Here's How Hyundai's Intelligent HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive Works

All-wheel-drive systems on cars have been around since the early 1980s with the introduction of the AMC Eagle. For the most part,  all-wheel-drive is different than four-wheel-drive in that the driver often doesn't have to do anything for the system to engage, the car itself does all the work, and the system could be engaged permanently, or only when needed, depending on the vehicle. It's best suited for inclement weather like rain or snow, where your car may need a little extra traction. Four-wheel-drive on the other hand, most of the time, requires the driver to manually turn it on and is decidedly not suited for the road. It's better at low speeds and more useful when going off-road. 

Hyundai's AWD system dubbed "HTRAC" (Hyundai TRACtion) is one of the more advanced systems on the market and has been around since 2013, using an army of sensors and computers to dictate where power goes. As such, the system itself is not on 100% of the time and only kicks in when needed. It's available on models like the Palisade, Tucson, and the newly introduced Santa Cruz truck. 

Adjustable to your heart's content

AWD systems, by nature, result in lower fuel economy than front-wheel-drive systems as there are simply more mechanical parts in play. It's an unfortunate aspect of physics. The trick to HTRAC is that it only turns on when needed, doing its best to save precious MPGs while driving. According to Hyundai, the "intelligent" aspect of the system deciphers up to 100 inputs from the wheels and sensors per second to ensure the best driving performance. It can also shift power between the front and rear wheels to better handle itself when driving conditions take a turn for the worse, or you get a little too zealous behind the wheel. 

The HTRAC system can also be adjusted to fit whatever your driving habits are. If you don't ever drive in the rain, it can essentially be turned off with what Hyundai calls "Smart Mode" which directs all power to the front wheels, improving fuel economy. If you want to get a little more "dynamic" with your driving, there is "Sport Mode" evenly shifts power between the front and rear sets of wheels to improve handling. 

The HTRAC system shines the most with the Genesis brand. In addition to offering AWD capabilities, HTRAC controls braking and works with the cars suspension system, to a degree. That not only ensures that all four wheels stay controllable, but the weight of the car itself isn't shifting around in a way that can compromise safe driving.