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Subaru Crosstrek In Snow : How Good It Is? [ Explained ]

Automobile enthusiasts willing to purchase a car compatible with winter driving conditions often explore popular models from Subaru.

The Subaru Cross trek is one of these vehicles that you cannot possibly overlook.

Being one of the bestselling models of the brand, the subcompact crossover offers plenty of off-roading features.

Most importantly, it’s an affordable pick for car owners and performs great in snow.

While you appreciate the roomy interiors, cost-effectiveness, and fuel economy of this car, it’s crucial to know its snow-handling features.

Let’s explore the features that explain how good the Subaru Cross trek would serve you in winter.

Is Subaru Cross trek good in snow & winter?

Well, the Subaru Cross trek is not too large in terms of size. However, when it comes to navigating through snow, it delivers a great performance.

In case you are looking for a small car to drive through snowy terrains in wintery conditions, the Subaru Cross trek would be a good pick. 

This car has an impressive ground clearance of 8.7 inches. Its wheelbase (104.9 inches) and weight distribution (50:50) also make it good for driving on the snow.

Besides, the AWD is powerful enough to propel the car in through snowy trails.

Some of the key features in this car that make it suitable for snow driving include Eyesight Driver Assist and Stability Control, X-Mode, and ABS.

The car has a height of 63.6 inches, which looks impressive.

How does Subaru Cross trek perform in snow?

The Subaru Cross trek is capable of navigating through unpaved snowy terrains easily.

It carries all the necessary equipment and snow features to travel through slippery ice patches and steep slopes.

The car performs better than many other vehicles of its class.

Comparing the 8.7 inches of ground clearance of the Cross trek to its competitors like the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30, or the Honda HR-V, the Cross trek fares much better.

All its competitors have ground clearances between 6 to 7 inches. Some larger SUVs and trucks have ground clearance between 9 and 10 inches.

So, comparing other cars of its category, the Cross trek delivers a pretty decent snow performance.

In case you reside somewhere experiencing heavy snowfall, this car would be a great pick.

This way, you can easily tackle snow banks and unplowed driveways.

The Symmetrical AWD system makes the Cross trek different from most of its competitors.

This mechanism seamlessly leverages the winter driving experience besides facilitating off-roading journeys.

For drivers, there’s no need to wait till the AWD system sends power to all four wheels since it’s already present.

Over the last five decades, Subaru has been working to enhance its AWD systems.

This mechanism comes in all the Subaru cars except RWD Subaru BRZ.

You can find the advanced AWD even in the base model of the car which is affordable enough.

As per several automobile experts, the AWD of Subaru is the most reliable system in the contemporary automotive world.

This justifies why you see lots of cars from this manufacturer exploring snow-ridden zones that dedicated off-roading vehicles generally navigate.

Subaru Cross trek snow features

Being a capable winter car, the Subaru Cross trek comes equipped with all the necessary technologies.

Apart from the AWD and impressive ground clearance, the car has a calculated plethora of features that make it a superb car for the winter.

This makes the drives through ice and snow relatively easy.

Let’s explore some of the snow features of the Subaru Cross trek that would explain its capabilities.

1. Symmetrical AWD System

The powerful Symmetrical AWD System of the Subaru Cross trek makes it a robust vehicle to explore snowy terrains.

The layout of the drivetrain makes it symmetrical. To understand this system, one needs to get an idea of the boxer engines of Subaru.

The engine occupies the central position of these cars. All the driveline components like the driveshaft and the differentials are present in this part of the car.

This particular design ensures that driver axles are of equal length. These axles distribute power to the car’s wheels.

A top view of the system reveals that from left to right, the drivetrain of the car is symmetrical.

As a result, the Subaru Cross trek enjoys better power, ensuring more driving efficiency.

 The AWD of the Subaru Cross trek is more efficient than that of other vehicles that work as RWD or FWD.

In most other cars, the primary wheels start slipping when they receive the balancing power from the AWD system.

In the Cross trek, the advanced mechanism distributes power instantly, so there’s no scope for slipping.

This doesn’t imply that the power would kick in abruptly when you drive, leading to a loss of momentum.

When the car navigates through challenging terrains, the AWD detects the needs of the wheels and does the needful.

As a result, your Subaru Cross trek would have a better grip on slippery terrains all the time, whether you are traveling on the highway or enjoying an off-road ride.

In the manual versions of this car, there is a 50/50 torque split or the power distribution from front to back.

In Cross treks equipped with CVT, this is 60/40 from front to rear.

2. Vehicle Dynamics Control

The VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control) empowers the Subaru Cross trek with a stability control mechanism.

This system mitigates traction loss in the car and enhances the stability of the driver.

This is a computerized system that deploys different sensors. The system continually monitors the following aspects:

  • Steering wheel position
  • Lateral acceleration
  • Wheel speed
  • Yaw rate

So, when the system detects that the car will lose control or slide, it deploys the brakes strategically to each wheel and disconnects the engine power.

This eases up the task of the driver controlling the vehicle on unpredictable slippery surfaces.

When the car remains stuck in tricky ice patches or snow, the tires need more wheelspin to dig the way out of it.

The Active Torque Vectoring feature in the Crosstrek VDC helps in stopping the inner wheels when you turn the vehicle.

This enables the car to rotate seamlessly. When you apply the brakes, the wheels on the opposite side would receive more power so that the car keeps moving forward.

On the center console, there’s a button that can put the VDC off. This deactivates both the traction and stability control systems.

3. X-Mode

The Subaru Cross trek has an optional feature, the X-Mode.

This feature seamlessly complements winter driving for boosting control and traction.

