Pilot VTM-4 AWD vs MDX SH-AWD - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question Pilot VTM-4 AWD vs MDX SH-AWD

I recently had to retire a Nissan product I owned that had part time 4WD and a truck frame due to a recall. I own a CRV that has had a few problems(computer failure due to the leaking cowl being the worst) but for the most part I like the vehicle. I have looked at the Pilot and get negative response when I asked about how well it performs in snow(we get a lot).
The dealership could not tell me much about the VTM-4 AWD in the Pilot and if it has side to side like the SH-AWD in the MDX. Does anyone have first hand knowledge of these drives? The Acura drive has been around long enough that you would think something would trickle over to the Pilot but lately Honda seems to be sitting on its laurels? Thanks
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 01:00 PM
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I cant comment on the Acura, because I never drove one in the snow. But I can comment on the Pilot in the snow, and that it blows away most 4x4 trucks out there and two Grand Cherokees in the family. The Highlander does great too and the Acadia does just ok.

It is also a huge improvment over our "old" 2004 CR-V, where the front had to slip a bit before the rear would kick in. No such thing on our Pilot.

I am more than happy with the Pilot in the snow, and I'd actually like to hear about who isnt and why.
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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 01:42 PM
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CRV's & Elements use realtime AWD. They are FWD until the fronts spin appropriately faster than the rears. At this point the rears a clutch-pack connects the driveshaft to the rear diff. The rear diff is a regular "open" design so there is not a whole lot of aid since one slipping rear wheel will let all the torque go.

Realtime AWD



VTM-4 is an active computer controlled system. There is an individual clutch-pack for both the left & right driveshafts that can be controlled independently. The gear-box has no rear diff (typically called a spool) so it is entirely possible to lock both rear wheels 100%. This means 100% of the engine torque is capable of being transferred to the back. This is what your VTM4 Lock button does (up until 6mph where it starts to ease up the clutches).

VTM-4



SH-AWD is a system that improves upon VTM-4. It's adds a more sophisticated computer control, as well as the capability to over-drive either rear wheel (via multiple rear diffs or something). I haven't studied this system yet, so I'll just give you a link I found right now so you can read some... http://www.awdwiki.com/en/honda/

SH-AWD



BTW: I never had trouble with my 03 Element AWD in the snow. I never had to put chains on it once. I never had any trouble slip-slidding or anything. It would pull out of deep snow or slick snow with little to no effort. I always thought it was great. I have yet to put our VTM-4 to the test (04 Pilot). My in-laws say their 03 has never once had trouble. We used to go to Big-Bear for snowboarding all the time.

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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 01:45 PM
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I own an '07 Acura RDX with SH-AWD and a '11 Pilot Touring 4WD. I run snow tires on both cars in the winter. The Pilot's VTM-4 is very capable with snow tires in the winter here in Chicago and all the way into Wisconsin. But the Acura SH-AWD drive system is hands down a much better system. Around corners as you accelerate the SH-AWD system is vectoring power to the inside corner wheel in case of slippage and it can vector power from rear to front and side to side. The VTM-4 system in the Pilot only sends small percentage of power to the rear wheels only when it senses loss of traction on the front wheels. The VTM-4 cannot vector power (torque) from side to side front or rear as the SH-AWD does. This is a BIG difference and it's what set's the SH-AWD apart.

The RDX actually handles ice and snow much much better than our Pilot. I just wish it had as much room as the Pilot!

If it comes down to wanting the best AWD system for your SUV. You need to go with the MDX. The SH-AWD sets the MDX apart from the Pilot. It is an amazing AWD system.

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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 01:52 PM
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Quoted from another thread:

SH-AWD vs. VTM-4

There are quite a few difference actually...

VTM-4:
-Mainly Front wheel drive under normal driving
-Can transfer power to rear differential when needed, but power distribution is limited to front to rear and not side to side.
-Sends power to rear when needed (ie limited traction)
-Sends power to rear when accelerating at low speeds up to 18mph.
-Sends power to rear when in reverse
-Sends power to rear when diff lock is on and tranny is in D1 or D2 up to 18mph.

In short, the VTM-4 system is basically a traction enhancement system.

SH-AWD:

-Full time all wheel drive with front drive bias
-Can send up to 70% of torque to rear diff
-Can distribute up to 100% of the rear torque to one axle; to the outside rear to help rotate the vehicle when cornering and to the inside rear to offset an overstear situation.

