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Subaru Won't Offer A 6-Speed Manual In The New Crosstrek Sport-Here’s Why

When the higher-horsepower 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport arrives it won’t be coming with a 6-speed gearbox. Here’s why Subaru won’t offer a manual in the 2.5-liter Crosstrek.

The Subaru Crosstrek will gain more power with a 2.5-liter Boxer engine for the 2021 model year, but it will likely be losing the 6-speed manual transmission. Subaru CEO Tom Doll broke the news about the Crosstrek Sport at a NADA meeting last week. Subaru listened and will bring the subcompact SUV with more horsepower in the new Sport and Limited trims. What Subaru won’t offer customers is a higher-horsepower Crosstrek with the 6-speed manual gearbox.

Subaru has already dropped the manual gearbox in the Forester, Outback, and Legacy models, and currently, you can still get a 6-speed manual in the 2020 Crosstrek Base and Premium trims. There are only two 2020 Impreza models left (Base and Impreza Sport 5-Door) with the manual rower.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek SportYou can still get a manual gearbox in 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Base and Premium trims

New 2021 Crosstrek Sport and Limited will be powered by the same 2.5-liter engine as in the Forester. These trims will come mated with a Lineartronic CVT automatic with Adaptive Control, incline assist, and 8-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters. It’s highly unlikely it will be offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 2021 Crosstrek Limited will also get the new 2.5-liter engine, and as with the current trim, you won't be able to get a manual transmission in Limited models.

The new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport will slot after the Premium trim and should get similar upgrades like the new Forester Sport with Dual-function X-Mode with Hill Descent Control, SI-DRIVE with Sport Sharp mode, Black 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, roof rails with integrated tie-downs, front, rear and side under guards with colored accents, and gloss black and additional colored exterior accents.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek SportThe 2021 Crosstrek Sport will likely get Dual-function X-Mode

Why is Subaru dropping the manual transmission in all its SUVs?

We reached out to Subaru of America and they told Torque News they only sell 6 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.

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

The Japanese automaker has not officially announced the new 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport and we’ll have to wait for specifications. Look for Subaru to drop the 6-speed manual gearbox in all Crosstrek trims soon.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru CA, Timmons Subaru


Matthew (not verified)    March 5, 2020 - 1:56PM

I'm still driving my previous gen WRX hatch hoping they announce for 2021 they'd bring it back with the next gen. When I heard about the Crosstrek 2.5 I thought it might be a decent 2nd option to stay in a Subaru if they don't, but if there's no manual then that idea is out the window. Guess it's either WRX hatch or I'll be moving into the new Acura RDX for my rear biased AWD fix.

Steve Crocker (not verified)    March 5, 2020 - 3:22PM

Subaru are also comforted in the knowledge that an ever growing majority are eschewing manual transmissions anyway. In a sense they have nothing (but a few diehard customers) to lose and many more to gain. And simplifying their production process is always a benefit

Kenn (not verified)    March 6, 2020 - 1:02PM

I'm not in love with all manual transmissions, but do like good ones (like Subaru's 6-speed). I also like good, conventional automatics. CVTs remain controversial, with shorter lifespans, common $8,000 replacement costs, and requiring very careful maintenance. Opinions regarding fluid changes vary wildly, anywhere between 24,000 and Subaru's optimistic 100,000 miles. The slight increase in fuel economy is more important to Subaru (meeting CAFE standards) than me.

Chad (not verified)    March 8, 2020 - 7:38AM

Subaru has no interval of CVT maintenance in the owners manual other than front differential fluid service. But I agree that they're a lot different than when I started working for them. My valets don't know or need to know how to drive stick anymore. Went from 10% to around 2% of the cars as manual since I started. I don't think it's that people don't want the manual, Subaru just cut them out of the equation and customers either deal with it or leave. Not like any other manufacturer is offering a manual in anything but a subcompact or sports car.

Mike (not verified)    March 11, 2020 - 7:22PM

You know why they only sell 6% with manual transmission?
1. Can’t get leather
2. Can’t get a sunroof
3. If you want one, your stuck with an engine that can’t get out of its own way.
4. Most tother trim packages aren’t available.

I’ve been waiting for the 2021 Crossrrek to come out with the hopes that the engine would be bumped but still available in stick. I’ve been literally looking a salvage yards so that I could grab leather seats. I’ve been looking at aftermarket sunroofs.

All because they refuse to put manual in a ‘normal car’.

Reminds me of a conversation I had at work with 10 guys. Another guy and my self have manual transmission cars, two weren’t interested. As for the other six, all wanted to have manual transmission but couldn’t get it in the car/truck they wanted.

Result: six people don’t like their cars. No brand allegiance. Just it’s a “thing”.

The trend to people who being in a “transportation module” and not a car is disturbing.

Want your kids not to text while driving, give them a stick shift.

It’s sad.

Have to look at a *gasp* Jeep. Blah!

