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2016 Forester 2.5i 6mt
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so I’m really thinking about buying a Fozzy I guess as you say, I want to know how the cvt transmissions do in your experience and longevity looking at buying a 2012 or newer Forester with less than 100,000 miles
 

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2016 Forester
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So far so good, there are individual failures here and there reported on forum, mostly on 14 models, but nothing wide spread. All of them got warranty extended to 10 year/100000 miles.

Driving wise it's the best non-manual transmission for a daily driver I've ever experienced, super smooth, decent on gas, and hauls *** when demanded (on XT model).
 

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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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The only statistical data on reliability available to the public comes from Consumer Reports' annual surveys, which shows Forester transmissions (90% CVT) to have been far above average during the entire generation of 2014-2018 models.

Some auto enthusiasts seem loathe the very existence of CVTs, with a hatred so pure that they seem unable to resist every opportunity to express it. You'll be hearing from some of them shortly, I imagine.

The CVT in our 2015, unencumbered with paddle shifters or simulated shift points, has been a pure pleasure to drive in our normal fairly unaggressive and relaxed style. It's smooth, it's quiet, it never draws attention to itself, and it always tells the engine to deliver the requested power immediately and precisely. It's only quirk is a momentary delay when shifting from R into D, so you want to avoid making K-turns in the middle of traffic.

As noted, the factory warranty on (I believe) 2014 and newer Forester transmissions has been extended to 100,000 miles/10 years, which is transferable to new owners. This seems, IMO, to have been more of a counter-hater move than a response to any specific uptick in failures.
 

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Love the CVT transmission. Do not miss the upshift/downshift of conventional transmissions and all of the revs that it entails. So much smoother going uphill and more efficient. No problems with my 2015 and 2019 Foresters with CVTs. Someone said that technically a CVT has an almost infinite number of gear ratios vs 8 or 10 speed conventional transmissions. Also less parts to wear out. My Polaris RZR ATV is an automatic without gears. It is belt driven and possibly considered a CVT transmission. No problems with it either.
 

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2015 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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Welcome, @Jetmech99 !

My car is a manual, but I will say that when I do drive my wife's Forester, I really like the CVT, esp. driving in an urban area. I was sorry to hear that they now have "shift points."

No CVT problems after about 4.5-years and about 40K-miles.

It's only quirk is a momentary delay when shifting from R into D, so you want to avoid making K-turns in the middle of traffic.
^^^This!! I don't think I'll never get used to that delay.

Mike
 

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2014 Forester XT Touring CVT
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2014 Subaru Forester XT

Just under 75,000 miles no problems ever with the transmission.
 

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Sahuarita, AZ 2018 Forester Limited
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Okay so I’m really thinking about buying a Fozzy I guess as you say, I want to know how the cvt transmissions do in your experience and longevity looking at buying a 2012 or newer Forester with less than 100,000 miles
The 2012 & 2013 Foresters do not have the CVT. They have the 4-speed automatic (or manual tranny).

I only have 17k miles on my 2018 and I am very impressed with the fuel economy and smoothness of the CVT. I really like the fact that the CVT doesn't hunt gears on hills and can maintain speed on mountain inclines. It has been flawless as designed. My only complaint is the slight delay when shifting from D-to-R and R-to-D which is normal for this CVT. My guess is that the delay protects the CVT in some way.
 

