By on February 6, 2014

2015-Subaru-Legacy-01

 

Since you’ve already seen the 2015 Subaru Legacy, here’s the Cliff’s Notes: the 2.5L 4-cylinder and 3.6L 6-cylinder boxer engines are back, and a CVT is the sole transmission available. A torque-vectoring system, borrowed from the WRX, is also standard. We hear that the next Outback will bow in April at the New York Auto Show.

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72 Comments on “Chicago 2014: Subaru Legacy Goes CVT Only...”


  • avatar
    krayzie

    OMGWTFBBQ CVT ONLY???

    /sarc

  • avatar

    I still do not like the idea of a CVT, but I can understand why manufacturers are doing it for the fuel economy benefits. I just wish they would still offer manuals for those of us who prefer not to let the computer do our shifting for us.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I completely understand the beigemobile Camry no longer offering stick. But come on Toyota Group, 16.1% owners of Fuji Heavy Industries/Subaru, you can’t let the sports sedan Legacy keep its 6MT option? The people that don’t want a manual already have the Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        krayzie

        I think Legacy lost its sports appeal with the fifth generation when it became a 4WD Camry.

        I have a hard time seeing how STI is going to mod this into a tS model in Japan lol!

        • 0 avatar
          Varezhka

          They probably won’t bother with the tS model, given that the new Levorg is considered the “true” successor to Legacy in the domestic market.

          Since the current 5th generation and the new 6th generation Legacy was designed with US market first, like Camry and Accord, it’s evolution into 4WD Camry unfortunately makes a lot of sense.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “But come on Toyota Group, 16.1% owners of Fuji Heavy Industries/Subaru, you can’t let the sports sedan Legacy keep its 6MT option?”

        In an effort at civility, I won’t point how how this sounds to someone that hasn’t been susceptible to conditioning against the best car companies.

    • 0 avatar
      RogerB34

      There are no fuel economy benefits over current a/t’s.
      It is cheaper to make.
      No consumer complaints over servicing costs or belt replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If there are no fuel-economy benefits of the CVT versus its conventional competition, then why do the CVT Altimas I’ve rented absolutely kill their Camry, Malibu, and Fusion competition in real-world fuel economy?

        Be gentle with an Altima and you can see 35 mpg in mixed driving. None of the conventional-auto midsizers even come close.

      • 0 avatar
        d002

        Its to meet Euro 5 compliance.

        A 4 speed slushbox won’t comply. To get more gears you need two sunwheel races – twice the cost, complexity and weight. Too much for a midsizer.

        If you want stick shift, buy a WRX.

        The belt will last the lifetime of the vehicle (1 million kms).

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    This is horrible news. The 6MT version was a great daily driver choice. Now they’ve improved the car but dropped that.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    First let me say I read the headline in my email very quickly as: SUBARU LEGACY GOES SVX EDITION. And I was really excited for a second. But then no.

    This is a bit disappointing, as Subaru heads further and further away from it’s quirky roots, into mass market oblivion, whilst they chase numbers. I don’t feel any mainstream sedan should be limited to one transmission choice!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Yeah this is a mistake. Subaru was probably the last mainstream brand whose products were sought after by manual enthusiasts and ordinary folks alike.

  • avatar
    velvet fog

    I though I was looking at the next Ford Fusion.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    That’s it. I’m done. I never thought I would say this as I have been infatuated with Subaru since the days of the Loyal Wagon 4WD Low Range… but this is it. To hell with them. First the shittastic decision to offer the WRX in sedan only and now a CVT only transmission on the new Taurus… I mean Legacy.

    All the hero’s of my childhood are dying slow deaths around me.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    Even worse, this probably means that there will be no more manual version of the Outback.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I want to know about the details of the AWD system. I’m always worried they’ll go to an on-demand system like much of the competition in the name of fuel economy.

    If this is still full-time AWD like Subarus have traditionally enjoyed, then a 3.6R could be a pretty sweet winter mile-eater, assuming the CVT is well-behaved.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      I think as far back as it goes, even Subaru’s AWD is on-demand for autos (with FWD bias). The full-time is only for manuals.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Depends on the car. Historically, the torque distribution in the absence of slip was 90/10 for autos, which I guess is pretty much “on-demand.” But they went to 80/20 awhile ago, and then to 60/40 in most of their more recent cars, including the previous CVT (four-cylinder) and 5A (six-cylinder) Legacy. I have an auto, turbo Forester with the 60/40 system.

        60/40 qualifies as “full time” as far as I’m concerned, because when you’re actually driving in wet or snowy conditions there isn’t the feeling of hesitation that you would get in, say, a Honda CR-V before the rear wheels start pushing. I’m hoping the new Legacy’s system is the same.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Subarus are HUGE in my mountainous area, and especially in the ski-country. No doubt they will continue to sell well even though a CVT is the only tranny offered.

    The trick is not to keep the CVT beyond the warranty period since all CVTs will fail a lot sooner than the standard hydraulic step-automatic transmissions will.

