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AWD vs vs 2WD vs SWD Explained

How do AWD cars function?

It may seem like we spend a lot of time bragging about the evolution of motoring within the Subaru context. We do this with good reason — we assure you! Nothing about any Subaru model is haphazard or implemented by chance. Every single aspect of the car’s performance in relation to your experience (as a driver or passenger) has been painstakingly worked through over and over and over again.

What is symmetrical AWD?

One of the first things that springs to mind when you think about how Subaru’s differ from many other passenger cars on the market is our full-time Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) system. We did not take a front-drive or rear-drive platform and adapt it to all-wheel drive like most other carmakers have done… We engineered our system from the ground up.

Difference Between AWD vs 2WD vs SWD

Another common acronym you might see being thrown into the mix along with “2WD” and “AWD” is “SWD”. This refers to Symmetrical Wheel Drive (while we at Subaru caption that as Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive).

This is the full-time four-wheel drive system which means that the decision isn’t based on a manual switch or the car’s interpretation of the surfaces you’re driving over, but rather a permanent feature where the longitudinally mounted boxer engine is coupled to a symmetrical drivetrain with equal length half-axles. The combination of the symmetrical layout along with our flat BOXER® engine — with the transmission balanced over the front axle — provides simultaneous, optimum weight distribution with low center of gravity, improving the steering characteristics of the vehicle (and has been doing so since 1966).

AWD in action – Subaru SA

What’s the difference between AWD and 2WD?

The 2WD option is the most common drivetrain on vehicles on the market today which is where the operation is key to just one axle — that may be front or back, depending. This means the power is distributed to the relevant axle only, while the other wheels are simply pulled or pushed respectively.

What does AWD stand for?

People often think that AWD is something that should be associated with heavy snowfall areas or rugged terrain. This isn’t incorrect as such, but because of our fastidious commitment to safety, we don’t think that one should have to wait for snow, gravel, rocks in order to be guaranteed grip and torque whereby the car responds with the best capacity to handle that situation. Safety should be a permanent focus, not a special occasion. With Subaru, our full-time Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) system means better control, better safety, and — ultimately — better pleasure when you drive.

Want to know more about how the innovative and safety-first technology of SAWD with every Subaru could fit perfectly into your life? Call us on +27 11 608 0116 or email info@subaru.co.za and a skilled member of our team will be happy to assist you. Alternatively, use our store locator to find your nearest dealership, and of course if you’re looking to experience any of our six incredible models first-hand, get behind the steering wheel by booking your test drive today.