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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen videos and brief descriptions about x-mode but am still not getting it. Yesterday and today i drove up a fairly steep and rocky road using x- mode. Enough so my passenger got out to help steer my path on the narrow road to avoid any underside or tire mishaps. (Front engine hood is very high and limits visibility and front camera is too distorted to give much help). Going up, i had places i had to really give it some gas to get over the rocks. Coming down, the engine seemed to brake and slow me but it was a "jerky" action. This road seemed to be an ideal place to really check this out. So now i need to know if this sounds typical for x- mode? I really didn't use it in my outback especially on terrain like this. This road wasn't really on our plans but the view and hospitality from the fire lookout was worth the trip. Just trying to get a better understanding of what i should expect and when to use this feature.
 

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The most common place and time I see Xmode being a really important thing to have is Icy snowy down hill slip n slide streets. X mode does a bunch of things but probably the most important thing to know is xmode keeps tires rotating even when they are sliding giving you directional control and speed control when just braking will result in locked up skidding tires.
 

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Xmode remapps your throttle ie meaning it takes far more input to get more power. When your crawling on a trail jumpy . Touchy throttle is not good xmode deals with that. It sets up a 50/50 fixed power split front to back. It no doubt switches to a more aggressive traction hunting logic where tire spin is closely managed with brake action that is also used to push power across the open differentials to look for grip on the other corners etc.

Think of xmode as highly focused on traction be it either to move or while descending slick surfaces where you don’t want any tire to skid you want the tire to rotate at a set speed regardless of having zero traction at various moments the tires turn. Vs just using brakes you will skid tires adding to the uncontrolled slide that the car can enter vs having tires all turning at a set speed even if they slip some you still retain good control etc. sorta a complicated anti skid logic in a manner of speaking.
 

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And I think the max speed you can go is 25mph with X-Mode enabled and then if you go past that I believe it turns off
 
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The description I use is:

X-Mode is a remap of the engine, transmission, and drive train that will make your car operate well in a compromised traction condition at low speed. I've taken a car with X-Mode through 6" of thick Oklahoma mud, albeit not intentionally, and we have a steep dirt incline that the car can climb using X-Mode, and then using the Hill Descent portion of X-Mode, you can simply coast down the steep incline, with the car applying the brakes and monitoring things so gravity doesn't simply carry you away.

You're not going to use X-Mode when you're on dry pavement or simply going through some water on the road. You'll use X-Mode when you're driving down that muddy driveway where you normally always get stuck. You aren't going faster than 20 mph when climbing hills or on flat, muddy ground, with X-Mode on, or faster than 13 mph when coasting down a hill with Hill Descent Control engaged. It is still possible that you could high center the car and get stuck, but it's really tough.

I also typically play this old video to help with questions. XMode Subaru
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone. I get the use in snowy/muddy compromised driving. I live in Utah near access to the ski resorts - I get plenty of snow, ice and slush. Not much mud. Access to my house is uphill no matter how you go and watching others sliding on the hill close to my house provides winter entertainment from my corner lot. My Outback rarely had any issues and that was never using x-mode. But now I know if I'm in that type of situation, x-mode is my go to button.



I guess I'm still wondering if a steep grade with sharp and larger rocks was the right application for x-mode? The road was dry and dusty with sections of rocks. It was mostly passable straddling ruts and maneuvering around rocks but I needed to watch speed in certain areas while driving over some of the higher rocks. I had clearance but you never know when you'll bounce a little over some rocks or hit a dip on one side and end up scraping things. The road was steep and narrow with a drop off so you either went up all the way or backed down. Maybe there was no need of x-mode. Coming down this road, x-mode did do a much better job of controlling speed which I appreciated, it just braked quite jerkily which surprised me.



After leaving the rocky section, I tried downshifting with the paddles to help control my speed on the descent. Drop in elevation of over 3000' on a narrow winding dirt road. On paved roads, I typically use cruise to help control my downhill speed - it works great. But a winding dirt road was not the right application for cruise. I still need to understand when you use the manual paddles - what condition or sequence gets you back to "normal" automatic driving?


Thanks for trying to help me understand this!
 

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So X-MODE will be the equivalent of 4L on 4x4 trucks_?
Not quite an 'equivalent' but....similar application? It's not necessarily going to yank you up a steep hill/mound at idle like 4L will.

There is also a newer dual mode X-mode that adds a mode for deep mud/snow that allows for more wheel slippage (see 2019 Forester Sport)
 

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So X-MODE will be the equivalent of 4L on 4x4 trucks_?
similar in off road low speed use yes but so much more.
Yep, so much more that my beach off road trip felt like I was driving on a bumpy road instead of on ocean beach sand. I can't wait for some more adventures!
 

