarnation, sending its 267 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed automatic transmission on the way to the automaker's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system. This rear-biased AWD system defaults to 100 percent rear-wheel drive, but can direct up to 50 percent of available torque on demand to the front wheels … Read more

Don't judge this sports sedan by its awkward-looking cover

A few years ago, Lexus decided to shake its conservative (read:boring) image and set about ladling gratuitous amounts of "sportiness" onto its fleet of sedans. This manifested itself, visually, in massive gaping spindle grilles, LED-bedazzled headlamps, and hyperaggressive bodywork. Lexus' stodgiest models, the LS and ES, seemed to benefit most from the youthful injection; its large sport sedan, the GS, also emerged better than ever.

However, the Lexus IS was already a perfectly good sport sedan. The first- and second-generation models were reasonably sporty, quick both in a straight line and round a bend. It was a … Read more

Please, Acura, don't ruin the NSX

If Acura thinks that its announcement that a new NSX concept will make a bow at the 2012 Detroit auto show is going to whip me into a fanboy frenzy, well, then it's absolutely correct.

However, if anything, today's announcement has raised more questions and concern than excitement and anticipation.

This can't be right... Let's take a quick look at the rumored specs. We're starting with 3.5-liter V-6 (308-horsepower est.) that is hybridized by the integration of an approximately 40-horsepower (30kW) electric motor with its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. There are also a pair of … Read more

Toyota recalls 52,000 older Prius models in the U.S.

Toyota today announced a voluntary safety recall of about 52,000 2001 through 2003 Prius models in the U.S. to replace the electric power-steering pinion shaft attachment nuts.

According to Toyota, there is a possibility that the nuts securing the pinion shaft in the steering gear box assembly may become loose "if the steering wheel is repeatedly and strongly turned to the full-lock position."

The driver could, over time, notice that more effort is needed in steering when making a left turn, the company said.

Toyota dealers will make the necessary repairs, free of charge, by installing … Read more

CNET Roadside Assistance 014: Skipping, navigating, and all-wheel drive (podcast)

Skipping CDs, navigation CDs do you even need CDs at all these days? We'll let you know all about it, but first I'm about to totally nerd out about all-wheel drive systems. This is the 14th episode of CNET Roadside Assistance for Thursday, the 26th of May 2011 and I am Antuan Goodwin alongside Senior Editor Wayne Cunningham. This is the show where the car tech guys take a moment to answer your emails and highlight your comments.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 014 cartech.cnet.… Read more

Not all all-wheel-drive systems are created equally

We see all-wheel-drive (AWD) badges on cars, crossovers, and SUVs all of the time. However, for those who really care about how their cars work, that badge can often stir up more questions than answers. Are all four wheels always being driven? Does AWD improve handling or does it improve safety? Are some systems better than others?

The answers to those questions vary by automaker and even by model. For example, there are automakers who use on-demand AWD systems across their lineup (Mazda comes to mind) and others, like Subaru, use full-time AWD for their vehicles. Other manufacturers, like Nissan, … Read more

2011 Acura MDX: A seven-seater with a sports car's soul?

CNET Editor at Large Brian Cooley said it best in his First Look video for the 2011 Acura MDX when he said--if I may paraphrase--that if you're pushing a big seven-seater SUV for sport driving, you need a second car, not Acura's Super Handing All-Wheel Drive system.

I understand exactly what he means, but as I swung that big-ol' SUV around a bend in my favorite mountain road, I honestly didn't care. With its six-speed automatic transmission manually locked into second gear, the 3.7-liter V-6 engine was able to output all 300 of its available ponies, … Read more

2011 Land Rover LR4: The most capable offroader we've tested

It is easy to look at the 2011 Land Rover LR4 and see a big dumb SUV. Its boxy form and imposing presence drew sneers and rolled eyes as we made our way around the streets of San Francisco, where the Prius reigns supreme. However, unlike most gas-guzzling poseur utility vehicles, the Rover is actually a very capable SUV with an advanced Terrain Management system that allowed the massive SUV to climb loose dirt hills like a mountain goat and pull itself through slick mud holes like it was fitted with treads. All the while, the LR4 isolates its driver … Read more

For Mitsubishi, the Outlander's sportiness is measured in mpgs

Try as we might, it's impossible for any car guy or gal to settle behind the wheel of a vehicle with zero expectations. So, when the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport arrived in the Car Tech garage with its athletic good looks, a "Sport" pedigree, and all-wheel driven Lancer underpinnings, we found ourselves briefly fantasizing about Lancer Sportback Ralliart-class handling and power. As you'll see in the full review, we got a serious reality check within the first few miles behind the wheel, thanks in no small part to the continuously variable transmission that sits between … Read more