Unlike VTM-4, SH-AWD is more than just a traction enhancement, it is capable of enhancing handling/cornering in addition to improving traction in low grip situations. Additionally, it acts as a traction control system by actively controlling the torque distribution to counteract undesirable vehicle dynamics/movement without the intrusiveness and power sapping of ABS based VSA/traction control.
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-09-2012, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you those explanations are exactly what I am looking for!
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-12-2012, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassvoor View Post
I recently had to retire a Nissan product I owned that had part time 4WD and a truck frame due to a recall. I own a CRV that has had a few problems(computer failure due to the leaking cowl being the worst) but for the most part I like the vehicle. I have looked at the Pilot and get negative response when I asked about how well it performs in snow(we get a lot).
The dealership could not tell me much about the VTM-4 AWD in the Pilot and if it has side to side like the SH-AWD in the MDX. Does anyone have first hand knowledge of these drives? The Acura drive has been around long enough that you would think something would trickle over to the Pilot but lately Honda seems to be sitting on its laurels? Thanks
What Nissan did you have a recall on? Just wondering if I have some reading to do for my Xterra. I've only seen a ton of TSBs for it.
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Nissan recall

My vehicle was a Pathfinder. Sites like nicoclub.com have the info but basically the strut towers in northern states that use a lot of salt were failing and causing accidents. Loved mine as it had limited slip and an actual gear shifted low range that went just about anywhere, but I believe the Pilot or Acura MDX will fit my present needs. Thanks all.
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 06:53 PM
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I live in Vermont and the winters can be bad as well as our 5th season called "mud season". I own two Pilots a 07LX and an 08VP both 4WD. I run all-seasons in the winter if that tells you anything about the 4WD system.

The 4WD system is plenty capable for me. I'd have to say my driving experience is probably a tad bit higher than most though. The only problem I have is that the rear end is extremely light and when going up hills in the snow with all-seasons on the rear likes to kick out without VTM-4 engaged. With VTM-4 engaged, no problem. I even used VTM-4 today to get through the mud. No problem at all. I couldn't be happier with the Pilot here in Vermont. I'm going to upgrade the suspension and put off road tires on this year to see if I can help that rear end stay in line. Maybe some sand bags in the rear too for some weight.

You live in upstate NY so we share weather patterns and I can tell you that the Pilot should do fine. It's probably not as good as the MDX's system, but hey.. You're not spending that type of money either. I wanted an MDX originally, but after having numerous cars rust out from road salt... I said screw that and bought a 07 for 14,900$ two years ago and just put the stuff I wanted in it. The LX had nothing but the basic radio. I put an in dash navi, fog light, bluetooth, iPod and speakers and all totaled up to less then a 1,000$. Way better than an MDX and I don't care if the damn thing rusts out either.

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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 08:28 PM
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I live in Wisconsin and had the opportunity to test the Pilot in a snowstorm shortly after purchasing it. The Pilot was awesome in snow! I had no problems driving in snow/sleet/ice. We looked at the MDX, but we couldn't live with the reports of horrible mileage. The MDX might handle well in snow, but Pilot does as well, and gets 24 mpg, vs. 16 (if you are lucky) on the MDX. Add in the extra room of the Pilot, the fact that it looks like real SUV, not a mom-mobile like the MDX, and has a better price - I'm happy with my Pilot choice.
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post #11 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 07:02 PM
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Pilot vtm-4 is great in the snow. I never have to turn on the vtm-4 switch...

I never driven mdx sh-awd.. I think sh-awd is better than vtm4.

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post #12 of 57 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 10:22 PM
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I've only used the VTM4 lock feature once when on an icy sloping driveway when the normal AWD couldn't do what I wanted to. Nothing like a fully locked rear diff.
Of course if I'd just dropped back about 5 yards on to the dry road surface and taken a run, I would have been fine.
But what's the point of having toys unless you use them.

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post #13 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 12:05 AM
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After reading this thread and others posted On the Piloteers and Ridgeline Owners forum I have a question. Are the AWD Pilot and Ridgeline "Front wheel drive only" above 18mph? I have driven the Pilot in deep dry snow and it seemed quite capable. Low speeds in town and let the vehicle do it traction thing without interferance from me.
Thanks
Tom
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post #14 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-26-2012, 11:55 AM
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The system works it's own magic above 18mph.

It's only the full-lock feature that works below 18mph.
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post #15 of 57 (permalink) Old 05-28-2012, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94eg! View Post
The system works it's own magic above 18mph.

It's only the full-lock feature that works below 18mph.
I wish that were true but can find nothing in writing to prove this. If it is more than front wheel drive ,with traction control, at speeds greater than 18mph I wish someone would provide evidence. There is a lot to like about the Pilot and Ridgeline.
Thanks
Tom
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