Subaru vs. The Competition

How Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is Different

Many all-wheel drive systems found on other vehicles don't start as all-wheel drive. These systems are adapted from 2-wheel drive to be all-wheel drive. Each Subaru model, unlike most other vehicles in its class, starts out as all-wheel drive. This allows us to build a system for holding the road unlike any other offered. Power is fed directly from the engine, through the transmission, then to the driveshaft and then delivered to each wheel in the most direct route possible. The result is constant traction for continual confidence.


Subaru Symmetrical AWD vs. Front-Wheel Drive-based AWD


All-wheel drive systems adapted from front-wheel drive typically feature a transverse-mounted engine. This engine configuration requires additional drivetrain components to transfer power through several 90-degree turns in order to get it to the rear wheels. This increases weight, reduces efficiency and makes creating a symmetrical layout virtually impossible. Also, these systems are often 2-wheel drive under most conditions -- the rear wheels only engaging when the system detects wheelspin. By then, you've already sacrificed some control.


Subaru Symmetrical AWD vs. Rear-Wheel Drive-based AWD

Some all-wheel drive systems start with a rear-wheel drive platform that is adapted to be AWD. This system requires power to be sent to a differential with an additional driveshaft that directs power to the front wheels. This additional driveshaft reroutes power, changing its direction so it can be sent to the front wheels. This extra routing sacrifices efficiency, and the extra componentry creates a drivetrain layout that is not symmetrical and balanced. Often in such systems, most or all of the power is routed to the rear wheels. When slippage is detected, the front wheels are engaged, and by the time power is rerouted, further slippage has already occurred.


Subaru Symmetrical AWD vs. Front-Wheel Drive

A front-wheel drive system leaves the rear wheels without any power, so they can't help you regain traction if you encounter slippage. Also, if traction becomes loose when you enter a corner, centrifugal forces that act on your vehicle during a maneuver can cause the front to drift to the outside. This effect -- understeer -- disrupts your ability to steer and track confidently through a corner.



Subaru Symmetrical AWD vs. Rear-Wheel Drive

It's much easier for your vehicle to break traction if only two tires are required to handle all the engine's power. And if slippage occurs when only your rear wheels are engaged, your control is greatly compromised. The rear wheels can move sideways, out of alignment with the rest of the vehicle. You'll feel an unsettling loss of control, and possibly experience oversteer in a corner. In a worst-case scenario, a highly dangerous spinout may result if the rear wheels don't regain traction.


Why Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is Better

Every all-wheel drive system is not the same. In 1972, we began developing our all-wheel drive system with a commitment to simplicity, to working in harmony with the forces of nature, and to making every moment behind the wheel a rewarding experience. Nearly 40 years worth of development later, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive stands out from the crowd with advantages like the stability of its almost total side-to-side symmetry, the brilliant efficiency of its power delivery, and its quick response to wheel slippage.


Better Balance

It's much easier for your vehicle to break traction if only two tires are required to handle all the engine's power. And if slippage occurs when only your rear wheels are engaged, your control is greatly compromised. The rear wheels can move sideways, out of alignment with the rest of the vehicle. You'll feel an unsettling loss of control, and possibly experience oversteer in a corner. In a worst-case scenario, a highly dangerous spinout may result if the rear wheels don't regain traction.




Quicker Response

The more your wheels are engaged with the road, the more control you have. Some other AWD systems engage all four wheels only when a loss of traction is detected. By then, your control has already been compromised. Subaru Symmetrical AWD keeps power routed to all four wheels all the time, helping to better prevent slippage before it happens. And if slippage does occur, its simple and efficient design -- with power flowing in one direction and minimal mechanical components -- allows it to respond more quickly. It immediately reduces engine power to the slipping wheel and gives it to the wheels that have traction.



Efficient Design


Because some systems lack the simplicity of Subaru Symmetrical AWD, they therefore not only sacrifice efficiency, but also can incur more wear and tear. The engine on a Subaru is mounted longitudinally -- in line with the driveshaft -- so power routes directly from the engine to all four wheels. The components of some other systems -- like those with transversely mounted engines -- needed to change the direction where power flows are not needed on a Subaru. Less components means less things to break down, and it also means less power loss due to friction. And with power continually flowing with maximum efficiency, you experience the advantage of seamless traction whenever you need it.



Dynamic Acceleration

Wherever or however you drive, if you want action, you need traction. Whenever you take off from a stop, or accelerate out of a corner, getting power to the pavement and holding the road is essential. If you lose traction when accelerating, it takes away from the control you have over the vehicle, and it robs the power you need to move forward. Subaru Symmetrical AWD maximizes power delivery to each of the four wheels and offers balance and stability that help the vehicle take advantage of every bit of traction available. Which in turn allows you to take advantage of every bit of engine power available.




Accident Avoidance

When danger steps into your path, the safest route is to step right around it. Subaru Symmetrical AWD routes power continuously to all four wheels, which means each of your four tires are as fully engaged with the road as possible at all times. Should you encounter a hazard, you're more likely to have the traction to react and get out of the way. While securely holding the road can make a decisive difference in dry conditions, it's especially important when road conditions are less than ideal. And because you need exceptional control and poise to make that evasive maneuver without overcorrecting, the balanced layout of Subaru Symmetrical AWD helps give you the stability to act quickly without making a bad situation even worse.