• Sep 8, 2009
2010 Subaru Legacy - Click above for a high-res image gallery

The 2010 Legacy will be the most fuel efficient Subaru in the Japanese automaker's US lineup, but only when it's powered by the 2.5i boxer engine mated to a CVT transmission. According to the EPA, that powertrain returns 31 mpg on the highway, a full four mpg better than the six-speed manual. With fuel economy standards set to climb over the next decade, Subaru is going to need more mpg success stories, and more CVTs could be a big part of the equation.

Japan's Nikkei Sangyo business daily reports that Subaru will flood its product lineup with CVTs over the next two years, starting with the popular Forester and Impreza models. The CVT, which is made at Subaru's engine plant in Oizumi, will eventually be offered on all models.

While the CVT is new for larger Subarus, the company has been using the transmissions in JDM city cars since 1987. Last week, Subaru began using a CVT in its Japan market Exiga MPV, which will soon be extended to the Australian market.



[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh and keeping in mind with my statement, I am not a CVT person at all, I am a die hard manual driver. In most cases I would actually prefer a well-tuned traditional automatic to a CVT (if I was forced to drive an automatic), and even a bit better, a DSG type transmission. But at least the general public can maybe recognize that someone else in the world can make a CVT besides Nissan, and give credit where credit is due.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How well would CVT hold up on the 18+% grades of San Francisco?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think CVTs are simple and work great.
      No, they dont offer the usual "shift" feel we are mostly used to.
      Particularly people who drive manuals, and love them.
      Fact is this.. They run more efficently, get the most out of an engine power point, cost less to produce, and deliever electric, linear power.
      As we continue to move closer to electric car use, this is going to be one way to making the move easier.
      Automatics, even with more gears still have way way more things to go wrong, and man, lets face it, they are very expensive to repair.
      Ive driven manuals most of my life, but have also driven a couple automatics, and more recently, CVT based cars.
      I took to it and said, "this isnt a manual, but its not an automatic either"..
      Fact is, even though the CVT has roots going back to leonardo devinci, Circa 1490.. but its been used in different mediums for decades with farm machinery, lathes,drill presses, snowmobiles, scooters and now more recently, consumer automobiles and trucks.
      Subaru tried to test the market with an automobile, "The Justy" in 1989, but it was only good for small engine designs for the time and never caught on due to its low volume, increased cost in the segment and lack of public knowledge.
      The technology has matured with much more advanced metal belt technology, lubricants, and computer controls making things much more reliable and functional in higher horsepower engines and platforms.
      Im certainly not saying I personally dont like manuals, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised just how well CVT transmissions work.
      CVTs, In my honest opinion will become the next mainstream transmission in light of increasing Cafe and EPA regulations.
      Im good with that because I personally think that CVT is a great way to drive like an automatic, but get power to the road like a manual.
      Its not perfect, but far from bad.
      Curious on how they work?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuously_variable_transmission


      • 5 Years Ago
      okay okay, i had enough of this. Us, Subaru Fans hate CVT and automatics, but guess what we are only fans, Im pretty sure not every1 that commented here has a subi including myself, but my close friends does n i drew over it all day long. Most subi buyers r soccer mom in the suburbs, the kinda wealthy 1, Subaru are mainly sold in rural area like suburbs, n this is y subaru is going to make CTV, and automatics, not every1 soccer mom or dad can drive a manual properly. Sure we love to argue over the topic, but we are not gonna effect the outcome of this, when that report from the PR office gets to the CEO of Subaru, im pretty sure its prob gonna say, (70 percent of subaru buyers would love to have CTV and Automatics, because like i said soccer mom n others like them are the main buyers of subaru, not us). Hate me, i dun care, but its the truth, i dont hate CVT, nor like them, love a old school manual
      • 5 Years Ago
      From a business standpoint, flooding their lineup with a more efficient transmission is well justified.

      If a potential purchase depends on either active or permanent AWD, there is more than one option.

      Choices are a good thing, people!

      While they're at it, I hope they standardize the six speed manual from the '10 Legacy/Outback twins into the Impreza's and Forester's, too!
      • 5 Years Ago
      CVTs are gross.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "And the traditional automatic isn't responsive like a manual, a traditional automatic is about as responsive as a CVT. "

        BS. The days of the "slushbox" are long gone. In contrast, a CVT removes your ability to discern what the drive wheels are doing. that's my biggest complaint; on a snowy/icy day, if I'm in a car with a manual or planetary auto, and I try to accelerate and the engine revs but the car doesn't move any faster, I *know* the drive wheels are slipping and I have to back off *now.* With a CVT, I have no idea if the engine is revving because of a lack of traction, or if the CVT is just changing ratios.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Toledo

        Why wouldn't you get a subaru with a manual? Some subarus even have a hill-holder assist, how could one not drive a stick with a hill holder?

