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OK, I'll add my 2 cents to this. I drove many Subies from 2003 to 2011 because I was an "essential" employee. Essential means you are there and go even if the people you are servicing aren't in attendance (public schools, IT). I had to have AWD to travel on public roads, that were often not plowed or salted.

Subies, even the lowest/least expensive models, are rally configuration suspension and drive trains. They have no comfort/convenience features. Essentially they ride like a pickup truck with no load in the bed. There was no sound deadening in them until the 2011 WRX Premium was released. The transmission and differential setups were great if you were driving in snow/ice with winter snow tires (changed from summers to snows in November and back in April).

My last Subie was the 2011 WRX Premium. Finding a WRX STi new from a dealer where I live was impossible, but I didn't need the programmable center, or the 300+ horsepower engine, which required premium unleaded, and got low mileage, if you could find a filling station selling it.

I retired still owing about 30% on the WRX loan. I traded for a 2015 Focus SE Sport package (paddle shifted-don't use them, that dual-clutch 6 speed never would respond to them up or down shifting) , which had Flex-fuel capability. I traded the Focus for my 2017 Fusion Sport Ecoboost AWD (has all of the available option packages, 401A, etc.). Best deal out of all vehicles I have owned. Really a grand touring car, not a competition car in any of the deepest part of my imagination. With just over 1000 miles on it, I drove from Illinois where I live, to Arizona and back with no issues. 500 miles a day, speed was always the flow of traffic, keeping lane discipline, rest stops as needed, reservations at decent lodgings at the end of the 500 miles. A very comfortable ride, no aches or pains, quiet and excellent climate control.
 

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As needed is incorrect. It sends power to real wheels on hard acceleration (before it even knows if you need it), even if you floor it @ 70. It backs off after it doesn't detect any slip.
Still technically "as needed" as it's not always actively driving all wheels. I would consider on launch and flooring is as "needed" to prevent torque steer and help grip on acceleration.
 
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I think just distributing the torque across more wheels, even when you have plenty of grip in the front, is a reasonable thing to do when your output kicks up under hard acceleration. You're trying to overcome inertia and you have the capability to drive using all 4 wheels, so I think their decision to do that rather than force all the power through the front is appropriate. I see criticism of our AWD sometimes but I find it to do a very good job for my needs, anyway. I'm not running Autocross or anything though. But as a commuter, and a grand touring car, it's pretty awesome. Of course it's the first AWD car I've ever owned so maybe I'm just naive about AWD.
 
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