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Is there? Yes.

Better is subjective. Both will get the job done.
 

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That question has been answered multiple times.

Search for "VTD" (used on 3.6) and "Active awd" (used on 2.5) and you will find enough to read about the different systems.
 

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This question has been beaten like a dead horse. The reality is this car is as capable as the ground clearance and tires will allow. My point is if you get out and see something taller than your cars clearance you will be unable to tackle it unless you wand severe body damage.

That said I have tackled deep sand, mud and rocky trails with our 100% bone stock 2.5 CVT. The mud and sand was absolutely no sweat, have not been in snow yet with the car. The only places I could not pass where uneven rocky surfaces where one wheel in front had no traction and one in the back. The downfall of the Outback is still the fact you have an open front and rear differential at both ends wether you have a 2.5 or 3.6R.
 

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Disagreed.

Technically (objectively) spoken:
Differential > multi plate transfer clutch
Differential based awd > hang-on awd

That is why Subaru uses VTD on the more expensive engines/trims/models. If there was no difference in price and performance, they would not offer it. End of discussion.
 

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Disagreed.

Technically (objectively) spoken:
Differential > multi plate transfer clutch
Differential based awd > hang-on awd

That is why Subaru uses VTD on the more expensive engines/trims/models. If there was no difference in price and performance, they would not offer it. End of discussion.
Yet the "more expensive trim" in this case gets an antiquated 5 speed slush box of a transmission that's what, a decade old?
It has a rear power bias for higher hp applications that you would only ever sense when the vehicle is really being tossed around. You're not going to get stuck in the snow with either awd system unless it's up to the headlights or your tires suck.
 

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Yet the "more expensive trim" in this case gets an antiquated 5 speed slush box of a transmission that's what, a decade old?
The transmission might be older, but it's not about the transmission, its about the awd system. And don't forget, that while the 5EAT came 2004, until 2010 Subaru still used the way more antiquated 4 speed slush box for the active AWD. 4 gear automatic was outdatet two decades ago, nut just one decade ago. Hopefully Subaru updates the 5EAT to a more modern solution, and than it changes again.

It has a rear power bias for higher hp applications that you would only ever sense when the vehicle is really being tossed around.
You don't have to go fast to feel the better handlung of RWD-bias (and RWD in general).

You're not going to get stuck in the snow with either awd system unless it's up to the headlights or your tires suck.
You can get stuck with both or you can do well with both, but apart from that, in the application we are talking arbout, a differential is better than a clutch.

How you judge all this, how you choose your own criteria, is every persons very subjective thing, but from a technical standpoint, their is no doubt what system is better.
 

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I wouldn't worry that one or the other system puts you at risk of losing traction in general use. This is based on being around a lot of Subarus and having them in the family. None are what my old guide rig can offer - all corners locked, a foot of clearance, and big tires that can be let down.

This brand at times seems like the unofficial brand of my summer and winter posses - IMBA chapter trail steward, ski area director. Thus, I see them at trail heads with mud and snow and a lot. They're not truck and old school Jeep-like vehicles period but the elite of all wheel drive cars. They don't seem to get stuck when some Hondas do.

My best test was driving a 4 and 6 2013 where engine was the only difference in window sticker. If you forget what your ears hear the obvious differences pushing it beyond what one would do in most normal driving. Those circumstances might have been important to me at a different age but not now when any pushing it is done in my sports where it's only me who could be at risk.

I knew both engines and types would serve me well on a snow day and get me up the ski area service roads.

It seems to me the Outback with either drive train is the wrong choice if sports performance or 4x4 performance are very high priorities. They're practical cars - not the sports cars or 4x4s I've owned.
 

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I wouldn't worry that one or the other system puts you at risk of losing traction in general use. This is based on being around a lot of Subarus and having them in the family. None are what my old guide rig can offer - all corners locked, a foot of clearance, and big tires that can be let down.

This brand at times seems like the unofficial brand of my summer and winter posses - IMBA chapter trail steward, ski area director. Thus, I see them at trail heads with mud and snow and a lot. They're not truck and old school Jeep-like vehicles period but the elite of all wheel drive cars. They don't seem to get stuck when some Hondas do.

My best test was driving a 4 and 6 2013 where engine was the only difference in window sticker. If you forget what your ears hear the obvious differences pushing it beyond what one would do in most normal driving. Those circumstances might have been important to me at a different age but not now when any pushing it is done in my sports where it's only me who could be at risk.

I knew both engines and types would serve me well on a snow day and get me up the ski area service roads.

It seems to me the Outback with either drive train is the wrong choice if sports performance or 4x4 performance are very high priorities. They're practical cars - not the sports cars or 4x4s I've owned.
Some of the best advice I've seen on the many posts about this debate.

In real world tests I would assume that the 3.6 vs. 2.5 would be more of a factor in performance versus the AWD system in each car. In other words from the standpoint of the driver, you won't notice that there is a difference.

As previously stated ride height and tires will be issues long before "planetary gears" and "active AWD" become factors.
 

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The transmission might be older, but it's not about the transmission, its about the awd system. And don't forget, that while the 5EAT came 2004, until 2010 Subaru still used the way more antiquated 4 speed slush box for the active AWD. 4 gear automatic was outdatet two decades ago, nut just one decade ago. Hopefully Subaru updates the 5EAT to a more modern solution, and than it changes again.
So... it could be worse because your $30k+ station wagon could have a tranny that's two decades old instead of just one. Thank goodness.


You don't have to go fast to feel the better handlung of RWD-bias (and RWD in general).
Your jacked up station wagon must handle like a Porsche; tell me all about it. While you're at it, tell me how having all that extra weight sitting over the front axle enhances your handling ability.


You can get stuck with both or you can do well with both, but apart from that, in the application we are talking arbout, a differential is better than a clutch.
On a rock crawler, yeah. On an Outback, it's a wash.

How you judge all this, how you choose your own criteria, is every persons very subjective thing, but from a technical standpoint, their is no doubt what system is better.
And from a real life application standpoint? It won't make a lick of difference.
...
 

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So... it could be worse because your $30k+ station wagon could have a tranny that's two decades old instead of just one. Thank goodness.
As mentoned before, its about awd, not the tranny. You seem confused.

Your jacked up station wagon must handle like a Porsche; tell me all about it.
No, if I wanted a Porsche, I'd buy one. What is to say about better handling?

While you're at it, tell me how having all that extra weight sitting over the front axle enhances your handling ability.
It does not, but fwd biased awd makes it even worse.

On a rock crawler, yeah. On an Outback, it's a wash.
No, on street application. Rock krawlers do need lockers, but on tarmac a differential is still the best.

And from a real life application standpoint? It won't make a lick of difference.
That is not the point, you missed the point of his question.
 

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I don't feel like quoting all these comments but heres food for thought. The AWD system in the Forester with the 4-speed auto is the same as the AWD setup in the Outback with the CVT. The AWD in the H6 is unique to it. So many people think Subaru made a weak AWD setup for the CVT.....nope.
 

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As ever, this topic is going to turn uncivil quickly.

Thread closed.
 
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