Driving enthusiasts who want a manual transmission will have even fewer choices now in Subaru vehicles after the 2023 model year. For example, you couldn't get a manual transmission in the Subaru Forester compact SUV after the 2018 model year and in the Subaru Outback midsize SUV and Legacy midsize sedan after 2015. Now more Subaru models are dropping the manual gearbox.
The Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV and Subaru Solterra EV compact SUV have never had a manual transmission option available for customers.
In the 2023 model year, you can still get a manual gearbox in the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV base, Premium trim levels, and the 2023 Subaru Impreza compact base sedan, base hatchback, and Impreza Sport hatchback trims. But it's gone forever for the 2024 Crosstrek SUV and Impreza compact hatchback models.
The 2023 Subaru WRX sport-tuned sedan and the Subaru BRZ sport coupe also come with a 6-speed manual shifter.
In 2024, only two Subaru models are left standing with a manual transmission. You can still get a 6-speed manual transmission in the Subaru WRX sport-tuned sedan and the Subaru BRZ sport coupe.
The BRZ still offers a fully synchronized 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission with Incline Start Assist, and the WRX comes with a fully synchronized 6-speed manual transmission with Incline Start Assist.
All other 2024 Subaru models will now have a Continuously Variable automatic Transmission (CVT). In addition, the WRX comes with a Subaru Performance automatic Transmission (SPT), and BRZ comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual mode and paddle shifters.
Subaru now offers the CVT automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters in its sportier Forester, Crosstrek, Outback, and other models for driving enthusiasts.
Why is Subaru fazing out the manual transmission?
Subaru aims to have zero fatal accidents by 2030, and they want every model and trim level in the lineup to be equipped with EyeSight safety technology. However, EyeSight is not offered on any Subaru model with a manual gearbox because it's incompatible with the safety system.
The new 2024 Crosstrek will now come with the latest generation EyeSight driver assist technology, and Driver Monitoring System called Driver Focus to offer another level of safety and help reduce the chance of accidents. However, Subaru has yet to invest the resources needed to make its EyeSight driver assist safety technology compatible with a manual transmission.
Subaru wants the Crosstrek to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award across the entire lineup. Currently, the Crosstrek without EyeSight doesn't get the highest scores and can't be included with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic models.
Will Subaru WRX and BRZ keep the manual transmission option?
Subaru will keep the 6-speed manual gearbox in the WRX performance sedan and BRZ sport coupe. A recent report from Drive says Subaru Corporation will not drop the manual transmission in either sports car.
Until now, Subaru Corporation has not fitted the WRX or BRZ manual transmission models with EyeSight safety technology because they weren't willing to invest the resources to make the system work with a manual gearbox. But that changed according to the new report.
The report from Drive says, "Manual transmission versions of the Subaru WRX and BRZ performance cars will receive an advanced safety upgrade ahead of an (Australian) federal deadline for a technology mandate."
The EyeSight autonomous braking technology is now being updated so the WRX and BRZ manual shifter can come standard with the driver assist safety technology. Manual transmission versions of the Subaru WRX performance sedan and Subaru BRZ coupe account for most of the sales, and it's a significant improvement for Subaru to invest in the new technology.
The Subaru manual transmission gets more scarce now, with only the 2024 Subaru WRX and 2024 Subaru BRZ still offering the manual shifter. However, Subaru won't drop the manual shifter in its performance models anytime soon.
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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. 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.
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