The case of Jeep vs Subaru when it comes to AWD - Jeep Renegade Forum
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post #1 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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The case of Jeep vs Subaru when it comes to AWD

I was talking to my cousin the other day, he actually introduced me to Subaru and something came to my mind:

What is the point of the Jeep brand to have by default 2WD crossovers with a 4x4 or AWD as options (costly sometimes) whereas Subaru crossovers are native AWD ?

Native and symetrical AWD + very descent ground clearance is Subaru`s brand signature for their crossovers as for Jeep they are just plugging AWD as an option in their models just like any other make...

I mean I have no problem with Jeep going from hardcore off-road trucks to family crossovers / SUVs but Comapss, Patriot, Cherokee or Renegade, as a base model, they are all 2WD without a big deal of a ground clearance. We need to add a package to make them in my opinion worth the distinction of the brand signature called "Jeep"!

Your thought on that?
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post #2 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 05:55 PM
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Believe it or not, you have some people who like the looks of the Jeep product however they don't necessarily need the 4WD or can't/don't want to afford one with it.

I've had plenty of customers come up from the South who had 2WD Jeep plus you also have all the snow birds who won't be taking their Jeep off-road or planning to be in area that gets a lot of snow or ice.

4WD has always been known for better grip and traction during off-road use, much more than it's AWD counterpart. Nowadays a lot of AWD systems use some sort of corner vectoring which helps it retain grip under a lot of circumstances. When it comes to off road and the slow speeds sometimes needed, the 4WD system, especially from Jeep shines.

Not to mention, the Cherokee and The Renegade use the same 9-speed automatic transmission and it's unique in it's operation. It launches the vehicle in 4WD to a speed of 20-25mpg and then it'll disconnect from the rear differential and be FWD till the 4wd is either driver or event activated.

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post #3 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Believe it or not, you have some people who like the looks of the Jeep product however they don't necessarily need the 4WD or can't/don't want to afford one with it.

I've had plenty of customers come up from the South who had 2WD Jeep plus you also have all the snow birds who won't be taking their Jeep off-road or planning to be in area that gets a lot of snow or ice.

4WD has always been known for better grip and traction during off-road use, much more than it's AWD counterpart. Nowadays a lot of AWD systems use some sort of corner vectoring which helps it retain grip under a lot of circumstances. When it comes to off road and the slow speeds sometimes needed, the 4WD system, especially from Jeep shines.

Not to mention, the Cherokee and The Renegade use the same 9-speed automatic transmission and it's unique in it's operation. It launches the vehicle in 4WD to a speed of 20-25mpg and then it'll disconnect from the rear differential and be FWD till the 4wd is either driver or event activated.
Yes exactly, the modern AWD is not only for off-roading but for an automatic grip and traction control...

But the question is, are Jeep winning with this formula of plugging an add-on AWD on demand while Subaru are occupying the area of native AWD engineering Jeep should be naturally dominating in modern crossovers?

I immagine if we ask some person who lived in the 60s and returns to life today, what car make has native AWD and ground clearance for modern SUVs, this person will answer :"certainly Jeep"

Here in Montreal, Subarus are very popular for the exact reason that they are native AWD with a system that does the job in winter without any fiddling with buttons and switches as well as get them on rough trail in outdoors excursions yet without allot of gaz cost issues despite the full time AWD... Buying a base trim for any Subaru SUV or CUV will give you this effecient AWD / ground clearance package without paying for additional off-road packages and such...

I just think personally that Jeep should focus on this market: engineering smart and fuel efficient all time AWD in every trim and for all its cross-overs and avoid having them as add-ons just like the CR-Vs Rav4s and Rogues...
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post #4 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 01:50 AM
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I'm very confused... Jeep is still dominating in this class. Just because it offers full-time 4x4 as an option instead of standard on base models and not "native AWD" means nothing. It's still a better and more advanced 4 wheel drive system than Subaru's "symmetric AWD". Subaru's AWD system is a "drive in the snow comfortably" type of AWD, not a performance AWD system. The Renegade is built for 4x4 excursions and not for AWD purposes. I'm not sure why the term "native AWD" is being thrown but Jeeps, as they love to state, always offers the "most capable off-road vehicle" in it's class. What exactly is your argument against this?

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post #5 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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I'm very confused... Jeep is still dominating in this class. Just because it offers full-time 4x4 as an option instead of standard on base models and not "native AWD" means nothing. It's still a better and more advanced 4 wheel drive system than Subaru's "symmetric AWD". Subaru's AWD system is a "drive in the snow comfortably" type of AWD, not a performance AWD system. The Renegade is built for 4x4 excursions and not for AWD purposes. I'm not sure why the term "native AWD" is being thrown but Jeeps, as they love to state, always offers the "most capable off-road vehicle" in it's class. What exactly is your argument against this?
My argument is that I see engineering a car with AWD in its core basic concept is one thing and adding AWD as an option like a moon roof is another engineering philosophy similar to 99.99% of SUV makers...

