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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a prospective buyer of the new forester and I'd probably be interested in getting both a manual and a CVT eventually.

I've spent some time on WRX boards and heard about some Manual Transmission failures, and the STi having some failing synchro's(though otherwise very well built). What's in the 14+ Forester? What's the word out on it? Is it a carry over, and are they pretty "bullet-proof" reliable?


While I'm at it, what's the word out on the CVT? Is it pretty reliable so far?

Thanks in advance.
 

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2014 Forester CVT
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I have heard of people not liking the CVT (not me) but not hearing about any common mechanical issues. I think some folks are getting up into the low 30k mile range on the 14 cvt's but the NA version is new design. My buddy has the gen 1 cvt is his outback with about 50 k miles on it. So far so good.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i 6 spd
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I've spent some time on WRX boards and heard about some Manual Transmission failures, and the STi having some failing synchro's(though otherwise very well built). What's in the 14+ Forester? What's the word out on it? Is it a carry over, and are they pretty "bullet-proof" reliable?
The 6 speed is not a new design. No transmission is "bullet proof". Abuse can always kill them.

Not to stereotype, but I would expect some of those who buy 'sporty' cars to be abusive. Not intentionally perhaps, but some have to learn some things the hard way. A smooth shift is faster than jammin the gears, but you just can't tell some people anything.
 

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2015 Forester XT Touring cvt
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I'm a prospective buyer of the new forester and I'd probably be interested in getting both a manual and a CVT eventually.

I've spent some time on WRX boards and heard about some Manual Transmission failures, and the STi having some failing synchro's(though otherwise very well built). What's in the 14+ Forester? What's the word out on it? Is it a carry over, and are they pretty "bullet-proof" reliable?


While I'm at it, what's the word out on the CVT? Is it pretty reliable so far?

Thanks in advance.
First I suggest you decide what type of transmission you would like. If you haven't owned a vehicle with a CVT before, it may not be what you expect. Lots of folks posting on this forum like them very much, some not so. I am in the "not so much" camp, at least with the 2.5i NA drivetrain. Turbo model owners with the paddle shifters and various drive modes seem pretty satisfied.

CVTs don't drive like much else on the automotive market, so take some time before purchase to make sure you will like it. At least, that's my advice. Reliability? Don't know in the long term. I had about the first 5,000 miles of ownership with problem performance when the vehicle was cold, resulting in uneven throttle response and "jerky" driving. Quite a few OP had the same, but other folks didn't seem to have it. It eventually went away.

I wouldn't buy one again in any vehicle, but I might be a minority. Some OP simply love them.

Luck to you,

EJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First I suggest you decide what type of transmission you would like. If you haven't owned a vehicle with a CVT before, it may not be what you expect. Lots of folks posting on this forum like them very much, some not so. I am in the "not so much" camp, at least with the 2.5i NA drivetrain. Turbo model owners with the paddle shifters and various drive modes seem pretty satisfied.

CVTs don't drive like much else on the automotive market, so take some time before purchase to make sure you will like it. At least, that's my advice. Reliability? Don't know in the long term. I had about the first 5,000 miles of ownership with problem performance when the vehicle was cold, resulting in uneven throttle response and "jerky" driving. Quite a few OP had the same, but other folks didn't seem to have it. It eventually went away.

I wouldn't buy one again in any vehicle, but I might be a minority. Some OP simply love them.

Luck to you,

EJ

Thanks for the input, yeah, I've read about it a lot with the CVT's, the high whiny noises, the delay or lag in response, having to really get on the pedal to make the car move, etc.

However, the CVT, if I do get it, would be for my parents (I don't think they'd mind, but a few test drives would confirm that), I was just concerned more with how it would hold up/reliability.


But like you said, we'd have to drive it first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The 6 speed is not a new design. No transmission is "bullet proof". Abuse can always kill them.

Not to stereotype, but I would expect some of those who buy 'sporty' cars to be abusive. Not intentionally perhaps, but some have to learn some things the hard way. A smooth shift is faster than jammin the gears, but you just can't tell some people anything.
I agree, nothing is "bullet proof", but some products are severely flawed while others are better designed.

An example, I drive a Mazda3 right now, if you got the Ford built 4-speed auto, you WILL have major problems from 70-100k miles, the internal clutches start ripping apart, it just wasn't designed/put together in harmony, something went wrong at the drawing board... so if you had one, you WILL see major problems because it was a horribly designed transmission.

