It's often discussed that subaru for example has a very high performing all-wheel drive system. The Nissan GTR is another that comes to mind. While I've never heard others be specifically criticized, I never hear great things about Toyota's Matrix XRS 4WD system.

I know there is a center differential, it can be limited slip, locked, etc. But wouldn't most seasoned manufacturers be able to come to a similar optimal solution fairly easily? What makes Subaru in particular so much better than a similar size Toyota (impreza vs Matrix)?

Edit - it seems this is more opinionated than I expected. I guess a refined question would be:

What gives a given 4WD system a higher performance in a given test than another system? ie -

  • The subaru crosstrek is very efficient for a 4WD car. Why is it more efficient than something else (can't come up with an example)?
  • The Nissan GTR is incredibly high performing on a track. What gives it a track advantage?
  • That car ferrari has where it's only 4WD for the first 4 gears did surprisingly well in the snow on top gear. Why doesn't a Honda 4WD perform as well?
  • A jeep in 4-low will suffer horribly in a turn, but has very high "grip" and towing power. What gives a 4WD system more "grip"?
  • "optimal" based on what criteria? cost? torque delivery? spin control? weight? reaction time? – Solar Mike Nov 22 '18 at 16:25
  • I would actually say that in this day and age of high fuel costs, "optimal" applies to electric 4-wheel drive like what you find in RAV4 hybrid and electric cars... I just don't see Subaru better than the others. Besides, I wouldn't buy a boxer engine. – juhist Nov 22 '18 at 16:52
  • Related: youtube.com/watch?v=ILJh3IPgXN4 – juhist Nov 22 '18 at 18:58

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