Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive

Things just work better when they're symmetrical.

From the symmetry of our Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system to the layout of the SUBARU BOXER® Engine, every Subaru vehicle is designed from the ground up to deliver the best driving experience possible.

The Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system is designed to optimize both traction and balance. The entire system lies along the centerline of the vehicle, balancing weight distribution between the two sides to help provide optimal performance and control.

This page contains information explaining:
  • What is Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and 
  • How Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive works
  • How the competitor's AWD/4WD systems compare to Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive.
  • Why Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel drive provides better traction, stability and control while delivering more fuel economy than competitors.
NOTE: All Subaru vehicles sold in the US have symmetrical all-wheel drive with the exception of the BRZ, a low center of gravity performance vehicle specifically designed without it. All references to the Subaru Symmetrical All Wheel Drive on this page do not include the BRZ, but apply to every other Subaru vehicle.
Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and the SUBARU BOXER Engine Work Seamlessly For YOU

All-Wheel Drive is better in all weather conditions and all year-round 

Normal Driving Conditions 
Bad Weather Conditions 

Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive continually keeps the power routed to all four wheels, ensuring outstanding grip in snow, rain, or rough terrain. Thanks to its exceptionally balanced layout, you can count on a solid connection with the road and an engaged, responsive drive, ALL THE TIME.

Not all AWD systems are created equally. The benefits of Symmetrical All Wheel Drive become indispensable in real-world conditions. Subaru builds their vehicles from start to finish with safety in mind, with Subaru AWD is not an option. 
Subarus are Built with AWD in Mind

With customers safety in mind from the beginning, Subarus are designed and engineered from the start to have Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Above you can see how the components are aligned in a straight line from the SUBARU BOXER engine --> Lineartronic CVT Transmission --> drive train and that both sides are symmetrical. This symmetry Subaru has designed is unique to Subarus and incredibly efficient, providing power to all four wheels all the time for maximum traction, balance and control. Other examples of symmetry include butterflies and airplanes. 

Competitor vehicles start primarily as front-wheel drive (FWD) biased that have been re-engineered with an AWD/4WD accessory package after their conception. With their typical transverse engine, output is rerouted multiple times to get power to the rear wheels. Its AWD often engages AFTER loss of traction is detected. When driving their vehicles vs Subarus you will notice how the competitors drive train is unbalanced, with the axle on the transmission side (L) shorter than the other. Can you imagine an airplane with one wing shorter than the other? Subaru can't either.

When shopping around for an all-wheel drive vehicle, don't let the competitors confuse you or mislead you. They will often say, "We have all-wheel drive vehicles just like Subaru does!" For Nissan it's called Intuitive AWD, for Honda it is Real Time 4WD, and then Ford offers Intelligent 4WD, whileToyota calls theirs On-Demand 4WD.  ONLY Subaru offers symmetrical all-wheel drive. If you watch the videos above you will see how elegant and simple the Subaru system is. Subaru has been building AWD vehicles for OVER 40 YEARS. To Subaru, AWD is a commitment for your safety and driveability, not an accessory or an option.

Now that you know all of that, you may be wondering how gas-mileage is for a Subaru with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vs the competition. Take a look, it's better. 

2019 Subaru Forester
2.5L 4cyl Lineartronic
6-Speed w/CVT




2019 Honda CR-V
2.4L cyl Automatic 2-spd




2019 Toyota RAV4
2.5L cyl Automatic 6-spd




2019 Ford Escape
1.5L I4 Automatic 6-spd SE 4WD




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