On the flipside, if you got the 5speed or 6 speed Aisin built auto transmission (or manual transmission), your car will be fine (unless you add like 100whp+, etc. run it way out of spec). That transmission was what we relatively referred to as a "bullet proof" transmission. Yes, there were a few people would had syncro problems down the road, or people who hauled wayyy too much and reported problems of shifting sometimes(in the atx), but by in large, everyone was fine, and it was safe to say that the transmission is reliable(people out there with some 300,000+ miles and 10 years on the road).


That's what I meant, if that clarifies it in a more concise way. I"m asking, is the consensus, "yes, the mtx is a very reliable transmission, it's a carry over from previous years, and people generally don't have problems with it.... unless of course you slapped on a turbo and added 150whp+lb/ft torque++, etc." Or.. no, "lots of people get the dreaded syncro problem at around 50k miles... or a LOT of people blow 2nd gear running stock, it's just not a strong or well built transmission"... That's what I was looking for, again, though no transmission is perfect, there are better and worse ones out there... again, driving STOCK... if you have say 60%+ people reporting of a common problem over and over, yeah, then I'd consider that a poorly built piece(not talking about the car, but that actual mechanism), you probably know what I mean by now.

Thanks for the input though, as I appreciate the feedback from everyone here. I see you drive the 6speed, are you happy with it? I saw on reports that the 6spd was nearly 2 seconds faster than the cvt 0-60. The CVT would be a potential consideration for my parents, whereas I'm considering the manual for myself. What brings me to the forester is the general design, how much capacity it has, the superior AWD(symmetrical system), interior space, etc. It's a well thought out machine, very competitive amongst it's peers(I've done quite a bit of research already, I'm aware of the 2.5 and Subaru's long running HG problems, but I'm willing to give it a chance, plus I've read on the causes and can see how it may* be prevented...anyways..). However, I admit, after driving around D.C. traffic for 9 years in a manual transmission, "rowing" the boat for 2 hours in a one way commute, I wanted to get an ATX this time around, lol, however, after reading about the CVT in the forester previously... I deemed that I'd probably get the manual, if I got one for myself down the road.
 

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If you put on a lot of miles droning along on the highway, transmission choice matters less: it'll go in top gear and sit there for a long time. My one experience with a CVT - three-week 2010 Legacy rental from WI to TX and back - showed that it's perfectly acceptable for cruising. It was a bit 'groany' at really low speeds but went away above, say, 5-7 mph. Other than that, I didn't find it markedly different from other automatics. Complete yawner, which may be exactly the point for the Legacy / Outback.

Caveats: I don't drive ATs very often, and this was Subaru's early attempt in our market.

Edit: sorry - I have no input on the reliability.
 

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'21 ISM Crosstrek Limited
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While a CVT has failed on rare occasion, it has always happened in vehicles with a warranty, in which case Subaru quickly replaces it and ships the defective one to Japan for analysis. They are serious about the CVT being ultra reliable.

Their faith in the CVT is shown in the numbers of new JDM vehicles with it, and throughout the world. Perhaps no better confidence indicator, however, is the launch of an entirely new platform with the CVT option... the performance oriented WRX. Subaru would not risk their investment on a transmission that was not reliable.

My own has been not only flawless, but an eye-opening experience with respect to how power is handled by a drivetrain. However, as noted, there are subtle differences depending on whether you have a Forester XT or the non-turbo Forester. In my opinion, given a year's experience with both, I would never consider any other automatic besides a Subaru CVT.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i 6 spd
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Overall, I like the 6 speed. The time I generally keep cars is measured in decades and the complexity of the CVT and it's version of AWD kinda scares me. I drove one with paddle shifters and was generally impressed, I'm just a wee bit doubtful on longevity.

My wife is probably going to buy an Impreza in the next year, it will be CVT, I'll suggest an extended warranty.
 

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The first CVT car I owned was a Daf 66. A remarkable little car which could be driven backwards as fast as it would go forwards! I replaced its CVT drive belts twice in the time I had this car (about 40,000Kms) so belt-wear was a bit of an issue. On the other hand, the Daf was allot of fun as it could out-accelarate most cars over the first 200 metres dash. Its CVT, though primitive was surprisingly affective.

