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2015 XT-P
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639 Posts
But... It's there... Just slap the shifter over.
Sweet, nice to know it's possible to slap away the new Subaru's fake shift points and revert to a CVT with no fake shift points.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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3,236 Posts
No confusion on my part - but you may be? Just because in one post you mention not having "fake shift points" in a newer Forester and in another you do have fake shift points.... That may just be word choice....

In your 2015 Forester, you do NOT have fake shift points UNLESS you are really accelerating swiftly - like going over 3000 RPM. Then the CVT controller will "shift" to a different ratio. If you drive it under 3000 RPM, it will be one smooth long pull from stop to desired speed. But if you push harder on the go-juice pedal, you get shifts.

Why? It may be a bit of engineering thought to keep you from having an engine and CVT go into full throttle mode and only go to a more "normal" RPM cruising speed when you reach your desired speed. This was a common complaint for many when driving CVT equipped vehicles (outside of Subaru models). I know when I was shopping, I drove a Jeep Patriot and a Jeep Compass (both CVT equipped) and was .. shocked? annoyed? pissed off? by the way it worked. You put your foot down and the revs climb and climb (relatively quickly) to over 4000 RPM (the engine roaring all the way) until I hit 40 MPH (or whatever) and let off the gas pedal. Even moderate gas pedal pressure resulted in the engine racing to power peak and staying there.

The Subaru CVT only raced to power peak when I was really pushing the pedal ... and then it "shifted" to a different ratio to keep the engine in a better position for power and use.

I think it was in 2016 or 2017 when the programming of the CVT was changed and the fake shift points were added to the CVT - and the main reason was because people that were coming from a "regular" transmission (with gears and all) were thinking something was wrong with their Foresters (and probably Outback and Crosstrek models, too) because they were expecting shifts and didn't get them. Later models (SK generation, 2019 until now) kept that fake shifting.

The XT models used a different CVT and had different programming due to the higher torque output of the turbo motor. That CVT has differnet programming to allow for 6 or 8 (depending on S-Drive choice) shift points. I think (I'd have to go read the owner's guide again) that also putting the gear selector in "M" (manual) mode OR using the paddle shifters will turn on that 8 "speed" gear ratios.

But again, drive it at lower RPMs (under about 3K) and you shouldn't feel those shift points UNLESS you're in manual mode or in the S-Drive (S+ ?) mode or using shift paddles.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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260 Posts
I know when I was shopping, I drove a Jeep Patriot and a Jeep Compass (both CVT equipped) and was .. shocked? annoyed? pissed off? by the way it worked. You put your foot down and the revs climb and climb (relatively quickly) to over 4000 RPM (the engine roaring all the way) until I hit 40 MPH (or whatever) and let off the gas pedal. Even moderate gas pedal pressure resulted in the engine racing to power peak and staying there.

The Subaru CVT only raced to power peak when I was really pushing the pedal ... and then it "shifted" to a different ratio to keep the engine in a better position for power and use.
My mother has a 2007 Dodge Caliber, same basic platform as the Patriot and Compass. The CVT in that acts pretty much the same as the Subaru, but the throttle response is a bit more delayed. I refer to it as the rubber band throttle, becuause that's what it seems like: You press the throttle, and its like a rubber band is pulling the throttle plate open.

The poor E throttle response I think is the most annoying part of the car. Once the engine responds, the CVT works great, like a CVT should, no shift points, keeping the torque where it needs to be. I had to admit, I was impressed with the fuel mileage compared to other comparable cars when they first introduced it, for as much as the engine stays at higher than "normal" rpm.

After 190,000 miles, and 14 years, the engine and CVT are going to outlive everything else on the car. For the Caliber/Compass/Patriot CVT supposedly being a turd, hers has done pretty well. Can't say much about the rest of the car....
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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260 Posts
Just curious if the CVT fluid was ever changed?
No.

Just a little added, when the axle shafts had to be changed, we bought the "dipstick" that was basically a piece of cable with a spot marked on it to fill it to level. But it was maybe a quart or so that was used to top it off. That was years ago, so I don't recall exactly the amount.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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That's impressive for a Caliber. I use to drive those a lot when they were new and in airport rental car fleets.
 

