There is one car company that is something of a newcomer to the AWD vehicle market yet has advanced beyond all the other automakers in some ways. That company is Acura and in this article we’ll be looking at some of the benefits of the Acura SH-AWD system and a couple of the vehicles you can buy today with this traction system.
The Acura TL has been on the market since 1996 and is one of the most popular Acura models. In the 2005 model year Acura introduced their SH-AWD system on the RL model but the TL did not come equipped with AWD until the 2009 model year when the car entered its fourth generation.
The fourth generation car design carries into the 2012 model year and most car enthusiasts would agree that the TL is better than ever whether you want an all wheel drive car or just a great upscale Japanese model. One area where they may be some dispute on that last point is in the styling department since the Acura design team has taken the whole lineup in some interesting directions style wise that have created a rift in potential consumers opinions on the brands aesthetics.
The 2012 Acura TL comes in a number of different trims but for our purposes the only one that really matters is the SH-AWD variant with the 6 speed manual transmission and the Technology Package. Among the TL variants it is probably the most sports oriented model. The TL features a V6 gas engine that produces 305 HP and 273 lb-ft of torque. If you like lots of low RPM torque then the TL is probably not for you but its standout feature could be the SH-AWD system.
Super Handling All Wheel Drive is Acura’s traction system that not only transfers power from the front to the rear wheels as needed -which is what most 4 wheel drive cars do- but also transfers power seamlessly between the two sides of the vehicle. This allows the TL handle better in curves as well as assisting it in getting in and out of slippery situations during winter driving.
The TL is not the only model that Acura has equipped with SH-AWD. If you prefer SUVs one of the best models on the market for general road use is the MDX. While it isn’t a heavy duty off road model like all of Land Rover’s SUVs the MDX does feature a great all wheel drive system and comes equipped with a 3.7L V6 engine producing 300 HP and 270 lb-ft of torque.
All MDX trim levels are also equipped with a six speed automatic transmission and are rated at 16 MPG for city driving and 21 MPG for the highway. Some owners are actually getting better fuel economy than the EPA numbers would suggest with figures recorded on Fuelly.com coming in above 23 MPG. The MDX certainly is not the most fuel efficient SUV but it could be one of the best handling models.
If you like Acura models but don’t think either of these vehicles is for you there are other Acuras with SH-AWD. You might want to check out the smaller RDX SUV as well as the RL sedan.