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Comparing awd vehicles

Can you tell me the difference between the Subaru AWD system and the Suzuki system?

Not familiar with the Suzuki system, but my Subarus were"balanced" with the engine mounted centrally. It’s as much a rear wheel drive bias as it is front WD with this set up. Consequently, as much as 90% of the power can be shifted from one axle to another giving it tremendous versatility.

My present RAV4 having a front drive bias system first can only come up with (according to the dealer) 50% to the rear. I would guess a Suzuki (car based) has a front drive bias as well.

The big draw back with a Subaru is the front overhang which limits approach angles. That’s where my RAV and a Suzuki might have an advantage.

Neither is a true 4WD (unless you refer to the Vitara and truck based) and should not be used for hard off roading and heavy loads as they do not have a center diff. lock, The older Suzukis did…I’m assuming we are talking about the car based models.

IMO…Subaru is the most drivable and strongest AWD system you can get under $30K.

Many use the terms AWD and 4wd interchangeably… they are not. Some modern SUVs have both functions as AWD can be engaged anytime and run on dry pavement and 4 wd as a part time mode should not.

Check utube for traction test of Subaru vs other different makes.

Not sure about the Suzuki system, but Subaru has, for years, had one of the most sophisticated AWD systems on the planet.

As dagosa recommended, check out the traction tests on YouTube. You’ll be amazed at just how “part time” some AWD systems are, and their inability to drive a vehicle under less-than-ideal conditions.

The Subaru system, however, will drive the vehicle if just one wheel has traction. I don’t think any other AWD vehicle can do that for the price.

You and I sound like a Subaru ad. I promise, we’re not getting paid for the comments.

If you do get a Subaru, make sure you follow whatever rules are written about equal tire circumferences. Otherwise there will be mechanical damage.

Suzuki SX4 has a three mode system where it can be put in Front Wheel Drive only mode, a All Wheel Drive mode, and lastly a Four wheel drive mode for really slippery situations. For more info you can always go to It will give you more info on its Three Mode system.

Assume that the 4 wheel drive mode is a center differential locking feature…w/o it not enough torque would be sent to the rear wheels…but can’t be used on bare roads. Still, not a Subaru.

“Still, not a Subaru.”

True, with a Subaru you must stay in all wheel drive ALL the time, even when there is no good reason to be.

mcparadise–For a change, I am going to disagree with you!

You said, “The Subaru system, however, will drive the vehicle if just one wheel has traction”. However, you should be aware that this applies ONLY to Subaru’s Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) system, which only a few Subaru models have. The vast bulk of Subarus have their “regular”, very competent AWD system that is excellent, but will not move the vehicle if only one wheel has traction. Take another look at that video, and you will see a note that the model that moved with only one wheel being powered had the VTD system.

One of the reasons why I chose my Subaru model was the presence of the VTD system, and in 2002, this was the only Subaru model to have that more advanced system. Since then, it has been added to the Tribeca, and (I think) to the Spec. B sedan and to one or two other high-performance models. Some day, it may be added to other models as well, but at the present time, someone can only expect this type of traction if they opt for one of the “premium” models.

Incidentally, another benefit of the VTD system is that it is NOT subject to mechanical problems from mis-matched tires!

They’re design philosophy is…you can’t anticipate WHEN you will need AWD. An emergency situation in the summer with the enhance handling capability is worthwhile. That’s why the Japan bailed them out years ago,to develope that nitch.

My first drive in a Subaru was a dumpy 6 year old Legacy wagon in August, that ran circles around my wife’s new Accord, which I thought was a decent handler for a front drive. That convinced me.

So many of us have only driven front drive cars or 4 wd trucks, we have a very narrow perspective on the advantages of RWD and AWD systems. If done properly they are vastly superior to FWD.

FWD is the worse drive system for vehicles. It’s a testimony to engineering that they function as well as they do for family cars.

We are afraid of RWD in snow because of our muscle car mentality and PU experiences…get your butt into an older Jag, Miata, BMW or WRX…then tell me FWD doesn’t suck. Good RWD cars are often handicapped for winter driving by poor performance tires, bad weight distribution, low ground clearance and poor winter driving technique. FWD mitigates some of these factors to balance inexperience in winter driving.

That;s where AWD (a well done system, not Hondas and Susuki) shines; in both summer and winter. The Suzuki FWD option may enhance fuel economy at the expense of handling…your preference.

All in my humble opinion. I would buy a Suzuki AWD because it’s cheaper than a Subie, but not because it’s better.

PS…It’s snowing here: I feel much safer in my AWD RAV (similar to but not as good as Subie system) with winter tires than in ANY fWD. The only car that got me to the top of the curvy snow covered mountain road in front of my house safer than my RAV…is the old 96 Subaru I traded.