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 03-25-2005, 10:52 Post: 108713
shortmagnum

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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

I just spent a few days fishing in the mountains around Bozeman MT. We were 15 miles up on an unplowed road. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground and gained 3-4 inches each day. Our F150 4WD and the big Chevys and Dodges had all they could do to get through some spots especially after a fresh snow. What irritated us was the number of Subarus that would come up there to spend the day. They would drive everywhere we could and didn't seem to spin a tire. It seemed we would constantly be laughing, "There goes another bunch of yuppies in one of those damn Subarus!"

Is it the all wheel drive that makes them so good in the snow? They don't have a huge amount of ground clearance. I have to admit, they really impressed me.
Dave






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 03-25-2005, 11:34 Post: 108716
kubotaguy



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

I'm not sure what type of AWD they have, but I know the AWD in my Explorer isn't as good as a true 4 wheel drive.
It could be they don't have the torque to spin the wheels and I would imagine the newer AWD's are more sophisticated with computers controlling switching the power.
That was one thing that was hard to do when I got my AWD explorer compared to my old Bronco II 4 wheel drive. In the Explorer when you start to notice wheel spin you don't let off like you do in a 4 wheel drive, you just keep the pedal steady and the computer searches the 4 wheels for traction. Just my observation. I like the new Expeditions that have 4 wheel hi, 4 wheel low, AWD, and 2 wheel drive depending on the condition.






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 03-25-2005, 11:42 Post: 108717
yooperpete



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

I agree with Kubotaguy about AWD in Ford Explorers. The big trucks have lots more weight than the little ones, the new F150's aren't as high as they used to be. A big truck traditionally has a wider tire that must push and compact the snow causing more drag.

Large diameter and skinny tires with aggressive treads are the best as well as several hundred pounds of sand in the box.






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 03-25-2005, 11:46 Post: 108718
44trxfun



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

It must be the all wheel drive. I had a '92 Subie for many years (5 of them in the mountains of Idaho)and never got stuck (that one was selective 4WD). We bought a '03 Outback wagon in July '03 and have over 40K miles on already. It's handled everything western NY could throw at it. It is amazing; I can go from wet to snow covered / drifted to dry conditions and never feel a change in the way that car handles. Scoff at 'em all you want, but they're fantastic all weather rigs!






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 03-25-2005, 11:49 Post: 108719
BillMullens

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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

AWD systems are different by manufacturer, and I'm not sure how Subaru's works, but some systems are capable of an almost infinite torque split front to rear and side to side. I don't think any of them will do 100% to one wheel and 0% to the other wheels, but they will approach it. Most of them are comparable to having a four-wheel drive with anti-spin (posi) front and rear, with the additional advantage of a torque split front to rear.

I'm surprised the Subarus you saw were noticeably better than the 4wd trucks because of tires, though. I always thought that the all-season type tires that one usually sees on Subarus wouldn't be that good for off-roading or snow running.

Along those lines, it is amazing what a 2wd truck with posi and tire chains can do.

Bill






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 03-25-2005, 17:51 Post: 108733
cutter



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

To the best of my knowledge, my wife's '04 Outback does not have traction control but I believe it is available on some models. That would make a serious difference, along with anti spin differential in the front.

In reality, these cars have considerable ground clearance, more than many SUV's. If you look underneath, the pan is almost entirely flat, covered by skid plates and the drive axles are literally out of the way. The height of the vehicle is somewhat deceptive as compared to an Explorer for example. Look at the pumpkin and straight axle in the rear of that Ford and then look at the Subaru.

For this northern climate, they are the best handling vehicle we have owned. In addition, you will find windshield wiper defrosters, side window, mirror and rear window defrosters. Along with heated seats! This was included in the winter package, why don't they ALL have windshield wiper defrosters??






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 03-25-2005, 19:24 Post: 108743
kwschumm



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

We considered an Outback for my wife, and even rented one for a weekend to try it out. She didn't like driving it (called it quirky) and there wasn't enough legroom for me so we passed. Too bad though, it would have been perfect for her given where we live.






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 03-25-2005, 20:15 Post: 108748
ncrunch32



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

My daughter asked that we help her get a car in her 3rd year of college at Buffalo NY. She asked for a Subaru or Honda CRV. After driving both I bought her and myself both used Foresters. The Honda CRV was like a tin can compared to the Subaru. I really like the Forester lots. I fit all kinds of stuff (washing machines, small snow blowers) in the back and feel comfortable driving to and from work in the snow. I would definitely buy another one.






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 03-25-2005, 22:24 Post: 108752
denwood



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

One of the things that makes AWD's better at times in snow or mud is the turning ability. With a diff in the transfer case, neither axle is forced to break traction. A full size locked in 4x4 makes both axles turn the same revolutions. In a turn, one axle must break traction and once that happens, you have less traction obviously. I bought a beater minivan, 95 ford aerostar AWD just because there are no cheap used japanese AWD minivans. I am always amazed at its snow ability even with just summer tires, it is as good as my pickup with 31 inch snows.
On another note, I really dislike the AWD designation. All wheel drive? How many are there? Well there is a steering wheel, a spare , and 4 touching the ground. That makes 6. How many have traction, 4 so is it not a 4 wheel drive.






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 03-26-2005, 06:36 Post: 108761
cutter



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 Ford Chevy Dodge vs Subaru

I would say the reason for that particular nomenclature is that they drive "all" the time in "all" wheel drive. They are actually similar to the '78 Dodge Power Wagon I owned.If the transfer case was not locked in, an internal differential allowed slippage between the front and rear drive-shafts. The tires never chopped up, there was no excessive steering torque, it was absolutely great for all weather driving, and the system was bulletproof.

The fuel consumption on mine was 12/16, the same as my 2002 2500 with the same motor. Unfortunately, too many ignorant people complained that they could not disconnect the front axle so Dodge dropped it (along with the fact that the transfer case was more expensive). I even saw some kits that converted the truck to a conventional four wheel drive but the axle still turned, folks did not like that either.

I would buy one today if it were available in that same configuration. Well...it is sort of, just happens to be in my outback.






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