Do All Subarus Come With All-Wheel Drive?

Subaru has been building quality vehicles for many years now, and impressed critics with its 2019 lineup. Each model received rave reviews for its performance, safety ratings, and stylish looks. 

What many consumers love about Subaru is the fact that each model comes standard with all-wheel drive. So why does Subaru choose to go with all-wheel drive instead of 4-wheel drive? Subaru has the answers to all your questions.

Why all-wheel drive?

The 2020 Subaru Outback on display at AutoMobility LA
The 2020 Subaru Outback | David McNew/Getty Images

For many automakers, they have some models that perform great on highways and city streets, while other vehicles are geared specifically toward the off-roading community. Subaru breaks the status quo by designing each and every vehicle it makes to go anywhere and everywhere you want. 

You can go to a lavish cocktail party, change clothes, and then blaze over mountain trails too difficult for a sports car. The best part is that your Subaru will look like it belongs in either place.

That’s why Subaru chooses to go with an all-wheel drive drivetrain. 

The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system also makes driving in bad weather much easier. If you live in an area that has snow, you’ll be grateful for your Subaru. According to Subaru, “You need balance and an even distribution of power for maximum traction, instead of the slip-then-grip alternative. Almost every Subaru comes standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive for better stability, efficiency, and a quicker response to slippery conditions.”

Part of Subaru’s design means that all four wheels get powered. This means that you don’t have two wheels that are controlled by the steering wheel while the other two go wherever. 

All-wheel drive vs 4WD

Some automakers rely more on 4-wheel drive than all-wheel drive. Jeep is a great example of this. Some may question what the difference is and why it’s important. On the surface, they both seem so different that it’s easy to wonder if it really even matters.

According to Edmunds, all-wheel drive vehicles power all four wheels all the time by providing each wheel with torque. There are some vehicles that are considered all-wheel drive but drive more like a 2WD part of the time, so this is where the term can become blurred. 

The 4WD system works similarly to the all-wheel drive in that it provides torque to all four wheels, but it’s able to provide more juice. This is why your Subaru can definitely go off-roading, but may not be able to go the same places a Jeep Wrangler could. 

Differences in Subaru’s AWD system

When Subaru says that all of its models have all-wheel drive drivetrain, it may sound like they’re all the same. The truth of the matter is, they’re not. According to Road Show, there are actually four different all-wheel drive systems used by Subaru. 

The standard version used on most Subaru models with a manual transmission has a 50:50 torque split. In bad conditions, 80 percent of the torque is transferred to the wheel that has the most traction with the road.

The Subaru Legacy, Outback, and Tribeca have another all-wheel drive system. This drivetrain distributes the torque 45:55. If the wheels begin to slip, the torque switches to 50:50.

The XV Crosstrek, Impreza WRX, and Legacy models built before 2014 have the CVT model all-wheel drive. The torque distribution in these models is 60:40.

Finally, the DCCD model is used on the WRX STI. This all-wheel-drive system is different because the computer controls the torque, but the driver can also do it manually if the need calls for it. The all-wheel drive torque on the DCCD model is a rear-biased 41:59.

If you’re in the market for a Subaru and aren’t sure which all-wheel drive system you prefer, head to your local dealership and start test-driving your favorite model today.