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CVT Engines - good? bad? indifferent?

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    CVT Engines - good? bad? indifferent?

    I am starting to look at buying a new car. Or at least a new car for the wife anyway. One of the cars that has caught her eye is a Subaru Crosstrek.

    I'm starting to look in to the reliability of the car and I'm seeing issues/comments around the CVT engine. I have zero experience with CVT engines, having always driven manual transmission cars.

    So. Here I am, wondering if anyone has any input/insight in to CVT engines. And if you have specific experience with Subaru, even better. Thanks.

    #2
    In general like Subaru’s. My wife had one. My parents in law have had 3. My brother has one. The concerns with the CrossTek specific is the very underpowered engine. Especially if you take it to go skiing or anywhere to use the Awd. They should’ve put the WRX engine in there.

    Also the other concerns with Subaru’s are the initial high cost for low features. Seems you’re in it for a lot to get comparable technology from other car companies.

    I wish they’d bring back the hatchback WRX. I’d prob buy one.

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      #3
      I live in snow/mountain country and what [MENTION=13934]hockeysc23[/MENTION] said about the Crosstrek reflects what I've heard here. It drives like an anemic Outback. When I was shopping for a new car a couple years back I looked at the Outback and the Forester from Subaru, and the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CRV. Ended up going with the RAV4. Just seemed like equally as good a car as the Outback but cheaper. NO RAGRETS

      Ben

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        #4
        If you always have driven manuals, you are probably not going to like a CVT transmission. I don't know about the tuning for the Crosstrek, but in the WRX with CVT, I know they do have kind of a sports mode, which more closely mimics an sporty automatic (paddle shifting too), so that's nice. But CVTs I've had in rentals and such just feel unnatural. Since the gear ratio is variable, sometimes when you punch it, it will sound like you aren't really accelerating (the revs just sort of hang). I'm not saying it would necessarily be a deal breaker if the rest of the vehicle fits the bill, but I'd definitely want to take it for a test drive.

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          #5
          I went Subaru over the competitors. My wife and I both had manual cars and love the Outback though do discuss that we miss manual transmissions. May end up with some sort of weekend car at some point.

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            #6
            I have not heard a lot of good feedback on the Crosstrek, most of what I had heard is that those who have driven/bought it prefer the Outback at Subaru.

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              #7
              I have a 2017 Impreza, which as I understand it is basically a shorter/lighter Crosstrek, and like it a heck of a lot.

              That said the engine on the Impreza already feels a little weak in the 0-30 mph range, so I suspect it'd be even worse for the bigger Crosstrek. The price to pay for having both AWD and decent gas mileage, perhaps.

              As to the CVT specifically, I've read that a) it's gotten better over the past few years, and b) they've actually fiddled with the software to make it 'feel' more like a regular automatic. Compared to other automatic transmissions I've used, to me it just feels like a smoother and less finicky automatic. So I like it.

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                #8
                Originally posted by DocDave View Post
                I am starting to look at buying a new car. Or at least a new car for the wife anyway. One of the cars that has caught her eye is a Subaru Crosstrek.

                I'm starting to look in to the reliability of the car and I'm seeing issues/comments around the CVT engine. I have zero experience with CVT engines, having always driven manual transmission cars.

                So. Here I am, wondering if anyone has any input/insight in to CVT engines. And if you have specific experience with Subaru, even better. Thanks.
                My wife has a 2018 Outback. She really likes it and as far as she is concerned, the CVT is a non issue.

                I rarely drive it but I don't love it. We have a 6 cylinder and it accelerates ok, nothing special. I heard that they are going to change the engine spec for the 2020s.

                My wife bought it specifically for the high ground clearance and reputation of the 4WD.

                Good luck.

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                  #9
                  Thanks gents. All very helpful information.

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                    #10
                    Ain't nothing wrong with CVT engines. I loved it in my Impreza for 2 years. Went for something different afterward just because I wanted a change.

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                      #11
                      I've had CVTs in rentals a *LOT* recently when traveling for work.

                      They're atrocious.

                      I say that as an enthusiast, though.

                      If all you care about is fuel economy, have at it. Just don't get one that's pre-2016 or so. Versas were the worst offenders, but many marques have had issues with the "first gen" (for lack of a better term) versions. Very expensive issues.
                      https://www.professorhorseyhead.com

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by armedferret View Post
                        CVTs in rental... Versas were the worst offenders,
                        omg they're so so so bad. hilariously bad.

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