Katharine (not verified)    May 21, 2020 - 12:26PM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

I agree with this 100%. I want the Crosstrek with manual and sunroof. Also blind spot monitoring. Why can't I get that combination? I have all of those in my 2016 Mazda 3. I would rush out to buy the 2021 with the new engine and manual transmission, if it were available.

Clark Kent (not verified)    June 18, 2020 - 10:09AM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

All good points, but the biggest reason that they only sell 6% with manual transmissions, is they only import 6% with manual transmissions. My first Subaru came loaded with a stick(1996). It was great. Since then I’ve only bought Subarus because of the stick option, but that is over now. Subaru’s aren’t that great otherwise. They’re slow and they rust out no matter how you take care of them, not just the body, but the calipers and rotors too.

Mark (not verified)    April 28, 2020 - 2:58PM

Thanks for confirming. Saves me waiting to find out. Now I can go buy my second choice manual vehicle: Toyota Tacoma. Subaru had an opportunity to pioneer a new “Sport SUV/Crossover” but chose not to. Not everyone who wants a manual wants a couple/hot hatch. Thanks to Honda and Toyota for keeping the manual available in every-day vehicles.

Mark (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 12:22PM

All my cars have been exclusively manual. Still waiting for a sporty , powerfull, quality manual , But chances are slim. The next year bigger engine is not manual but i was very pleasantly surprised with brand new manual Crosstrek that i just bought for my wife. I was surprised how fast the thing can go. Yes , engine is small but it does not feel like iit. The RPM required for each gear is set much higher , very sportsy . And without strain somehow. Plus the new global platform gives the comfort and stability to move it. I am mentioning this to manual gears enthusiasts because it is hard to get a test drive of the newest generation manual. I had to order it without trying.

Tony (not verified)    June 10, 2020 - 10:22AM

It's really a disappointment that Subaru has decided to axe yet another MT option. Out of the 4 Subaru's we've owned, all manual, the 2002 Impreza Outback with a 2.5 litre and MT was my favorite. My wife and I were excited to replace our current underpowered 2.0 liter Crosstrek with the 2.5 MT. This is the proper engine and transmission matchup for the Crosstrek, and should have been from the beginning. It's clear that Subaru has gone SOFT. They are tailoring cars for the distracted driver, and even go to the extent of encouraging it with Eyesight.

Theresa Bennett (not verified)    June 19, 2020 - 5:46PM

I am a 47 year old female who started out on a manual and refuse to drive a automatic. I plan on buying the top of the line white Subaru Crostrek when I graduate from Nursing school in 2024. YOU HAVE CRUSHED MY DREAMS

Robert (not verified)    June 22, 2020 - 2:09AM

I currently own a 2019 Impreza sport 5speed. I could not get a sunroof or a 6speed option. Subaru seems so desperate to push this eyesight technology that they are willing to lose potential customers over it. Eyesight tech is very annoying if you enjoy driving and Subaru only wants idiots driving their cars, hence the reason for the elimination of manuals and turbo options for all their cars. I will no longer be a customer of Subaru if they do no not provide 6speed manuals to their newer vehicles other than base models with a garbage 2.0 motor. Very weak motor and should be scrapped on all models.

Mike (not verified)    August 6, 2020 - 11:41AM

"It's about safety"

As if you couldn't engineer EyeSight to work with a manual transmission. Just do what Mazda does - if it has to slam on the brakes, oh well, the car can stall; if you didn't crash, you can start it again and drive away.

Fuck off with your automatic zealotry.

Brian (not verified)    August 28, 2020 - 6:29PM

Well, ditch the manual and and I ditch Subaru. Subaru CVTs are the absolute worst. My wife's Outback lasted 90k miles. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!

Doug Payne (not verified)    September 19, 2020 - 1:21AM

I love my 2018 Crosstrek Premium and was so excited when I heard about the extra 30 hp to be let down when reading about it not being offered with a manual. I am a Parts Manager for Hyundai and know first hand the credibility of the CVT 0%

Adrián M. (not verified)    December 5, 2020 - 11:40PM

In Canada, you can get the Crosstrek in the Sport trim level with sunroof, 8-inch infotainment and other features with the 6MT. Curiously, I think the car is built in Indiana.

Rusco F. (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 7:42PM

I just learned about this in an ad for a trade up. I've got a 2019 crosstrek and I love the 6-speed. It actually makes the car fun to drive despite the lack of power (the car's one downside imo). I test drove the cvt and it was booooring, not to mention the problems with cvt longevity. I was kind of hoping a crosstrek sport would come out with a 6 speed turbo or something like that. This news is a bummer tho.

Zach (not verified)    August 30, 2021 - 8:29PM

The only reason I ever considered a Subie was for the manual. With that gone, so is the appeal.

Dave Mason (not verified)    October 6, 2021 - 8:51PM

I love the 6-speed manual in my 2018 Sti. If they ever drop the manual in the WRX I won’t buy an other. I’m 73 and love shifting.