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I've owned AWD vehicles when I lived in the snow range. They're worth it BUT.... in real snow conditions snow tires are the jazz, and FWD with them beats AWD without. Every time.
Now if you live where it REALLY snows, and have mountains, then you need clearance for chains. The "6" can use cable chains. Real AWD vehicles with real tire well clearance can use CHAIN CHAINS, and the two are not the same thing. I have cable chains because I go out to CO in the winter, and if you don't have 'em, snow tires or not and it snows a bunch you ain't going where you wanna go -- period.
I have no fear of the SkyActiv drivetrain reliability wise. Then again I have 175,000 miles on mine. Zero issues. Subie? Well, AWD is more complex and thus has more issues. The Boxer engine design burns oil -- period. It's a good engine but it burns oil. Keep it happy and you're fine. Don't, and... well..... and there ARE issues.
Serious issues. Like head gaskets. Which appears to be linked to ABSOLUTE intolerance to overheats. That, by the way, is a common feature with diesels. DO NOT EVER overheat them. This means paying attention in a big way to the cooling system which most people do not do. Then very expensive trouble comes knocking.... These, of course, are GAS engines. Which implies Subie shaved some margins. Not the end of the world provided you never overheat. If you do....
Oh, and don't get a CVT. Ever. They're time bombs. They all fail, all out of warranty, and are expensive. It's a design issue that can't be overcome simply due to how they work. And a lot of Subies have 'em in them now..... which is not good.
If you need the road clearance and want AWD then, well, you do. But if the issue really is snow get real snow tires and rims for the winter and FWD will be just fine. If you live where there are mountains toss a set of chains in the back in the winter months.
I drove a couple of Subies before I bought my "6". Refinement and interior weren't even close; the Mazda won by a country mile. Now a few years and 175,000 miles into it... I'm not sorry with my choice.
Last edited by tickerguy; 05-14-2019 at 11:14 PM.