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2005 2.5X 4EAT 2017 2.5i Prem CVT
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274 Posts
190K is quite an accomplishment for that fine piece of craftsmanship from Belvidere, IL (go Bucs!) I remember them as rentals too. Often they had no cruise control or CD player....and this was in 2008. Even Yarises and Versas in rental fleets had that stuff back then!
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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260 Posts
It is that car: The one you come to realize you never really liked, won't miss much, but the D*MN THING WON'T DIE! :LOL:
 

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2021 White Forester, Base Trim Level (CVT)
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124 Posts
I prefer a CVT if it works good, that being said, I just recently bought a 2021 Forester and find the following. When coming to a stop it will lock the torque converter and it gives a little jerk or whatever you want to call it. You can get the same action when at 40 or anywhere below when you let off or press on the gas pedal, instead of being smooth, it will give you that little jerk or whatever you want to call it. It happens in parking lots too and it can happen multiple times while driving through the parking lot or at lower speeds on back roads or neighborhoods and I hate it.

The car I traded for this one had a CVT and it did not do this so this is really noticeable to me. Subaru has had the CVT in the Forester a lot longer, since 2014 according to what I see and I don't know if the design does not allow for improving that or if it is beyond Subaru's ability or they just don't want to bother but it would be so much nicer if they could improve that. I am not sure if other people just don't notice it or it just does not bother them or if mine is worse than theirs or what but it makes me very unhappy and takes away from the ownership experience.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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260 Posts
Mine does not do any of that. It has more issues with the start stop than anything else. I suppose it's more because I only use enough brake pedal pressure to hold the vehicle and don't press it consistently hard enough. But it seems like sometimes it kills the engine before coming to a complete stop at times.
Shutting off auto stop solves this.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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For the Subaru CVT - it's been around since before the 2014 Forester (which I have) as it was in the Outback models for 2013 and maybe a year or two earlier. And I can't say I've had a lot of jerking or odd behavior when taking my foot off the gas or accelerating from a mid-speed (like 40 MPH). As CVTs are electronically and computer controlled, ther emay be times when traffic conditions will be different from what the computer "thinks" you're doing. The old Chrysler A604 transmission (called the Ultradrive, introduced in the early 90s as their first electronically controlled transaxle. When you'd be slowing down (for traffic or a light) and suddnely able to accelerate (light turns green, traffic moves, whatever) the transmission would jerk as it went from coasting in 4th/overdrive to engaging 1st or (more often) 2nd gear to accelerate away. The CVT has some similar actions depending on how you hit the gas pedal.

As to the Dodge Caliber - remember that it originally was a replacement for the soon to be discontinued PT Cruiser and Dodge Neon compacts. The CVT was from JATCO (same as many Nissans of the era). The original Compass/Patriot twins used that same transmission. When I test drove the Compass back then, it was very rubber-band, yes, but just seemed to peg the motor when I was accelerating.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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For the Subaru CVT - it's been around since before the 2014 Forester (which I have) as it was in the Outback models for 2013 and maybe a year or two earlier.
For those that remember the Subaru Justy from the late 1980's, it too had a CVT.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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260 Posts
For those that remember the Subaru Justy from the late 1980's, it too had a CVT.
I was thinking about those the other day.






Never had that issue with the A604, but then the ones I drove were made after they fixed the bulk of the problems with them. (41TE)
They still had issues in the bigger V6 cars (Dynasty) and some longevity issues when they downgraded it to the 40TE. The best ones were in the V6 Shadow/Sundance, and the later Caravans seemed to go past 200,000 miles.

At least that was my experience with them. IMHO they killed the reliability when they began varying the hydraulic line pressure with engine load to reduce power consumption. (Fuel economy)

I had a 3.0 5 speed Sundance and a co worker had a 3.0 4 speed ATX (41TE)

We put them side by side and hammered them. Neither car had an edge. It was an interesting experiment. The sad part was the ATX got 1 more MPG than the MTX.

By the time they put the 41TE in the neons, that was no longer the case. Whatever they did to them, if you wanted fuel economy and reasonable acceleration, you better get a 5 speed MTX.

But it early on demonstrated the potential that was lurking there, spelling doom for MT cars as CAFE became more important, and the masses didn't want to be bothered learning how to use that 3rd pedal.

Part of the reason I didn't complain too much about the Forester not having an MT option is with the CVT my wife can drive it if need be. My other cars I had/have, if something had happened, where I couldn't drive, we would be stuck, as she has no intention on learning to drive stick. And she grew up on a farm, driving tractors.
















