All new Subaru Dual X-Mode is put to the test


With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and available X-MODE with Hill Descent Control, almost any destination is within reach. X-MODE optimizes the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system for maximum traction on slippery surfaces. A new dual-function X-MODE with settings for snow, dirt, and mud is also available on the Sport, Limited, and Touring 2019 Subaru Forester.

 Driving Sport TV has put this new feature to the test and we could't be more pleased with the results.


Here is a video transcript: 

Subaru's x-mode is designed to find grip in slippery situations, but what about when there's no grip to find? Well we put the 2019 Subaru foresters’ new dual X mode to the test on this episode of driving sports. Following our full review of the 2019 forester in North Carolina, we had lots of requests to do more with the x-mode traction control system. Specifically see what it can do in real-world driving situations, being that it is now winter in the Pacific Northwest, we decided to put it up against a common obstacle, an unplowed forest road. And to see just how challenging this was we also had to make a rescue while filming, no this wasn't staged they were really stuck. But before we get to the snow let's take a look at what we're driving today, and what this new dual mode X mode system adds to the previous version of X mode.

2019 Forester in snow 

The vehicle we're driving today is almost exactly like the one I reviewed in North Carolina, it's a 2019 Forester sport that means it has a 2.5 liter boxer motor, good for 182 horsepower connected to a constantly variable transmission and of course it powers all four wheels using Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system. Available on the more rugged Subaru’s, X-mode makes off-roading and tricky situations easier to navigate. Among other things X-mode adjust throttle mapping so the gas pedal is easier to engage gradually, so you can avoid lurching starts which can cause wheel spin. X-mode also makes power application smoother and combined with adjustments to the CVT for more low end torque, it gives the forester better crawling ability than what you can do with standard symmetrical all-wheel drive. Once power does hit the all-wheel drive system, X-mode informs the center differential to be more aggressive in transferring power.

2019 forester ground clearance 

In normal situations this center differential tries to shift power to provide the most economical all-wheel drive possible, that's how this forester can achieve up to 33 miles to the gallon with all-wheel drive, with ex mode on, it’s now shifting more power to the back. In these situations when a wheel starts spinning the system engages individual wheel brakes to transfer power to the opposite wheel, the one that presumably has grip, it's kind of like a software based differential at work. This road is a great example of the kind of conditions that you would use x-mode in, it is hard to see just how rough it is but there were dips and crevices where I had to get out and spot check clearance. One other feature of standard X-mode is the hill descent control system, so we're going to go down this really hairy road and we're just going to let the car descend all by itself.

Dual X-mode on 2019 Subaru Forester 


Now we have some clearance issues here, even though this vehicle has a point 7 inches of ground clearance it's tough to be really careful to big rock sticking up, because one rock in the oil pan and… Of course you still need to manage your own speed, the Forester doesn't allow you to adjust to sense speed on the fly, which really should be added for a complete system, and instead you have to tap the brakes for those areas where you need to slow. Once clear of the difficult stuff, I then switch the system back to normal in other words I disable X-mode and continue on. So that is how the original X-mode works, more capability and easier driving in difficult situations. But it's not perfect, specifically the whole power to the wheel with grip idea is a good one, but what happens when there's no grip for the wheels to transfer power to, you get stuck that's what happens.

2019 SUbaru Forester in snowy Washington Weather 


So for 2019 Subaru added a second setting to X-mode called deep snow and mud, this was added to enable wheel spin in the worst situations, when there's no grip and you basically brute-force your way out. Does it work in the real world or is it just a gimmick? To compare the two systems we found a road with just the right characteristics, we've come up here to the Cascade Mountains where it snowed several days ago but it's thought a bit, so right now it's 34 degrees outside which means that this isn't just snow, this is snow on top of slushy ice, so I expect that in standard X-mode we're not going to get very far. Still have power in regular x-mode, how are we doing here oh still have power, wow X-mode is still getting through this really deep and icy snow, I can't get it stuck yet.

2-19 Subaru Forester cannot get stuck 

Driving through this stuff where your center section of your car is dragging, but then you also have that slick moist ice under the tires and keep in mind these are street tires, we didn't even bother putting winters on this. So I really expected that we would have a bigger problem than this so far, but the day is young. Okay, we've been sitting here for a little while; maybe those tires have finally got iced over enough to really pose a challenge to X-mode. By the way I have to say this car is really comfortable, something about this new Forester it's just so much smoother and more comfortable than the previous one, and it’s very impressive. Okay standard snow, going through no problem, seriously all four tires unable to find grip the wheels have stopped, this is normally where we would get out grab a shovel, install chains or start to pull some traction control fuses.

Dual X-mode close up 

Good, we're finally getting stuck, perfect okay so now I'm going to switch it over into deep snow and mud and see if that gets us out of this problem. That's amazing, it worked, I can't believe that worked, that shouldn't have worked, wow. Okay, that's impressive, oh look there's a car stuck up here I wonder if we can help them. Okay, so we're going to try to save this other car but we can't get to it because of just too much snow between us and them without possibly running into them, so I'm going to reverse all the way around the way I just came. Okay, ex mode in Reverse with a camera as my only guide, this is fascinating, it's like a video game actually this would be a cool video game, can you drive Subaru Forester in Reverse to save the stuck people, time will tell before they freeze to death.

Subaru Forester pulling a mazda out of the snow 

Okay, we're almost out of here now we got to back all the way around to help save this cx-9 that's stranded, luckily we have a tow strap with us. In case you ever wondered what those extra little plastic handles are for, okay here we go, she's out of there you're good. The new 2019 Forester is not only more economical and comfortable; it can now handle even harsher road conditions even while towing a Mazda cx-9 to safety. The more I drive this car the more I like it and I kind of hate to say it, because it really could use about 50 more horsepower, but I like it anyway. What do you think Subaru should add to the next version of the Forester to make it even better in harsh conditions, post a comment we'd love to see what you've come up with. For driving sports TV I'm Ryan Douthit, thanks for watching.


Categories: New Inventory
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