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Thanks everyone. I get the use in snowy/muddy compromised driving. I live in Utah near access to the ski resorts - I get plenty of snow, ice and slush. Not much mud. Access to my house is uphill no matter how you go and watching others sliding on the hill close to my house provides winter entertainment from my corner lot. My Outback rarely had any issues and that was never using x-mode. But now I know if I'm in that type of situation, x-mode is my go to button.



I guess I'm still wondering if a steep grade with sharp and larger rocks was the right application for x-mode? The road was dry and dusty with sections of rocks. It was mostly passable straddling ruts and maneuvering around rocks but I needed to watch speed in certain areas while driving over some of the higher rocks. I had clearance but you never know when you'll bounce a little over some rocks or hit a dip on one side and end up scraping things. The road was steep and narrow with a drop off so you either went up all the way or backed down. Maybe there was no need of x-mode. Coming down this road, x-mode did do a much better job of controlling speed which I appreciated, it just braked quite jerkily which surprised me.



After leaving the rocky section, I tried downshifting with the paddles to help control my speed on the descent. Drop in elevation of over 3000' on a narrow winding dirt road. On paved roads, I typically use cruise to help control my downhill speed - it works great. But a winding dirt road was not the right application for cruise. I still need to understand when you use the manual paddles - what condition or sequence gets you back to "normal" automatic driving?


Thanks for trying to help me understand this!
Xmode in your case would have made the throttle easier to manage less sensitive making it easier to work around,over through the rocky stuff. Xmode would also have been more effective on the down hill stuff under 25mph. Above 25mph paddle shifter ie gearing down is good. Long down hill runs I would stay away from cruise control given it cant anticipate things like stretchs of road you can carry more speed with less braking ie to cool brakes like say before an obvious climb or flatter section where you can brake with less effort etc. cruise control simply doesn’t have enough forward looking ability to weigh brake use vs heat anc chances to let brakes cool etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Xmode in your case would have made the throttle easier to manage less sensitive making it easier to work around,over through the rocky stuff. Xmode would also have been more effective on the down hill stuff under 25mph. Above 25mph paddle shifter ie gearing down is good. Long down hill runs I would stay away from cruise control given it cant anticipate things like stretchs of road you can carry more speed with less braking ie to cool brakes like say before an obvious climb or flatter section where you can brake with less effort etc. cruise control simply doesn’t have enough forward looking ability to weigh brake use vs heat anc chances to let brakes cool etc.

Thanks! Appreciate your input!
 

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Nothing beats turning off traction control in situations where you are stuck. In fact, the 19 Forester has a 2 step X-Mode step 2 being it automatically turns off TC when your really stuck
 

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As others have said X Mode is a really aggressive traction system that works through your ABS.

It makes the vehicle much more capable than it would be otherwise.

I even made a video recently testing X Mode on an Outback and then disabled it entirely.


As you can see the car is much more capable with the computers than without.
 

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As others have said X Mode is a really aggressive traction system that works through your ABS.

It makes the vehicle much more capable than it would be otherwise.

I even made a video recently testing X Mode on an Outback and then disabled it entirely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLEyk5Y9fPo

As you can see the car is much more capable with the computers than without.
Tough to get a feel from a video but the other side is that the AWD system is supposed to help overcome that and you need to let the wheel keep spinning to allow the differentials to lock and send power to the wheels not spinning (VDC). Or is the below outdated now (subaru at the end)?

 

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Tough to get a feel from a video but the other side is that the AWD system is supposed to help overcome that and you need to let the wheel keep spinning to allow the differentials to lock and send power to the wheels not spinning (VDC). Or is the below outdated now (subaru at the end)?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooQRxlChvMw
Hmmm that's an older video. I'm not sure X Mode is on those cars.

The simplest way I can think to describe it is the AWD system distributes power to the axles and the X Mode/VDC distributes it to the correct wheel as needed.

The video I put was really meant to show how much better X Mode is than no X Mode/Traction systems are. I always hear about people wanting to disable them as the computer just 'get in the way' but I feel that couldn't be further from the truth (unless you just want to hoon out which is cool too)

A more clear view of X Mode working is here:


The system brakes the wheel(s) that's in the air which causes the open differential to put power to the other wheel which results in the car moving forward. :grin:
 

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Right, so your hill video was basically too steep to to continue up with the current traction you had available. Not a limitation of the system/power but a limitation of the tires ability to physically grip?
 
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RalliTEK did a great vid as well, showing off X-Mode in the 2018 Outback. Yeah folks, with a little bit more aggressive tires and maybe a little lift, we can do this. :grin:

 

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Here's an explanation of the X-mode using a 2019 Forester, which is a bit more elaborate, but still helped me understand what this is for.
 

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When i purchased my Crosstrek in 2014 without X mode, the salesman instructed me to deactivate the vdc when going up a steep dirt road or if i happen to get stuck in the snow, is this correct? He stated that the vdc would apply the brakes to the wheels that were spinning making it more difficult to maintain momentum or even get momentum. Thanks, Brian.
 
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