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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
New to the forum and hopefully new to Subaru in the near future. I am in the market for a new(to me) vehicle and am considering a forester. Always been a fan of the Forester for its small size and utility. I currently drive a 07 Mazda3 which I bought new in 06 and have beaten almost to death, so needless to say it's time for a new car. I am between two models at the moment and both will be a bit difficult to find but I am OK with that. I am looking for a 2017-2018 Forester XT or 17-18 Premium with a manual transmission. I really want the turbo but I swore I would never buy a CVT transmission. My question is to Forester owners who drive a manual trans, how do you like it? would you buy it again? Is the manual a bit quicker than the CVT trans? Would you recommend it?. I live in L.A. so I know I will be cursing the damn thing everyday in traffic but I think it's a justified trade off. I know the MPG is a little better and it will take regular gas as opposed to premium fuel required by the turbo. I am rambling a bit here but just am looking for some insight from other Forester owners. Thanks.
 

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2018 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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475 Posts
I really love my 2018 6 speed Forester. Unlike my previous car (a Ford Focus), the transmission in this is actually fun to drive. It's a pretty close ratio 2-6 and is very well matched with the engine. This is a manual transmission for someone who wants to drive a manual transmission; not a transmission that is a penalty for someone who can't afford an automatic. I would absolutely buy another 6 speed Forester, whereas I'd never buy another 5 speed manual trans focus ever again.


In traffic,I can just let it idle in 1st gear when I get in heavy traffic, because they are geared so low. Whereas my previous car I'd have to ride the clutch or continually stop and go because it idled way too fast in 1st gear for traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome, thanks for the input. I would think it does better than the CVT on dirt roads and going over small obstacles too. I will only be doing light dirt roads and sandy roads to get to and from hunting/camping spots.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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910 Posts
I had a 2007 Forester with a manual transmission. It was a bit clunky and not as smooth as the Honda I had been driving for 10 years. I haven't driven any recent Subaru manual transmissions.

I think this website has a mix of users. Many of the users seem to be from the US, which means a lot of them drive automatic transmissions. Then there are the enthusiasts, who drive manuals. And then there are the ones that drive the CVTs. Personally, I find all automatic transmissions with discrete gears to be horrible, clunky, and indecisive. I like manuals better than those, but I also like the CVT for various reasons.

The biggest problem with the CVT is the fake shifting. If Subaru would get rid of that, or allow us to go to an older version of the firmware with no fake shifting, or something, it would be a big improvement. But the CVT allows the cruise control to use engine braking to maintain a speed or following distance, and you can't do that with a manual transmission. And you don't get the clunking of the discrete gears, and if it is indecisive, you don't feel it because it's smooth. Also, it's faster than the other transmissions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't like the non shifting CVT's at all, I am mostly worried with the reliability of the CVT. Some people are reporting issues and I really would hate to have to deal a faulty trans in the future. I haven't had a manual trans in many years and traffic gets worse and worse here in Los Angeles but I think I can manage.
 

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2018 Forester 2.5i 6MT
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Awesome, thanks for the input. I would think it does better than the CVT on dirt roads and going over small obstacles too. I will only be doing light dirt roads and sandy roads to get to and from hunting/camping spots.

I take mine camping and have even towed my camper up some light off road trails. It does really well. Obviously there's now low range so you sometimes have to use a bit of momentum to get through or over stuff.
 

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2016 Forester 2.5i 6mt
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246 Posts
We just bought a 2016 Forester 2.5i 6mt I agree the shifter is more notchy than a Honda shifter but the Subaru six speed is fun to drive, it takes a little getting used to the gears are spaced quite closely so for me it’s easy to think you’re in first gear & actually be in third gear, plus we had an automatic car for about 4 or 5 years! Of course on hills with all the idiots that pull up right on your ***!?
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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910 Posts
I don't like the non shifting CVT's at all
There isn't much (any?) difference between the standard CVT and the one with fake shifting programmed into it. The standard CVT is a CVT, and the one with fake shifting goes to predefined fixed ratios during certain conditions. So you're not really liking or not liking a CVT. You're liking or not liking two modes of the same transmission.

I was just sitting here for a minute trying to think of an analogy for the fake shifting. Think of a dimmer for your lamp that you can adjust from 0% to 100%. Now imagine you have it set so that when you trigger a motion sensor or a timer activates, the light fades on, or fades off. Then, imagine there are some people who don't like that behaviour, so Subaru changes the firmware in the dimmer. Now instead of smoothly fading from 0% to 100%, it jumps between discrete brightness levels, pausing at each intensity. 0%, 15%, 30%, 45%, 60%, 75%, 85%, 100%.

All many of us want is for Subaru to get rid of the discrete steps and let the CVT operate normally. If you like "the shifting CVTs" then all we need is a setting to tell the CVT to operate in continuous or stepped mode.

The only reason I say there might be a physical difference between the "shifting" and normal CVTs is that the earlier CVTs didn't have the fake shifting, and there might have been some updates internally to the later CVTs. But I don't think there is any physical design difference to implement the fake shifting.
 
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