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Discussion Starter #1
So we have about a foot of heavy wet snow, plus some extra at the end of the driveway after the plow went through. 1995 Legacy OB wagon - no problem gets in & out of the driveway. (This is w/ low ground clerance in comparison to the new model!)

Chevy Silverado pick-up across the street gets stuck. Out comes the shovel to dig around wheels, still stuck. Spinning, stuck. It took him over 5 minutes to get out. It sort of made me laugh to look at that big pick-up truck spinning its wheels while my little Subaru had no issues!

Do these trucks not have a 4-wheel drive feature?
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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So we have about a foot of heavy wet snow, plus some extra at the end of the driveway after the plow went through. 1995 Legacy OB wagon - no problem gets in & out of the driveway. (This is w/ low ground clerance in comparison to the new model!)

Chevy Silverado pick-up across the street gets stuck. Out comes the shovel to dig around wheels, still stuck. Spinning, stuck. It took him over 5 minutes to get out. It sort of made me laugh to look at that big pick-up truck spinning its wheels while my little Subaru had no issues!

Do these trucks not have a 4-wheel drive feature?
4 Wheel Drive is always optional on trucks. 2 wheel drive trucks are pretty worthless in the snow but depending on what it is used for it may not be cost effective to have 4WD, especially from a reliability/maintenance standpoint.
 

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'11 outback 2.5i premium '12 impreza sport limited
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yeah that. but my wifes tiny little impreza does better in the snow/ice crap where she works than all of her friends' jeeps or hummers or whatever lifted piece of crap truck.
 

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'13 OB, Black, SAP
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I had always associated pick up trucks and SUV with having 4 wheel drive. Many of my buddies have these great looking trucks...and you would think they were 4WD, nope! I always thought it was a waiste of money to have a truck that was not 4WD, but SE95 has a valid point. One may not need the 4WD but they may need the space and utility.

When I was stationed in Maryland my supervisor would load up his truck with sand bags when it snowed.
 

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2004 Outback Wagon, 2.5, 4EAT, All weather package.
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I had always associated pick up trucks and SUV with having 4 wheel drive. Many of my buddies have these great looking trucks...and you would think they were 4WD, nope! I always thought it was a waiste of money to have a truck that was not 4WD, but SE95 has a valid point. One may not need the 4WD but they may need the space and utility.

When I was stationed in Maryland my supervisor would load up his truck with sand bags when it snowed.
The company I work for has an entire fleet of late model 2WD F-150s and Silverados. None of them have 4WD. This is because 99.9% of the time these trucks are driving on dry highways. They get a TON of miles on them. Cheap, durable, reliable is what they need. Although, the trucks all have snow tires on them, need any help they can get.
 

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'11 Outback 2.5i CVT - '06 Forester X 5MT
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Yep, 4WD in trucks is optional, and for alot of truck uses, unneeded.

But even with 4WD, they usually don't fair as well as AWD in bad weather. A 4WD truck is primarily RWD, with a transfer case transfering power to the front wheels. They are generally disproportinately RWD and usually don't have any way of transferring power to wheels that need it.

Add to that uneven weight distribution, with no weight over ther rear wheels and they do horrible in slippery conditions. And generally speaking, with stock tires, the OB has more ground clearance than a 4WD truck with a big ole differential in the middle of axle.

I've driven my fair share of R/4WD vehicles and never have felt as secure and sure footed as in my Subaru. And you usally can't drive in 4WD at 80mph ;)
 

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My Nissan Frontier is 2WD. It does well in snow and I never regretted not getting 4WD.
It also weighs 300 lbs less than a 4wd model, gets better mpg and has lower insurance rates. Sometime I think 4WD truck owners (especially lifted ones) are using it as a compensation tool.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I had a 4WD '92 ranger. It would handle more snow than my subaru by virtue of ground clearance, but short of anything that lifts the sube wheels off the ground, the sube does much better in the snow.
 

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I'm not taking away credit from Subaru's AWD systems because I think that they are amazing, but I personally think that tires play a major role when it comes to traction in snow. Crappy all seasons or worn down tires will make the best AWD (or 4x4) system in the world look bad.

But to your point... I <3 my Subaru!! :)

Andre
 

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01 outback 2.5h4 5mt 217k
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ive owned nothing but 4wd/awd since i started driving in '87.... and the 3 best in order were....
1. my current 01 outback.
2. 82 subaru BRAT that i owned all thru the 90's
3. 86 asstro awd.

All others were both ferd/ gmc fullsize trucks... cant hold a candle to the others in a michigan winter.
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i Premium
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I'm not taking away credit from Subaru's AWD systems because I think that they are amazing, but I personally think that tires play a major role when it comes to traction in snow. Crappy all seasons or worn down tires will make the best AWD (or 4x4) system in the world look bad.

