WRX to retain manual ‘box, but other Subarus won’t
It’s no secret that car buyers are moving away from manual transmissions so quickly that you’d swear their gear sticks were coated with Polokwane polony.
It’s also not hard to understand why, given the improved efficiency and shifting-speed achieved by many modern self-shifters, not to mention that all-important freedom from the drudgery of clutch-in-clutch-out on increasingly congested streets.
Yet the manual gearbox still has a rightful place in the hearts and souls of many car enthusiasts, who will - quite rightfully - argue that you’ll never get the full experience of “actually driving” a car if it doesn’t have an old-fashioned ‘stick shift’.
Many enthusiasts have found an even happier compromise in dual-clutch gearboxes, which have become so good at marrying the best of all worlds that these days you could hardly imagine anyone asking for a new M5 or Porsche 911 with a manual gearbox.
Unfortunately not all car companies have invested their money in that expensive direction. Some smaller outfits like Subaru have been swayed by the sensible efficiency and cost advantages afforded by a continuously variable transmission.
And now CVTs have become the only gearbox option in almost every Subaru range. The new Forester, for instance, will only be offered with a CVT. Besides the aforementioned reasons, the company states that its latest suite of ‘Safety Sense’ active driver assistance gadgets is only compatible with an auto-shifting gearbox, which makes it hard to justify keep the manual option.
However, it does appear that the Japanese company - which is arguably more famous for its rally-bred performance sedans than anything else - will be making an exception for those that buy its future performance cars. Because let’s be frank - many WRX and STI owners simply don’t want to settle for the CVT option.
Speaking to Drive at the recent New York Auto Show, Subaru’s North American CEO Tom Doll said that Subaru wasn’t giving up on the manual gearbox completely.
“No, we’ll still have manual transmissions in our performance line like for the WRX, but just not in the Forester,” he told the Australian publication.
Drive also spoke to project manager Tomoyuki Nunome, who implied that the WRX would continue to be offered with a CVT option and that no other types of gearbox were currently planned.
But seriously, wouldn’t you like to see a dual-clutch in the WRX and STI.
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