You know what would help you get down a set of stairs covered in ice a little more safely? A handrail. And you know what would make the potentially leg-breaking descent even safer? Metal spikes on the soles of your shoes.
While your off-road SUV doesn’t come with a handrail or metal spikes, it does come with all-wheel drive, which in car terms, can be kind of the same thing.
If you want an off-road family car that has maximum safety, all-wheel drive is really the only option as it offers your AWD SUV twice the on-power traction, thanks to both the front and rear wheels being powered up and ready to tackle tough terrain that comes their way.
All-wheel drive offers you far greater control of your off-road SUV, allowing you to navigate tricky surfaces like mud, snow and sand with confidence and let go of any worries that you’ll be one of those poor schmucks you see bogged and stranded at the side of the road.
And better still, thanks to modern technology like Subaru’s X-Mode, AWD is just the beginning of the story.
What is X-Mode, and how does it relate to an all-wheel drive, off-road SUV?
If you’re unfamiliar with what ‘X-Mode’ is, it’s essentially the “spikes on the soles of your shoes”; an additional extra that superpowers your all-wheel drive from “effective” to “very, very effective”.
The feature comes exclusively with Subaru’s XV, Forester and Outback - three AWD SUVs that have been specifically designed to handle difficult driving surfaces.
The ultimate goal of the ingenious X-Mode is to increase traction and control under trepidatious road conditions, and it does so thanks to the push of a single button that activates five forms of extra control.
Breaking down X-Mode’s clever functions
X-Mode allows your off-road family car to be as safe as humanly possible by using a combination of five functions to help your AWD SUV out of tricky situations:
- A function that limits the throttle so that it doesn’t open up too quickly when you hit the accelerator.
- Another that keeps the transmission in a lower gear ratio so you can get optimal torque from the engine.
- Improved all-wheel drive functionality via variable power distribution to all the wheels.
- A Vehicle Dynamics Control System (VDC) that applies braking to any wheels that are slipping.
- And a Hill Descent Control function, which helps maintain vehicle speed even as you negotiate steep down-hill descents.
In short, X-Mode ensures you will always have maximum grip while driving your AWD SUV or off-road family car, even if the surface you’re driving on is slicker than John Travolta’s hair in Grease. And it ensures that AWD is only the beginning.
03 June 2021