The newer models also come with dual X-Mode which are available in two settings:

  • Deep Snow/Mud
  • Snow/Dirt

On turning the X-Mode on, the system monitors various elements of the car like transmission gear ratios, traction, braking, delivery of engine power, and AWD torque split.

When you navigate the car through slippery surfaces, the traction control reacts faster as it becomes more responsive.

This enables the wheels to refrain from spinning.

This feature is also effective in the Hill Descent Control (HDC) mode of the Subaru Cross trek.

As a result, your car can seamlessly descend slippery slopes, and the driver need not touch the brakes or the gas.

Using these can make the car slide or skid out of control. The HDC enables the vehicle to descend the slopes at a controlled pace.

You simply need to control the steering wheel to give proper direction to the vehicle.

Besides, the X-Mode in the Subaru Cross trek keeps the gear ratios low.

It distributes power to the rear and front wheels evenly, thereby maximizing traction.

This powers the car to ascend steep slopes and treacherous terrains effortlessly.

4. Anti-Lock Braking System

The Subaru Cross trek comes integrated with an advanced braking system.

This encompasses the Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).

The ABS prevents the car from sliding off slippery roads in case you apply excessive brake pressure.

It prevents the wheels from getting locked, modulating the braking system and turning it on and off.

So, the tires would retain grip and gradually slow down your car.

The EBD and ABS work in perfect sync, distributing the brake pressure intelligently between both sets of wheels.

When the rear part of the vehicle doesn’t have much weight, most of the braking power remains concentrated in the front.

The rear tires, which have less grip, can remain protected from skidding.

When the intelligent system senses a load of cargo at the back, it channels more stopping strength to the back side of the car.

This extra weight ensures more grip for the rear tires.

As a result, you would notice a significant reduction in the braking distance, particularly when you apply emergency brakes.

5. Eye Sight Driver Assist Technology

The 2021 models, along with all the later models of the Subaru Cross trek come with the Eye Sight Driver Assist Technology.

This was optional in some of the older models. This mechanism encompasses a suite of modern safety features.

Here, the system deploys cameras to monitor activities around you.

So, if you happen to be in any of these alarming scenarios, it would apply the brakes atomically.

Along with this, you have the SRVD (Subaru Rear/Side Vehicle Detection System) which monitors the blind spot.

With these driver-aids available in the car, you are less likely to experience slides or skids while driving on slippery roads in the winter.

6. Remote start feature

Most dealers integrate the remote start features into the Subaru Cross trek cars.

You need to download the Starlink app which comes embedded with the system. Alternatively, you have an additional key fob to assist you with this feature.

With chilly outside temperatures, the Remote Start happens to be a great feature. 

This feature enables the driver to start the car as well as the heater. Therefore, you can get into a cozy cabin after a while.

7. All-Weather Package

In certain Cross trek models, you have the All-Weather Package.

This further enhances the comfort inside the car, heating the side mirrors, front seats, and windshield.

With adverse weather conditions in winter, every driver looks out for heated front seats.

On the other hand, the heated side mirrors and windshield enhance visibility by removing frost accumulating on these surfaces.

How much snow can Subaru Cross trek handle?

The high ground clearance of the Subaru Cross trek defines its snow-handling capabilities.

As a result, the car can navigate through deep snow, where other crossovers fail to travel.

So, the car can handle at least 8 inches of snow. With the advanced AWD, this car gets a lot of traction while cutting through deep snow.

To ensure that your drive is comfortable enough, don’t get into snow more than 8 inches deep with the car.

Moving any deeper can get the undercarriage stuck.

Regardless of the power of your AWD, it won’t be logical to explore snow deeper than 8 inches when the ground clearance is 8.7 inches.

Does Subaru Cross trek Have 4WD?

Yes, all models of this car come integrated with 4WD.

Subaru has designed its Cross trek model to nullify the difficulties drivers encounter while navigating icy or snowy terrains on subcompact cars.

The AWD system ensures that the car receives adequate horsepower and torque, which prevents it from sticking in the snow.

When you think of driving safely on snow in the winter months, you need to consider the driving difficulties.

To make sure that the car remains steady, there’s no alternative to the 4WD system.

So, the AWD system in the Subaru Cross trek makes it one of the most desired subcompact cars for winter terrains.

Should you install snow tires on Subaru Cross trek?

In all the Cross trek variants, you have all-season tires pre-installed. So, you might wonder whether the car needs snow tires while navigating terrains in winter.

In case you drive through icy or snow-covered roads regularly, make sure to get winter tires for your Subaru Cross trek.

These tires assure more traction to the car.

Besides, when you drive through tricky terrains, you expect shorter stopping distances and better handling.

This is exactly what snow tires do, ensuring a better grip on the roads at freezing temperatures.

The special compound in these tires makes them ideal for winters.

The flexible and soft nature of the rubber goes a long way in shaping your driving experience.

Moreover, snow tires have a special tread pattern that removes the snow from below the tires.


The powerful features that we have discussed in the article are adequate to make the Subaru Cross trek a great car to drive in winter.

The car has the same height as SUVs and some pickup trucks. Along with this, the Cross trek has a unibody design.

Therefore, drivers need not use a snow plow on this car. The sleek frame of the Subaru Cross trek doesn’t allow one to mount this tool.

In case you regularly use the Cross trek on heavily snowy terrains, the body and bumper of the car would sustain damage.

This can also invalidate the warranty you have on the car. This car doesn’t work too well when you try to plow through hard-packed snow.

Light plowing is what the Subaru Cross trek can do best, so make sure to choose your car carefully.