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Winter driving with AWD on the new 2013 Subaru Legacy

Posted Feb 8th 2013 7:30PM


The growing popularity of all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles continues to be a strong focus for many manufacturers, especially in Canada where winter driving conditions make AWD cars, trucks and SUVs an ideal choice for our cold climate.

With that in mind, the AWD experts at Subaru Canada recently invited us to get more familiar with the 2013 Subaru Legacy sedan (and a few other competitors) during their Ultimate Winter Driving Challenge hosted in the Laurentian mountains area of Quebec.

The event gave us the opportunity to drive and compare the 2013 Subaru Legacy against couple of other popular mid-size sedans on specially prepared ice and snow surfaces. The overall goal of the day was to experience the true benefits of Subaru's Symmetrical AWD versus equipped front-wheel drive (FWD) cars, as we performed identical driving exercises in each vehicle at the Mecaglisse motorsport complex.

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Subaru's Ultimate Winter Driving Challenge stacked the 2013 Legacy 2.5i Convenience Package ($25,995) up against the very popular, but FWD 2012 Toyota Camry LE ($23,700) and 2013 Honda Accord LX ($25,190) base models. The cars used for the test were all equipped to be within the same price point and had identical winter tires.

The purpose of this winter driving challenge is not to showcase the Subaru Legacy as a better car than the others, but to simply see how the Legacy's Symmetrical Full-time AWD system compares to its closest competitors putting their power to the front wheels. The winter driving event included everything from under steer/oversteer exercises to advanced accident avoidance maneuvers designed to help us really witness the advantages of AWD, which we're well familiar with. During side-by-side testing like this, you truly get a good feeling for the dramatic difference of each car for closer comparison.

During testing, Subaru's Symmetrical AWD system provided impressive car control beyond that of its similar FWD competitors and paired with the Legacy's traction and vehicle dynamics control, it offered great performance in severe snow conditions. We observed that the ABS system on the Subaru was capable and delivered smooth performance that felt less jolting than the other cars present. Plus we could get the Subaru sideways and had all kinds of control through the drift - bonus points!

While on the snow-covered road course, we also took some time to compare Subaru's 2.5i Legacy back to back with the 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited Package with EyeSight option ($36,195). In snow, the 2.5i was actually a bit better as it has less torque that allowed the car to get all four tires hooked up faster. With the Legacy 3.6R we had to be more smooth, but did find having the extra power on tap much more thrilling to drive.

Our test couldn't have come a better time, as Eastern Canada is currently in the middle of a mega storm. Remember all season tires won't get though the year in this country and even with snows, front wheel drive will never offer as much control and an AWD equipped car. Drive safe out there.

Subaru  Symmetrical AWD


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Is there any video comparison for the legacy vs. other mainstream cars? I am planning on getting a mid-size car and really have my hopes pinned on the accord b/c of its drive, looks, and interior. But subaru is a close second only because of the awd.. so watching a video comparison would really help me see the difference that awd makes!

February 09 2013 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply