Why you are WRONG about the CVT - Page 10 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #91 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 08:27 AM
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Excellent Brucey!!!!

Originally Posted by live311 View Post
There's something to be said for appliance cars. Most new cars today are appliances. By "appliance," I mean when it's working, you barely notice it's there. Like a furnace, refrigerator, or toaster. People who complain about the CVT simply don't like appliance cars that have things like CVTs, electric power steering, or infotainment. They like noisy, mechanical drivetrains with old school stereos and hydraulic power steering with lots of feedback to remind them that they're driving a complicated machine. They learn every little nuance in every sound, twitch, and rattle and develop an emotional connection to the car because of it. That's what they're used to, so anything different is distracting and unfamiliar, therefore automatically bad. If you don't like appliance cars, good luck keeping your 2002 Honda Accord on the road (assuming you don't blow the transmission).

I love my Outback with its CVT, cushy driver aids, and flashy gadgets. It gets me to my destination safely and comfortably.
Here's a little:

I like my VDC. I like the CVTs. The whole purpose behind the CVT is to maintain power and torque output for a smooth gear ratio transition during acceleration, whether it's a calm drive or spirited. This does a number of things that is beneficial to the car as a whole, as well as to the owner. Since the CVT does not allow for drastic rpm changes, the torque stays constant which reduces wear on the engine and drivetrain. Not just the engine and transmission, but also the axles, suspension, wheel bearings. bushings, differentials and body. The automatics that allow for torque changes put stress on every part of the car and over time this contributes to wear. Since the CVT is gradual ratio changes, this reduces stress on the car.

Fuel efficiency combined with torque transfer is another plus for the CVT. Since the torque band is constant, fueling the car is constant rather than sporadic based on your foot and the shifting of the gears. Every time the auto shifts, the fuel load changes because the engine torque demand changes. This includes conservative driving because you still have the up/down rpm and load equations.

It's been my personal experience that other than software glitches that come up after a redesign, the CVT has been reliable in all of Subaru's lineup. Where I've seen break downs in the mechanical operation of the CVT, it's been related to poor electrical source (the battery), lack of maintenance, ignoring signs of potential issues, or abuse. You can't treat a car like an appliance. Unlike your refrigerator that doesn't need constant attention, your car is your lifeline and requires constant awareness and care. When you buy a new refrigerator, you plug it in and load it and visit it occasionally. You spend more time with your car than the refrigerator, I'm sure. A refrigerator will need to be cleaned once in a while, while your car needs gas, oil, tires, brakes, belts, AC service, cleaning, waxing, a rear spoiler, new wheels, a front lip, new lights. I digress.

Some people like to find things to complain about. Other people look for and live for the opposite; they find solutions and learn from what goes on around them. I agree with Brucey and others. New and different can be scary and takes getting used to. If you don't like it, change it to something you think you will. Then you have a new series of things to find wrong instead of seeing what's right with it.

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post #92 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Mtn_Biker View Post
My 2014 runs great and is smooth but I just can't get over the rpm thing. Once I'm up to speed, if I have to accelerate, it's fantastic but take off stinks.

I've not driven an older Outback, but your experience is opposite mine driving 2018 4cyl rental/loaners. They jump off the line surprisingly well but then don't have much to offer above ~35mph.

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post #93 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Red Suburu View Post
Hmmmm...from what I'm seeing real world from folks who post here the CVT may have a whopping 1 MPG advantage over a 5 EAT in a 3.6.

I guess my biggest concern for a CVT is long term ownership and if it fails out of warranty. I would suspect you could replace 2 5 EAT's for the cost of 1 CVT.

Yeap, I'm one of the naysayers against the CVT. That's why I bought a used 3 year old Outback for around $5,000 less than I could have bought a new similarly equipped Outback. In all of my years it is the only brand I have or would do that with. It was the same senario on my last purchase, a VW TDI Sportwagon...same type numbers from used to new and I bought new!
So this is fun.

Yes and no you can't replace two 5EAT's for one CVT.

I ran a search on car-part and came up with these numbers:

3.6 CVT 800 Low 1650 High

3.6 5AT 127 Low 1800 High

2.5 CVT 450 Low 1900 High

2.5 4AT 150 Low 1500 High

So the range does get lower for the ATs but it's virtually the same on the high end. Take your pick of what data you want to use there.

Knowing I can find a used trans for $800 bucks for mine makes me feel pretty ok with the "trans went out now the car is worthless" horror scares.

There is also lots of documented repairs of the CVTs. Here is a good one. https://akppro.com/en/archive/articl...artronic-tr690

As far as MPG it seems like more of a 2 MPG jump based on EPA ratings.

Again, you're free to dislike it. I've shown CVTs running for nearly 300k without issue.

I do think it's a good idea to get the fluid changed out instead of 'lifetime fluid' as Subaru suggests.
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post #94 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 10:36 AM
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Haven't been here in a while but it was brave of Brucey to bring up this topic.

Before buying the OB I researched the CVT and if you are going to go with a CVT the Subaru in my opinion had the better idea.

