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I watched a program on an obscure freeview channel which explained the design limitations of 4x4 using the Wilies Jeep as an example of how to circumvent these issues. In any car when you turn a corner the rear wheels follow round in a wider arc than the front thereby travelling faster than the front wheels. On a 4x4 transmission the wheels are forced to all turn at the same speed. Thats why you can't drive over 20 mph as you can only corner very slowly and in a wider arc in 4x4 mode. The jeep was the first sucessful 4x4 as it had a disengagment lever to switch to 2wd on firm surfaces. I noticed the increase in load on my engine when I tried 4x4 lock on a forest track that would explain the binding break sensation.
I always assumed 4x4 transmissions were advanced enough for permanent 4x4 drive but apparently it's only new high tech systems have that ability. I missed the bit explaining about Audi Quattro and why it was a technological break through in 4x4 drives.Might have something to do with a centre differential or something.

Of course the owners of the newSportage don't such worries I believe as they have superior transmissions.




Hope that helps explain some of the 4x4 characteristics to anyone else as clueless as me.
 
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