With automatic transmissions... 😑
 

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2021, Forester Touring
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6 Posts
I prefer a CVT if it works good, that being said, I just recently bought a 2021 Forester and find the following. When coming to a stop it will lock the torque converter and it gives a little jerk or whatever you want to call it. You can get the same action when at 40 or anywhere below when you let off or press on the gas pedal, instead of being smooth, it will give you that little jerk or whatever you want to call it. It happens in parking lots too and it can happen multiple times while driving through the parking lot or at lower speeds on back roads or neighborhoods and I hate it.
My 2021 Forester has the same slight push at 15mph when slowing. I think it is a fuel cut off when coasting until the car slows to 15mph. If you watch the instant mpg numeric display, the mpg goes from 99MPG down to ~30mpg suddenly as you slow down to 15mph. My old 07 Camry Hybrid did the same thing when slowing to ~7mph, only with a more pronounced surge!

The jerking action around 35-40mph when backing off the gas and gently resuming is more annoying to me. It prompted me to see how smooth the rpms climb in Park. I find the car can't idle at 1500rpm in park. As I slowly press the gas, the rpms smoothly go from 700 to 1100, and jump to 2000rpm. Slowly easing off the gas, it drops abruptly from 2000 to 1100rpm. I think that is causing the jerking around 40mph.

A friend with a 2021 Crosstrek Sport with the 2.5 engine says his car does the same thing. Can't hold 1500rpm in park. That is really wierd accelerator pedal mapping. Is this common in the newer Foresters?
 

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2013/14 2.5i-L CVT
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My 2021 Forester has the same slight push at 15mph when slowing. I think it is a fuel cut off when coasting until the car slows to 15mph. If you watch the instant mpg numeric display, the mpg goes from 99MPG down to ~30mpg suddenly as you slow down to 15mph.
It is because the torque converter unlocks at ~15mph/24kph. With it locked the engine revs are being maintained by the locked powertrain, but as soon as it unlocks this is no longer the case so the ECU has to switch the injectors back on to maintain engine idle.
 

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The original Compass/Patriot twins used that same transmission. When I test drove the Compass back then, it was very rubber-band, yes, but just seemed to peg the motor when I was accelerating.
I had the displeasure of driving a rental Jeep Patriot for over a week when we were still doing our 120 mile (round trip) commute and the CVT in that thing was absolutely horrible. Her 2008 Forester was getting the HGs replaced along with the timing belt, etc.

I will say this...... The drivetrain in that Patriot was nowhere near comparable to my wife's CVT in her 2020 Forester IMO / IME. To be honest, I really don't even notice the behavior of it much when we've taken long trips, driving around town, etc. which is a good thing in my book. In the Patriot, it was the complete opposite as every drive was a constant reminder of just how bad it was. Rubber-banding, engine revving all the time, etc.

I can't speak for past iterations of the CVT in Subaru, but the one in my wife's 2020 feels quite refined and without all the drama when merging, passing, etc.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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Yes, the CVT was also available in the small Justy sub-compact back in the 90s and continued in the JDM for many years after being pulled from the US.... Subaru brought the CVT back to the US with the 5th gen Legacy/Outback in 2010 and on the JDM Exiga models.

It is a solid and reliable unit for sure.

To touch on the viability of a MT vs AT - remember that Porsche had nearly stopped using a manual transmission with the advent and availability of their excellent PDK transmission that - much as Black21 noted with his Shadow/Sundance comparison - was as fast (and often faster) than the manual models. Yes, I get that some feel that they can only "connect" with their vehicle with a manual transmission, but as Black21 also pointed out - there are many out here that do not/can not/will not drive a manual transmission and if you only have a manual, you're quite possibly stuck.
 

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2021 Forester Limited
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260 Posts
Having driven my wife's '17 Forester, I was impressed how responsive it is, and I hate to admit it, but it at least seemed faster than my 2010 MT Impreza Outback Sport. The Impreza is a 2.5 but 8 to 10 hp less. Not sure on torque. And her Forester got better fuel mileage.

Now, the '17 and the 21 are two different animals. Her '17 seems less refined, the throttle/CVT is a lot more responsive to input. You have to be more conservative on throttle input to maintain a smooth take off. Otherwise it will chirp the tires if you get a bit throttle heavy. Even driving around town at speeds under 40 MPH, it is a bit jumpy.

The '21 seems to be less jumpy, but still puts down the power, just in a smoother fashion. It could also be partially due to the difference between port injection, and direct injection.
 
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