An article in the New York Times says the steering wheel paddle shifters on most new vehicles are rarely used. They could be the best feature on the new 2019 Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, and Ascent models for improving drivability but you need to use them. The new second-generation Crosstrek uses a Lineartronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with Adaptive Control, Incline Start Assist and 7-speed manual mode with paddle shifters. Here are the advantages and how you can use them to their full potential.
You get the benefits of a CVT automatic transmission which is fuel economy, but also the advantages of having control of the shift points. Here’s how to get the optimum benefit from the new Crosstrek's useful feature. You can leave the gear shifter in drive and let the transmission shift on its own, or you can shift the gear lever over to the “M” or manual mode.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek paddle shifters are right behind the wheel
While moving or at a stop, you can shift to “M” and see the arrow on the dash telling you which gear you are in. By using the paddle shifter on the right (+plus), you can shift up a gear, and the left shifter (-minus) allows you to shift down.
There are two benefits you can enjoy by using the steering wheel paddle shifters. The first is if you are in deep snow. You can turn off your traction control and put the Crosstrek in first gear. This allows you to drive in a lower gear like you would if you were in 4WD Low.
The second benefit is if you are traveling up a steep hill or mountain pass on the way to the ski slope or to go kayaking. To keep the transmission from constantly shifting, you can keep it in the appropriate gear. It also keeps you from having to keep your foot on the brake pedal.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek
This auto journalist lives in the mountains west of Denver where we get a ton of snow and ice on the roads. It’s useful in winter to keep the Crosstrek at low speeds on hills that are snow-covered so we are not constantly on the brakes. We also use them on steep slick grades to keep the car in control so you don’t slide off the road or into the car in front of you.
You can use the paddle shifters while in Drive and the CVT transmission will let you shift momentarily. But as soon as it senses you need another gear either up or down, it will auto-shift to that gear for you. This can be useful when getting onto the highway or when you need to pass someone quickly. As soon as you are up to speed, the transmission will automatically go back to the appropriate gear.
When you do shift into “M” Manuel mode, you need to shift up or down if you are moving. If you don’t do anything, the transmission will not shift into manual mode for you. If the vehicle is slowing down while in manual mode, it will auto-downshift for you.
You can slide the gear lever back to Drive whenever you need to with a seamless shift and you won’t even know it. The steering wheel paddle shifters give you the extra control when you need it, and also give you the benefits of a fuel-efficient gearbox saving you money at the pump.
Paddle shifters are optional on Premium trims and standard on Limited models. Take your new 2019 Subaru Crosstrek out for a spin and get the most out of a feature that’s very helpful but rarely used to their full potential.
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Photo credit: Subaru Dr, Team MazdaSubaru