Subaru AWD Cars

Most of Subaru’s cars come standard with all-wheel drive. Read more here!
Written by Brittni Brinn
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Which Subaru cars come with all-wheel drive? Maybe the better question is: which ones don’t? From the
to the
models, almost all of Subaru's models come with all-wheel drive as the golden standard.
Wherever you’re going, all-wheel drive (AWD) can get you there! Designed to meet any road condition—ice, mud, snow, rain—with equal aplomb, AWD is definitely a good feature to look for if you’re going to be traversing seasonal or moderate off-road conditions.
Subaru knows the value of an AWD car—the majority of their lineup comes with all-wheel drive as the standard. The
is the odd one out, as it only comes with rear-wheel drive. Any other Subaru should be equipped with the brand’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, so whichever model you choose, your car will be ready for anything!
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Here with all the details about Subaru’s all-wheel-drive cars is
, the car insurance
super app
. We’ll take a look at Subaru’s lineup and what makes its AWD special.

How do Subaru AWD models work?

Subaru has an exclusive AWD system that it has developed and fine-tuned over 40 years. Prioritizing safety, driving capability and driving experience, Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system is the best in the business, winning Subaru recognition and top spots for most of its line-up. But what does Symmetrical AWD actually do?
Generally, all-wheel drive systems redistribute extra power to your car’s wheels when they lose traction. If your car begins to hydroplane, for example, AWD will kick in and increase the traction to increase your control of the vehicle.  
Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, on the other hand, is always active. The drivetrain distributes extra power directly from the engine so that you’re never taken by surprise by a patch of ice or a mud sink. Here are some other features of Subaru’s AWD:
  • Creates a center differential to prevent torsional stress
  • Allows the front and rear axles to rotate independently from each other when cornering
  • Can distribute power in all directions and to individual wheels as opposed to other AWD systems that only move power from the front to the rear axle
It’s also worth mentioning that each Subaru model has a tailored AWD system—each car was built around a unique version of the Symmetrical AWD technology. This differs from most manufacturers, who are more likely to take a FWD model and slap on an AWD drivetrain. With Subaru, each AWD system is perfectly attuned to the needs and body type of the car that it's partnered with.
Now that we’ve gone over what makes Subaru’s AWD system special, let’s get into Subaru’s all-star all-wheel-drive cars!

Which Subaru models have AWD?

The short answer is: nearly all of them! Here are the highlights of Subaru’s AWD cars.

Starting price: $24,490
Body style: Mid-size sedan
Engine type: 2.5L 4-cylinder or a turbocharged 2.4L 4-cylinder
No matter which Subaru Legacy trim you choose, it’ll come standard with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) to get you and your family where you need to go. The newest generation has improved handling, great fuel efficiency, and a five-star safety rating thanks to Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver-assistance features.

Starting price: $28,820
Body style: Station wagon
Engine type: 2.5L 4-cylinder or a turbocharged 2.4L 4-cylinder
The Subaru Outback comes standard with AWD and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)—however, the transmission has been knocked for being loud and clunky. Even so, the Outback is a top pick for casual off-roaders—with a minimum of 8.7 inches of ground clearance and all-wheel drive, the Outback has SUV-like handling in rough weather and can take on bumpy back roads any day.

Starting price:$20,290
Body style:Hatchback or sedan
Engine type: DOHC 16-valve flat-4
Both body styles of the Subaru Impreza come standard with all-wheel drive and offer a choice between a 5-speed manual transmission and a CVT. The Impreza balances handling and driving experience to perfection, with responsive brakes and quick steering making this AWD car a joy to drive.

Starting price:$30,600
Body style:Sports sedan
Engine type: Turbocharged 2.4L flat-four-cylinder direct-injection Subaru Boxer
A fast and fresh take on a race car-inspired compact sedan, the Subaru WRX comes with standard AWD. You’ll have a choice between a standard six-speed manual transmission or a CVT. The automatic CVT can also be controlled by paddle shifters on the steering wheel and has three different drive-mode settings available for some extra-sporty driving.
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Starting price:$33,970
Body style:Mid-sizeSUV
Engine type: Turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder 
Surprise! The Subaru Ascent also comes standard with AWD and a CVT system. It has the distinction of being an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, you can feel confident taking your family out on the road, whether it be to the campground or soccer practice. 

Starting price:$27,070
Body style:SUV
Engine type: 2.5L flat-four-cylinder
The Subaru Forester comes with AWD as the standard, supported by a CVT system. Plus, you’ll get new standard features across all trims including a torque-vectoring system, an electronic parking brake with auto-hold, and an auto start-stop feature.

Starting price:$24,320
Body style:SUV crossover
Engine type: 2.0L 4-cylinder or 2.5L 4-cylinder or plug-in hybrid
The only model with a hybrid option, the Subaru Crosstrek is ready for the road with standard AWD and a CTV system. The upgraded engine offers 182 horsepower, providing a little extra oomph for highway driving. The Crosstrek may be the smallest of Subaru’s SUVs, but it's big on adventure!
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What are the benefits of having AWD?

For drivers who face extreme seasonal changes, all-wheel drive is essential. AWD provides extra traction on slippery or uneven road conditions as well as peace of mind if you have to travel off the beaten path. Having AWD is especially useful for drivers who often find themselves on mountain roads or rural back roads.
If you live around
New Hampshire
, all-wheel drive can help you get through those snowy weeks (or months!). Drivers in
, and
need to be prepared to drive in rainy conditions. Having AWD can protect you against spinning your tires in the mud—and save you the costs of calling a tow truck if you lose traction on a slippery road. 
Even though AWD has proven benefits, it’s still not the one-size-fits-all solution to treacherous road conditions. Some alternatives to AWD include snow tires and 4WD. Let’s take a look at why you might choose 4WD over AWD.

Differences between AWD and 4WD

It can be confusing choosing between AWD and 4WD—aren’t they the same thing? Not quite. Let’s consider the differences.
AWD (all-wheel drive) directs power from the engine to all four wheels. The drivetrain is integrated into unibody frames and can either engage as needed (part-time) or work continuously (full-time). Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is a full-time system—part-time systems tend to be better for fuel economy.
4WD (four-wheel drive) is usually built into truck-based, body-on-frame models. This drivetrain directs power to the axles and then to the wheels on either side. Four-wheel drive is a good choice for serious off-roaders who need to have better control and handling.
Key Takeaway While AWD can help you maintain control on slippery or uneven roads, 4WD is better suited for serious off-roading.

Do I need AWD?

Vehicles with AWD, like almost all of Subaru’s cars, are excellent for handling everything from icy patches to gravel driveways. However, AWD isn’t necessary for most daily driving situations. If at least 90% of your driving takes place on paved roads, you probably don’t need AWD.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re still unsure:
  • Do you drive on rural, gravel, or bumpy roads on a regular basis?
  • Do you travel through the mountains multiple times a year? 
  • Does your area experience snow, rain, or other seasonal road conditions?
If you answered yes to these questions, it’s probably a good idea to invest in all-wheel drive. However, make sure you do some research on the best drivetrain for your area and consider what configuration works best for you.

How to save money on car insurance

Even if you end up choosing a car with AWD, accidents can still happen. That’s why it’s also worth looking into
roadside assistance
coverage to make sure you always have a way to get home.
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