Words and photos by Angel Rivero
Motor Image Pilipinas (MPI) – the official importer and distributor of Subaru vehicles in the country – held an enjoyable “Subaru Face-Off” activity in one of the Mall of Asia’s open parking grounds throughout the weekend of Dec 2-4, 2016. There, Subaru fans and curious drivers had the opportunity to discover and learn more about Subaru’s trademark Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (SAWD) through a hands-on and more immersive experience. Alternatively, interested consumers were also given the option to test-drive a Subaru vehicle around the corner (within the Mall of Asia grounds) and qualify to receive some premium items.
A small driving course awaited a handful of the latest Subaru XVs and Foresters – provided by MPI – operated by people who volunteered to feel the difference of what SAWD provides. Contrary to what many people may think, SAWD is not just a car enthusiast’s trophy feature – it has many practical benefits, most of them focusing on safety. And this is exactly what the simple obstacle course had in store for the inquisitive drivers – it had 3 main metal contraptions spaced apart, which the participants were tasked to drive the Subaru vehicles over, with the help of a marshal, who would guide them (from the outside) on how to turn the steering wheel properly.
The first metal obstacle was an elevated plank that plateaued at the top and had a deep ditch somewhere along its tracks. This simulated getting stuck in a rut, and showed how easy it was for the XV or the Forester to gain enough power and traction to get out of it immediately.
The second metal obstacle was more complex – it was a series of short tracks with varying heights and topologies alternating between the left tires and right tires, so that at several points of driving through, the car would end up with at least 1 tire hanging in mid-air (and thus deprived of traction). This was a great way to witness how 4WD saves the day – and how it was delightfully convenient to already have 4WD engaged the entire time. Because essentially, this is what makes Subaru’s SAWD different – you don’t need to flip a switch to turn it on, or for the car to start slipping before 4WD engages… because it is just continuously on. The third metal obstacle was a ramp that you had to run the vehicle’s right wheels on, so that it would bring the vehicle into an intimidating, steep diagonal position. Again, it only looked frightening but was a breeze to drive through, even for regular, everyday motorists, because the vehicles were just so capable that it really made overcoming these situations a piece of cake.
Many people tend to overlook or simply do not recognize the numerous benefits of having a vehicle with SAWD: it provides greater driver control, most especially in a wet environment; it is extremely helpful during an emergency lane change maneuver; it enhances road grip while a vehicle is accelerating or cornering, and just generally gives greater driving confidence with its enhanced performance, balance, and control.
I guess there’s only one way to find out, right? Try it to believe it. SAWD does make a difference.