For many drivers, full time fuel efficient AWD vehicles offer a great balance of handling, safety and fuel economy.
Full Time AWD Compared to Two Wheel Drive
Full time AWD systems are fully engaged all the time transmitting power to all four wheels. This approach offers inherent built-in handling and safety improvements over standard two wheel drive systems.
“The system lets you drive completely naturally, regardless of driving conditions. If the car starts to slip on the road, you’ll find that you make the necessary corrections without even noticing. In essence, the car behaves similar to human sensibility.”
Tetsuo Fujinuki, General Manager, 1st Vehicle Research and Experiment Department, Subaru Engineering Division
In the video below, Subaru configures one of their vehicles normally (in full time all wheel drive mode) and compares its performance to the same vehicle configured in two wheel drive mode. The video footage, shot on a wet track, is then overlaid with simulated footage of an actual street environment with oncoming traffic to demonstrate the safety advantages of their approach.
Subaru uses a symmetrical AWD approach that is further enhanced by the low center of gravity of the horizontally opposed engines. Additionally the center of gravity is kept between the front and rear axles further enhancing inherent stability and controllability. Adding vehicle electronic stability controls (that gently apply braking to one or more wheels to keep the vehicle in balance) serves to increase safety even further.
Subaru is the largest producer of AWD vehicles in the world.