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Advice needed on CVT


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Good morning, looking at a 2014 Outback. Very clean, well taken care of vehicle with 130,000 molrs.  I have been doing some research, and not sure how I feel about a CVT. Should I have concerns, or not?  

Would appreciate any advice!

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I have a CVT and while it does feel a bit slow when you are looking for immediate power I feel it more than makes up for how smooth it is in normal driving (which is at least 95% of the time). I previously had an Audi A6 with a 7 speed dual clutch auto and find the Subaru far smoother in most circumstances. It just takes a little getting used to how it works. 

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I'm completely new to driving an automatic after 40 plus years of driving, but I've enjoyed the CVT experience.  It is very smooth.  I do miss the down shift breaking effect of a manual on the hilly, winding B roads I travel on a lot, and I now have to use the brakes more than I used to as a result. I've tried using the manual override paddles on sharp hilly bends, etc., but the lack of clutch action coupled with the use of brakes doesn't quite work for me.  However, the CVT is great on faster A roads and motorways.  I do wonder why Subaru have put 'pretend' gear changes in what would otherwise be one consistently smooth acceleration experience.  Seems to undermine the CVTs advantages a little.

I also find being able to use the gear shift lever manually to 'lock' the car in 1st gear, is handy off road. It acts a bit like a pseudo-low range box, where I can allow the almost imperceptible tweaks on the accelerator at extremely slow, creeping speed, and I don't have to worry about slipping the clutch and playing at feathering the accelerator as I had to in a manual (without low range), to prevent a stall.  Allows greater and finer driving control over obstacles.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ive got a 2.5 ltr outback 2010 with a CVT.

I personally dont have a bad thing to say about it, sure it drives a little bit different. However, I've never driven any other autos. So i dont have anything to compare it to. I like how smooth it is and its great for town/city driving. Also great on motorways and long journeys.

I found it quite enjoyable on country roads and didnt feel that it was any less fun to my older legacy 2.0 manual.

Thery are pretty reliable, although, like most things there are always scare stories about the valve body and the solinoids failing. No doubt it would be an expensive repair if it were to happen. But you dont have to buy a new clutch/flywheel like you would on a manual.

In terms of CVT servicing its more complicated. Subaru Japan reccomends 3 years / 36k mile CVT servicing. However, over here Subaru UK maintain they are lifetime sealed units and not to be tampered with. Therefore you will find that no UK dealer will service at all. Which i find crazy considering that nearly every subaru sold and built for the last 5-10 years has a CVT fitted and moving forward they will all have CVT's fitted. Expecting the fluid to last 10-15 years is a little bit questionable in my opinion. That said, my 2010 has 108k miles and is (to my knowledge) still on the original fluid and it drives perfectly fine.

The oil change process is a little complicated and there is a precise proceedure that needs to be followed. so you would need an experiences subaru specialist to do it properly (check out Mrsubaru1387 on youtube for videos).  You also have to use specific subaru CVT fluid and they have different fluids for different models, which cant be mixed and matched. And to make it more of a pain, Subaru UK will only sell the fluid in 20ltr drums at around £200+

All in all, i quite like my CVT, Yes it would be nice to find somewhere to get the fluid changed out. But i've got no problems with it at all and it drives lovely.




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