Last post on Sep 15, 2011 at 9:43 AM
You are in the Subaru Forester
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Subaru Forester, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Liberty, Ford Escape, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Saturn VUE, SUV
#4931 of 4944 Grand Vitara / traction systems
Sep 03, 2009 (2:32 pm)
ateixeira, thanks for the sensible explanation. I don't know if the GV's system is that sophisticated. Seems to me it would be cheap to do, since all it takes is some extra software. Suzuki does license the traction/stability control system from Mercedes. But the Subaru system can't bias power side-to-side on the same axle, can it? I know some high end suv's/cars can do that.
There is another cuv that has a low range. The Patriot can be spec'd with a single low gear on a cvt, plus raised suspension and skidplates. Were it not a generally inferior vehicle, it would make a serious alternative to the GV.
The GV's 2.7L V6 engine may be underrated, or biased more for durability than power. On a recent trip over the major highway with the biggest climbs in North America, and in over an hour's driving over many climbs, it gradually became clear our GV, even with 3 people and full load of cargo, could outclimb a brand new Highlander. Hill after hill, it became obvious they were racing us uphill. On the last big one we left them behind at 120kph, and I still didn't have it floored. That's enough power for me.
On that same highway and similar ones in winter conditions so bad most people are either down to 50kph or stopped, the GV can travel in control far faster than virtually every other type of vehicle. Much of this is due to having a perfect weight distribution of 25% on each tire. The Rav4's, CRV's, and frankly, the Subarus, creep along with the fwd sedans.
#4932 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [xostnot]
Sep 03, 2009 (4:37 pm)
how often are you planning to use low range? 99.99% will never need it.
#4933 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [xostnot]
Sep 04, 2009 (9:34 am)
the Subaru system can't bias power side-to-side on the same axle, can it?
No, as far as I know only Acura and BMW do that as of yet.
Acura's SH-AWD does that, but only on the rear axle, and only part-time. The basic system is still FWD-based. So it has pros and cons.
BMW's active differential works on the rear axle but I think it works full-time. It's the front axle that is only engaged part of the time, when needed.
The 185hp V6 felt adequate when I test drove it, but not quick. It may be tuned more for torque than horsepower (edit: 184 lb-ft, so not really), but Toyota's V6 makes 269hp. The Highlander is bigger and heavier, so I woudn't really compare those.
Suzuki updated it, though, right? Isn't it over 200 now? (edit: per Wiki it's 164hp for the 4 banger and 221 for the V6, a little less than each Subaru engine offers)
Plus with the low range the mechanical advantage will let it climb just about anything it's ground clearance will allow it to.
Subaru engines vary a lot. Our PZEV Forester makes 175hp, but it's light for its class. You can get a turbo Forester or an H6 Outback if you want more power, both well over 200hp.
To me the Liberty is too trucky to be considered a CUV, it's a regular SUV IMHO. GV stands alone as a car-like CUV with a low-range.
#4934 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [explorerx4]
Sep 04, 2009 (10:24 am)
Even fewer people would need a bulldozer, or a car with 500 horsepower. I agree most car users don't have any need for a low range (not to mention a lot of other stuff people get on their cars these days), and I don't think Suzuki expects more than a small percentage of car buyers to consider the Grand Vitara.
But for those like us who do use the low range regularly, it allows us to go places where only a low range will get you. In places not quite so difficult, using the low range reduces wear and tear and damage. In some cases, like descending dangerous slippery mountainous logging roads in the winter, using engine braking in low range, as opposed to using the brakes, has proven to be an important safety advantage.
For those who may occasionally find low range useful, like going to cottage country, the low range may be worth having for the small increase in cost and weight to have it.
#4935 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [xostnot]
Sep 04, 2009 (12:21 pm)
Gotta remember most people who buy SUVs (and many who comment here) live in more urban/suburban areas where low-range use is rare. If I lived in a rural area—or especially if I lived near the beach—having a low range would be especially useful.
We used to vacation a lot at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If I lived there or near there, a low-range equipped SUV or pickup would be a must-have for me, as beach driving is done by the "natives" all the time.
Also remember that the Grand Vitara is a world-car, so in other markets (Australia, Africa, Mid-East, Asia, South America, Polynesia, etc.), where roads are often non-existent or miserable at best, low range is often used.
#4936 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [xostnot]
Sep 04, 2009 (1:46 pm)
you don't have to convince me. i have a vehicle with low range and have needed it a few times. i went places i would not have gone without it.
it helped me to not look stupid when buried up the axles in the sand at the outer banks with 40+ lbs of air in the tires. i didn't realize the locals drive around with their tires at low pressure all the time.
#4937 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [explorerx4]
Sep 08, 2009 (9:40 am)
The sign at the beach I drove on recommended 18psi. Worked well for me.
The problem is where to air up when you leave. Luckily there was a station near by.
#4938 of 4944 Audi - active rear diff
Sep 11, 2009 (3:44 pm)
Just read about this new addition to the S4 and S5 models, so they're catching up to Acura and BMW.
I'd still pick the BMW or Audi system over Acura's, both of which are rear-biased.
#4939 of 4944 Re: Grand Vitara / traction systems [xostnot]
Sep 24, 2009 (9:17 am)
Low range is very tough on the tranny because it locks the diffs.I would rather have more brake wear than more tranny and drivetrain wear. My former Jeep had quadra-drive. It could send 100% torque to any one wheel during slip conditions. I used low range once, but didn't really need it.
#4940 of 4944 Re: Audi - active rear diff [ateixeira]
Sep 24, 2009 (9:33 am)
Yet another such system - I read that Cadillac has one for the new SRX, supposedly. Haven't read about how it works, yet.