After much thought I think my 15 OB was a lemon. Doing the same drive routine, my 2016 Volvo V60 Premium is getting 99% of the same daily MPG as the OB CVT and cruising on the highway the V60 gets 32 MPG. I'd probably get better MPG if I didn't kick in the turbo as often. I probably take a hit using those low profile wide tires but they are fun to corner with. But now I don't have any herky jerky, ever, never and being back in a turbo is fun. All the stuff I complained about my OB was true and now....well I have nothing to complain about. No seat issues, no gas filler issues, sticking lift gate, no HU issues, etc. No loud roar of the engine. There were far too many issues for me in my OB and it gave me a bad reputation.

I took a $5000 hit trading in a car I owned for less than a year and the sticker on the windo was the same price as the OB. This CPO warranty covers software updates and it is bumper to bumper. I didn't buy the upgraded warranty. I am quiet and happy. It isn't my nature to be a complainer unless there are issues to complain about.

So I have yet to drive a OB CVT in the bigger engine. From what I read it makes a difference and someday I'll check one out.

I've always said the OB Limited had a nice trim package and was hard to beat. The little things all added up to the trim value. Things like the sunglasses holder, the little cubby hole with a door in the dash below the radio, the 12 volt plug located in the cargo area, fog lights and others I am sure to have forgotten to add.

We do laugh at the nav robot saying please turn or please make a u-turn, please, please, please. So freak'in polite for a robot.

Recently I rode 100 miles (95 % highway) in my friends new Camry 8 speed. There were times that even as a passenger I could feel that the trans seems lost, not knowing to up-shift or downshift. But the thing did get 37 MPG on that little excursion.

Many modern cars with a CVT or without one are getting much better MPG than before.
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post #95 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 10:55 AM
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Honestly I love the tuning in my 2019 Forester CVT. They got this one right. It's much more peppy than the one in my 2011 Outback. The fake shift points don't really happen for me unless I'm merging onto a highway, so I think they're linked to heavy acceleration. For me, I usually keep the tach below 2000 for increased fuel economy under normal driving. No sense in me gunning it towards a red light 500 feet away.
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post #96 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilot1226 View Post
. . . No sense in me gunning it towards a red light 500 feet away.

Agree. Amazing how many people do that, no matter what they drive.

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post #97 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:14 AM
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If you had asked me a year ago what car I wanted, I literally had the paperwork in front of me ready to buy a 2018 Legacy 3.6R Limited. I decided not to because the only time in my 2011 Outback 2.5i that I noticed lackluster acceleration was when I had a full car of adults and was merging on a highway. We are talking less than 10 times a year. Maybe even fewer than that! While I prefer to be the driver when I travel, my wife's car is a third-row SUV which has become our vacation car. It's certainly not my favorite to drive, but it's basically assumed the role of "people mover" for us in that situation. If we had a circumstance where I was moving 5 adults, we'd just take her car out of simplicity.

So, for me, I decided eventually not to sacrifice 6-10 mpg since I'm primarily a city driver. I just don't need the power. Don't get me wrong, the 3.6 is an outstanding engine, but for my personal situation it would be like using a sledgehammer to drive in a roofing nail. I just don't need that big of a "tool" in the toolbox. Towing? Regularly transporting 1000 pounds worth of passengers? Regularly driving in mountainous areas where you want to maintain your speed up an incline? 3.6, absolutely.

Same thing with the 2.4 DIT... It gets about 5-8 mpg more than the 2014 Subaru Tribeca with the 3.6R engine. I think this will be roughly the same when they offer details about the 2020 Outback with and without the turbo engine for comparison. Is 8 * 15 gallon tank = 120 miles of range every single tank worth it for you? Only you can make that decision... and you're not wrong with whatever reason you pick. Some people have their car be an extension of themselves, and they want a spirited driving experience. Some people view their car as an appliance that gets them simply from point A to point B. Some people are a mashup of the two. And again, you're all not wrong. Just make an educated decision that works best for your specific situation!

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post #98 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by gls View Post
What's annoying is the lack of service info on the CVT. Subaru says that the fluid is 'lifetime', except under severe conditions, which are pretty vague. 'Winter driving' is one. Last place I checked with no winter in the US was Hawaii, and maybe San Diego, and maybe Key West.
Winter driving is not defined as severe service as it relates to the CVT. If you look carefully, you'll see that there's just a single condition that necessitates fluid changes on the Gen 5 CVTs (at a ~30k mile interval): "repeated trailer towing".

That said, despite all I've read about dealers refusing to touch it, I've warmed up to the idea of fluid changes. My indy Subaru shop is now recommending a 60-90k interval on the 3.6R's HTCVT. That's right in line with a 50k UOA posted in the Forester forum from a guy with an XT (same CVT). After comparing the fresh and used fluid, Blackstone suggested he try a 75k interval.
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post #99 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:18 AM
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I have 2012 2.5 with 155,000 on it and have never had a problem with the CVT.
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post #100 of 154 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 11:20 AM
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Only thing that bothers me about the CVT is that it always runs in a shear condition rather than compression/tension like in a geared trans, but that's just me. I guess I'd rather climb a ladder than a fireman's pole...

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