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5 Subaru Winter Driving Features And One That's The Most Misunderstood

Check out Subaru’s cold weather features that make winter driving more comfortable. And there’s one standard feature many Subaru owners aren’t aware of, and it’s often misunderstood.


Consumer Reports (by subscription) says seven car features that make winter driving more comfortable. Subaru offers six of the seven; a remote start, heated seats, heated side mirrors, windshield wiper deicers, and washer jets, and a heated steering wheel. Subaru does not offer a heated windshield. The seventh is snow-friendly “beam” one-piece windshield wiper blades that you can have installed.

Every 2023 Subaru model, including the 2023 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, has remote start available on many trim levels. A Subaru Starlink connected services subscription is offered standard on most trim levels. The remote start app is available using your smartphone.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester winter featuresCheck out: Consumer Report Says These Are The Best Snow Tires For Your AWD Subaru This Winter

The Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, and Ascent offer an all-weather package with heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, windshield wiper deicer, and heated side mirrors. All are must features to have if you live in a cold-weather climate.

Unfortunately, a heated steering wheel is not available on all trim levels. You can’t get a heated steering wheel on the 2023 Subaru Forester Base, Premium, Sport, and Wilderness trim levels. You can only get it on Limited and Touring trims. It’s the one feature Subaru should have available on all trim levels.

2023 Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester winter features

Road surface freeze warning indicator

There is a unique feature on the Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, and Ascent you may not be aware of, and it’s often misunderstood. It’s the road surface freeze warning indicator, and here’s how it works.

When winter weather strikes in many parts of the country, drivers often face the added challenge of icy roads. Subaru vehicles with a road surface freeze warning indicator can alert you to potentially slippery conditions based on outside temperatures.

When the outside temperature drops to 37F (3C) or lower, the temperature indication flashes to show that the road surface may be frozen. If the outside temperature drops to 37F (3C) or lower while the display gives an indication other than the outside temperature, the display switches to the outside temperature indication and flashes for 5 seconds before returning to its original indication.

If the display indicates an outside temperature of 37F (3C) or lower when the ignition switch is turned to the “ON” position, the indication does not flash.

Note: The outside temperature indication may differ from the actual outside temperature. The road surface freeze warning indication should be treated only as a guide. Be sure to check the condition of the road surface before driving.

Remember, the indicator is intended as a guide only. Drivers should check and monitor the actual condition of the road surfaces.

Be especially wary of black ice. According to AAA, pavement with black ice will be slightly darker and duller than the rest of the road surface.

Know where ice builds up

Look for ice build-up on intersections, bridge decks, ramps, and overpasses. This is especially true if you travel on the highway and then pass over a bridge. The cold air surrounds the surface of a bridge from above and below, and bridges lose heat from both sides. Bridges cannot trap heat, and they will ice rapidly as soon as the temperature decreases to freezing. Roads, on the other hand, only lose heat from their surface.

The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, Forester, and Ascent SUVs have many winter-friendly features. The road surface freeze warning indicator could keep you out of the ditch this winter.

You Might Also Like: 10 Winter Driving Tips And Why Having An AWD Subaru Doesn’t Guarantee Safety

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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