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Many people believe that four/all-wheel drive is essentially the preserve of large 'Jeep' shaped vehicles, even giving them the generic title of 'Four Wheel Drives'. Whilst these vehicles undoubtedly benefit from the additional grip and road holding that 4WD conveys, Subaru have long believed that conventional passenger cars should not be excluded from the inherent safety and reassurance of AWD.
Full-Time Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is included as a standard feature on all Subaru cars and not just an added extra on the top of the range models like many other manufacturers. It is important to realise that All-Wheel Drive is not a 'fad' or a clever marketing initiative designed to sell cars in greater numbers, it provides a genuine contribution to road safety and will continue to be an integral part of a Subaru vehicle's make-up.
The key benefit of All-Wheel Drive is greater traction. To understand the reasons for this you must start with the basics.
Traction is the force that keeps tyres in stable contact with the road surface during take-off, acceleration, hill climbing and running. The better a car's traction, the safer it is. Safe running depends on constant stable traction and tractional stability is largely determined by the car's drive method.
[image2]Distributing power to each of the four wheels, All-Wheel Drive achieves much better traction than either of the two wheel drive methods (Front or Rear Wheel Drive). To understand the reasons for this you have to realise that car tyres slip when the maximum value of the frictional force between the tyres and road surface is exceeded.
For example, if the maximum frictional force of a tyre is 30HP and the engine has an output of 100HP, a 2WD car would deliver 50HP to each of the driving tyres which would be 20HP beyond their capability. The excessive horsepower would then cause the tyres to slip. However, an AWD car would distribute the horsepower equally to all four tyres (25HP per tyre) thus falling below the threshold of 30HP. Accordingly they would fail to slip. Because AWD obtains twice the traction of 2WD, the difference becomes even more significant the more slippery the road surface.
The Subaru philosophy has embraced the need for Active Safety throughout the constant development of it's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. For whilst all Subaru cars contain the passive safety of Twin Airbags, Steering Column and Side Impact protection beams and exceptionally rigid passenger cells, it is our belief that rather than survive it is preferable to avoid an accident altogether.