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2014 Forester CVT
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I have a 2014 Forester. I bought it brand new. I have 485,000km on it. As you might have read, some people have had a lag with acceleration when going from slowing down to accelerating quickly. For instance, going on the highway where the speed is about 80km, a light is red up ahead so you are slowing down rather quickly but not actually coming to a stop, then it turns green, you hit the gas and it has this hesitation or lag. I haven't experienced it in a long time, but it did do it in the past. Apparently, this was just a quirk with the CVTs and part of the reason they extended the warranty.
The second issue has just been recently, and I can't even say if this is transmission for sure. When gently slowing down by taking my foot off the accelerator, I get this pull like feeling when the RPMs are going down. It seems that the RPMs go down to about 1200, they almost "catch and hold" at this level, then suddenly drop to about 1000 and everything feels normal. I have had this issue for about a year and it hasn't become worse. One mechanic said that he suspects it is the transmission. Since the CVTs are not serviceable, so I have been lead to believe, I wasn't going to do anything about it until it trip as a code or completely piles up on me. Other than that, no issues with the CVT. Like someone else mentioned, most of the complaints that you read are from the critics on how it feels, not because they actually have had any strong history of issues.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i Tourin CVT
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Love our to death. Many hate them so much, mostly due to Nissan failures they'll go out of their way to cut them down. The other problem is lack of knowledge. I've had my fingers in these for years.

the key is drive the vehicle for the purposes it was intended. You want to burn the tires etc. Get something different. You want to tow a semi, get something different.

One thing many whine about is the steady drone of the engine. That's how a CVT is supposed to work.

Drive it like you should and oh ya, dont be a cheap skate and neglect the maintenance.
 

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2015 Forester
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Love the fuel economy, frustrated by the delay (5sec) going from reverse to forward. The delay was not present when I first got it (new). It got worse over time. "Resetting" seemed to improve things but it only lasted about a month. I would guess that this is a software problem and not really a priority to get fixed. Anyone know if "resetting" the transmission is a real thing. The dealer said the transmission would need to relearn my driving habits.
 

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2018 Forester XT
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I drive 100% of the time in S# on stage 1 and have grown to like it. I’m at one with her now...and in control.
 

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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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Love the fuel economy, frustrated by the delay (5sec) going from reverse to forward. The delay was not present when I first got it (new). It got worse over time. "Resetting" seemed to improve things but it only lasted about a month. I would guess that this is a software problem and not really a priority to get fixed. Anyone know if "resetting" the transmission is a real thing. The dealer said the transmission would need to relearn my driving habits.
Five seconds is ridiculous, unsafe, and an indisputable defect that you should escalate to SoA if the dealer can't permanently resolve it. One second is normal.

Transmission "relearning" is a real thing, but has nothing to do with the reverse-to-drive delay. Your dealer is shining you on if he claims it does.
 

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2019 Forester Touring CVT
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222 Posts
Love our to death. Many hate them so much, mostly due to Nissan failures they'll go out of their way to cut them down. The other problem is lack of knowledge. I've had my fingers in these for years.

the key is drive the vehicle for the purposes it was intended. You want to burn the tires etc. Get something different. You want to tow a semi, get something different.

One thing many whine about is the steady drone of the engine. That's how a CVT is supposed to work.

Drive it like you should and oh ya, dont be a cheap skate and neglect the maintenance.

I have a 2011 Nissan with 230k on the CVT transmission? Suggest tread lightly on that criticism. 0:)
 

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2019 Forester Touring CVT
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I wasn't being critical, simply stating facts that others are down on CVT due to Nissan failures.

This is like a similar condemnation example of the Forester blowing head gaskets. There maybe certain years this may have happened. But some people condemn the vehicle model to hell forever. Be very specific about the claim that is all I am pointing out here!
 

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2016 XT Premium
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297 Posts
I really enjoy my CVT, more than I thought coming from a manual transmission, but it was replaced in the initial stages of my ownership. Bought a new XT and fluid leaking caused it to be replaced at 8,000 miles on the vehicle. Over 25,000 miles on the new unit with no issues, hoping it lasts to 99,000 miles so I can get a fresh one at the end of the factory warranty
 

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2006 Forester
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I wasn't being critical, simply stating facts that others are down on CVT due to Nissan failures.

