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The New Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, And Outback Now Offer A Deep Snow Setting

How do Subaru vehicles do in the snow? Check out the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek’s new deep snow feature.


Are the 2021 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek good vehicles in the snow? Subaru developed a new setting for the three SUVs specifically for heavy, wet snow. The 2021 Forester Sport, Outback XT, and Crosstrek Sport all feature a new dual-function X-Mode with a deep snow mode.

All Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek trims come with X-Mode created by Subaru engineers for off-pavement pursuits. The Japanese automaker designed a new dual-function X-Mode for getting owners further away. But X-Mode can also be used in everyday commuting, especially in wet, icy, and snowy conditions this winter.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

When should I use X-Mode and Dual function X-Mode?

You can use X-Mode in any conditions where you need more traction. But Subaru developed dual-function X-Mode in 2021 Forester Sport, Outback XT, and Crosstrek Sport, which allows you to dial in the right amount of traction for whatever conditions you encounter, especially deep snow.

New Dual-function X-Mode has two settings

Snow/Dirt Mode

In ice, snow, and wet conditions, Snow/Dirt Mode simultaneously controls engine output and throttle response to minimize wheel spin and alters the vehicle’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive torque split to direct power to the wheels that need the most grip.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Outback

Selecting Snow/Dirt Mode also engages the Hill Descent Control feature. Hill Descent Control keeps the Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek at a slow, even pace without applying the brake, allowing the driver to focus on steering, not braking. The setting is ideal on slick, heavy wet, snowy roads when heading downhill.

Deep Snow/Mud Mode

In some slick conditions, you want wheel spin to help get you out of a dicey situation. When faced with deep snow conditions, selecting this mode allows some wheel spin, when needed, to prevent the vehicle from becoming stuck. If you travel over a high mountain pass for snowboarding at a local ski resort, you can encounter blizzard conditions and heavy, wet, deep snow. This setting will get you to your destination safely.

What if I don’t live in a snowy climate?

The Forester Sport, Outback XT, and Crosstrek Sport work best for those with active lifestyles in any climate. Those who live in warm-weather areas will use the SUVs to get further away to remote hiking and mountain bike trails, hidden kayak launches, and camping sites.

This winter, the 2021 Subaru Forester Sport, Outback XT, and Crosstrek Sport will get you through the ice and deep snow with the new dual-function X-Mode.

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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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Photo credit: Subaru


Jon (not verified)    December 31, 2020 - 5:57PM

This feature is present in my 2020 Forester Touring. Not sure why you say it is new on 2021 Forester Sport, and don't mention it's been on previous models.

Krembo (not verified)    January 1, 2021 - 8:46AM

What should be the engine HP on the outback to match performance of the Crosstrek Sport?