Skip to main content

3 Reasons Why Subaru Will Drop The Manual Shifter In The New Crosstrek And Impreza Soon

If you want a manual transmission in a 2021 Subaru Crosstrek or Impreza, you can still get one, but not for long. There are three reasons why the manual will be dead soon.

Subaru Corporation is an automaker with five models in its lineup, tying Toyota with the most cars still offering a manual transmission. Subaru still offers the manual shifter in the 2021 Crosstrek, Impreza, WRX, WRX STI, and 2020 BRZ. They dropped it in the Forester, Outback, and Legacy in the last five years. But the manual shifter will be dead soon in the next-generation Crosstrek and Impreza.

Why is Subaru dropping manual transmissions in its cars?

Subaru, like all automakers, is moving away from manual transmissions because not many customers want one. Torque News reached out to Subaru of America and said they only sell six percent of its Crosstrek models with a 6-speed manual transmission. The other 94 percent get the Lineartronic CVT automatic transmission or the upgraded Lineartronic with 8-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters on the new 2021 Crosstrek Sport.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Impreza

It’s a trend many automakers are making, and the end of the manual transmission is coming. For Subaru, it’s about sales, but it’s also about safety. Subaru will soon drop all manual shifters in their cars to bring EyeSight driver assist technology as standard equipment to their entire SUV lineup. Subaru cannot fit EyeSight on a manual transmission car, so those models will all be gone soon.

Dropping the manual is also about improved fuel mileage. The Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic gets improved fuel efficiency compared with the manual gearbox. It’s why Subaru uses the CVT in all its models except for the performance-tuned STI.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Subaru Impreza

The 2021 Crosstrek with a 6-speed manual gets an EPA estimated 22/29/25 city/highway/combined mpg. The automatic gets considerably better fuel mileage at 28/33/30 city/highway/combined mpg.

Will Subaru keep the manual in its sports cars?

Subaru will keep the manual shifter in three of its vehicles, the next-generation 2022 Subaru BRZ, WRX, and WRX STI sports cars. But the Japanese automaker will likely drop it in the next-generation 2022 Impreza sedan and hatchback and 2023 Crosstrek subcompact SUV.

As Subaru Corporation makes its EyeSight technology standard in all new models and looks to improve its fuel mileage in its lineup, look for the automaker to phase out the manual shifter in the 2022 Subaru Impreza and 2023 Subaru Crosstrek.

You Might Also Like: It Saves Fuel In The New Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, and Outback But You Don’t Like It

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru


Warren (not verified)    October 18, 2020 - 10:36AM

I would say do’nt be stupid....

So why then is the manual still the world’s dominant platform?

Did you also know the fuel economy is done on machines & that Subaru gives the linear a somewhat different AWD than the manual that why the rating is higher but real world results conclude otherwise ohh I see....

My Jetta S with manual 53.5 on a summer trip w/o A/C w/A/C on 48 mpg! That’s a 6 speed by the way not an 8 speed w/start stop I drove one for 4 days in an R-line, I seen 6 miles less to gallon by the way, VW rates them the same.

Did you also tell them a Subaru linear costs 8200.00 to replace vs les than 1300.00 for a clutch!

The manual gets better & better w/dual clutches only require an oil change w/the same synthetic oil the turbo engines uses now at 100k at 1/2 the cost on an engine change!

Did you explain all this to the ‘ American dummies ‘ whom like automatics ‘??

e.moran (not verified)    July 24, 2021 - 6:39PM

In reply to by Warren (not verified)

have always driven a stick, control of car is far superior as is gas mileage. the new cvt is outrageous to repair, compared to a manual, under $350. Those who drive automatics, dont understand rpms , drive aggressively dangerous since they think the car will do everything for them. big big mistake to stop producing manuals.

Peter (not verified)    October 18, 2020 - 6:05PM

My wife was looking for a small all wheel drive sedan. We recently test drove an Impreza and a Mazda 3. The CVT in the Impreza felt disconnected and gutless with the 2.0. The Mazda with a 2.5 and 6-speed automatic (which we ended up buying) was responsive and handled very well.

I was disappointed with Subaru, especially since I drive a Forester XT with a manual gearbox, and love it. I understand that manuals are selling less, but that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy when less models are offered. I recognize that I will be forced into an automatic when I have to replace my XT, but I guarantee that it won't be a Subaru with a crap CVT. Oh, and how can Mazda offer its version of eyesight with a manual, while Subaru can't?