More recently while on the hunt for my first new car in many years, I tested the Mitsubishi ASX. A nice car, well made but its CVT was sadly a bit of a let-down. Its setup was suited to relatively flat ground, didn't cope well with the steep road leading into our village. It didn't appear to find a gear ratio that made the car a pleasing drive until reaching a open road cruising speed.

The Forester test drives were more interesting. The two 2.0litre non turbo cars a tested (base model and limited) were better than the ASX. Suub CVT's got their cars moving forward more confidently. The match between ascending gear ratios and engine torque was quite good. However, the 2.0litre engine is underpowered, our steep hills became hard work, the engine not giving enough effort for the CVT to do much accept cog-down significantly. Overtaking and acceleration was a bit pedestrian in the faster paced Hong Kong cityscape. The 2.5litre engine (not available in HK sadly) I think would be the better match for the CVT option.

The XT test drive was a totally different experience. Like night into sunlit day, the 2.0litre turbo engine marriage to its beefed up (steel belt) CVT is a great combination. In "I" (intelligent mode) its smooth response is good, gearing upward fast taking advantage of engine pull. Climbing to cruising speeds (100kph) is a breeze, effortless and super smooth with only 1500rpm needed, a very nice experience. It all feels well sorted, its engineers somehow got the driving feel right. Even though I mode is the economy setting, acceleration is swift when needed. Dial in the use of the paddle shifters that instantly override "D" mode, the XT's CVT shifts up-down rapidity and smoothly. Using its CVT "S" and "S Sharp" modes, the driving experience becomes quite a thrill. Its the only CVT Ive driven (so far) that gets very close to sequential gearbox operations I drove in competition cars during my youth. Healing and toeing, I get my XT's CVT to do exactly what I want, the only auto box I've found good enough to perform close to a manual in this respect.

On the issue of long term reliability, CVT's have been around along time with few service complaints overall. The CVT's relatively simple design means there's allot less to go wrong compared to the modern 6+ speed cogged auto-transmissons. In the case of the XT with 250 horses on tap, inevitably these cars are more likely to be driven hard (I'm guilty) so will the beefed up CVT stay together over the march of time? I've got the feeling mine should manage +100,000Kms in my peddle shifter happy hands, others who drive more steadily are likely to find their CVT's lasting the lifetime of the cars. One thing I will do is change the transmission oil ahead of schedules, every 10,000Kms' instead of the 20,000 recommended by Suub here in Hong Kong. Our steep hills and regular +30 degrees of heat, the urban stop-start traffic and my sometimes athletic driving style, the poor CVT deserves a little extra love and attention.

Hope this experience helps.
Mark
 

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The CVT's relatively simple design means there's allot less to go wrong compared to the modern 6+ speed cogged auto-transmissons.
Mark
Yes, an important point. People seem to be mentally comparing the potential reliability of CVTs against the old 3 and 4 speed slush boxes which if regularly serviced will go on forever, however, I suspect the new 6-10 speed ones will prove to be much less reliable as they seem to change gear almost constantly in urban driving.
 

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Yes, an important point. People seem to be mentally comparing the potential reliability of CVTs against the old 3 and 4 speed slush boxes which if regularly serviced will go on forever, however, I suspect the new 6-10 speed ones will prove to be much less reliable as they seem to change gear almost constantly in urban driving.
Hi S,
I was in your part of the world last December (Syd to Briz and back). We rented a VW Golf (Blue Motion) with a DSG auto box. Nice car, very economical, but I noticed its clutch and box selector mechanism was already getting a bit clunky. To be fair, rental cars tend to get mistreated, but it did surprise me that with only 9000Km's this VW was showing some potential problems so early in its life (maybe just bad luck). Conversely I've 8000Km's on my XT, its CVT is smooth, no dramas, even though I'm using the car's athletic abilities regularly.

How are you doing with your 2104 2.5 Forester?

Thanks
Mark
 

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Hi S,
How are you doing with your 2104 2.5 Forester?
I have no complaints with mine at all. I use it regularly to tow a 1,000 kg boat and trailer through hilly terrain and it does it easily.

Having power continually available without the interruption of gear changes makes a big difference in maintaining speed up steep inclines. The trailer has override brakes which can sometimes activate briefly if the towing vehicle loses momentum as a conventional auto (or manual) changes gears. This doesn't happen with a CVT. It makes for a much smoother ride.
 
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