This is like a similar condemnation example of the Forester blowing head gaskets. There maybe certain years this may have happened. But some people condemn the vehicle model to hell forever. Be very specific about the claim that is all I am pointing out here!
After driving a friend's Sentra (2011 or 2012) for a few weeks, I was REALLY not looking forward to getting a new Forester with CVT. My biggest complaint wasn't the whine, which it had, but was it's awful engine braking coming downhill. Any passenger would think I was a brand new driver, unable to apply consistent braking. I grew accustomed to just applying gas until I was going too fast, then apply brake until too slow, repeat. That felt smoother somehow. Still nothing compares to the complete (insert expletive) of the Ford Focus powershift 6-speed that will just shudder under heavy acceleration as you attempt to escape an intersection with a car hurdling toward you for a good ol' T-boning.

THAT SAID... I spent a whole weekend in Tahoe testing out my friend's 2018 Outback with CVT. I agree that shifting from R to D is slow (not 5 seconds as one poster reported, 1 is probably accurate) and could be dangerous in multi-point turns, but that's about where my dissatisfaction ended. Good consistent and not-overly aggressive engine brake, minimal whine (although this was the 3.6R so might rev higher and more noticeable on the Forester), and never hunting for the right place to be. He's got about 20K miles so far on it and no issues. I'm picking up my new Forester Sport on Saturday after much hunting for one in blue, which is insane since there are 12+ dealerships in the bay area, and excited to get some more MPG than my 06. I do have a friend that works as a master tech for Subaru however, and he claims they are dead by 150K miles. Could just be the early years that are actually starting to reach that mileage, could be just the success of Subaru has increased the total number of vehicles, therefor the total number of repairs seems to be going up even if the percentage is going down. I think most critics have moved on from the Subaru CVT and now focus on complaining about the power... "where's the XT nobody bought‽‽"
 

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CVT has to be replaced

I purchased a new 2014 Forester in July of 2013. Very excited; the first new car I've ever purchased. Read all the glowing reviews on Consumer Reports and elsewhere and thought, how could I go wrong?

Well, I'm at 107,000 miles now and am being told by the local Subaru dealer that my transmission needs to be replaced. Great... The quote I received for a re-manufactured Subaru transmission is for $7814 and of course, I'm 7000 miles over the extended warranty for the CVTs. No thanks!

In addition to this major issue, the drivers side heated seats went out at about 50,000 miles as did the Bluetooth system.

No more Subarus for me. Very disappointed in it's reliability. Buyer beware!
 

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2002 Forester automatic
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Okay so I’m really thinking about buying a Fozzy I guess as you say, I want to know how the cvt transmissions do in your experience and longevity looking at buying a 2012 or newer Forester with less than 100,000 miles
NO worries about the CVT on those years, the head gaskets, wheel bearings, rod bearings, piston rings, will go long before you reach 120K, they can easily replace the CVT when they take the engine out for all those repairs.

The best way to prevent a CVT going out on a Subaru is to buy a Toyota or Honda...Educate yourself, google Subaru head gaskets problems. There is no excuse for them not fixing this a generation ago.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i 6mt
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well from what I have been looking at Subaru isn’t the only ones having problems with engines blowing head gaskets, according to consumer complaints the Scion made by Toyota some years anyway the head bolts can pull out of the head & blow the head gaskets!
The oil consumption problems they supposedly have for the most part isn’t bad from consumers reports, some people complain about high oil consumption & only adding 1/4 qt or less in a thousand miles that really isn’t bad especially when you consider the I think it is 0w30 or something like that, the VW type 1 in the early bug I used 30 weight Castrol & I carried extra oil all the time & you checked your oil every fill up, I don’t understand people not checking your oil!
I was actually looking at Subaru because they are one of the only ones that sell a small suv with a manual transmission, but I’m thinking about my back being messed up & whether or not the CVT transmission would be suitable instead of a manual transmission but manual transmissions are usually longer lasting than an automatic of any kind! Of course anyone can destroy anything & part of it is maintenance changing the oil and filter or the fluid & check the fluid level often!
 
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