• Apr 14, 2010
2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT - Click above for high-res image gallery

Like all new-for-2010 Subaru Legacy models, our long-term 2.5GT has an electronic parking brake that has a hill holder feature. We think these are great, particularly on manual transmission cars like ours, where rollback on uphill starts can be require a bit of pedal dancing that's particularly nerve-racking for newer stick-shift drivers. It's also mighty convenient for those that live in hilly areas where incline starts are a frequent occurrence.

So... great feature, right? Yes, but why does switching it on illuminate a green indicator lamp in the gauge cluster, and why does it turn itself off every time you turn off the car? We understand the advantage of a defeat button (usage is potentially ill-advised if you're towing something or carrying a heavy load), but we would prefer that once the feature is activated, that it stay that way until the driver specifies otherwise.

Oddly enough, Subaru actually offered a mechanical hill holder on its cars long before going to an electronic parking brake, but as best we can remember, that system wasn't defeatable. Still, we don't recall hearing anyone grouse about it staying on all the time, and we're not sure why the default setting for this new system is off, or why it requires an idiot lamp at all. As it is, we've stopped using it regularly to avoid the extra light in the cluster. That, and we couldn't get The Smiths' "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" bounding through our head every time we used it.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      the old mechanical system was great on my 86 wagon. to activate it you simply pushed the brake pedal more firmly than you normally would and you could feel a click. it was especially handy in snow. i never understood why it took so long for other manufacturers to offer a similar feature.
      Ken
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just purchased a 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT on Thursday, June 30, 2011. Of course the car has the "E-brake" as well as the Hill Holder feature. I find that the Hill Holder, at least so far, is not a very good feature. BTW - I have approximately 300k miles on two previously owned vehicles with manual transmissions and hand brakes and there was not a problem insofar as my driving on steep hills. Since my main goal is to hold the car on steep incline, I merely use the E-brake and release it when I am releasing the clutch. I have not quite figured out the Hill Holder yet ; it seems to engage inconsistently. I only have approximately 500 miles on the car so I am not giving up yet but when in doubt I use the parking brake instead.
      • 4 Years Ago
      solution: black tape over lamp.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I drive a 2010 subaru STI which also has the hill holder feature. It's on by default though, and will only illuminate a bulb on the dash if the hill holder is turned off.

        It's a nice convenience feature. basically you have 2 seconds to get going like you normally would on a flat surface or the electronic brake will release and you will start going backwards.

        what subaru should have done is to have the hill holder light come on when the hill holder is actively engaged on a hill. it would take out the guess work for me and the annoyance of the light always being on for you (though to be fair to subaru, the holder comes on with pretty much any incline, and even if you don't really need it you still get going just like you normally would).

      Ken
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just purchased a 2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT on Thursday, June 30, 2011. Of course the car has the "E-brake" as well as the Hill Holder feature. I find that the Hill Holder, at least so far, is not a very good feature. BTW - I have approximately 300k miles on two previously owned vehicles with manual transmission and a hand brake and there was not a problem insofar as my driving on steep hills. Since my main goal is to hold the car on steep incline, I merely use the E-brake and release it when I am releasing the clutch. I have quite figured out the Hill Holder yet and it seems to engage inconsistently. I only have approximately 500 miles on the car so I am not giving up yet but when in doubt I use the parking brake instead.