I shall disagree that Subaru is only snow capable, it is not a rock crawler but as capable in its off-road performance as any Jeep trim with AWD except the "Trailhawk" versions or previous similar packages Jeep offered in the past... There are plenty of demos and experts opinions on this matter...

AWD Crossovers are ideal for families that need more security in winter conditions and some capability on rough trails for some outdoors activity...

Descent ground clearance is needed without sacrificing stability and adding body roll, belly protection is a welcome thing, tough suspensions and of course an efficient AWD...

Take the family oriented crossover / sport wagon Outback, it is 8.7 Inches of ground clearance by default... Durable and relatively more reliable... Plenty of space...Off course the proven capable AWD with or without the X-Mode or Hill Descent... On the other side of the spectrum take the XV-Crosstrek, same package but smaller and sportier... Etc...

For this I wonder why Jeep don`t have these kind of packages? I think it would be a winner...

Therefore the pure off-road vehicles at Jeep that win over a Subaru are now only the Trail Rated aka Trailhawk versions of their SUVs / Crossovers that are relatively expensive in my opinion. And then, who takes a crossover for rock crawling...

For example, look at the Renegade trims here in Canada now, they are pretty expensive in basic 2WD requirements and to make them worth the Jeep badge value, one must pay allot... Moreover, what makes a 2WD cherokee sport or latitude wins over a 2WD CX-5 or CR-V or Rav-4 or a Rogue?

My question was about a market strategy that I think Jeep should have used since its early crossovers to differentiate itself from the mass...

If you think about it, all what Subaru needs, is trail rated packages for its already capable SUVs... And this is realistic as Toyota can easily share with them these terrain modes systems from their 4Runners, Tacomas, FJs etc... Then plug some tires, suspensions and voilà!
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post #6 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:08 AM
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I've also come across some customers who don't like the idea of AWD and want to be able to control when and how the 4WD system is activated. I see good points from both camps.
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post #7 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 10:32 AM
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I've also come across some customers who don't like the idea of AWD and want to be able to control when and how the 4WD system is activated. I see good points from both camps.
The person that is of that mindset is probably a better driver, they at least know how out of control a vehicle can get and how to correct it when needed. Something that will make them an even better 4WD driver.
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post #8 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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The person that is of that mindset is probably a better driver, they at least know how out of control a vehicle can get and how to correct it when needed. Something that will make them an even better 4WD driver.
Maybe! But "good drivers" with a family in the car must try the difference here in Montreal :P
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post #9 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 11:27 AM
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The person that is of that mindset is probably a better driver, they at least know how out of control a vehicle can get and how to correct it when needed. Something that will make them an even better 4WD driver.
A good driver understands their vehicle. They wouldn't be having this conversation about subaru vs. renegade AWD. They are both AWD systems, and NOT part time 4wd with a gear reducing transfer case and other such stuff.

Subaru pushes the AWD marketing as an all the time thing for safety. Their AWD setup is pretty good for traction limited conditions though.

Jeep tries to make their AWD system look more like a traditional 4x4 system. Part of this is marketing, the other part is is jibes well with particular fuel saving strategies they make use of. (in the case of subaru, they cut power and moved to the otto cycle rather than give up driving all the wheels all the time).

The only REAL area there's a massive difference is pricing. Subaru's offerings are priced about the same as Jeep's FWD only offering here. Does Jeep need to be concerned about that? I don't know. Both Jeep and Subaru have seen big growth, but Jeep's has been much more massive. I don't think the Jeep brand has to worry about Subaru displacing them in consumer's minds, but I do thinkk Jeep needs to keep them in mind as they push further into the market segments Subaru has a longer history of success in.
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post #10 of 74 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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A good driver understands their vehicle. They wouldn't be having this conversation about subaru vs. renegade AWD. They are both AWD systems, and NOT part time 4wd with a gear reducing transfer case and other such stuff.

Subaru pushes the AWD marketing as an all the time thing for safety. Their AWD setup is pretty good for traction limited conditions though.

Jeep tries to make their AWD system look more like a traditional 4x4 system. Part of this is marketing, the other part is is jibes well with particular fuel saving strategies they make use of. (in the case of subaru, they cut power and moved to the otto cycle rather than give up driving all the wheels all the time).

The only REAL area there's a massive difference is pricing. Subaru's offerings are priced about the same as Jeep's FWD only offering here. Does Jeep need to be concerned about that? I don't know. Both Jeep and Subaru have seen big growth, but Jeep's has been much more massive. I don't think the Jeep brand has to worry about Subaru displacing them in consumer's minds, but I do thinkk Jeep needs to keep them in mind as they push further into the market segments Subaru has a longer history of success in.
Good points and good analyze... Yes indeed prices of FWD Jeeps = AWD / Descent clearance subarus. A product ready for rough roads "out of the box". I hope Jeep will look at this in the future and make its FWD trims and pricey AWD packages part of the past...

Last edited by Karamich; 04-08-2015 at 12:47 PM.
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