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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I've been driving on snow with manual transmissions since the mid 70's. I've had 4 or more other 4wd/AWD vehicles before this 2018 Subaru, all were automatic transmissions. I replaced the OEM tires immediately on this Crosstrek with mountain-snowflake rated Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady tires that have rave reviews.

Over the last 2 winters I've had several slides which surprised me. All low speed and the ABS kicked in but didn't seem to actually slow me down much more than without any braking. It did allow steering. About 2" of snow that had been driven on, so it was that dry packed snowball texture that breaks apart easily. (not loose powder, not packed ice). I've never had these kinds of slides before with ABS.

The latest has me thinking of getting top tier snow tires. From the house is a steep section downhill which this week I totally slid down a hundred yards with zero speed control. To stop before the intersection I steered into the plowed up snowbank on the side of the road!

One commonality in these slides is the clutch has been pushed in. Is there something about the ABS and AWD configuration in the Subaru which would defeat braking when ABS kicks in? e.g. if a front wheel activates ABS would the rear wheels (perhaps via differentials) effectively not have braking if the clutch is pushed in?

I hate to say it, but my 2004 Audi Quattro was better overall in the snow than this Crosstrek, even with wide tires and a powerful V8, and especially better in exactly the places I've experienced these low speed slides. But it also did have excellent snow tires.
 

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I have the 2019 Premium with 6-spd MT. I still have the OEM 17" tires on the vehicle. The only time I slide and the ABS kicks in is on packed snow/ice. I also drive a 2000 Chevy S10 ZR2 with BFG All-Terrains, and that vehicle slid much worse than my Crosstrek! With my Crosstrek I use the gears to engine-break when approaching intersections, but do not notice any abnormal sliding.
 

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I would have to say the difference is down to the tires, haven’t had a lot of snow yet, but no issues with my Crosstrek in the snow we have had this year, with the bf-Goodrich snows on (Costco didn’t have the x-ice 3 available when I ordered so went with theses since they are at least made by Michelin, hope they are similar, so far so good though)
 

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You say that the ABS kicked in which didn't slow the car any faster but you were able to steer.That's what ABS is for.To allow you to maintain directional control in a panic braking situation.The ABS didn't stop you any faster because it works by turning off the brakes on the wheel/s that are locked.Just be thankful you don't have the old single channel ABS.On my '02 Impreza,if even just one wheel would lock then the ABS would turn off the brakes on all four wheels which results in little to no reduction in speed.I called that system ASB or anti stop brakes.I pulled the fuse to disable the ABS and it stopped much faster.

You say your Audi did so much better in the snow with excellent snow tires.Obviously,your new goodyear tires didn't live up to the hype.Put those same tires on your Audi and it won't be any better than your Crosstrek.If your tires can't adhere to the road surface then it doesn't matter what kind of vehicle you are driving.You are going for a ride and there's nothing you can do about it.Get some real dedicated snow tires and you'll be much more pleased with the performance of your Crosstrek.I put a set of blizzac WS90's on mine and I couldn't be more pleased with it.This year we have had the most severe conditions of every kind.From monsoon rain,deep slush,snow and freezing rain,these tires make even the most slippery roads feel more like dirt than ice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mario, it did feel like ASB. My curiosity is whether somehow via the fwd/rear differential or the transmission (clutch pedal pressed) the ABS effectively becomes ASB as you described.

As far as compared to the Audi, the Quattro torque vectoring worked amazingly. No doubt the winter tires contributed a lot, too. But I would bet the same tires wouldn't get the same results between the Subi and the Audi.

Nevertheless, in all the AWD/4wd automatic transmission vehicles I've owned before there was never the sensation of all 4 wheels going to zero braking when the ABS fired.
 

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When it rains much, the unpaved, grass covered road up to our house gets very slippery/snotty. It was never an issue for the '01 Impreza Outback Sport, but the '18 Crosstrek slithers up and down. I have concluded that the automated systems -- Vehicle Dynamics Constrol System, X-Mode, and Hill Descent Control -- are generally incompetent, and even when they are deactivated there is something, either in the electronics or the mechanical design, that is flawed and adversely affects the handling.
 

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The ABS is what it is.The diffs,trans and clutch have nothing to do with it.If you get on the brakes too hard and one or more wheels lock,the ABS will kick in.Every time you hear/feel the ABS pulse,the brakes are being turned off and on again.How fast does a car stop when the brakes are off?The answer is that it doesn't.A trick I did with my manual trans Subaru GL is to not touch the clutch when braking until you are ready to down shift and don't down shift until the engine is at it's minimum RPM.Because all 4 wheels are connected together,all 4 will slow down at the same speed,which prevents the fronts from locking up before the rears.By not touching the clutch,the engine will act as your ABS.The wheels can't lock if the engine is still running.I found that this greatly reduces stopping distance.That explains why it seemed that pushing in the clutch activated the ABS.The engine was no longer connected to the wheels so it could no longer prevent the wheels from locking.

As for your Audi.I can tell you with absolute certainty that no,no matter how it shifts power around,it will do no better with the same tires.Everyone knows that Subaru also shifts power around,but,as you have noticed,that doesn't matter either.If the tires can't adhere to the road surface then you WILL spin the wheels.It doesn't matter what you are driving.If the traction isn't there then it isn't there and nothing you do,other than adding sand,salt or chains will change that.

You never felt that all 4 wheels went to zero braking before because those cars had the newer 4 channel ABS which is also needed for traction control.This system operates the brakes on all 4 wheels independently.When 1 wheel locks,the brakes are released on that wheel,and maybe the opposite wheel to maintain stability,while maintaining steady braking pressure on the other wheels.With single channel ABS,when just 1 wheel locks,the brakes are turned off on all 4 wheels.As soon as the brakes come on again,at least 1 wheel will instantly lock which causes the brakes to instantly be released again which allows the car to seemingly roll free because the time the brakes are on is very brief compared to the time they are off.
 

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Just looked up the weather ready tires, these are at best an “all weather” tire, this would mean that they are better on snow than your typical all season , and better on dry hot roads than your typical true winter tire, but still worse than good winter tires in the snow, and worse than good all seasons (and definitely worse than summer tires) on hot dry roads. If you had high end winter tires on the Audi - they were MUCH better than the Goodyear’s that you have on the Subaru, and no having the clutch in will not disable anything in the breaking system. If you feel like you have zero breaking it is because you have no traction pure and simple, and you need better true winter tires for the conditions you are driving in. With my car today despite the snowy slippery conditions, I might as well have been on dry pavement for the most part for how the car felt. So it sounds to me like the weather ready tires are not as good as you hoped for the conditions you are driving in, sorry.
 

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One commonality in these slides is the clutch has been pushed in.
The clutch should be used only whilst shifting gears. At all other times, the left foot should not be touching the clutch pedal at all. Coasting is never a good idea but it you're going to do that then shift into neutral.

Your primary problem is traction and that is tire related.
 

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If the clutch is pushed in, then you can't take advantage of the AWD to help slow down and maintain control in slippery conditions (someone correct if I'm wrong on that). If the clutch is depressed, then you're just free-wheeling.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If the engine braking exceeds the tire grip, the tires will skid. ABS will do nothing to protect against a skid in that case even if the brake pedal is pushed in. If the brakes are applied, the ABS will activate but the engine braking will still cause the tires to skid.
 
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