Symmetrical All Wheel Drive vs Regular All Wheel Drive AWD
Subaru has made a name for itself because of it’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. While owners of vehicles with normal AWD might not see the benefit of owning a Subaru, it is actually much safer to drive and is more efficient.
If you look at the drivetrain in a Subaru vehicle, you’ll notice that one side is just a mirror image of the other. While the symmetry may not seem important, it is actually a lot safer than normal AWD. The symmetry allows for better balance of the vehicle and gives you better control as a driver.
The most important thing about Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is that it sends power to all four wheels continuously. In All-Wheel Drive, that only happens after the vehicle senses slippage and may not be able to react in time. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive greatly reduces the chances of you slipping in the first place, making it a much safer option.
Finally, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is more efficient which means your vehicle will last longer. It uses fewer components and loses less power due to friction compared to normal All-Wheel Drive. Therefore, not only will you be safer when you drive a Subaru, but you will also be getting your money’s worth.
The Subaru Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) is the affordable, no-compromise, eco-friendly alternative. Although the Subaru PZEV runs on regular unleaded fuel, it offers significant smog-reducing environmental benefits and delivers equal performance compared to non-PZEV cars or SUVs, including hybrids, diesels and alternative fuel vehicles.
A PZEV is classified as the cleanest-running gasoline-powered car on the market and was developed to meet the air quality standards of California, the most stringent in North America. A PZEV must meet the Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) tailpipe standard and have zero evaporative emissions.
ADVANTAGES: Subaru PZEVs allow drivers to reduce their impact on the environment while sacrificing nothing by delivering a win-win combination of advantages.
Immediate Environmental Benefits
Smog is a serious challenge for people with respiratory problems and can cause damage to crops, vegetation and forests. This noxious mixture of gases is formed when sunlight acts upon certain pollutants, which can come from sources such as liquid fuels, solvents and, organic chemicals, or from burning fossil fuels – for example, while running a car engine.
In response, the Subaru PZEV sets new, clean standards for gasoline engines, virtually eliminating the creation of smog-forming pollutants. In fact, it has such stringent pollution controls and the fuel-burning process is so complete, the exhaust produced can actually be cleaner than the air outside – and cleaner than some hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.
Fully 98% of our vehicles sold in Canada over the last 10 years are still on the road today.* This is not only a testament to the inherent quality of our cars, but also a strong statement supporting the Japanese approach to continuous improvement. (And it reveals how much our customers love their cars!)
*Based on IHS Automotive: Polk Canadian vehicles in operation and new registrations MY 2006-2015 as of June 30, 2015
With no special maintenance requirements or unique maintenance schedule, the Subaru PZEV is easy to keep operating at peak efficiency at all times.
All Subaru models equipped with PZEV equipment offer superior passive and active safety systems. There’s our advanced ring-shaped reinforcement frame (a 360-degree barrier of protection for all occupants), symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive (traction and control, in any road or weather conditions) and Subaru EyeSight® (our advanced driver assist technology). Plus, each model consistently receives stellar crash-test results from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
No Complicated Technology
A Subaru PZEV vehicle operates exactly the same way as a traditional, gasoline-powered vehicle. The only difference is what doesn’t come out the tailpipes.
With no special equipment needed – such as a secondary power source – the Subaru PZEV is virtually identical in design to its stable mates within the Subaru line-up. This means that cargo capacity and interior space are not affected at all. Just another way the Subaru PZEV offers a hassle-free driving experience!
No Change in Performance
You have certain expectations of your Subaru. High-performance from the SUBARU BOXER engine. All-weather/all-road traction from Subaru symmetrical full-time All-Wheel Drive. Superior handling from the rally-tested, 4-wheel independent suspension. The Subaru PZEV compromises on none of these attributes.
Unlike other eco-conscious vehicles on the market, the Subaru PZEV represents affordable technology that’s available today.
No Alternative Fuels Required
The Subaru PZEV runs on regular unleaded fuel – something that is readily available and easy to access at filling stations across North America.
