Drive Safe, Anywhere & Everywhere — Why You Need Symmetrical All Wheel Drive

Shane Enriguez
3 min readJul 14, 2021

Everyone likes to be safe when they’re on the road.

Any little detail that can give us a minor advantage can be a major bonus when you’re controlling thousands of pounds of machinery moving at 65 miles per hour.

For a real advantage on the road, you can’t beat Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

Photo by nick Kaufman on Unsplash

What is it?

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, aka SAWD, is sort of like a better thought out, more effective form of All-Wheel Drive, or 4-Wheel Drive.

Since about 1966 most Subaru’s sold internationally have SAWD by default. It’s part of what makes Subaru such a strong competitor in the auto market.

AWD, 4WD, SAWD, What’s The Diff?

This can be a bit tricky to define, especially since there are no absolutes. Different manufacturers often use these terms differently.

In short, All-Wheel Drive usually refers to a system that’s been modified to send power to all 4 wheels, either constantly or intermittently depending on a vehicle’s traction.

4 Wheel Drive is a system designed primarily for rugged use and towing power. While it’s great at providing those things, it suffers in fuel economy and ride smoothness.

Photo by sgcdesignco on Unsplash

Enter Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

SAWD is a system designed from the ground up, unlike most All-Wheel Drive options, which tend to be bolted on like an afterthought to vehicles designed to be Front or Rear Wheel Drive.

As the name implies, the system is symmetrical, which makes it significantly better at supplying power evenly and consistently.

This symmetrical setup greatly reduces the complexity of the system, so it functions faster, is more durable, and increases fuel efficiency.

What Are The Advantages?

So aside from less mechanical complexity, better fuel efficiency, and more consistent results, what are the benefits of having a system designed from first principles for all-wheel power?

The boxer engine in these cars has a flat profile and a low center of gravity, which offers better handling, stability, and a more “planted” feeling on the road.

The lack of complexity and decreased weight of the system make the entire vehicle less nose-heavy.

That reduces the tendency to spin, minimizes yaw, and prevents that “diving” feeling when you hit the brakes hard.

Photo by Patrik Storm (Alstra Pictures) on Unsplash

One Size Fits All?

Nope. Let’s be honest, one size fits all solutions never work as well as they could.

That’s what other auto manufacturers tried to do when they added All-Wheel Drive to existing designs, and why Subaru refuses to do the same.

They have 4 different types of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, each specially designed for and suited to a particular style of Subaru vehicle.

Try One Out!

You can’t get a real feel for the differences of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles from a random article on the internet — even if it is a pretty great read!

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

So don’t take my word for it, go to your local Subaru dealership and give one of those sweet rides a test drive.

Seriously. You won’t regret it. You’ll feel the difference, and I’m sure you’ll be amazed.

Don’t worry, you can thank me later, after your test drive.