How Subaru Symmetrical AWD Works: A Guide to Enhanced Driving Performance

How Subaru Symmetrical AWD works is a question that many car enthusiasts have. This all-wheel drive system has been a hallmark of Subaru vehicles for decades, providing drivers with enhanced traction, stability, and handling in a wide range of conditions.

In this guide, we’ll explore the inner workings of Symmetrical AWD, from its history and components to its benefits and how it compares to other AWD systems.

Introduction to Subaru Symmetrical AWD

Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system is a unique and innovative drivetrain technology that has been a cornerstone of the Subaru brand for over 50 years. It is designed to provide superior traction, handling, and stability in all driving conditions, from everyday commutes to off-road adventures.

The Symmetrical AWD system was first introduced in 1972 on the Subaru Leone 4WD. Since then, it has been continuously refined and improved, and it is now a standard feature on all Subaru models.

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system continuously sends power to all four wheels, providing excellent traction and stability on any surface. It also features a low center of gravity and a horizontally-opposed engine, which helps to reduce body roll and improve handling.

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Concept and Purpose

The Symmetrical AWD system is based on the concept of symmetrical layout. The engine, transmission, and front and rear differentials are all arranged in a symmetrical pattern around the center of the vehicle. This symmetrical layout provides several advantages:

  • It distributes weight evenly front to back and side to side, which improves handling and stability.
  • It reduces driveline vibration and noise, which makes for a more comfortable driving experience.
  • It allows for a more compact drivetrain, which frees up space for passengers and cargo.

History and Development

The Symmetrical AWD system has undergone several significant developments over the years:

  • In 1987, Subaru introduced the viscous-coupling center differential, which improved traction on slippery surfaces.
  • In 1991, Subaru introduced the multi-plate clutch center differential, which provided even more precise control of torque distribution.
  • In 2005, Subaru introduced the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) system, which uses an electronically controlled clutch to distribute torque between the front and rear wheels.

The Symmetrical AWD system is now one of the most advanced and capable AWD systems in the world. It provides Subaru vehicles with exceptional traction, handling, and stability, making them ideal for all types of driving conditions.

Components of Symmetrical AWD

The Subaru Symmetrical AWD system consists of several key components that work together to distribute power to all four wheels. These components include the engine, transmission, driveshaft, differentials, and axles.

The engine is the heart of the AWD system, providing the power that is distributed to the wheels. The transmission then transfers this power to the driveshaft, which connects to the differentials. The differentials are responsible for distributing power to the front and rear wheels, and the axles connect the differentials to the wheels.


The engine is a four-cylinder boxer engine that is mounted longitudinally in the chassis. This design helps to lower the center of gravity and improve handling.


The transmission is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that provides smooth and efficient power delivery.


The driveshaft is a metal tube that connects the transmission to the differentials.

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system provides excellent traction and stability by distributing power evenly between all four wheels. This system is a key factor in Subaru’s reputation for reliability and off-road capability. If you’re curious about whether Subaru has a luxury brand, click here to learn more.

The Symmetrical AWD system also contributes to Subaru’s sporty handling, making it a great choice for drivers who enjoy spirited driving.


The differentials are located at the front and rear of the vehicle. They are responsible for distributing power to the wheels on each axle.


The axles are metal shafts that connect the differentials to the wheels.

Benefits of Symmetrical AWD

Symmetrical AWD provides numerous advantages that enhance driving performance in various conditions. It offers improved traction, stability, and handling, making it a valuable asset for drivers seeking optimal control and safety.

One of the key benefits of Symmetrical AWD is its ability to improve traction. By distributing power evenly between the front and rear wheels, Symmetrical AWD ensures that all four wheels are engaged in providing grip. This is particularly beneficial in slippery or off-road conditions, where maintaining traction is crucial for maintaining control and preventing skidding.

Improved Stability

Symmetrical AWD also contributes to enhanced stability by reducing the likelihood of the vehicle losing control. By maintaining a balanced distribution of power between the front and rear wheels, Symmetrical AWD helps to prevent the vehicle from oversteering or understeering. This results in a more stable and predictable driving experience, even in challenging conditions.