You’ll also find very little waste created in the production of a Subaru. For many years now, all Subaru vehicles are built in manufacturing facilities that achieve zero landfill status.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
With Subaru PZEV vehicles, the remarkable reduction of smog-forming emissions is achieved through modifications in four key areas:
A larger and finer mesh of catalyst-lined passageways within a Subaru PZEV catalytic converter greatly contributes to its ability to reduce emissions. Along the entire length of the mesh are precious metals (catalysts) whose role is to change the molecular structure of the offensive emissions that try to pass through. In fact, the contact area is almost twice that of a traditional catalytic converter, producing a much more effective conversion of pollutants.
The fuel injectors on Subaru PZEV vehicles close tighter than conventional injectors to prevent evaporative emissions from fuel leakage into the intake manifold.
Dual-Filtration Air-Intake System
In a conventional vehicle, unburned gas fumes can escape through the engine’s air intake once the engine is shut off. To prevent this, Subaru PZEVs are equipped with a charcoal canister in the air intake that absorbs these evaporative hydrocarbon emissions.
Engine Control Module (ECM)
Vehicle emissions are worst in cold start conditions. Subaru addresses this problem by altering the programming in the Engine Control Module to delay ignition timing, making the exhaust gasses hotter, which helps the catalytic converter heat up sooner, reducing emissions.
The Subaru Boxer engine powers every vehicle in Subaru's lineup. Its renowned for its superior balance, smoothness and power - and has been for close to 50 years now. This horizontally opposed design with low centre of gravity creates more balanced handling, flatter cornering and greater stability on every type of road. It’s also a compact, smooth and responsive design that feeds power directly to the drivetrain with maximum efficiency. Subaru offers a wide range of these engines - 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder, naturally aspirated and turbocharged - to suit a wide range of drivers and driving styles.
ADVANTAGES OF THE SUBARU BOXER
Sharper Handling: The low centre of gravity improves stability in the corners, contributing to a more comfortable ride, more responsive handling and greater accident avoidance capabilities.
Smoother Acceleration: This engine type is compact, lightweight and symmetrically positioned low in the chassis to create smoother and more direct power delivery.
Better Performance Efficiency: The pistons move side-to-side, an inherently better-balanced design, so they create less vibration, generate better performance, and ensure reduced wear and tear on moving parts.
The Subaru Boxer derives its name from the punch-counterpunch movement of the pistons, which face each other in a 180-degree symmetrical layout along a horizontal plane. This layout creates significantly less vibration than the typical engine design. The engine is also positioned in-line with the drivetrain for optimum transfer of power. Many other engines have transverse layouts or are turned perpendicular, so they require additional components to transfer power, increasing complexity and reducing efficiency.
BALANCED WEIGHT + LOW PROFILE
Pistons that move horizontally give the SUBARU BOXER engine a flat, low profile, which enables a lower centre of gravity than other engine designs and a lower centre of gravity for the vehicle overall. This engine is also lighter, better balanced, more compact and has a smaller overhang than a traditional in-line engine. These characteristics enable Subaru vehicles to be inherently more responsive, safer and more stable, with quicker handling, flatter cornering and a more planted feel overall.
Available only on Subaru vehicles, X-Mode complements Subaru symmetrical full-time AWD to allow drivers to take the road less travelled, get muddier and have more daring adventures. The system provides advanced, all-road capability and rugged performance — and elevates driving confidence, especially on uneven surfaces or challenging inclines. The X-Mode system, which is standard on all Forester and Outback models equipped with the Lineartronic® CVT, incorporates Hill Descent Control and a Hill Holder System and goes above and beyond AWD to pull you through the stickiest of situations.
X-MODE IN ACTION
With the push of a button, X-Mode controls the engine output, transmission, AWD torque split and braking system to help tackle the trickiest of conditions and bring even more rugged capability into sharp focus. This driver-engaged feature will consume more fuel so its use is only recommended when the condiotions warrant significantly more grip, stability and control. With the system activated, the vehicle is better able to capitalize on the traction available and provides surefootedness over and above what is afforded by Subaru symmetrical full-time AWD. Here are some common scenarios highlighting the capabilities of X-Mode.
When traveling up an incline with low traction conditions such as over very uneven rugged terrain, X-Mode uses lower gear ratios to generate extra power at the wheels that have the most grip. The transmission control unit (TCU) also provides 25% more AWD clutch pressure to control rotational differences between the front and rear wheels. This provides added stability, surefootedness and the extra forward momentum required to climb more easily.
