“The pillars on which these cars are built are the fundamental blocks that allow their owners to put their faith in them and have a blast while doing it.”

Montebello, Quebec.

The 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek, Forester and Outback have no problem showing the snow who is the boss.

They don’t even break a sweat if you’re commuting on surfaces that yield minimal traction or when putting the Subaru Symmetrical AWD system through its paces on a winter off-road course.

Let’s take a moment to talk about what make’s Subaru’s system so potent in the snow or on slippery surfaces. To start, Subaru designed its AWD system for perfect balance. The boxer engine, transmission, and differentials create a symmetrical layout left to right. This increases stability in every situation, as there is less weight transfer from side to side.

Also, unlike the competitors, each vehicle is designed from the ground up to have a symmetrical AWD system as a standard feature. This makes the chassis and powertrain a harmonious match. Other competitors often start with a 2WD system and add AWD to the same chassis.

It’s that kind of symmetry and engineering that instills confidence in Subaru owners.

More than 96 percent of Subaru vehicles sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today.

The symmetry allows for predictable and stable power delivery to each wheel, which was apparent in my test drive. With the traction control (VDC) on, you might experience a little bit of slippage if you go into a corner too hot.

But within moments, you’ll have your back end back where it should be. Yes, it’s a little bit of a killjoy if you’re honing your skills to qualify for a driver’s seat in WRC, but for 99.9 percent of the owners, it’s a saving grace.

Subaru’s active systems do their best to keep the driver and its passengers feeling relaxed and calm behind the wheel. Such was the case as the temperatures in Quebec plummeted below -15C. The frigid yet abundantly sunny day seemed like a perfect pair for taking the aforementioned Subarus for a test.

Starting the day with the XV Crosstrek, which has an MSRP of $24,995, was a treat. This light-on-its-feet crossover has charm and character. Even with the available CVT transmission, it’s pleasant to drive and has the ingredients to make it a desirable all-season kind of vehicle.

Next came the Forester. At a starting MSRP of $25,995, this five-passenger Subaru has some great qualities. Its high seating position elevates the driver to have a great field of vision and the roomy interior and excellent cargo capacity off 974L (seats up), or 2,115 L (seats down) sure fits a lot of stuff inside.

Lastly, and my favourite of the batch, was the all-new 2015 Outback ($27,995.)

Maybe it’s because I love wagons, or the fact that there’s an impressive 1,005 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats (2,075L with them folded), or that you can get it with a 6-speed manual, it’s a very well-balanced vehicle. Not to mention comfortable and quiet too.

Both the Forester and Outback have a little something extra, too. The CVT equipped models feature X-Mode, a system that further helps you gain more traction in low traction environments, and comes with hill descent control.

All of these great cars come with 220 mm of ground clearance, meaning you can save your money on a snow shovel! Okay, that’s not entirely true, but that ground clearance allows you to trek deeper off the beaten path if that’s what you’re into.

Throughout the day’s activities, whether it was engaging the X-Mode system while stopped in the middle of a snowy incline, or allowing the hill descent control to work its magic descending that same snowy mound, one thing is certain: Subaru builds a strong product.

One might argue that they’re a little behind when it comes to styling and aesthetics. But not everyone needs the prettiest SUV on the market or one that is the most tech-savvy when it comes to infotainment.

The pillars on which these cars are built are the fundamental blocks that allow their owners to put their faith in them and have a blast while doing it.

Visit www.subaru.ca for more information.


Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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