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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
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Typical journalist talk. They all HATE CVTs, there is no way around it, However, the average owner won't mind it at all because it'll get the job done. CVTs will never make a journalist smile because it takes away the driving "experience" as they always claim.

If CVTs were explained properly to the consumer I believe there would be a positive experience among consumers. BUT Nissan kind of screwed that up when they started to launch their CVTs to the mass market and it was poorly done. This is why the negative experience will stick with people. Also, people don't like change...
 

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234 Posts
A petty positive review, albeit with the mandatory reviewer grousing about the CVT.
I agree, it was pretty positive. I had watched their Outback vs Alltrack review recently and it was the same complaints about that CVT, too.
 

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Prefers non-orange cars
'18 and '19 Crosstrek Limiteds
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10,754 Posts
After decades of reading auto journalists' articles I just smile and move on. Think about it, does one become an auto journalist to write about how well a CVT was implemented? Or do they aspire to be Jeremy Clarkson? 😸
 

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2021 Crosstrek Limited, Pure Red
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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, the CVT bashing really gets old. It's just a car-snob stereotype, and with a good modern CVT the criticisms really aren't even accurate. It's just an easy trope that lazy car reviewers and commenters know will strike a chord.

I watched a Sport review a few weeks ago with a guy who started the review preemptively bitching about the horribly underpowered Crosstrek 2.0 and the lousy CVT ... but then it turned out that he'd never actually driven the 2.0, and that he admitted that the Sport actually drove pretty darn well, transmission included. Pretty typical ...
 

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2020 Premium 6MT
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I'm glad you guys like your CVT's, I really do. However, there are people (like me) who agree with the reviewers who dislike them. At 59, I've driven all kinds of vehicles and I just can't bring myself to enjoy driving a CVT. I understand their strong points of always being at the correct RPM and achieving good gas mileage but, at least for me, it comes at a cost and that cost is its sound, feel and performance. My two other cars are a 2005 Xterra and a 2018 Challenger SRT 392. Those automatics feel and sound great. Of course, it's just my opinion. I respect your love of your CVT's so I hope you'll respect my love of traditional transmissions.

I'm one of those closet Subaru people hoping and hoping they'll go back to a regular transmission. I know they probably never will but a man can hope! I'm enjoying my 6MT but I'll have some serious decisions to make if and when I want another Crosstrek because we all pretty much know there won't be a 6MT in the next generation.

I do have a question for you, though. If Subaru actually made two identical Crosstreks with the only difference being a CVT versus a traditional automatic (not DCT or anything fancy but a good, solid standard automatic transmission), which would you buy? 🤔
 

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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
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I'm glad you guys like your CVT's, I really do. However, there are people (like me) who agree with the reviewers who dislike them. At 59, I've driven all kinds of vehicles and I just can't bring myself to enjoy driving a CVT. I understand their strong points of always being at the correct RPM and achieving good gas mileage but, at least for me, it comes at a cost and that cost is its sound, feel and performance. My two other cars are a 2005 Xterra and a 2018 Challenger SRT 392. Those automatics feel and sound great. Of course, it's just my opinion. I respect your love of your CVT's so I hope you'll respect my love of traditional transmissions.

I'm one of those closet Subaru people hoping and hoping they'll go back to a regular transmission. I know they probably never will but a man can hope! I'm enjoying my 6MT but I'll have some serious decisions to make if and when I want another Crosstrek because we all pretty much know there won't be a 6MT in the next generation.

I do have a question for you, though. If Subaru actually made two identical Crosstreks with the only difference being a CVT versus a traditional automatic (not DCT or anything fancy but a good, solid standard automatic transmission), which would you buy? 🤔
It could happen in the near future. Nissan is putting a tradition auto in the new Pathfinder! I don’t mind CVTs, they get the job done, and the newer ones are a lot better than the first generation CVTs. I think if you give them a few more years they’ll be able to find a way to make you feel more “connected” when driving. I know Subaru had a few issues with the CVT in the Ascent recently, so it makes me wonder if they’ll stick a traditional auto in that vehicle? They should ask Toyota for help with that.

Also, I would buy a Crosstrek with a traditional auto if they offered one! That’s just me though. I’ve owned two cars with a CVT and I would consider buying a traditional auto when I go purchase a new vehicle. Nothing against Subaru or CVTs, just want to change it up.
 

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Vancouver, BC, CGK 2018 Ltd EyeSight
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I would buy a CVT every time. Traditional auto trannies are not as smooth, and a way less efficient.
 

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Vancouver, BC, CGK 2018 Ltd EyeSight
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Depends who makes them.
That's true. Nissan made some terrible ones a few years back, which hurt their reputation. Prior to my Crosstrek, had a Toyota CVT for 5 years, and it also was great. But the current Subaru one is even better.
 

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That's true. Nissan made some terrible ones a few years back, which hurt their reputation. Prior to my Crosstrek, had a Toyota CVT for 5 years, and it also was great. But the current Subaru one is even better.
I agree.
 

