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2005 Subaru Legacy



  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,553
    It's a combination stability control and traction control (AWD management, braking management and engine management).

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Many stability control systems have brand names to try to distinguish themselves.

    For instance, Toyota has VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) now, but people don't like it much, so for next year it's been redeveloped and will have a new name, VDM (Vehicle Dynamics Management?) I think.

    VDC by Subaru includes stability control, traction control (included with every stability control system I believe), and VTD AWD with a 45/55 rear bias power split.

    When they are nicely integrated like Subaru has done, the ABS and AWD work in harmony together.

    Here is a full PDF if you wanted to read about Subaru's system:

    But to summarize, some advantages over competitors' system includes the fact that it can send 100% of power to either axle, one single wheel actually, while Audi's is limited to 67% per axle. Also, the system is completely pro-active, and adjust the power split before slippage occurs. Audi's system is quick reacting, but it's still reactive. Toyota's VSC was deemed slow to react as well as too intrusive, which is why they bagged it.

  • My 95 Legacy has AWD - I felt safe. It transferred power "from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip." But now, what do I really need: AWD, AWD + VDT, AWD + VTD + VDC. What's next, M-O-U-S-E? What's right 4UNMe? Part of the "Beauty of All Wheel Drive" was not having to think about it. Let's see what AWD systems Subaru offers:

    Manual Transmission: viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute the power 50/50 front to rear.
    4-spd Auto: electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch to actively control power distribution in response to driving conditions
    5-spd Auto: Variable Torque Distribution (VTD). A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution
    Outback 3.0r VDC Limited: Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), an advanced stability system that controls VTD operation and integrates an electronic four-wheel traction control system
    All of this stuff sounds like great technology but how much difference does it really make? In New Zealand, where the Legacy 2.5i won AA Autocar's Car of the Year Award:, they said that Subaru’s basic AWD is just fine (see excerpt):

    "Unlike the Accord and 350Z, the Legacy has no traction or stability control…nor does it need any. It’s a complete package just as it comes, an all-wheel-driving machine that eschews gizmos simply because it has the most physical grip of any new car released in 2003."

    Don't get me wrong, I love technology but I get worried when it starts sounding like that old Saturday Night Live parody about the "Triple-Trac" razor (when twin blades were hot). "The first blade pulls the whisker away from your face so the 2nd blade could then pull it out further so that the 3rd blade...". "Why do we do this?" Pause. "Because you'll believe anything!" Then the triple blade became a reality and last year Schick introduced the "Quattro" with 4 "precisely synchronized blades." Why - because we'll believe anything!

    So, come on, if all this stuff is so important that it really makes a difference to the safety of its drivers, Subaru should just put it on all their cars - standard. I'd like to see some side/by-side tests of Subaru’s various AWD offerings to see if there's really any significant difference in handling and performance. Or does all this just drive up the price without improving the drive?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Forester is plain ol' AWD with 2 open differnetials and I've never been wanting for more traction. So you have a point.

    In fact if I had VDC I'd want an off switch to be able to play around once in a while.

    However, it is a great safety feature for emergency avoidance manuevers. I can say I'm fortunate enough that I've never needed it up until now, but I can't say I'd never be able to benefit from it.

    Guess you could call it diminishing returns. You get a lot of bang for the buck by getting your basic AWD. A rear LSD adds a little extra, and then VDC would add an even smaller margin of safety beyond that.

  • I am pleased to see the nice discussion. Judging from some of the reaction I take it you would prefer that SOA not include VDC in their top of the line sedan, that SOA expects to snare a bigger share of the market. I am puzzled as to why such strong reaction. Wouldn't it be preferable to have the option to choose? No matter--we all have our opinions ;-)! I have a M/T OB that even with AWD and ABS does nice crabwalks in sleet and ice...yes I have driven several subies and even raced some (G/L) and this happens even with TC and AWD. These two technologies are not meant to correct the car's vector; only to help apply power to the ground. TC does not correct the direction of the car it just ensures that the wheel w/o power is controlled. VDC and other technologies will be incorporated in more and more cars (even GM is including it in most of their Epsilon platform). The IIHS and NHTSA have recommended that car manufacturers include stability control to prevent rollover in addition to its ability to assist the driver in controlling the car. SOA should consider providing this option to the customer. My point is that the technology is available and is part of SOA's current offering in the 3.0 VDC but only in the OB. I am glad that we have encyclopedias in the forum so that we can expect good discussion. To those who have not done so yet I ask that you try to navigate a good slalom setup in a frozen and icy parking lot with a car with stability control and one w/ may be surprised as to what the combination of throttle, brake, and engine power can do. Anyway, I am looking forward to the new Legacy and am curious how it will compete against cars of similar size and price. Cheers
  • so what does the new legacy come with? Traction Control?? I am sure antilock brakes. we know it doesn't have Vehicle Dynamics Control? So with AWD and Traction control the only think missing with the absence of VDC would be distributed braking is that write or am I wrong??

