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View Poll Results: What is safer in snow/ice
A/T 10 18.18%
M/T 34 61.82%
Same for both 11 20.00%
Voters: 55. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-21-2007, 10:18 PM   #1
ChrisRT
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Subaru Stars What is safer in the snow/ice? A/T vs. M/T

A/T has a 90/10 bias and it takes a split millisecond for power to transfer when slippage is detected.

M/T has a 50/50 split and I'm not sure how it splits up but I think that power is still divided per wheel.

What is safer in adverse weather?

I have an A/T and a M/T Impreza and while going up the same hill in wet conditions I could feel the A/T budging the front wheels when I gassed it but the M/T never gave me that sensation.

What is safer? I doubt they are the same.
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:23 PM   #2
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Well, in terms of deceleration, the M/T probably gives you more control by engine braking. Also, it allows you to feather the clutch to get up from a dead stop a little bit easier since again, there is more driver control.

You can technically downshift into lower gears with the A/T, but overall, I think the M/T gives you much more control. At least I feel that way.
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WRXG0N View Post
Well, in terms of deceleration, the M/T probably gives you more control by engine braking. Also, it allows you to feather the clutch to get up from a dead stop a little bit easier since again, there is more driver control.

You can technically downshift into lower gears with the A/T, but overall, I think the M/T gives you much more control. At least I feel that way.
Ok, good answer; however, what are the chances that the driver would be able to react fast enough or even know how to react to be able to manipulate the clutch/engine/brakes?
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:59 PM   #4
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I have a awd drive impreza 5 speed, my wife has an automatic. My car is much more stable and seems to pull easier from a stop than her auto.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisRT View Post
Ok, good answer; however, what are the chances that the driver would be able to react fast enough or even know how to react to be able to manipulate the clutch/engine/brakes?
That would depend on the driver, his/her experience level, his/her driving abilities.

I've driven both, and feel that I have more control with a manual.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70stang View Post
I have a awd drive impreza 5 speed, my wife has an automatic. My car is much more stable and seems to pull easier from a stop than her auto.

So, do you think this has to do with gear selection since an A/T always tries to go to 3+ when cruising yet you can cruise in 2nd if you want in a M/T?
I mean if I where to go about in an A/T in 2nd gear would I have near that effect?
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:46 PM   #7
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Having owned and driven both a 5spd and 4eat WRX in the snow, I believe the 4eat performed better. In the 4eat I could put it into 1st or 2nd when going down a steep hill, plus the fact of just pushing on the gas from a start rather than slipping the clutch was easier. Mechanical vs. Electric controled AWD in a way. I've read many times that the 4eat AWD is much more technological.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbcboo View Post
Having owned and driven both a 5spd and 4eat WRX in the snow, I believe the 4eat performed better. In the 4eat I could put it into 1st or 2nd when going down a steep hill, plus the fact of just pushing on the gas from a start rather than slipping the clutch was easier. Mechanical vs. Electric controled AWD in a way. I've read many times that the 4eat AWD is much more technological.
I've wondered that since you have a fuse for AWD transfer on an A/T it must be more manipulative then the mechanical system on a M/T but it still takes time to engage.
I mean how will this reaction lag time translate into taking a corner in the snow going fast? Would the system be reacting to what has happened, not what is happening?
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:13 AM   #9
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Interesting to see the opinions of people who own both.

As for me, I voted AT. My wife has the 07 Impreza with AT. Last season I had both my Solara V6 5MT and a Maxima AT. For me, the AT Maxima did much better than the 5MT Solara. In the MT car, I would occasionally not get the clutch/gas ratio right and end up with a un-intended wheel spin situation. The AT was easier to feather off the line. I never got stuck in either car, but I came close. The Impreza is WAY better than either one of my cars in the snow/ice/wet. Actually, I can't comment in regards to the AWD MT Subie's, but the AWD AT seems flawless to me. I had a 92 Legacy 5MT AWD, and I can't tell a diff from the 07 AT Impreza as far as AWD superiority goes. I'll just give the vote to AT since you only need to worry about the gas.

BTW, even though the AT may start out at 90/10, I think the system reacts almost immediately and re-distributes the power.