Tan (not verified)    October 18, 2020 - 6:42PM

So glad I got my manual Crosstrek before they stopped making them! I recall being overseas and majority of the rental cars only have manual was a sad day for many Americans who were clueless on how to operate them. (I was kind enough to teach a few.) They’re so much fun to drive!!!

Steve Wilson (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 7:30AM

Subaru BS,tried for 2 years to find an orange manual transmission crosstrek,they were sold as soon as they hit the lot,plenty of orange cvt Crosstreks sitting around. They will only sell 6% manual transmissions cars if they only make 6% manual cars.

m ritz (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 8:06AM

As a lifelong manual shift driver - this is sad. I think car makers should dedicate some of their research to improving the manual shift transmission rather than just abandoning it as a dinosaur. I traded in a brand new 2019 Forester with all those crazy bells and whistles for a 2017 6 speed Forester. I am a much happier driver actually driving the car and not sitting back and responding to beeps and bells. It is sad to learn that Subaru is abandoning the manual shift drivers. WE may not be big in numbers but we are passionate about the car we prefer to drive.

Wendy (not verified)    May 26, 2021 - 5:50PM

In reply to by m ritz (not verified)

First off, I'm not a big auto lover, but my manual transmission Impreza (which I do love) is in the shop, and they gave me a new 2021 Crosstrek as a loner. What an awful car! It turns off at stop signs, lurches forward without any encouragement, and the radio stays on when you turn the car off!! Can't wait to get my fully manual little Impreza back again! It turns things Off when you turn off the car, like all the lights! So sorry to hear that my fun-to-drive manual Subaru will no longer be available...... #noManualNoPeace.

Craig Maynard (not verified)    November 30, 2021 - 9:40AM

In reply to by m ritz (not verified)

So true! Manual transmissions are considerably lighter than automatic. On top of that the spinning weight, which effects mpg more, is also lower. My 2010 legacy MT constantly out performed the sticker mpg rating even for the automatic rating. There are so many things they could have done to improve mpg for manuals. For starters another gear for cruising at 80mph. In addition they could unlock the center diff at cruising speeds.

Greg Hilliard (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 12:15PM

I bought my manual crosstrek new in 2018. It delivered with a paint chip in the door, so the shop gave me a CVT crosstrek loaner car for a few days while they had it painted. What a piece of crap - day and night difference. The manual crosstrek is a fun car, the CVT crosstrek was a turd.
The only reason I bought the crosstrek was because it was the only crossover SUV with a manual - now they're taking away the only reason I'd have to buy another Subaru.
Also, those quoted mileage differences between stick and CVT? Bullshit, I can get 36 mpg hwy out of my manual.
One last thing - I went to Spain a year ago, and rented a car for a week while there. The stick shift car I rented was about half the cost of renting an automatic. Even though Americans have gotten fat and lazy, the rest of the world knows what's going on.

morphd (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 2:03PM

Some years ago I bought a 2013 Forester thinking that would be my last manual transmission car (the only type of transmission I've ever owned). I initially thought it was terrible when a deer totaled that car last year but then I lucked out and found a 2018 Forester with a MT and only 10k miles on it. Maybe when I'm ready for my next vehicle Toyota will still be putting a MT in the Tacoma?

I just love the control and engagement a MT gives me driving - especially in the mountains. But alas, life is always changing and I'll eventually have to accept that fewer and fewer people understand what they are missing and the demand is no longer there.

Tamara (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 3:50PM

Will pays still be available for manual transmissions on the Forester, Outback and Crosstrek? Looming at buying one soon.

Jay Ell (not verified)    October 21, 2020 - 6:00PM

Just bought a '21 Crosstrek with a 6-speed manual. The advertised EPA MPG ratings caught my eye. My (admittedly brief) experience makes me doubt those figures. Have had no "long" highway drives but several short ones, plus fair amounts of mountain driving and stops for red lights in town. For the past thousand miles, my combined MPG figure is close to 32. In town, I'm sure the stop-start feature of a CVT makes a difference. While I'm no conspiracy theorist, I wonder if Subaru isn't deliberately fudging to downplay the manual's performance while exaggerating the CVT's in order to gain a certain customer support for their impending plan to offer only the CVT.

David (not verified)    April 13, 2021 - 8:52AM

Could not be more disappointed in auto manufacturers eliminating standard transmissions. Living at an alpine altitude and snow 4-5 months a year makes it much easier with a stick shift.
Also, in over 60 years of driving a standard transmission, other than periodic clutches, I've never had to repair or replace a standard transmission. Every one of the automatics I've owned has had to be replaced, sometimes twice. I even have an old 1957 car I've had since 1965 with a stick shift; it's still going strong with nary a blip in its standard transmission.

