Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
2013 Outback 3.6L Limited with EyeSight
Joined
·
218 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In comparing the two different Subaru AWD systems in a 2013 Outback, if all things were equal, how would the 4-cylinder AWD handle in deep snow in comparison to the 6-cylinder AWD system (which I own)?

I have read that the 6-cylinder AWD normally sends 45% power to the front wheels and 55% power to the rear. 4-cylinder AWD systems send 90% power to the front and 10% to the rear under normal conditions.

Which AWD system is better in deep snow?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
By the way ACTIVE AWD SYSTEMS like subaru don't ever have fixed % of power sent to front or rears its constantly changing due to the traction issues. The Faster the AWD system can shift power between wheels with traction and those that don't the better the AWD system.
 

·
Registered
2002 Outback Wagon
Joined
·
311 Posts
In snow the amount of power normally sent to the wheels won't matter because the AWD will be adjusting the amount fo the best traction anyway. The difference occurs only when one has more ground clearance like subiesailor said
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
Based on prior reading I have done the best is likely the 2.5i with the 6-speed manual transmission.

Do a search, there is tons of info on this.

Please don't turn this into yet another 2.5 vs 3.6 thread....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
Based on prior reading I have done the best is likely the 2.5i with the 6-speed manual transmission.

Do a search, there is tons of info on this.

Please don't turn this into yet another 2.5 vs 3.6 thread....
MT is more fun in the snow and does demand a different level of awareness than the CVT. I've had both. The MT lacks the smarts the CVT has. Thus its the driver who keeps the MT subaru pointed the correct direction vs with the CVT the systems in the car do lots of fancy work to keep the car pointed in the right direction.

If you wanted interesting to drive in snow you get MT - if you want keeps the wife out of the snow bank and the kids safe you get the AT either 5spd AT or the CVT given both do lots of stuff to keep the rear end of the car behind the front end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
MT is more fun in the snow and does demand a different level of awareness than the CVT. I've had both. The MT lacks the smarts the CVT has. Thus its the driver who keeps the MT subaru pointed the correct direction vs with the CVT the systems in the car do lots of fancy work to keep the car pointed in the right direction.

If you wanted interesting to drive in snow you get MT - if you want keeps the wife out of the snow bank and the kids safe you get the AT either 5spd AT or the CVT given both do lots of stuff to keep the rear end of the car behind the front end.

IIRC there is something about the 6MT model that gives it the most advanced AWD setup Subaru offers. Something about power distribution and the way the transfer unit works.
 

·
Registered
2005 LL Bean
Joined
·
138 Posts
Wouldn't the 6 be better due to weight? Not by much (probably unnoticeable, even) In my experience, the driver is much more important than the vehicle.
 

·
Registered
2012 Outback 2.5 i Premium
Joined
·
474 Posts
Not necessarily. You get better weight distribution with the four pot. Like you said, it's all about what's sitting behind the wheel. I'd say they're evenly matched in snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
Not necessarily. You get better weight distribution with the four pot. Like you said, it's all about what's sitting behind the wheel. I'd say they're evenly matched in snow.

The 55% rear bias on the 3.6 seems to help reduce understeer but you are right there is more weight up front on the 3.6.

There is a noticable difference in snow/ice handling on my 2013 vs my 2012. The 2012 was very easy to kick the tail out but on the 2013 it's pretty hard to do. Not sure if this is due to the firmer suspension but AFAIK there were no changes to the driveline.
 

·
Registered
2013 3.6R SAP BBP Outback
Joined
·
717 Posts
I’ve driven both over a winter; last year a 2.5CVT and this year a 3.6. Both have amazing AWD systems and IMHO there is no detectable difference. Both are well-balanced AWD, react seamlessly to traction changes, and both have the same ground clearance. I’ve been very impressed with the software/hardware integration. Deep snow capability is much more a function of driver, ground clearance, tires, type of snow, and what’s under the snow than anything to do with the AWD differences.

I have not driven a 6MT in snow, but on a test drive 2 years ago before I purchased a 2.5CVT, I found the first gear pretty long and difficult to modulate a smooth takeoff. I know that's just a matter of practice with that transmission, but it was not intuitively easy like on some other makes. That could create extra challenges in snow/ice for inexperiences drivers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
The 55% rear bias on the 3.6 seems to help reduce understeer but you are right there is more weight up front on the 3.6.

There is a noticable difference in snow/ice handling on my 2013 vs my 2012. The 2012 was very easy to kick the tail out but on the 2013 it's pretty hard to do. Not sure if this is due to the firmer suspension but AFAIK there were no changes to the driveline.
Could also be different throttle vs AT mapping regarding TQ pressure along with traction control behavior in the software
 

·
Registered
2012 Outback 2.5 i Premium
Joined
·
474 Posts
The 55% rear bias on the 3.6 seems to help reduce understeer but you are right there is more weight up front on the 3.6.

There is a noticable difference in snow/ice handling on my 2013 vs my 2012. The 2012 was very easy to kick the tail out but on the 2013 it's pretty hard to do. Not sure if this is due to the firmer suspension but AFAIK there were no changes to the driveline.
Most likely. Subaru's suspension upgrades addressed the nervous tail that the Gen4 v1 models had.

