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The Subaru Face-off

The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive experience

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Text and photos Neil Pagulayan

Last weekend, Motor Image Pilipinas, distributors of Subaru in the Philippines held the Subaru Face-Off. The event at the Mall of Asia open parking lot showcased the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) capabilities of the XV and Forester against its main competitors in the market.

  • A Forester takes on the side ramp obstacle

  • An accessorized XV on display

  • The slip rollers obstacle simulates terrain with very little traction.

    Symmetrical All Wheel Drive

    It’s Subaru’s full-time four-wheel drive system. It consists of a longitudinally mounted Boxer engine coupled to a symmetrical drivetrain with equal length half-axels. This symmetrical layout, combined with a flat engine with a low center of gravity and transmission balanced over the front axle, optimizes weight distribution, and also improves handling characteristics.

    Subaru used three obstacles specially designed to simulate different low traction situations and to show the advantage of the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (S-AWD) over 4WD or regular AWD.

    The Slip Roller is designed to simulate slippery conditions where only one wheel might have traction or none at all.  The Subaru XV and Forester had no trouble negotiating this obstacle. There would be some wheel spin over the rollers before the traction control would kick in and grip would be regained. Even the amount of power sent to all four wheels would help overcome this kind of obstacle.

    The Cross Roller ramps shows the articulation of the suspension. Usually, off-roaders with long travel suspension will have no trouble on obstacles like this because they’ll always have all four wheels in contact with ground, but normal SUV’s won’t be as equipped. Once one or two diagonal wheels are up in the air and no longer have contact with the ground, will spin freely, leaving you stranded.  The Subaru’s high ground clearance allows you to drive over and clear the ramp, the rigidity of the body shell resists twisting and S-AWD will ensure that power goes to all wheels, which means that the wheels in contact with the ramps will continue to receive power and you’ll have no trouble overcoming this.

    The last obstacle was the Side Ramp, this shows that the XV and Forester can handle being tilted at extreme angles and still be able to move ahead.  The full-time all wheel drive with Active Torque Split ensures that when driven sideways up this ramp, power will always be diverted to where both wheels are have contact. This is transferred from the rear to the front when one of the rear wheels loses traction and start to spin.  Also unique to the Subaru is the low center of gravity due to the how the Boxer engine is mounted, allowing it to be more stable even at odd angles.

    This simple activity showed prospective Subaru customers at the Mall of Asia that the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system is there to make sure you always have power going to all four wheels to ensure that you’ll always breeze through obstacles that would otherwise stop other vehicles.

    For more information on locally available Subaru vehicles head over to their website http://www.subaru.asia/ph/en/home/ .

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