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2017 CRV Touring - Pearl White w Black Interior
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Again: IT IS NOT FOUR WHEEL DRIVE, IT IS ALL WHEEL DRIVE, WHICH IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!!!!

There is no such thing as a 4WD CR-V. This is starting to sound like an argument on Monty Python! So - Bring us a shrubbery, and make it a good one!
Indeed!

It would be more appropriate to say it is a dynamic traction assist system where the rear wheels will provide an automatically adjusting tracking assist to the front wheels when the car detects a need to do so. Now.. the vehicle in question here is not a Gen 5... but if it was you can actually use your DII on your instrument panel and call up the screen to monitor traction on the AWD system. It is interesting to watch it for example when you accelerate from a stop at an intersection. You will see the rear wheels apply selective traction to assist the front wheels until you reach speed and ease up on the accelerator. I would imagine that on slippery road conditions would would see the various wheels adjust traction levels dynamically to keep the road conditions safe for the driver as well.

The point being... as others have stated AWD =/= 4WD as classically understood in the case of true 4WD vehicles like Jeep or other true off road vehicles. AWD in the CRV is meant to make street driving or driving on unimproved roads safer then just front wheel drive.
 

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2017 CRV Touring - Pearl White w Black Interior
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Can you explain then why the CX-5 has no issue with passing this test? You seem to be implying that only 4WD vehicles are able to.
Setting aside that the test shown is not actually a good test for 4WD on a car that is actually electronically controlled AWD, my understanding is the difference in the case of the CX-5 is that is uses "predictive" dynamic control, whereas the CRV uses "reactive" dynamic control. The CX-5 is not actually 4WD in the classic sense at all (there is no transfer case, and no user control to engage full 4WD).

So.. what exactly is "predictive"dynamic control? Basically a large array of different sensors exist in the CX-5 to sample a range of different conditions and variables and from there try to predict in advance when dynamic traction from the rear wheels is required. An interesting concept and approach, but I have no idea how well it really works in real world conditions. I understand that the additional sensors number in the dozens on the CX-5... and personally... I would not want that for my normal every day driving. We have enough issues with all the electronics subsystems in these newer cars to begin with.. and more sensors and the controllers they feed is just more things to break or get out of calibration and since this involves wheel traction... I see this as overly complex for what is needed in an AWD vehicle.

Honda uses an evolved derivative of it's reactive traction control in it's latest generation AWD vehicles. When it detects any of the wheels slipping, it adjusts individual wheel tracking (and braking) accordingly, and since it adjusts faster then a driver could or would and does so to a specific subroutine it serves it's intended purpose well. It is a simpler system then what Mazda is applying.

As to which approach is better.... I don't think there is a clear answer to that. One could argue that predictive is always a better approach then reactive in closed loop systems, but I'm not convinced in the case of AWD. Both systems are electrical, rather then mechanical, so neither is even remotely a true 4WD. Honda has taken a general approach over time of advancing sophistication of subsystems, particularly safety systems, yet making them simpler in implementation and therefore less prone to errors or problems (such as the TPM sensors now days... Honda monitors the spin of the wheels rather then relying on in-wheel sensors like they used to, which by the way means on rough road conditions the TPM system can and will throw some false positives). I'm sure both AWD systems have plenty of self-checks to figure out if the system is out of whack and needs to have an error light thrown on the dash to alert the driver.

What does predictive mean vs what does reactive mean is the fundamental difference between the Honda and Mazda approaches.
 

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The Gen-5 CR-V AWD system introduced in 2017 addresses some of these concerns. A higher torque percentage is available to each wheel both by rear differential hardware and the electronic control system combined with VSC. Overall capability appears to be substantially increased, and will likely meet the challenges of anything you might encounter on real roads or mild off-road conditions. It's still mainly reactive, with the rears largely along for the ride most of the time. It's still a front driver with power to the rear (but more of it) when conditions call for it. It's still not a Subaru or Audi, but it should serve your needs just fine while offering superior fuel economy and operating efficiency. If you like the CR-V (and my experience in a 2018 and 2019 was very positive) and will occasionally go on dirt, I'd say buy the AWD. The purchase price, maintenance and overall operating cost will be slightly higher, but still probably worth it.
I agree that the Gen-5 AWD feels and operates in a more refined manner then prior generations (I've owned Gen-2 and Gen-3, and now a Gen-5).

For owners of Gen-5 CRVs.. there is a display option on the instrument panel that will display dynamically the torgue levels on the wheels so you can see the AWD system in real time. It displays the amount of torque in the form of forward arrows on each wheel. For example, when you accelerate from a dead stop at an intersection, the system will initially put noticable torque to both front and rear wheels. As you let off the accelerator, you can see the torque drop down to essentially zero on the rear wheels on a dry smooth surface as you reach road speed.
 
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