The Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive System: How It Works and Why It Matters

Subaru is a brand synonymous with safety, performance, and reliability. As one of the few car manufacturers to offer an all-wheel-drive option as standard across all their models, it’s no surprise that Subaru has built a reputation for creating vehicles that excel in different terrains.

One of the reasons Subaru vehicles stand out from the competition is their Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system. In this article, we’ll explore how this unique system works, and why it matters to those who value safety, handling, and performance.

The Importance of All Wheel Drive Systems

First things first: what is an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system? In a nutshell, it’s a vehicle drivetrain system that sends power to all four wheels, unlike a two-wheel-drive (2WD) system that only sends power to two wheels.

The main benefit of an all-wheel-drive system is its superior traction, particularly in challenging driving conditions. AWD systems provide better control, allowing drivers to navigate slippery roads or rough terrain more easily than 2WD vehicles. They also offer better stability and handling in different climates, which can increase overall vehicle performance.

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How Subaru All Wheel Drive Differs from Other Systems

While other car manufacturers offer AWD models, the Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system has some unique features that set it apart.

The most notable feature is its symmetrical design. Unlike other AWD systems that use differentials to split the power between the front and rear wheels, Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive uses a horizontal layout. This means the engine sits on the longitudinal axis, with the trunk and drive shaft aligned with it.

This design allows for a more balanced weight distribution between the front and rear wheels, improving handling and stability. It also eliminates the need for a transfer case, which simplifies the system and reduces maintenance costs.

The Benefits of Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive

Apart from its unique design, the Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system has several benefits that make it a smart choice for drivers looking for safety and performance.

Better Traction

Due to its symmetrical design, power is evenly distributed to all four wheels, regardless of the driving conditions. This results in superior traction and handling in any terrain, which can be particularly useful during heavy rain, snow, or ice.

Improved Stability

The symmetrical design also means that the drivetrain is balanced, resulting in improved stability and control. This allows drivers to take tight corners or navigate rough terrain without losing stability or control.

Enhanced Performance

Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system can also improve vehicle performance. By providing enhanced traction, it can help to improve acceleration and braking, resulting in a smoother and safer driving experience.

The Design and Technology Behind Symphony All Wheel Drive

Symmetrical All Wheel Drive System from Subaru utilizes advanced technology and design principles to deliver exceptional performance, even in the harshest conditions.

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The Design

As mentioned, the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system uses a horizontally-opposed layout for the engine, which allows for a more balanced weight distribution. The drivetrain and transmission are also aligned with the engine, which results in a straight and short powertrain.

The Technology

Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system also utilizes advanced technology to improve vehicle performance and safety. This includes features like Active Torque Vectoring, which adjusts the distribution of torque to each wheel based on the driving conditions. This improves handling, stability, and can help reduce understeer while cornering.

How Symmetrical All Wheel Drive Works in Different Terrains

One of the strengths of Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system is its adaptability to different terrains. Let’s take a look at how the system works in some common driving conditions.

Wet or Slippery Roads

Due to its superior traction, Symmetrical All Wheel Drive can make driving on wet or slippery roads much safer. By sending power to all four wheels, it can prevent wheel slippage, which can lead to loss of control.

Rough Terrain

Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system can make navigating rough terrain easier and safer. By distributing power evenly to all wheels, the system can improve stability and maneuverability on uneven surfaces.

Mountainous Regions

The Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system’s ability to redistribute torque based on driving conditions is particularly useful in mountainous regions. By adjusting the torque distribution to the wheels with the most traction, the system can maintain stability and control on steep inclines or declines.

Impact of All Wheel Drive on Performance and Safety

So, how does Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system improve vehicle performance and safety? Here are some ways:

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Better Handling

The symmetrical design and advanced technology of the system result in better handling and stability, which can help drivers to maintain control of the vehicle and reduce the risk of accidents.

Less Downshifting

Since the Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system improves traction and stability, the vehicle is less likely to downshift while driving uphill or in challenging conditions. This can result in smoother acceleration and a more comfortable driving experience.

Improved Braking

Symmetrical All Wheel Drive can also improve braking performance, especially in slippery or icy conditions. By distributing power to all four wheels, the system can prevent wheel slippage, allowing for better braking control.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Subaru Models Have Symmetrical All Wheel Drive?

All Subaru models, except for the BRZ, have Symmetrical All Wheel Drive as standard.

Is Symmetrical All Wheel Drive Better Than Other AWD Systems?

Symmetrical All Wheel Drive has several advantages that make it a superior system over other AWD systems that use differentials. Its symmetrical design allows for better weight distribution, handling, and stability, while also simplifying the system’s components.

Does Symmetrical All Wheel Drive Have a Transfer Case?

No, Symmetrical All Wheel Drive doesn’t use a transfer case, which reduces the vehicle’s weight and simplifies the system.


Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system is a unique and innovative drivetrain system that delivers exceptional performance, safety, and handling in any terrain. Its symmetrical design, advanced technology, and adaptability make it a smart choice for drivers who value reliability, performance, and safety. Whether navigating wet or slippery roads, rough terrain, or mountainous regions, Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system ensures a smoother, safer, and more enjoyable driving experience.

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Joseph Weaver

With a background in engineering and a passion for cars, Joseph brings a unique perspective to our blog. He's particularly interested in the technology and innovation behind Subaru's advanced safety features, and his articles on this topic are always insightful and informative. When he's not writing, he enjoys playing video games and spending time with his family.

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