Thomas (not verified)    May 16, 2021 - 2:17AM

I currently drive a manual transmission car and was planning to replace In the next couple of year with a other manual transmission. Crosstrek was on near the top of my list for purchase but If it stops offering manual, I will not buy the CVT and cross Subaru off my list.

Jazzboy (not verified)    May 24, 2021 - 8:19AM

Subaru will lose those 6% or potentially more sales to another manufacturer who still offers a manual transmission. Of course they will initially think they are making a higher profit out of the suckers who buy a car with a cheaper to manufacture CVT for a higher price, but the higher maintenance costs and lower reliability will eventually catch up.
In North America,Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, VW still offer manual transmission cars at a reasonable price. In Europe, where people are not as dumb, the manual still represents a big majority of sales. The excuse Subaru gives to abandon the manual is clearly BS, as it can be easily demonstrated:
Using the same logic, Subaru should stop making the BRZ or the WRX because each of those models represent even less than 6% of its total sales.

David Wagner (not verified)    September 13, 2021 - 6:55PM

I just won't buy CVT. Many manufacturers, including Subaru have had CVT troubles. They don't repair, just replace, and very expensive if out of warranty. I wouldn't trust CVT for light duty towing, the rubber band might fail. Perhaps a 20 year 250k mile warranty?

David Wagner (not verified)    September 13, 2021 - 6:56PM

I just won't buy CVT. Many manufacturers, including Subaru have had CVT troubles. They don't repair, just replace, and very expensive if out of warranty. I wouldn't trust CVT for light duty towing, the rubber band might fail. Perhaps a 20 year 250k mile warranty?

Craig Maynard (not verified)    November 30, 2021 - 9:54AM

One of the big reasons we buy manual transmissions is because they are so dependable. The vast majority of Subaru owners that have driven our cars to 300k plus have done it with manual transmissions. Good luck doing that with a CVT. We were willing to put up with needing to replace head gaskets every 150k because that meant we could reliably drive the car another 150k. Now with the CVT if the head gasket goes who is going to fix that when they know the CVT may go at any time and cost 8,000?

STG (not verified)    December 3, 2021 - 6:06PM

Just purchased a 2022 Subaru Impreza with a manual transmission. I still have a functioning 2007 Legacy wagon, but decided to get a 2022 Subaru Impreza hatchback because I had read that Subaru would be eliminating manual transmissions. I will never purchase a car with an automatic. Manual transmissions keep your brain/nervous system engaged in the process of driving and they are fun and utilitarian in various driving conditions.

Mr. Sunshine 44 (not verified)    January 16, 2022 - 11:23PM

When I bought my 2008 Outback with the manual transmission, my salesman told me Subaru was committed to the manual transmission. When I went to buy a new Outback a number of years later I was told they aren't available with the manual transmission anymore. So I'll drive my 2008 alongside my new Mazda 6 manual trans. I'd be at the Subaru dealer with money in hand if I could get an Outback with the manual transmission.

Andrew Adelman (not verified)    August 29, 2022 - 5:14PM

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Car companies offer fewer manuals with fewer features. Then they point to low sales to justify fewer manuals with fewer features. Car companies pretend they are following consumer preferences. Their sales pitch is disconnected from reality.

Manuals aren't sitting around on dealers' lots. They're sold before they're ordered. There is too much demand chasing to few cars. On top of that, you have all the consumers who would like a manual but aren't willing to forgo a higher trim to get one. I'd really like a sunroof option in my car. Good luck in a manual.

I feel the same way about SUVs people buy them because car companies make them. If you want something bigger than a sedan but less than a pickup truck, an SUV is your only option. Gone is the humble station wagon. Minivans are about as rare as manuals. Subcompact SUVs are signal automakers overlooked a large portion of the market share for decades.

Car companies are pushing people away from manuals. However, I do believe technology has something to do with it. Subaru wants a 5 star safety rating across all vehicles. They can't get one when the manual is eyesight incompatible. The incentives are all screwy. We can have tangential conversation about diesel here.

It won't matter soon anyway though. If you buy a new manual now, you'll be searching hard for an unleaded vehicle the next time you buy one. Everything is going electric in the next two decades. Three-pedal junkies will only have faux-manuals to choose from, if they even exist.