What is SH-AWD on an Acura?

AutoGuide.com Staff
by AutoGuide.com Staff
Photo credit: Xita / Shutterstock.com

Acura's SH-AWD, or Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, is a technology designed to improve traction and enhance the dynamic performance of a vehicle. This system actively distributes power not only from front to rear but also from side to side. It's available in two forms: one for Acura's gas-powered cars and another for its electrically enhanced hybrids. The SH-AWD technology aims to provide a more confident and controlled driving experience.

The Evolution of SH-AWD

First introduced in the 2004 RL, the SH-AWD system has undergone several updates. The latest, fourth-generation system, was introduced in the 2019 RDX. It is characterized by being lighter, faster, and more robust compared to its predecessors. This advancement marks a significant leap in the technology's capability to enhance vehicle handling and traction.

How SH-AWD Functions in Gas-Powered Acuras

In most SH-AWD-equipped Acura models, power is initially directed to the front wheels, which can receive up to 90 percent of the engine's power under certain conditions. The system includes a rear differential that varies the amount of torque to the rear wheels. For instance, under hard acceleration, the system can send up to 45 percent of the engine's power to the rear, thus enhancing traction and reducing wheelspin.

During cornering, up to 70 percent of the torque can be routed to the rear axle, and of that, 100 percent can be directed to the outer rear wheel. This distribution creates a yaw effect, aiding in corner navigation with less steering input and minimizing understeer or oversteer.

SH-AWD in Acura Hybrids

Acura's approach to SH-AWD in hybrids like the MDX and RLX differs significantly. These vehicles lack a mechanical connection between the engine and the rear axle. Instead, each rear wheel is powered by an independent electric motor, replacing the need for a traditional differential. This setup allows direct power delivery to each rear wheel to enhance cornering capabilities.

The Future of SH-AWD in Acura Vehicles

Acura's plan is to continue using the SH-AWD system, considering it a component of the brand's performance strategy. The technology is expected to play a significant role in future models, potentially including those derived from the Acura Type S concept. SH-AWD continues to be integral in improving driving dynamics, especially in challenging conditions such as wet or slippery roads and during high-performance driving scenarios.

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This article was co-written using AI and was then heavily edited and optimized by our editorial team.

AutoGuide.com Staff
AutoGuide.com Staff

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