ON SLIPPERY SURFACES
With X-Mode engaged, the traction control system becomes more sensitive, significantly reducing the time needed for a given wheel to recapture a loss of traction and regain forward momentum. This feature helps to improve control and stability in all conditions — but in particular when conditions are at their worst. In this case, more power is diverted away from the wheels that are slipping and towards those that are better able to capitalize on the traction available. Conversely, if the situation warrants, X-Mode will deactivate the transmission’s lock-up clutch to better direct power to slipping wheels. This proves valuable if one wheel suddenly loses traction when driving at speed and the goal is maintaining stability and staying on course.
ON STEEP DECLINES
Hill Descent Control (HDC) maintains a constant speed when travelling down steep declines at less than 20 km/h so the driver does not need to apply brakes and risk locking them. This system reads the road conditions and automatically applies the needed brake pressure to each wheel independently. This allows the driver to focus exclusively on steering and negotiating curves in the road while the system handles all the braking — especially useful in more challenging conditions where the sloped surface is slippery, rugged or uneven. When the driver touches the brake or gas pedal, HDC releases control over the descent immediately.
Drawn from a century of intelligent performance, the horizontal layout of the Subaru Boxer engine combines balance with power and efficiency. And every Subaru comes with a Subaru Boxer engine.
Like the jabs of a boxer, where the engine got its name, the Subaru Boxer layout allows the engine to be positioned in-line with the drivetrain for maximum transfer of power. Many other engines are transverse, or turned perpendicular, and can require additional drivetrain components to transfer power, reducing vehicle efficiency.
The punch-counterpunch movements of the boxer’s pistons cancel out each other for a smoother running engine without having to use additional components to counteract them as in many in-line and V-type engines.
With pistons moving horizontally, the Subaru Boxer engine has a flat, low profile, almost perfectly symmetrical, for a well-balanced vehicle. Its low profile can provide a lower center of gravity than other designs, helping provide quick handling response and flat, confident cornering.
SUBARU BOXER Engine Options
There are different Subaru Boxer engines for the different styles of Subaru vehicles, tailored to the vehicle and meeting the performance requirements of customers’ needs. But every engine is built from the same simple, efficient design.
This week we’re talking about the latest and greatest in car technology!
Ever needed to work on the go? Or maybe keep co-pilots/passengers occupied on long trips? Chevy has recently introduced built-in OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot to their latest models. The Chevy Wifi allows passengers the ability to seamlessly connect their smart devices to the vehicles internet (hello future car). With the option to connect up to 7 devices the possibilities are endless. Got a smart phone? No problem. How about an iPad? Yup! Even laptops are welcome. Never miss a beat with this new tech advancement from Chevrolet. Chevy is leading the way as the first and only brand to bring Wifi directly into their vehicles.
We talked about this tech last week on the blog but I think it deserves some more attention as one of the best new car Technologies. Solving problems like “lost my car in the parking lot” and allowing you to lock, unlock and control your climate control settings from your smart phone, Mazda Mobile is a great addition to the Mazda tech. With this kind of control at your fingertips there is nothing that can stop you.
Switching over to the safety side of things Subaru’s recent addition of EyeSight driver assist technology is the perfect complement to their signature all-wheel drive. This innovation marks a significant leap in crash prevention. EyeSight is an extra set of eyes on the road, an extra foot on the break and proved to be self worthy of the highest possible score in front crash prevention by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). With features like pre-collision braking and lane departure warning you can feel safe with Subaru.
Subaru is at it again! They have launched their third season of Launch Control, a behind the scenes look at the Subaru Rally Team USA. This year they are defending their back-to-back Rally America Championship title. Like most documentaries you get to see the inner workings of a team and the process that brought them to their current stage. Working out of the home base of Vermont SportsCar the Subaru Rally Team is developing some of the most important Rally cars of their time. One of the top teams in the world in both Rally and Rallycross, Subaru is working with the WRX STI platform running off the high of their winning season in 2014. With 5 podiums and one victory for the new Rallycross team it is going to be a hard year to beat. With an all-new chassis, wider body work, and suspension changes this world class team has to learn a whole new vehicle, but so far it looks promising!
