When you think of all-wheel-drive, it typically isn’t the most fuel efficient drivetrain, unless you are Subaru. The EPA rated all US automakers to see which had the best fuel mileage and Subaru comes in 4th best in the rankings. Subaru’s AWD lineup is behind Mazda, Honda and Nissan. It’s surprising since Subaru only fields AWD vehicles except for one.
Subaru only makes all-wheel-drive vehicles, other than the rear-drive BRZ sports car. AWD is generally less-fuel-efficient than other configurations. The Subaru Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, Impreza, WRX/STI and Legacy all come standard with AWD. The average mileage for all their vehicles is 28.4 mpg. Number one Mazda gets 29.6 mpg for their lineup.
The results from the EPA study were taken through the 2015 model year. When you add in the 2016 MY (which are preliminary), Subaru vehicles get 28.7 mpg which is an increase from 2015.
Subaru is leading in CVT technology
Subaru vehicles are all powered by their Boxer engine technology which is a fuel-efficient powertrain. Subaru is also one the the leading manufacturers of continuously variable transmissions (CVT) which are more fuel-efficient. Subaru, Nissan, and Honda are leading in adoption of CVTs according to the EPA.
More fuel-efficient technology is coming
Starting with the new 2017 Impreza, Subaru will be using the more fuel-efficient gas direct injection (GDI) technology which will improve fuel mileage even more. The technology will be standard in the next-generation boxer engine Subaru will roll out. Subaru also will add cylinder deactivation and lean combustion cycles in these engines by 2020.
Subaru will also be adding a new Hybrid model, likely in the new-generation Crosstrek. Subaru said it plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid for North America by 2018. FHI is developing new hybrid drivetrains as a favored way to meet increasingly stringent emission standards. Currently, Subaru ranks 4th in the US in fuel mileage with an all-wheel-drive lineup.