        @Chris
        CVTs are better than our traditional automatics. Automatics are the worst of both worlds, you have set ratios like a manual so you can't always be at the optimum rpm like a CVT. And the traditional automatic isn't responsive like a manual, a traditional automatic is about as responsive as a CVT.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I hear ya. A CVT makes any car one I'd never consider buying. If a CVT was all its cracked up to be, why is it only good enough for companies like Nissan, but not their Infiniti brand? Why don't we see Benzes and Rollers with uber-smooth CVTs? The only times I've driven cars with CVTs I've been less than impressed. Waiting for response and poor fuel economy seem to be the norm. No thanks. CVTs will prevent me from buying Subie, ever....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well I'd get a manual. But, between a CVT and an auto, I'd get an auto.
      • 5 Years Ago
      subie and cvt....umm, someone, wake me up!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would like to see a better-styled, less generic-looking Legacy STI with a sequential manual gearbox using a double-clutch system. It would also be nice to see an Impreza STI with a doube-clutch SMG, but with the option to delete the usual wing and other (in my personal opinion) overly-done styling. In other words, I would like to see a car comparable to the 2007 Impreza STI Limited, but with a double-clutch SMG. Also, I need the AWD. The recent news about the RWD Toybaru has me nervous about the future of AWD in Subaru performance vehicles. If they build it, I will write checks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I wouldn't. They tried that with the Evo X. Two things happened - 1.) people like me, who bought the GSR model because it has a proper manual, want a 6 speed manual box (like the STi has) and 2.) as soon as you get above 400hp in the dual clutch manual Evo X MR, the clutches in the trans start to go. Problem with this? The trans is sealed and isn't even serviceable by the dealer. The ECM for the transmission is INSIDE the transmission, so when the clutches go, the whole transmission including the ECM have to be replaced. Cost for the trans is about $4500, plus installation at the dealer. And yes, the dealer HAS to do it because the ECM in the trans needs to be mated with the ECU for the car via the computers that the dealers have. This vs. the normal clutch and pressure plate in my X, which has been holding up to 411hp nicely for the past 9000 miles, and even when I need to replace it is a day with a few buddies, some beers/pizza, and $600.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You guys forgot the Audi A4's and the base Honda Civics that used the CVT and those seem OK.

      Also, when Nissan first came out with these things they did have teething problems. However they quickly fixed them and now they're very reliable. Supposedly the issue they were having on those was with the computer programming of the ratios, not with the mechanical unit itself. I've never driven one but I'd like to, just to see how they really are. The fuel efficiency gains could justify the tradeoffs, especially in a turbo car since it won't lose the boost every time you shift gears.

      By the way this is somewhat off-topic but why did the Legacy 2.5 GT not have a sport suspension? Why not make the manual turbo version sportier while keeping the H6 engine the more family centered comprimise? And why can't you get a WRX with leather and other refinements, instead of just the boy racer setup they have now? Lately Subaru has been making some odd choices on the optioning of their lineup that keep me from pulling the trigger.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I test drove a 2010 Outback with CVT today and thought it was just great. It was a lot more like a standard auto transmission than I thought it would be. It is very smooth, quiet and quick to find the power band. Gassing it to get on the freeway does feel a little odd, like you are driving a manual with a slipping clutch, although I think I could get used to that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Expect more manufacturers to increase the use of CVT's to improve gas mileage. Also expect to see greater use of dual clutch gear boxes, but with out any ability to manually shift the box, everything will be managed by the computer to achieve maximum mileage. No paddles or ratchet shifters just a dial for different modes, normal driving, wet, snow/ice and towing.

      It will be enough to make you take the bus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        CAFE doesn't care how you drive you car, only that your car is efficient. That's why turbo's are nice. Efficient if you drive like grandma, fast if you don't
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Kevin: you see the uptake of manual in the US, it's very low. The quickest way, so far, to increase MPG (thanks CAFE, you dindn't have to, really). Is to use small tweaks here and there. A complete platform overhauls is quite expensive (ask Ford why they tweaked the Mustang for 2010 instead of a new platform). If you are already getting an automatic, you will get better mileage from a CVT. I would prefer a dual clutch transmission, but I think i'm in the minority of the market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "A complete platform overhauls is quite expensive (ask Ford why they tweaked the Mustang for 2010 instead of a new platform)."

        Because throwing out a perfectly good platform is stupidity to the extreme? Look at the most successful cars of the last decade- Accord, Civic, Camry, Corolla. Honda/Toyota have not ever completely thrown out the platform and started over.

        Ford, GM, and Chrysler have struggled because they've done precisely that- sat on a platform for far too long with no updates, until the point that it can't be cost-effectively updated, so they throw them out and start all over again. It's largely why the Sebring and Avenger are such miserable pieces of trash.
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