    Traction Control isn't intended to keep the car on the road?? or it isn't intended to make decisions for the driver? I mean the idea of TC is to prevent a need to over correct right? which is something humans are great at doing in an extreme situation, therefore the directional vector is not corrected because there was no need, with TC and AWD?

    I am not arguing I am making sure I have an understanding. I am thinking very seriously about getting a Legacy, but it is competing with some cars that do have some kind of "VDC" but not awd so I am trying to make sure I don't need some kind of VDC.

    AND the car I buy with or without VDC, will need HEADROOM!!!

    great discussion thanks!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,322
    TC is really just designed to get you moving forward in low traction situations, and won't help if you skid.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • bat1161bat1161 Posts: 1,784
    Regarding headroom in the new Legacy- Elm form the board here is over 6' and sat in the new Legacy with no problem. I know he was concerned about the comfort factor as well.

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Just a quick clarification-

    Toyota's VSC has been deemed by many as too QUICK to react, and intrusive (as you state). Its only supporters are the hyper safety oriented Consumer Reports editiors. Car and Driver, Motor Trend, et al. dislike the system because its non-defeatable in almost all applications, beeps at you annoyingly when its activated, which occurs too early and too intensely in performance testing.

    I'm interested to know what the differences between VSC and VDM actually are. VDM is said to allow a much greater performance envelope. I'm sure CR will disapprove.

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991

    As Consumer Reports and others have stated, Traction Control is just a feeble attempt to compensate for lost traction on cars that do not have AWD. (Yes, they did say that TC was very much inferior to AWD for traction).

    The only advantage I can see with TC added to an AWD car, is that it would cut power for gradual take-offs so you do not spin all 4 tires.

    VDC would be nice to have, but would hope it had a turn-off switch, or I would not want it. VDC cuts in to spirited driving. Also AWD has a little bit of VDC built in it, delivering power to "the wheels that grip" to increase stability. It does help in slippery or tumulious conditions though.
  • New Legacys should be hitting the lots soon and the showrooms around late March. You will have to try out the headroom bit...A friend of mine who is 6'5" had to settle for a Maxima because of his height.

    As to the computer aided driving...if you want the Legacy and wish to have electronics that can help you with traction then you should choose the car with an automatic. The manual tranny will send 50 percent of the power to each axle AT ALL TIMES and in icy conditions it creates for interesting driving...white knucle experience on a frozen overpass with no divider.... You want an AWD system that can control the power distribution front to back and side to side. For you that is the A/T Legacy. As someone pointed out in earlier posts Subies differ from other companies in that the front to back can be 100 percent. Volvo uses the Haldex provided tranny and in some applications can shift 100 percent power back and forth. Audi, I believe, can also do that in some applications. VW in their passat 4Motion can send some percentage back and forth (67%?). I am not sure if VW does side to side. Another impressive application is the Infiniti AWD in the G35x.

    Finally, you can turn off the VDC in the 3.0 OB. I tried it with and without. W/O it you can definitely spin the OB around very quickly as pointed out in the Consumer Report article. A fully loaded OB with 8.4 inches (new truck classification) of clearance is going to need the VDC...Other SUV makers are rushing to put those electronics in because of INSURANCE COSTS and LIABILITY and also because of competitive pressure. Volvo one upped everyone with the Rollover Control software...
  • Zoomer headroom in the 04 I tried was definitely not enough is that what your friend that bought the Maxima tried?? I am hoping the 05 has more and headroom and better lowering seats then the 04. From what I have read in this discussion headroom is better in the 05.

    as far as M/T got to have it. you can't buy a quick car and then give it a disadvantage!

    as far as 50/50 power distribution all the time I don't know if I agree? the M/T has a "Viscous-coupling locking center differential"
    now I don't know a whole lot about locking differentials but I do know that they do allow some slipping, therefore some power fluctuation between the front and back would be permitted right??

    as far as needing full traction control.. never had it therefore I don't know what I am missing, yet I will take it if I can turn it off and it is offered!.. the fact that all four wheels have power will be better then what I have now. besides in day to day I will probably have TC off so I can play, I mean what is the point in having 250 horses:)!
  • kenokakenoka Posts: 218
    The AWD system in the manual Subarus includes a viscous coupling center differential to distribute power front to rear. Its default setting is 50/50, but this can change when slip occurs. Also, many manual Subaru models include a rear limited slip differential as well, to distribute power side to side on the rear axle. AFAIK, only the Impreza STi includes a limited slip differential on the front axle.

