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2013 Outback 2.5i Premium
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought a 2013 2.5i Premium Outback 10 days ago, my first Subaru. As of this morning 575 miles on the odometer and I've noticed a couple of things. First, is the time that it takes to shift (in automatic) from Reverse to Drive. Is it normal that it takes a second or two?? Second, I've noticed that it seems to 'hesitate' while shifting from what I assume is from 1st to 2nd gear as I'm accelerating from a stop. Is this Normal?? Could it be that the engine is not broken in yet?? Should I give the dealer a call??
 

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2021 MGM Outback 2.5i Premium with Tungsten Grey seats
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2,865 Posts
For the first question, my 2011 seems to be the same way.

For the second, you have no "gears". You have the CVT, essentially a belt on 2 pulleys (simplified, look at the videos on subaru.com) allowing for infinite ratios. During normal driving there are no preset "gears", the drive ratio in the transmission is based on throttle input and speed. What you're likely feeling is torque converter (TC) lockup and it's normal.

Here's the transmission page on Subaru where they have videos showing the operation of the CVT in your vehicle. Subaru Transmission | Automatic & Manual Continuous Variable Transmission
 

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2019 2.5i Touring (Wilderness Green)
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376 Posts
The hesistation when switching from reverse to drive appears to be normal. Other threads have covered this quite a bit. My own thoughts on this are that it is likely backlash in the part of the drivetrain that reverses the power from the engine when switching between forward and reverse. The 2nd gen CVT is supposed to be lighter and smaller, so it wouldn't surprise me that backlash might be creeping into the design.

The low speed effect you mention has been described as a "lurch" by others on the forum. It's another thing a lot of folks on the 2013 have noticed, including myself. The CVT doesn't actually shift from "1st to 2nd" as there is no first and second when it is in Drive. It is something about how it changes ratios at low speeds, but nobody has a really good idea on what causes it. It's probably in the programming, but it's hard to know for sure. (EDIT: hallux may be right here too)

That said, I only notice the lurch effect when trying to hold low speeds (<15 mph) and my foot is constantly tweaking the speed. When accelerating, I don't really notice it. So while it sounds like the lurch effect, it may be different.
 

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2013 & 2014 Outback
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275 Posts
Both our 2011 and 2013 OB do the same thing. The 2013 is a bit faster. I'm thinking its the hydraulic fluid shifting from one set of ports to another. If it is the hydraulics shifting i would think that normal. Notice how the time to shift is quicker when the transmission is warm vs when its cold.
 

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2013 Limited w/EyeSight
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352 Posts
The time between directions seems perfectly normal to me because my CVT is a break from 38 years of a manual transmission. My wife's Toyota auto is indeed a bit different.

At 6 weeks of ownership the behavior that seemed like a lurch isn't something I notice. I've learned to drive or optimize the the CVT in same way I do with any other type of machine.

That change or optimization for this car is to let it get up to speed quickly and back off or use the paddles in manual mode.

Finally, if honest, I know every car or truck I've had over decades has or had it's own quirks and characteristics so with more time I think I just know what my new car is like.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i All-Weather+Moonroof Venetian Red Pearl W/ Ivory Coth
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571 Posts
Normal for the CVT in the 2013 and from what I have heard 2010-2012's. This was one of my first questions on here as well when we purchased ours. You get used to it
 

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2013 outback SAP
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84 Posts
Both are normal, at least to my 2013.

I notice the "lurch" or hesitation only when the vehicle is cold, or when I change throttle input too much and it gets confused. It seems to me as a protective mechanism. When it is cold if I only give small inputs in seems to reduce this effect. When warmed up it decreases dramatically.
 

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Settle down and enjoy your car. Everything is normal - don't read too much into the nitwits that post about every little thing that they think is wrong with their Outback. Enjoy your new car and relax - there will always be people that are not satisfied with anything no matter what. Life is too short to worry about if you car takes a second to switch from reverse to forward.
 

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2011 Outback Premium CVT, AWP, Steel Silver
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Settle down and enjoy your car. Everything is normal - don't read too much into the nitwits that post about every little thing that they think is wrong with their Outback. Enjoy your new car and relax - there will always be people that are not satisfied with anything no matter what. Life is too short to worry about if you car takes a second to switch from reverse to forward.
Big +1.

I like this website and it's been a great resource but it can certainly make you paranoid.
 

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2012 Outback premium 2.5 CVT
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The "lurch" some feel when accelerating from a standstill is the torque converter locking. It feels like a normal trans shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. The CVT runs with a locked up TC most of the time except below around 5 mph. The unlocked TC causes an effective ratio reduction which makes it feel like your are in first gear which CVT wise you are but the CVT remains in it's lowest ratio even after the apparent "shift". Sometimes when a low speed heavy load is applied the TC can be slow to unlock and cause some strange noises from the trans area, a bit more throttle will force the TC to unlock and give you the "granny" gear. The above behaviour is one of the reasons the Outback gets good mileage - slipping TC's are inefficient.
 

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2012 Outback 2.5 CVT premium with sunroof
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120 Posts
I keep seeing posts on this, but I haven't noticed anything unusual on mine so I make a point of checking this morning when I backed out of my driveway. I don't notice any hesitation at all going from reverse to drive on mine.
 

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I have 2013 Outback with less than 1000 miles on it and have noticed that it does the hesitation from reverse to drive also Hopefully it's nothing but will ask my dealer on first check up also I have a flappy annoying noise under the left front not sure if its the wind under the front bumper or what
 

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2013 2.5i Limited w/ EyeSight
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... also I have a flappy annoying noise under the left front not sure if its the wind under the front bumper or what
I have that also on worn chipseal or slightly rough roads. I have not been able to figure out what is causing it.
 

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2013 OB 3.6R Limited W/Eyesight
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Bought a 2013 2.5i Premium Outback 10 days ago, my first Subaru. As of this morning 575 miles on the odometer and I've noticed a couple of things. First, is the time that it takes to shift (in automatic) from Reverse to Drive. Is it normal that it takes a second or two?? Second, I've noticed that it seems to 'hesitate' while shifting from what I assume is from 1st to 2nd gear as I'm accelerating from a stop. Is this Normal?? Could it be that the engine is not broken in yet?? Should I give the dealer a call??
Many folks refer to the 2.5 tranny lurching or downshifting/upshifting roughly. However, my 2013 3.6R also hesitates slightly when shifting from reverse to drive (about 2 seconds or so). The "forward lurching" is also occurring more often at low speeds (from 2nd to 1st gear). It's also referred to as...."shift shock". Many 2011/12 OB's had this issue and required a re-flashing of the computer control module. I spoke to the service manager at the dealership during my first service a couple of weeks ago and he acknowledged that there was an issue in the past with "shift shock" and didn't dismiss the possibility that 2013 OB's were built using the problematic software. Of course when the technician test drove my car it worked perfectly so I'm now waiting for it to become more severe in order for the dealership tech to be able to duplicate the problem. If it gets worse definitely take it in. On that note.....there are forum members who would tell you to stop complaining about little quirks and live with it, my response is....."when you drop $36,000.00 on a car you BETTER BELIEVE I'm going to complain!!" Especially when it comes to tranny issues. Good luck.
 
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