Enhanced Handling

In addition to improving traction and stability, Symmetrical AWD also enhances handling. By providing equal power to all four wheels, Symmetrical AWD enables the vehicle to respond more precisely to steering inputs. This results in improved cornering ability, reduced body roll, and a more agile driving experience.

Real-World Examples

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system provides equal power to all four wheels, enhancing traction and handling. While Subaru has a strong reputation for its AWD capabilities, it’s interesting to note that the company has never produced a V8 engine. Find out why as we delve deeper into the unique design and performance of Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system.

The benefits of Symmetrical AWD are evident in real-world driving scenarios. For example, in slippery winter conditions, Symmetrical AWD provides improved traction, allowing the vehicle to accelerate, brake, and turn more effectively. In off-road conditions, Symmetrical AWD enhances stability and handling, enabling the vehicle to navigate rough terrain with confidence.

How Symmetrical AWD Works in Different Conditions: How Subaru Symmetrical Awd Works

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system is designed to optimize performance in various driving conditions, from everyday on-road driving to off-road adventures and adverse weather situations.

The system continuously monitors road conditions and adjusts power distribution to each wheel to ensure optimal traction and stability.

On-Road Performance

On paved roads, Symmetrical AWD distributes power evenly between the front and rear wheels, providing a balanced and responsive driving experience. The system also helps to reduce understeer and oversteer, resulting in improved handling and cornering ability.

Off-Road Performance

When driving off-road, Symmetrical AWD can send up to 100% of power to the wheels with the most traction. This allows the vehicle to maintain momentum and overcome challenging terrain, such as slippery trails, steep hills, and uneven surfaces.

Adverse Weather Conditions

In adverse weather conditions, such as snow, ice, and rain, Symmetrical AWD provides enhanced stability and control. The system helps to prevent wheel slip and hydroplaning, allowing the driver to maintain traction and navigate slippery roads safely.

Comparison to Other AWD Systems

How subaru symmetrical awd works

Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system stands out in the market due to its unique design and performance advantages. Compared to other AWD systems, Symmetrical AWD offers several distinct features:

The primary advantage of Symmetrical AWD is its balanced and symmetrical layout. Unlike other AWD systems that use a transfer case to distribute power to the front and rear axles, Symmetrical AWD employs a central differential to split torque evenly between the front and rear wheels.

This results in a more balanced and stable driving experience, particularly on slippery or uneven surfaces.

Unique Features, How subaru symmetrical awd works

  • Balanced and symmetrical layout:Provides better weight distribution and stability.
  • Central differential:Splits torque evenly between front and rear wheels, ensuring optimal traction.
  • Compact and lightweight design:Reduces overall vehicle weight and improves fuel efficiency.
  • Full-time AWD:Provides continuous traction in all driving conditions, enhancing safety and handling.
  • Active torque vectoring:Distributes power to individual wheels based on driving conditions, improving cornering and stability.

Maintenance and Care for Symmetrical AWD

Maintaining your Subaru Symmetrical AWD system is essential for optimal performance and longevity. Here are some guidelines to help you keep your AWD system running smoothly:

Regular fluid changes are crucial for the proper functioning of your AWD system. The differential and transmission fluids should be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. These fluids lubricate the gears and bearings within the system, ensuring smooth operation and reducing wear and tear.


Regular inspections are also important to identify any potential issues with your AWD system. Look for leaks, unusual noises, or vibrations. If you notice any of these signs, have your vehicle inspected by a qualified technician as soon as possible.


If repairs are necessary, it’s important to use genuine Subaru parts. These parts are specifically designed to work with your Symmetrical AWD system and will ensure optimal performance and reliability. Avoid using aftermarket parts, as they may not be compatible with your vehicle and could compromise the performance of your AWD system.

Ending Remarks

In conclusion, Subaru Symmetrical AWD is a highly advanced all-wheel drive system that provides drivers with exceptional performance and peace of mind in all driving conditions. Its unique design and engineering give it a number of advantages over other AWD systems, making it a top choice for drivers who demand the best from their vehicles.

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