But to your point... I <3 my Subaru!! :)

Andre
You are right, tires play a big roll in snow. My Subaru has Blizzarks on and does very well in snow. My Jeep has big mean offroad tires on and drives circles around the Subaru in deep snow. It is a different game on compacted snow or icy roads.
 

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1998 Outback wagon, 5 speed winter package
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Even with 4wd te open diff will send power to the wheels that move the most freely. Our Symetrical systems do the opposite. This is the reason 4wd guys like locking diffs.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Depends on which subaru system you mean.

Assuming your rear diff limited-slip and manual trans viscous coupling are in good shape, your system maxes out at 3-wheel drive. As long as one rear tire has grip, you'll move. Both rears and one front on ice, and it's spin, baby, spin.

With my wiped rear VLSD, I have 2WD.

With VDC, a subaru has 4 driving wheels. Any 3 wheels could be in the air or on ice, and the car can still put the power to the one wheel with traction.

Most limited slip and AWD systems are best described as not sending the power to the wheel with grip, but making sure power can't go to a slipping wheel without also putting some of that power to a wheel that has grip.
 

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But even with 4WD, they usually don't fair as well as AWD in bad weather. A 4WD truck is primarily RWD, with a transfer case transfering power to the front wheels. They are generally disproportinately RWD and usually don't have any way of transferring power to wheels that need it.

And you usally can't drive in 4WD at 80mph ;)
What kind of trucks have you had? Most traditional transfer cases found in most pickups are locked in at a 50/50 front/rear power split. Which is why you cannot drive them in 4wd on dry ground.

My '07 Outback is fine in the snow. But I can't say it is better than my '06 Silverado 4x4 was, especially with BFG AT tires on it. It was not so great in 2wd though -- I wouldn't ever want a 2wd pickup living in a snowy area!
 

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What kind of trucks have you had? Most traditional transfer cases found in most pickups are locked in at a 50/50 front/rear power split. Which is why you cannot drive them in 4wd on dry ground.

My '07 Outback is fine in the snow. But I can't say it is better than my '06 Silverado 4x4 was, especially with BFG AT tires on it. It was not so great in 2wd though -- I wouldn't ever want a 2wd pickup living in a snowy area!
Unless you had front and rear lockers the center locking transfer case is only doing a portion of what the new Subarus can do with the ABS system linked to the traction management.

Don't know about you but my 4x4 truck ie land cruiser didn't lock left and right wheels together unless I had the front diff locker which only did left vs right locking on the front end. The center transfercase lock simply tied the front end to the back end.

Not counting proper 4x4 tires and ground clearance the subaru system is actually pretty **** impressive. The limit to the Subaru AWD is not the AWD - its the long over hangs and ground clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
ive owned nothing but 4wd/awd since i started driving in '87.... and the 3 best in order were....
1. my current 01 outback.
2. 82 subaru BRAT that i owned all thru the 90's
3. 86 asstro awd.

All others were both ferd/ gmc fullsize trucks... cant hold a candle to the others in a michigan winter.
Yep - this was Michigan.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5 5speed
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yeah that. but my wifes tiny little impreza does better in the snow/ice crap where she works than all of her friends' jeeps or hummers or whatever lifted piece of crap truck.
Don't knock the lifted POS Jeeps. My Wrangler will bust through drifts as high as the hood of the wifes Outback. When the big storms hit I always hop in the Jeep. On ice it is just a matter of who has the better tires.

It will run as fast as I want it to in 4WD. If it is slick, who is going to drive that fast anyway?
 

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Reminds me of winters in Anchorage. Driving home usually meant stoping at a light on a slight uphill grade. When it went green, I always had to watch out for the pickups that would start spinning their rear wheels and sliding sideways (and sometimes backwards). In my Outback (or my Porsche C4 with four studded tires), I would bide my time and then just motor up the hill.
 

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We had a big snowstorm in December, so I took my daughter out driving for "confidence improvement". We drove through some pretty deep stuff, which unfortunately led to several people getting stuck in our wake. First, a guy with a Chevy 1500 and a snow plow followed our track that had to be pulled out by a county grader. We spoke with the grader guy and gave him the report in the big snow drifts in the area and he decided to take a different route because he didn't want to keep pulling trucks out. So, we went back down the road where the pickup was just pulled out of, no problem. So another guy saw us do this , he was in a Ford Explorer. Well he got stuck AND the force of the snow pushed up and cracked his radiator. We helped get him out, got him turned around, drove strait through so we could turn around, and went back through the spot everyone was getting stuck. Well, ANOTHER 1500 pickup tried to follow us, and yep, same result. We were too cold at the point to dig him out, too. Another pickup came and helped him, but also got stuck...

All I'm saying is that of all the vehicles I have driven over the years, there is something about our '01 Outback that seems to make it the ideal vehicle for the snow. If anything, I sometimes think it's too good, because I tend to take it out when you shouldn't be out and into places you really are better off not going. I'm sure it'll catch up with me some day. ;-)

JP
 
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