EVERY SUBARU is designed around the idea that you should be able to get where you want to go quickly, comfortably and safely, regardless of the weather or road conditions. The driving experience should be satisfying and stress-free. This requires a vehicle with exceptional control, and thats what every Subaru provides.
A key component of the Subaru driving experience is Subaru All-Wheel Drive (AWD). Subaru All-Wheel Drive has been constantly updated and improved for three decades as it has evolved into the state-of-the-art system now in use in every model in the Subaru line. Lets look at what makes Subaru All-Wheel Drive such an ideal component of the Subaru driving experience.
The All-Wheel Drive Difference
Theres a reason why Subaru of America, Inc. only offers All-Wheel Drive vehicles they work the best under the widest variety of conditions. Subaru has always been ahead of its competitors in regard to drivetrain development.
Understanding The Different Drive Systems
There are three basic automobile drivetrain configurations, and each configuration has its own drive characteristics that set it apart from the others.
FRONT-ENGINE/REAR WHEEL DRIVE: The engine is in the front of the vehicle and drives the rear wheels. Rear-wheel drive vehicles tend to oversteer when the rear wheels lose traction this means the back end of the vehicle may break free and skid under certain conditions, which may cause a spin. See Figure 1. Vehicles with this drivetrain configuration dont have the advantage of having the engine weight over the drive wheels to improve traction.
FRONT-ENGINE/FRONT WHEEL DRIVE: The engine is in the front of the vehicle and drives the front wheels. Front-wheel drive vehicles tend to understeer. Under certain conditions, the front wheels may lose traction, forcing the vehicle to want to go straight or plow to the outside of a curve during hard cornering. See Figure 2. In general, front-wheel drive vehicles offer better traction than rear-wheel drive vehicles because the weight of the engine and transmission is directly over the drive wheels.
FRONT-ENGINE/ALL-WHEEL DRIVE: The engine is in the front and drives all four wheels. All-wheel drive helps provide more neutral handling, virtually eliminating unwanted oversteer and understeer. See Figure 3. This is the configuration in place in the Subaru model line.
Four-Wheel Drive Defined
Four-wheel drive is not the same as all-wheel drive. There are two basic types of four-wheel systems:
PART-DRIVE four-wheel drive systems typically route power to the rear wheels. When the driver goes off-road or encounters slippery conditions, the front wheels have to be manually engaged. Only then is the vehicle powered at all four wheels. These systems can only be utilized properly when driving off-road or in slippery conditions and depend on the driver to engage the system.
FULL-TIME four-wheel drive powers all four wheels all of the time. The amount of power is evenly divided among all four wheels.
Subaru AWD Defined
Because you never know whats on the road ahead, Subaru engineers
developed Subaru All-Wheel Drive, a system that not only is capable of powering
all four wheels, but also automatically varies the amount of power sent to each
wheel at all speeds. The result is a vehicle thats remarkably steady on the
road under virtually all weather and driving conditions.
For example, when you brake hard, weight shifts forward, reducing rear traction. Or if you step on the accelerator, the opposite is true. And in a curve, the vehicle dynamics are constantly changing. Subaru All-Wheel Drive varies the amount of power sent to each wheel at all speeds. So whether youre braking, accelerating or cornering, on dry pavement, mud or snowy roads, traction is there when you need it, with decades of Subaru design and development behind it.