The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is one of the rare models that still comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, but you don’t want one. Most 2021 Crosstrek trims will come with a Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic, but the Base and Premium trims still come standard with the 6-speed manual gearbox.
Subaru of America told Torque News only 6 percent of buyers want a Crosstrek with a 6-speed manual gearbox and for good reason. Base and Premium are the only trims offering a manual and it’s not available in the other three models. There are three reasons why you want the CVT automatic and you won’t even consider the 6-speed manual gearbox.
Fuel mileage improves with the CVT
It’s not surprising Subaru is pushing the CVT because the automatic get such superior fuel mileage. The new 2021 Crosstrek Sport and Limited trims with the 2.5-liter engine come with the upgraded Lineartronic CVT with 8-speed manual mode and steering wheel paddle shifters and gets excellent fuel mileage performance (27/34/29 city/highway/combined).
The 2021 Crosstrek 2.0-liter CVT models achieve EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28/33 city/highway and 30 combined mpg. The 6-speed manual models are rated at 22/29 city/highway and only 25 combined mpg. Subaru improved the CVT’s mpg as the 2021 Crosstrek 2.0-liter engine improved one mpg city to 28 when 2020 models had an estimated 27 mpg city.
CVT with X-Mode and SI-DRIVE
Another reason why you want the CVT is the models come equipped with X-Mode for severe driving conditions and CVT models come with SI-DRIVE that allows the driver to dial-up engine efficiency or performance with Intelligent and Sport modes. You don’t get X-Mode or SI-DRIVE with the manual transmission.
You can’t get EyeSight with the manual transmission
Subaru dropped the 6-speed manual in the Outback, and Legacy in 2015 models and Forester in 2019 because they now offer EyeSight driver assist technology as standard equipment on the three all-wheel-drive cars. EyeSight is not compatible with the safety system. All 2021 Crosstrek CVT models come standard with EyeSight.
We know we’ll get a negative response from purists who still like a 6-speed manual gearbox. I understand because I own one. But the large majority of subcompact SUV buyers will opt for the CVT.
The CVT offers improved fuel mileage, it comes with X-Mode, SI-DRIVE, and EyeSight. For now, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is one of the few models that are still available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, but why would you want one?
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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 and the founder of 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.
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