Rally is something that is deeply rooted in the Subaru brand. Subaru’s iconic all-wheel-drive and durable cars are MADE for rally. Subaru excels in this race category and its drivers love the unpredictability and the thrill of the unknown that comes with rally territory. Presented by Subaru and now picked up by Drive the fans agree that the Launch Control series is the best rally documentary that they have ever seen.
The 2015 car has been tested and proved on snow and now its time for the rest of the season!
Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive from Subaru.
You need balance and even distribution of power for maximum traction, instead of the slip-then-grip alternatives offered by our competition. Subaru symmetrical AWD provides better stability, efficiency and a quicker response to slippery conditions.
All-Wheel Drive Uphill Comparison Testing
This test compares Subaru’s all-wheel drive to the AWD systems of Honda, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet and Nissan. Proof is in the pudding.
Showing How Effective Subaru’s AWD System is
Live demonstration of Subaru Forester and Outback’s 4×4 symmetrical all wheel drive system.
An independently certified study comparing Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD and Vehicle Dynamics Cotrol (traction and stability control) to its competition).
In the spirit of Earth Day this week we are talking Eco friendly cars! From EV to fuel efficiency we are breaking down our top eco-friendly vehicles.
KIA SOUL EV
The Kia Soul EV may be an electric zero emissions car but it doesn’t compromise in any category to be one. From its stylish design and its spacious interior the Soul EV is a technologically advanced vehicle that just so happens to be an EV model. Some may argue that the Kia Soul EV is the most practical EV on the market today. It’s 27-kWh battery gives an estimated range of 149 km on a full charge. With 2 charging ports for efficient power the Kia Soul EV is good at what it does, and that is be a car.
CHEVROLET SPARK EV
It seems to be a trend with the EV models to have a major focus on their styling and from its unique colour options to a fun design the Chevrolet Spark is no different! Being Chevrolet’s first all-electric mini car its make some pretty big strides with an estimated driving range of 130 km on a full charge. Even though this model uses no gas it has a GM built motor and drive unit deliver 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of instant torque, a top speed of 90 mph and a 0-60 time of less than eight seconds. Made for the city The Spark EV effortlessly blends technology, functionality and style in an unexpected package.
CHEVROLET VOLT (Hybrid)
Being a Hybrid car the Volt takes gas as well as electricity but that doesn’t mean it has to sacrifice in performance! The Volt uses the combination of gas and electric to create its sporty, quick and efficient feel. Lets not forget its smooth and modern styling even with an energy saving Bose sound system!
Now Subaru’s line up does not include any hybrid or EV models but one thing that Subaru has is a green initiative. Through the production of their vehicles to the partners that they align with Subaru is constantly thinking green. Subaru is constantly innovating their manufacturing to eliminate waste, thus it is no surprise to learn that Subaru has been making cars in zero-landfill plants since 2004, meaning that all waste is recycled or turned into electricity. So, just because Subaru hasn’t gone Hybrid or EV it doesn’t mean they aren’t Eco-friendly!
Like Subaru, Mazda has also not stepped into the EV/Hybrid market but they are paying attention to the environment with the Mazda6. This model takes a step into step forward for efficiency, delivering more power with lower fuel consumption. With the Mazda6, Mazda has introduced the i-ELOOP system that works by using a capacitor to store electricity recovered during deceleration to power the vehicle’s electrical systems (ie audio and climate control). Don’t eliminate Mazda in the eco-friendly game!
Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is no “ordinary” AWD system. It gives drivers confidence, control and traction in some of the worst conditions that you’ll find in nature. See how it works in this engaging visual demonstration.
This is an all-wheel drive uphill comparison test showing the effectiveness of a Subaru over other vehicles with AWD systems – brands such as Honda, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet and Nissan. Proof is in the pudding…
Testing the Subaru Forester vs Honda CRV, Ford Escape, Mazda CX 5 and Toyota RAV4 – who has the better all-wheel drive technology (pretend like you don’t already know!)
An independently certified study comparing Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD and Vehicle Dynamics Control (traction and stability control) to its competition.