Underwhelmed by Subaru AWD in snow - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Underwhelmed by Subaru AWD in snow

OK I have my fireproof suit on. Some background first. I come from an early Volvo XC70 with AWD before traction control system were the rage. I drive very spirited in the winter snow conditions when traffic and road conditions allow and with the Volvo the AWD felt like all 4 corners of the vehicle were digging for traction and clawing at the ground trying to maintain forward drive traction when I would intentionally create wheelspin providing a very confidence inspiring controlled yet on the edge driving experience.
With the first significant snow fall every winter I take my vehicle to a open parking lot to reacquaint myself with it's winter handling characteristics but since I had my un-tethered dog in the car with me tonight I could not do that but I did enough to be troubled by the oversteer that I quickly generated.

After my first drive in significant snow with my new 2018 Outback (first Subaru) I had the back-end coming around to meet the front end 3 times which was not possible with the Volvo after intentionally initiating wheelspin in a turn.
I am suspicious that the intent of the Subaru Vehicle Dynamics Control system is fighting against and trying to prevent exactly the stable drifting AWD drive condition I am trying to create. The next opportunity I have to take the car out after a fresh snow fall I will be turning off the VDC system and seeing how it handles my driving style.
I want that AWD feeling of all 4 tires clawing and fighting for traction in wheelspin situations. I know there has to be other driving enthusiast's out there that know what I'm talking about. And no I'm not trying to be another Ken Block

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post #2 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 09:54 PM
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A large part of the problem here is if you're on the OEM tires. They're pretty Meh at best.

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post #3 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 10:32 PM
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My OB is obsolete by comaprison to your 2018, but I can relate to you that when the VDC kicks in as I'm hoofing around a corner, the inside brakes will grab to counteract the understeer and suddenly the nose of the car is pointed to the inside of the turn. It's not oversteer in the classical sense, but can appear like it and requires similar steering inputs to compensate.
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post #4 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 10:55 PM
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It never happened in your Volvo because they used a novelty system called Haldex which is basically fwd the vast majority of the time. I’ve driven several awd Volvos in snow and mud and I much prefer the awd systems of Subaru.
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post #5 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 07:13 AM
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moved to gen5

where there is a long long thread just like this from the past 2 months.

snow tires. buy snow tires.

turn the VDC off when you want to,


...I have a 2002 VDC and do that occasionally when I want to dig (toggling on and off,...as sometimes the computer can find some bite ),

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post #6 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
It never happened in your Volvo because they used a novelty system called Haldex which is basically fwd the vast majority of the time. I’ve driven several awd Volvos in snow and mud and I much prefer the awd systems of Subaru.
This. The Volvo's especially their older AWD offerings are extremely FWD biased, it sounds like you are describing what happens when you spin your front tires compared to rear or all wheels.

Keep playing with the outback, turn off the traction control if you want to play in a parking lot and get the hang of it.
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post #7 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 07:46 AM
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1. tires. a comparison of AWD with no focus on tires is underwhelming. if it's going to be used for aggressive snow driving, get tires to suit.

2. traction control is a one-size-fits all safety device, not a snow racing device. and for it's advantages, it can be underwhelming - say hello to electronic hand holding, learned helpleness, CANBUS modern vehicles.

3. snow variations. snow, slush, dry, wet, pretreated or not, ice under the snow, packed, fresh...all "snow covered lots" are not equal.

4. bias - fond memories, many miles/years of experience and predictability, resistance to learning and understanding new things. i've never been more impressed with snow driving than my 1980's Subaru XT6's with rear clutch type LSD and lockable center diff which modern Subaru's have never had....but if I'm honest, even with favor data, most of that is bias.
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post #8 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 08:14 AM
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tires. Duelers SUCK and Subaru accountants and engineers should be forced to eat every set they put on an OB.



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post #9 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 09:16 AM
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So the title of this thread should be "Underwhelmed by OEM tires in snow". There ain't nothing wrong with Subaru's AWD setup.
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post #10 of 79 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 09:35 AM
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Heh, well, it looks like your problem has been well addressed already, but there's no way I'd consider adopting any sort of "very spirited" driving style in the snow on the stock tires. They were fine for wet/dry conditions, but poor in snow, IMO. If you absolutely must use all season tires, while they'll never touch a proper snow tire, there are alternatives that perform significantly better. And +1 to the snow variable, you're describing a "first drive" experience, which suggests to me that you're prematurely forming an opinion.

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