AUTOS: Steering with Four Wheels

Steering with Four Wheels

Those ever inventive Japanese automakers have come up with another innovation on their cars: back wheels that turn right and left, just like front wheels. Four-wheel steering, or 4WS, first appeared in Japan two years ago on Nissan's high-performance Skyline autos. Now an advanced version of 4WS is being offered to Japanese car buyers, by Honda on its latest Prelude two-door and by Mazda on its luxury Capella.

With 4WS, all four wheels of the auto move with the turn of the steering wheel. The arc of the rear wheels, though, is never more than 5 degrees, vs. 30 degrees for...