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Needs a Butch car
2020 Crosstrek Premium
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I do have a question for you, though. If Subaru actually made two identical Crosstreks with the only difference being a CVT versus a traditional automatic (not DCT or anything fancy but a good, solid standard automatic transmission), which would you buy? 🤔
CVT or MT, I hate a slush box. For me, it's the worst of both worlds. A CVT isn't fun or super responsive, it's efficient and has infinite gears. For my DD that I also camp with, it's perfect. If those were the only choices, I'd probably have bought the 6MT. My last car had it and it's a good Subaru tranny.

This is all opinion of course. I'm not sure I've heard of someone who like planetary automatics before.

I'd like to see a good 8 speed DCT for the STI, but I'm sure that'll never happen. If I do end up buying a fun DD in a few years, as is my current tentative plan, I'm really not sure what tranny I'll want. I dislike the current BRZ's 6AT, but I don't see a much better option in the segment. Right now I don't think I'd want to DD another MT if there's a good auto option. The Mustang v8 looks good on paper, but the handling is very blah.
 

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2019 Subaru Crosstrek Limited
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CVT or MT, I hate a slush box. For me, it's the worst of both worlds. A CVT isn't fun or super responsive, it's efficient and has infinite gears. For my DD that I also camp with, it's perfect. If those were the only choices, I'd probably have bought the 6MT. My last car had it and it's a good Subaru tranny.

This is all opinion of course. I'm not sure I've heard of someone who like planetary automatics before.

I'd like to see a good 8 speed DCT for the STI, but I'm sure that'll never happen. If I do end up buying a fun DD in a few years, as is my current tentative plan, I'm really not sure what tranny I'll want. I dislike the current BRZ's 6AT, but I don't see a much better option in the segment. Right now I don't think I'd want to DD another MT if there's a good auto option. The Mustang v8 looks good on paper, but the handling is very blah.
When in doubt, Miata is the answer!
 

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Administrator
2021 Crosstrek Limited, Pure Red
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Discussion Starter #14
Given the choice between a conventional automatic transmission and the current Subaru CVT, I'd happily stick with the CVT. As long as I get to keep the paddle shifters. :)

There's a giant elephant in the room, though, that still gets ignored by most of the discussion on this subject. In a decade or so, give or take a few years, the IC engine is going to be rapidly disappearing from the automotive landscape, and the whole concept of the automotive transmission is going to get a serious revamp. There are likely to be a few cars that will still have transmission systems vaguely resembling automatics, CVTs, and maybe even manuals, but the whole feel and experience will be way different. Realistically, all of the currently marketed automotive transmissions are doomed, and fairly quickly.

One thing's for sure, though: if this forum is still around then, there will almost for sure be a few cranky traditionalists here wishing that Subaru would bring back that great CVT that they offered back in the 2020s. ;)
 

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This is all opinion of course. I'm not sure I've heard of someone who like planetary automatics before.
Would you classify the ZF 8-speed as a planetary automatic? From their website:
  • New gear set design: four planetary gear sets and only five shift elements minimize the drag loss and increase the transmission efficiency.
That's what I have in my SRT 392 and I love it. If you get a chance, try to drive a vehicle with one.
 

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I really do feel bad for all you CVT people... we have been getting consistent snow in my area for the past couple weeks, and I’ve had a good share of fun in my 5spd cross trek. I’ve learned the secret of using the clutch to get a nice slide going, (and keep it going!) and now I can’t imagine trying to drift around without it!!

Anyways, I’m also one of those people who doesn’t appreciate CVTs at all. I like the feeling of driving my car, and I only get that through a manual. Having to shift gears also helps me stay focused on driving, especially for long distances or when I’m tired. Coming from an auto shop, I can tell you that most tranny problems that came through were CVT issues. Saw many cars that would make it to 100k miles, CVT would go out, and then it was done.
However... the good news is that this was not a Toyota/Subaru thing. Mostly saw this with Nissans, Honda’s, etc. But because of this, I just cant get myself to think of a CVT as a good thing, after seeing so many of them let people down.
 

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I really do feel bad for all you CVT people... we have been getting consistent snow in my area for the past couple weeks, and I’ve had a good share of fun in my 5spd cross trek. I’ve learned the secret of using the clutch to get a nice slide going, (and keep it going!) and now I can’t imagine trying to drift around without it!!

Anyways, I’m also one of those people who doesn’t appreciate CVTs at all. I like the feeling of driving my car, and I only get that through a manual. Having to shift gears also helps me stay focused on driving, especially for long distances or when I’m tired. Coming from an auto shop, I can tell you that most tranny problems that came through were CVT issues. Saw many cars that would make it to 100k miles, CVT would go out, and then it was done.
However... the good news is that this was not a Toyota/Subaru thing. Mostly saw this with Nissans, Honda’s, etc. But because of this, I just cant get myself to think of a CVT as a good thing, after seeing so many of them let people down.
As long as you replace the fluid in the CVT you should be okay. The problem is consumer believe in that “life time” fluid none sense and it ends up bitting them in the rear end down the road. If you believe in “life time” fluid(s) you are seriously mistaken because there is no such thing.

Also, if you want to do donuts/power slide in a Crosstrek with a CVT, (2018+) just turn off traction control and turn on X-mode. Donuts will be so easy! As Jeremiah Clarkson would say, “speed & power!” That’s all you need to power slide, LOL!
 
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