February 29, 2024

3 Features That Make A Subaru At Home On The Trails

As far as crossovers and SUVs go, Subarus are just built different. Embracing a more rugged, more adventurous customer set, these vehicles are designed and engineered not just to thrive in the city, but surprisingly, on adventure trails as well.

Although they won’t be replacing more traditional body-on-frame SUVs with low-speed transfer cases, locking differentials, bead lock wheels, and snorkels, Subarus, specifically, the Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback are all inherently capable.

Here are the three technologies that make them a dependable adventure buddy.

#1. Subaru Boxer Engine

Subaru has been making the horizontally-opposed engine for close to 60 years now (Subaru itself is now more than 70 years old). Now considered a recognizable trait of Subarus, the cylinders in the Boxer engine lie flat. When the pistons move, the cylinders pass each other like arms of sparring boxers, hence the name.

Inherently, the Boxer engine produces less vibration because the “punch” of the opposite piston cancels unwanted vibration. Moreover, the Boxer engine is known for its ability to generate a lot of power from a small, light package. Also, they’re mounted low in the vehicle reducing its center of gravity which equates to great handling and, surprisingly, safety. During a frontal collision, the engine actually drops “below” the passenger compartment instead of in it.

Bonus Fact: the Boxer engine pays homage to Subaru’s history as an aircraft manufacturer as this type of engine is still in use on modern day aircrafts. To date, Subaru has made more than 15 million Boxer engines.

#2. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with X-Mode

The Boxer engine is a critical component of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive or SAWD system. Honed and polished for half a century, this layout enables Subaru vehicles to achieve uniform stability by placing all key components—the engine, transmission, driveshaft all along the center axis. This allows for better balance and control, whenever, wherever.

A key feature of the SAWD system is that it sends power to all four wheels continuously—with torque split, model depending, ranging from 60/40 to 45/55 (front to rear). Typically, power is only sent to a set of wheels when the vehicle senses slippage. This momentary delay, despite being just in milliseconds, may spell the difference between climbing over a slippery incline, or getting stuck on one (on pavement, it could mean avoiding a crash, or being the subject of one).

Coupled with the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, Subaru has also introduced X-Mode. X-Mode cleverly uses the sensors already present in the SAWD system to make intelligent adjustments to other components of the vehicle allowing for even better traction, control, and stability. The new Dual X-Mode system is a further offshoot of that, extracting the most available grip for deep snow or mud.

Bonus Fact: The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system has one unexpected benefit: longer lasting tires because power it split across all four wheels all the time.

#3. Subaru Global Platform

The Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system are linked together in a rigid chassis known as the Subaru Global Platform. As the name implies, it’s used in pretty much across all of Subaru’s line-up (sans the Subaru BRZ).

The Subaru Global Platform or SGP has been engineered with three goals in mind: increasing straight-line stability, reduce NVH, and boosting ride comfort. This results in a fuss-free, rattle-free ride even as it goes over challenging terrain and obstacles.

At the center of SGP is its ring-shaped passenger safety cell. Not only does this mean top-notch safety in the event of a crash, but it also helps dissipate and re-direct unwanted vibrations for a more serene, quieter cabin. SGP has also allowed for significant enhancements to related components such as the steering and suspension. This means a sportier drive with a quicker, more agile response, while also reducing the amount of vibration felt through the steering wheel, floor, and seats. Off the beaten path, the structural enhancements are coupled with a long-travel suspension (and 220 mm of ground clearance), for a truly enjoyable ride for everyone aboard.

Bonus Fact: The Subaru Global Platform has been continuously improved since its introduction in 2016. The most advanced version of the SGP, present in the all-new Crosstrek, uses learnings from the WRX. Imagine that: having sports sedan DNA in a compact crossover!

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how will Subaru's trademark of using boxer engines be in the electricication era. Say, in a BEV, is there such thing as a boxer electric motor?


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