    Automatic equipped Subies excluding VTD equipped models have a default torque split of 90/10. So it behaves very much like a FWD car until slip occurs. IIRC, this system can send up to 50% to the rear. VTD on the other hand has a default split of 45/55, and acts more like the VC system, albeit more proactive than reactive.
  • zoomer1 wrote, "New Legacys should be hitting the lots soon and the showrooms around late March."

    I would be very surprised if the '05 Legacy's start hitting the lots at the end of March. They're only going into production in the middle of March. I would bet it will be more like late April or early May when they hit the dealerships. Although I hope you're right as I've got my eye on a GT Limited Wagon and the sooner the better!

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    is when they'll arrive.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    EBD is standard on the Legacy, in fact the Forester XS and XT have that already. Every Subaru has 4-channel ABS now.

    Legacy will get a rear LSD for traction, plus AWD obviously, but not traction or stability control. I think that Subaru is a leader in traction management and IMO this is a mistake.

    The Ford Focus offers stability control, so does the Scion xB. This is not exotic technology any more.

  • otis123otis123 Posts: 438
    Good point juice. At this point it is strange that Subaru is still treating the VDC as an exotic technology when most foreign $30K+ SUVs and cars have it as standard.

    Safety Subaru, safety is your upscale ticket. Use it - don't keep it in one model configuration!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That was 2 years ago, today Toyota has it standard on every SUV period. Even the RAV4. In fact that's probably what prompted Consumer Reports to put the RAV4 ahead of the Forester for #1 in their ratings.

    Honda has promised the same by 2006, let's see how Subaru responds.

  • ntk1ntk1 Posts: 57
    I have solved my "gap" problem by extending my Acura TLS lease by 3 months (to end July). I am looking to buy either the 2.5 GT sedan (Manual tran) in either regular flavour or limited, does anyone have any price info or best guesses for these 2 ?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not yet, but we'll find out as soon as they are announced.

  • "Zoomer headroom in the 04 I tried was definitely not enough is that what your friend that bought the Maxima tried?? I am hoping the 05 has more and headroom and better lowering seats then the 04. From what I have read in this discussion headroom is better in the 05.

    as far as M/T got to have it. you can't buy a quick car and then give it a disadvantage!"

    I believe it was a 2003. Got one with very low mileage.

    If you must have M/T AND AWD with headroom and it has to be less than $30 your choices are limited. Go up in price a little bit and you can try the Jaguar X type 2.5--maybe a Murano if you want a lot of room but that is not a Sedan. Volvo S60 maybe with autostick...
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Passat offers AWD with plenty of headroom in their wagon. They are about $26k. The 1.8t engine is 180 hp and available with a manual tranny and AWD.
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    can you even find a bare-bones GLS 4motion wagon (which stickers at $26.6k)? I think most dealers would have 'em loaded up, easily taking the price to $28k or more.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Go to they have 4-mo Passats for $27,200 with the tip. About a grand less for the manual.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587 has the engine specs.

  • stevesteve Posts: 10
    Yes, I've been there, and it doesn't talk about the 3.0L six, only the normally aspirated 2.5L and the boosted 2.5L. I'd like to find out if the 3.0L will be an option.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think on the Outback only.

    Which is strange, considering they sell an H6 Legacy in Japan. I think it's exported from here, too.

  • stevesteve Posts: 10
    Hmmmm..Wait till I email C/D and tell them they were WRONG!! The article lists all three engines in two separate instances. My hopes were high that I'd have a choice between boost and displacement. The dealer just smiles when I ask them.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Just got the 2004 Consumer Reports April Auto Issue in the mail. Rest assured, the Forester is still on top in their ratings. Check out the feature on pgs 8 and 9 regarding the organizations "Top Picks".

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    #1 overall rated, #1 in safety assessment, plus it made the Most Satisfying list. Also a used car "Best Bet" for reliability.

    It's hard to find another vehicle in ANY category that has such a well rounded score.

This discussion has been closed.