Why you are WRONG about the CVT
I just had to go and make this one.
I just got one too many "Subaru is great but the CVT isn't" comments and have a bone to pick with these folk.
Most of the comments and posts here boil down to 3 things:
1. Bad Off Road
3. Doesn't feel good
1. "Bad Off Road" Is easy to disprove.
Go anywhere on the internet (or even my corner of it) and watch a CVT Subaru go off road.
Then compare it to the older 4/5EAT's.
The CVT in my experience is more capable because of the VDC systems that they get. I haven't seen a lot of people pushing the older VDC cars except maybe @scalman
2. "Unreliable." This one is a little harder to disprove but still pretty easy.
Go anywhere on the internet and look at the failure rate of the CVTs (Subaru has used 2, the 580 and the 690) and compare them to the failure rate of the older 4/5EATs.
I used the NHTSA website and found on average more reported issues with the older transmissions than with the CVTs. This isn't completely fair as there are more Gen 5's made than there are 1, 2, and 3's combined. But it is a good starting point.
I even had my reservations about the CVT in my XV that I owned for a short time. But after owning 3 of them and having no issues I don't think it's fair to call them unreliable.
Yes, the CVT has had issues. Yes, you can find reports of them needing replacement at 50k miles. But you can do that with 5EAT's too.
The 4EAT is only bulletproof if you choose to ignore the center diff binding, the parking pawl, slipping, hard shifting, duty solenoids failing, and the entirety of the SVX.
None of the transmissions Subaru use (4EAT, 5EAT, TR580, TR690) are bulletproof and it shouldn't be described as such. They're all good systems though.
3. "Feels bad, man" This one is going to be nearly impossible to disprove.
I can't offer much data here beyond my own thoughts:
All the automotive journalists tend to hate them and as such the CVT gets a bad rap.
Some people don't like the droning/motorboat feeling so Subaru added fake shifts in so now some people don't like the fake shifts. They can't win.
They get blamed for the car being slow and in my experience the CVT is slower than the 5EAT off the line (0-30) but 30-90 it can match a 5EAT.
So in my mind if it's speed you're after you shouldn't buy a CVT... Or an Automatic... Or an Outback... Or a Subaru if I'm honest. The fast ones aren't fast.
Not unless you think matching a stock minivan or stock Honda Accord is fast.
Do your own research. Think for yourself. Question authority. I'm just a guy wearing a raccoon for a hat.
But based on my own research it seems the CVT is unfairly hated on this forum and many other corners of the internet and hopefully this post helps change that.
I like my CVT on my 14. I read all the hate and I remember hearing the haters opinions when they first came out. I think they are as reliable as most any trans in any other vehicle out there. There is always a failure rate to any mechanical machine and I feel like Subaru did a nice job extending warranties and replacing problematic ones. I know Chevy's that had the 4l60E in the full size trucks failed like clockwork at 150-170k miles.
When I got my first OB (13) part of the decision was that it was quicker than others I tried -- with the base engine. But it's deceptive as the CVT doesn't give the tactile feedback of the engine revving up and shifting, just drones at constant RPM as the car catches up. I'd often check the speedometer to verify yes, it really is accelerating. ;-) And downshifts take longer as the engine winds up as the transmission slides down, so I needed to learn to get into the throttle sooner on corners.
But it's a tough car that gets my tools to the job site. It does what I got it for. When I got a new one, it was only to get eyesight. Other than that, I got the same car and the old one had no problems. If I wanted to pull a big trailer or rip off 12-sec quarter miles I would have bought something different.
@Brucey Thanks for this thread. I completely disagree with the CVT bashing that happens all the time. I have a 17 Outback. It was not purchased for speed or rock crawling. It was purchased for comfort, reliability, good on road handling and above average off road capabilities. It has delivered on all fronts for me. I am only 30k miles in, but no issues so far. My wife's 15 Forester is also trouble free at 60k miles.
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I don't like automatic transmissions in general.
Driving a car with MT forces the driver to be more involved with driving, and discourages antisocial behavior like composing text messages in traffic.
Instead of developing complicated and expensive to repair systems with unknown long-term reliability to make up for driver inattention, but actually encourage even more driver inattention, how about making changes that require the driver to pay more attention to what he's supposed to be doing: driving. I nominate abolishing automatic transmissions as the first step.
Bah! Humbug! And get off my lawn!!
So you want performance without shift points? https://www.koenigsegg.com/car/regera/
Driver Focus is coming. https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/new...river-fatigue/
More on topic. Love the CVT and the efficacy it gives. :) Definitely the way of the future. Though it would be nice to be able to turn off the fake shifts. :)
That's one of the reasons I went with the 3.6. The CVT rarely feels like a "rubber band", and under most driving conditions the RPMs remain below 2000-2500. Smooth, quiet and powerful. But I pay for that at the fuel pump. :)
I agree. My previous three cars had 8-speed ZF transmissions, which mated so well with their engines. So, I was prepared to be a bit disappointed with the CVT in my 2018 3.6. Not so. Yes, it’s a somewhat different feel, but works very well in an Outback I think, which is what it is. I like it.
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