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Why You Can’t Get a 6-Speed Manual Subaru Forester Black Edition

Subaru’s new 2018 Forester 2.5i Black Edition doesn’t come with a 6-speed manual gearbox option. It’s all about fuel mileage.


If you want a fully synchronized 6-speed manual gearbox option with Incline Start Assist, you can’t get it on Subaru’s coolest new Forester. Subaru released their new 2018 Forester 2.5i Black Edition and it’s a cool model, but you can only get it with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). You can only get the 6-speed manual on the lower trim Forester 2.5i and 2.5i Premium models.

As a concession, Subaru is offering the new 2018 Forester 2.5i Black Edition with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with manual-mode paddle shifters, (previously available only on XT turbo models) that control a 6-speed manual mode on the CVT. It’s paired with a leather-wrapped shifter handle. But that’s the only sporty upgrades for those wanting to shift themselves. At least, Subaru fitted Black Edition Foresters with X-MODE for off-road enthusiasts.

Other Black Edition features

Forester 2.5i Black Editions will look cool outside and features standout touches like 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, a rear roof spoiler, Crystal Black Silica badging and side mirrors, and new LED Steering Responsive Headlights to see around dark corners at night. A front grille with blacked-out wing motif and chrome frame are also included as standard, and fog lights help you see when off-roading or in inclement weather.

Other things to set it apart are cool blue lighting as you enter the cabin, a panoramic moonroof for a wide open feel, seats are covered in black cloth with sport bolsters, and it gets heated front seats. All Black Edition Foresters are powered by a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine producing 170 horsepower and 174 lb. ft of torque mated to the CVT.

It’s all about fuel mileage

Why doesn’t Subaru offer the fully synchronized 6-speed manual gearbox with Incline Start Assist on the new Black Edition Forester? It’s all because of fuel efficiency. In order to get their fleet fuel mileage numbers up, they have to equip the majority of models with the CVT. Forester with the Lineartronic CVT automatic gearbox gets an EPA/DOT estimated 26/32 city/highway mpg). Fuel economy on the 2.5i w/ manual transmission gets a much lower 22/28 city/highway mpg.

So if you want the coolest new Forester in the lineup, the 2018 Subaru Forester 2.5i Black Edition ($28,260) only comes with a CVT automatic gearbox. At least you can get it with steering wheel paddle shifters and better fuel mileage.

Watch 2018 Subaru Forester 2.5i Black Edition | Model Review video

Photo credit: Subaru


bob (not verified)    November 8, 2017 - 2:26PM

I have an impreza with the paddle shifters. (It replaced a 2004 forester with manual.) What disappoints me with the paddle shifters is that the RPM of the engine when I'm in 7th gear, manual mode, is higher than what the CVT can achieve in auto mode. (The only exception is when the car is warming up. At that time, for maybe the first mile, the manual mode results in lower RPMs than the auto mode.)

The forester only gets 6 simulated gears? What's up with that?!