I'd be curious if the front end dives more under hard braking. I wouldn't be surprised if that extra weight over the front axle makes it before more like a FWD biased vehicle.
 

·
Registered
2016 Carbide Gray Limited with Moonroof, Nav, and Eyesight
Joined
·
906 Posts
I’ve driven both over a winter; last year a 2.5CVT and this year a 3.6. Both have amazing AWD systems and IMHO there is no detectable difference. Both are well-balanced AWD, react seamlessly to traction changes, and both have the same ground clearance. I’ve been very impressed with the software/hardware integration. Deep snow capability is much more a function of driver, ground clearance, tires, type of snow, and what’s under the snow than anything to do with the AWD differences.

I have not driven a 6MT in snow, but on a test drive 2 years ago before I purchased a 2.5CVT, I found the first gear pretty long and difficult to modulate a smooth takeoff. I know that's just a matter of practice with that transmission, but it was not intuitively easy like on some other makes. That could create extra challenges in snow/ice for inexperiences drivers.
+1 We still have 3 feet of snow in our yard and ice on the neighborhood roads, but ground clearance being equal, tires would probably make one car a little better than the next.
 

·
Registered
2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
Joined
·
1,698 Posts
+1 We still have 3 feet of snow in our yard and ice on the neighborhood roads, but ground clearance being equal, tires would probably make one car a little better than the next.
I agree. The difference between the performance of the hardware is insignificant. Dedicated winter tires will do more for you than anything else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,142 Posts
Most likely. Subaru's suspension upgrades addressed the nervous tail that the Gen4 v1 models had.

I'd be curious if the front end dives more under hard braking. I wouldn't be surprised if that extra weight over the front axle makes it before more like a FWD biased vehicle.
Have not noticed it, but front end lift under hard acceleration from a stop is slightly more noticable on the 2013. I have posted here before that Subaru should have firmed up the front springs slightly more than they did to offset this. My guess is they probably didn't because the side effect would be front end harshness/choppyness over small bumps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
Subaru has always had a nervous tail in the legacy platform. Wagons by nature have more or less had this issue from the beginning. This can also be contributed to by how the AWD system applies power or distributes engine and drive line drag when your off the throttle.

It's pretty well known by folks who auto cross and do track days with their AWD vehicles that you do drive them differently than you do with two wheel drive cars.

The general rule of thumb with AWD is that you keep your foot on the throttle to keep the back end behind you. With Subaru a good friend who was a driver for a highly modified 911 track car had a great description of what the driving experience was like.

The 911 was all about being smooth and finessing the car around the track. Subaru brought a truck load of WRX STI's to the track one day and all 8 of their team drivers were cut loose on the track with the STI's. He said the stock WRX STI was so close to their 911 lap times all the drivers were impressed. However he said all of them when Subaru talked to them about the handling said the same thing.

With the WRX STI - they were beating the track into submission by keeping their foot down and shredding lots of expensive tire rubber to run the lap times they were doing. Vs the 911 was like a smooth dance and if you mis stepped throttle and tire shredding wasn't the fix to keep you on the pavement. LOL
 

·
Registered
2013 OB 3.6R SAP
Joined
·
203 Posts
Most likely. Subaru's suspension upgrades addressed the nervous tail that the Gen4 v1 models had.

I'd be curious if the front end dives more under hard braking. I wouldn't be surprised if that extra weight over the front axle makes it before more like a FWD biased vehicle.
If anything, the added torque bias to the rear wheels should make the 3.6 drive more like a RWD vehicle than the 2.5, at least with respect to how the chassis responds to the right foot mid-corner. I find my '13 3.6 to be surprisingly agile, and I'm used to "finesse" RWD sports cars.

Although yes, with the added weight in the front, the 3.6 probably pushes a little more at the limit than the 2.5, but I could care less about that. Others, maybe not.
 

·
Registered
2013 OB 3.6R SAP
Joined
·
203 Posts
With the WRX STI - they were beating the track into submission by keeping their foot down and shredding lots of expensive tire rubber to run the lap times they were doing. Vs the 911 was like a smooth dance and if you mis stepped throttle and tire shredding wasn't the fix to keep you on the pavement. LOL
So true. Among my countless course working assignments while autocrossing, I've seen many Subies & Evos pass through an apex in tire-shredding mode. It's how those cars like to be driven, and it's quite exciting up-close, literally seeing the rubber spit off the tires like little black snakes.

I let a talented WRX driver "adopt" my RX-8 for a season, and he had to re-learn how to brake and turn-in. Basically, start both much later than he had to with the WRX. Initially he was running over cones and cutting the apex much too short.

He loved the handling but missed the torque, LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,835 Posts
If anything, the added torque bias to the rear wheels should make the 3.6 drive more like a RWD vehicle than the 2.5, at least with respect to how the chassis responds to the right foot mid-corner. I find my '13 3.6 to be surprisingly agile, and I'm used to "finesse" RWD sports cars.

Although yes, with the added weight in the front, the 3.6 probably pushes a little more at the limit than the 2.5, but I could care less about that. Others, maybe not.
I recall the weight difference between the two on the front end was about 80lbs.
With Subaru its always been how much engine braking load is on the rear tires when your off the throttle that gets people into trouble. Nothing gets the rear end around faster in a Subaru than lifting off the throttle suddenly when the car is near its traction limits.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top