Last post on Dec 10, 2013 at 10:00 AM
You are in the Subaru Impreza
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Subaru Impreza, Car Buying, Hatchback
#1 of 19 CVT vs. 5-speed manual
Dec 18, 2012 (4:44 pm)
I'm thinking of buying an Impreza. I thought I would get a Honda Fit but the more I look at them...the more I wonder if I could stand the look of the thing long term. The Impreza doesn't thrill me too much, either, but it's better, and a Golf TDI is just too expensive!
But I'm a little concerned about gas mileage. Looks like most people don't reach what's advertised, and some do a lot worse. But then...some seem to do pretty well. But on average it sure sounds not what you'd quite hope for.
Does anyone here have good knowledge of manual vs. CRT? I like sticks, and doubt the CVT would save enough gas to pay for itself. But is it possible that someone who knows how to drive a stick and is careful could do better than a CVT (which of course is rated 3 mpg higher). There are also some posts suggesting software problems with CVT, so perhaps 5 speed is more consistent and reliable on mpg? The trick is there aren't many with manuals posting (I assume most people buy automatic these days) so it's tough to tell from reading the posts. Any thoughts?
#2 of 19 Re: CVT vs. 5-speed manual [danielsomers]
Dec 18, 2012 (10:13 pm)
My thought is that you don't choose a car's transmission based on fuel economy - you choose it based on preference. The FE difference is minimal in the real world, and you're going to have to live with whatever you decide.
#3 of 19 Re: CVT vs. 5-speed manual [danielsomers]
Dec 19, 2012 (6:17 pm)
Drive both before deciding. I did, and although I prefer a stick, I'd have to go with the CVT on the Impreza because the 5-speed is much noiser than the CVT, and just feels less refined. Which puts the Impreza way down my shopping list because there are some small hatches with sticks that I liked driving, e.g. Mazda3 (6-speed), Elantra GT (6-speed), Golf (5-speed), and Focus (5-speed).
I checked fuel economy on both of the Impreza test drives, and although they were relatively short the CVT definitely did better there.
#4 of 19 5-speed preference
Dec 20, 2012 (9:00 am)
First, don't regret not buying a Golf TDI. I had a 2010 TDI, and sold it with only 30k miles on it because it was a reliability nightmare.
In place of the TDI I bought a 2012 Impreza Sport Premium hatchback with a 5-speed manual. I'm going to disagree with Daniel with regard to the 5-speed being noisier. In fact, noise is a primary complaint with the CVT because it revs high and hold the high revs during any kind of acceleration (this is common CVT behavior). With the 5-speed, you have better control of the engine's RPMs.
As others have said, I don't think the fuel economy differences between the two tranny choices is significant, as long as you know how to drive a stick well.
On the Impreza forum that I frequent (NASIOC), there are many CVT owners who wish the bought a manual tranny, but didn't either because of city driving, or family members who can't drive a stick. But they would have made a different choice if they could have.
I have the stick, and wouldn't want it any other way.
#5 of 19 Re: 5-speed preference [sgoldste01]
Dec 20, 2012 (9:29 am)
it was a reliability nightmare
Some of the folks in the diesel threads think they walk on water...
#6 of 19 Re: 5-speed preference [sgoldste01]
Dec 20, 2012 (9:45 am)
Rented a Chevy Orlando in France a couple of weeks ago ... I4 Turbo Diesel, 6 spd MT. Tons of torque, so didn't have to shift too often, but still had to row thru 6 gears. I prefer my CVT.
Dec 21, 2012 (7:41 pm)
I have the hatch Sport Premium. You can pretty much eliminate any high rev engine noise, if it bothers you, by simply paddle shifting the car. I do that once in a while, but mainly, I'm use to the CVT now and it doesn't bother me. It does get better mileage than the manual. I live in a city and a manual is a PITA in traffic. I have 13k miles on the car now. Highest was 44 mpg this summer driving 60 mph or less on a country road trip. Lowest mpg is summer was about 30 mpg with lots of stop and go traffic, speeds around 80 mph on freeways mixed in. Now, its winter here in MPLS. I'm getting about 27 mpg overall. Not good, but then again NO car gets good gas mileage up here in winter with the gas formulation that is used, idlling to warm up the car constantly and driving with the engine cold. Not to mention spinning and sliding on snow and ice. By the way, your not really comparing apples to apples with the FIT. Its 2wd vs AWD. Big difference. If gas mileage is your ONLY criteria, I would guess the Fit will do better. For me, AWD was my first criteria and gas mileage was third or fourth.
#8 of 19 Re: I like the CVT [fredjohnson]
Dec 26, 2012 (5:47 pm)
That's a great synopsis, Fred.
On average, the Fit really isn't all that stellar in the FE department. Its space is fantastic, but you'll probably not see better than about 34-35 mpg on average. It's actually one of the least fuel efficient FWD sub-compacts currently available.
If one considers that the Impreza will likely sit at 30-32 average with AWD, the Fit isn't really a good fit unless you simply want a Fit.
#9 of 19 Re: I like the CVT [xwesx]
Dec 27, 2012 (8:00 am)
Fit is an over-sized sub-compact, though. In Brazil it's actually considered a "monovolume", or basically a small minivan.
I find it more roomy than the Civic, for instance.
My mom's on her 2nd Fit. Great city car, but noisy on the highway.
#10 of 19 My impression
Sep 26, 2013 (5:17 pm)
This *is* a Subaru forum comparing CVT -vs- manual xMission.
My wife and I have been driving manual xmissions for well over million miles. Never one bit of trouble with them. (never even wore out a clutch)
Recently, my wife got a Subie with CVT. Our main reason for chosing CVT is the MPG it offers.
After some time with the CVT, I have formed some opinions. (As an engineer as well as a driver)
*)First of all, I have no clue what all the reviews mean by a CVT being "noisy". Even if I listen very carefully, I can only hear a VERY slight wirring sound which is never obtrusive. No more noise than the gear-meshing sound of a manual xmision.
*) The promised MPG is easily achievable with a light throttle-pressure to keep the engine-RPMs low and allow the CVT to shift up as the roadspeed increases. Country-roads (under 50MPH) actually seem to get BETTER MPG than on a highway. (over 60MPH)
*) I can say that it is MUCH harder to maintain a constant roadspeed with CVT compared to a manual xmission (exact same Subie engine in both cars) . The CVT is always trying maintain optimum engine-rpms ... but the roadspeed changes all the time as it does this. One has to 'pedal' constantly to maintain constant speed as the road rises and falls.
*) Acceleration is actually quicker than a normal automatic that shifts gears... but the SOUND the engine is making does not relay the briskness of that acceleration to the driver. The car simply accelerates as the engine-RPM stays stable.
*) The Outback is a pretty large vehicle and is dragging around all the xtra metal of AWD system. (in addition to all the extra moving parts which must be rotated)...yet it is AVERAGING 28MPG during daily driving. PHENOMENAL!