Another thing to point out since I drive 2WD vehicles: does NOT matter how well which AWD gets you going, when it comes to slowing down or turning you are at the same mercy as the rest of us. In the Pacific NW, you are more likely to find AWD Subaru's in the ditch than any other car IMO. I definitely prefer the AWD Suby in the winter, but I doubt I can ever get going fast enough in my FWD cars to really be dangerous. I really get over-confident in our Impreza.
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisRT View Post
What is safer in adverse weather?
A driver who adjusts for the adverse conditions and understands how their vehicle performs. Or who waits for the adverse weather to clear up before even going out on the roads.

Dont' get me wrong, I love to have fun in the snow, but take a look at the cars (and trucks) that end up in the median, you'll see a lot of them are 4WD/AWD because the drivers went too fast for conditions. It won't be long before the "OMFG I got the WRX stuck in snow" threads start showing up.
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:47 AM   #11
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I do fine with mine. Ive never not felt safe. Seems a somewhat un informed poll. You can engine brake with a 4EAT very effectively (should be common knowledge at this point). You can also start out in second and have 50/50 in first. (though all this applies to the slight rear biased WRX config)
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:48 AM   #12
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a/t because when i was in my old manual civic that was stuck while trying to be shovled out of 8 inches of icey snow, i burnt my cluch a bit and it pissed me off cause i kept riding the clutch. this year w/ higher clearence nad AWD, i wil lsee how i get by =D
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:53 AM   #13
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The A/T using VTD is going to be safer for the average driver vs the 5mt's vicious coupler. There is nothing to the VC at all, mechanical connection. The A/T has VTD which is Variable Torque Distribution, and the computer will sense and distribute power accordingly.

The 5mt's VC will just put power everywhere which could potentially do something with the vehicle you dont want to happen...

Either way you should have common sense when driving any vehicle in adverse conditions. And with the proper tires you can get any vehicle through anything...generally...
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:02 AM   #14
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Speaking from an experience just 2 ours ago, nothing works on ice, especially down hill. Even VDC and TCS went out the window. Perhaps I was moving to slow for those systems to kick in. Oh well, no harm done, and that is one thing I am thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day!
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:47 AM   #15
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I had an '06 Forester with a manual for about 8 months. I hated driving that thing in the snow, since it felt like I didn't have as much control over the vehicle, since I could really use engine braking the same way I could with a manual, so I dumped the car and got my WRX with a manual, now I can rev match a downshift and engine brake etc. Much better.

I don't know if there's any way to prove this scientifically, but my anecdotal evidence suggests that a manual gives you a little more control.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:04 AM   #16
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it all starts with the driver
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:08 AM   #17
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I would say neither has the advantage if the driver behind the wheel (of either) does not adjust their driving style for the conditions. I also believe it depends on which aspect of 'safe' do you mean?

For me, in snow I look for the following attributes in this order from more important to less important: ability to slow down, ability to corner/recover in cornering, refusal of vehicle to 'track' when hitting snow/slush, ability to maintain speed up hills, ability to accelerate
from a stop.

Now for a driver who is experienced in both vehicles, and saying that both vehicles have the same tires, same vehicle year/make/model, etc etc etc...I would say that for:
* Ability to slow down, advantage MT. Why? ability to hold in any gear needed and instantly disengage drivetrain from motor if needed
* Ability to corner/recover. advantage MT. Why? again, can hold car in gear and have instant power or slowing down ability with no lag or comptuer deciding which gear to put the car in
* Refusal of vehicle to track in the snow, no advantage. Function of tires and car itself.
* Ability to maintain speed up hills, advantage MT. Sudden shifts with an AT could break traction if you were just at that threshold. MT would allow you to feather (remember we are under the assumption driver knows what they are doing), avoiding this.
* Accelerate from a stop: Advantage to MT, one can start in 2nd if needed. If the ATs do this, then I would say advantage neither.

Now with that all said and done...if you have someone who is not fully versed on how to drive MT behind the wheel then that all goes out the window and I would say the AT is the best choice.
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Old 11-22-2007, 10:23 AM   #18
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A good review of the different Subaru AWD systes; see the ranking section:
http://www.legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48112
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