    There’s no way to avoid that since the metal belt is the only sacrificial component in the transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Autoboy

      The CVT in the Subaru is THE reason that I won’t consider buying a new one. Most buy Subaru’s for long-term reliability…something that the CVT won’t give you. Sure you can lease it, but I would bet that most Subaru buyers plan to keep their cars at least 10 years. Good luck forking over $7000 for a new CVT when this one goes…and I’m sure out of warranty.

      It’s all about the bottom line. The only Accord to buy is the more expensive 6-cylinder, which will turn out to be cheaper than their CVT 4-cylinder in the long-run.

      If you lease, no biggie…but I keep my cars for 10-years-plus. I don’t want anything to do with a CVT or a turbo. At least the Subaru’s don’t have that.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’m car shopping for a sedan this year and you know the ONLY thing that kept me coming back to the Subaru Legacy? The fact that you could get heated seats and a manual trans in the same car. I wasn’t one of those people who saw Subaru as the “environmentalist, former Saab owner, alternative” choice I saw it as a budget Audi.

    Now if you can’t get the manual trans, you might as well buy an AWD Fusion or Taurus so you can at least get a true 6 speed auto with your AWD. At least the traditional automatic will be easier to repair if that’s necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Seems like every AT “repair” I’ve seen consists of drop the broken one, send to a company that remanufactures them, put in a new/remanufactured one. That isn’t any different than the CVT repair method.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        In 2007 I had a automatic trans rebuilt on a 1997 Ford Escort wagon. It was physically rebuilt and the Mazda parts with firmer shift points and more of a tuning for performance over economy. Best $2000 ever spent on that car. Kept it going for another couple of years and improved the character of the car.

    • 0 avatar
      Autoboy

      PrincipalDan…My friend recently purchased a base Mazda6 stick. It didn’t come with heated seats, but he took it over to a respected installer, who put in superb seat heaters and electronics for a total of $450. They work great and allowed him to get the car he wanted, with a stick.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    So we are down to Accord, Fusion, Passat, and Mazda6 as our “mainstream family sedan” choices with a stick shift, right?

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I’ve bought two MT equipped Subarus new with my own money – one Legacy Wagon, and one Forester. While I prefer a MT, I might consider a modern AT – but a CVT means no sale in my books.

    If Subaru is no longer going to offer a MT, I don’t see any reason to buy a Legacy over an AWD Fusion or Chrysler 200.

    At least in Canada, you can still get a nicely equipped Forester with MT. We’ll see how long that lasts. I had to get a dealer swap to get a MT Forester with the colour and options we wanted. One dealership was trying to sell me on the benefits of a CVT, and assuring me I would get used to it after a couple of weeks, so I bought elsewhere…

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Have you driven the CVT? My ’13 OB has one; it took a day or two to get used to the ‘no discernible shift points’, but otherwise it’s a great setup. I average 26-27 mpg while continuing my “drive like an asshole” way of life.

      My previous car was my first DD that had an automatic. To be honest, living is a suburban/urban area, I got tired on traffic shifting a manual.

      Many Subaru’s with the CVT offer the paddle shifters as well; it was a neat play toy for the first 2-3 minutes.

      I’m just saying don’t knock the CVT until you try it with an open mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Autoboy

        Dave M…congratulations on your purchase. I just worry about expense and reliability on CVT-equipped vehicles once they are out of warranty. Ford (class action lawsuits) and Nissan have illustrated to me to stay away from CVT’s for now. Nissan extended their CVT warranty to 120,000 for model years 2007 to 2010, but continued to screw the owners with two-faced legalese, going as far as denying warranty claims due to convoluted reasoning, like the throttle body is not part of the transmission.

        Give me a proper 6-speed slushbox anytime.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    That strange sound you hear is untold thousands of nipples in Boulder, CO, Portland and Vermont all becoming erect.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    the 6MT in this generation legacy/outback was pretty panned as terrible. no big loss.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I owned an manual Turbo Leone in Japan and had a manual ’05 Outback wagon. This is very depressing to hear. I know there are no longer an MPG bennies to a manual but I still prefer it when possible. Anyone with a serious intent in purchasing a manual Legacy or Outback should write Subaru of America ASAP.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    I typed in wagon/manual/1981-1999 last night in Autotrader to see what was available as a work vehicle. A few Escorts and Saturns and a boat load of Subarus. In a few years the pickings will be even sadder.

  • avatar
    Loki

    Are they trying to “out-beige” Toyota, and “out-uninspired-and-unexciting-transmission-line-up” Nissan?

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Looks much better in this picture than the early leaked pics.

  • avatar

    Certainly looks better but more generic than ever before. The Subaru CVT is supposed to be quite good (they make their own) but I’m dubious. The model I’d be interested to replace my ’12 Legacy GT wagon (5AT) would be the power train in the current Japan only wagon with the 2.0DIT engine with 300hp / 300lb-ft torque. Still the CVT is probably enough to kill it for me. I really enjoy by Subie but the cheap and cheerful build quality does get to you. Such a pity because they could be awesome Audi quattro alternatives but they cheap out in too many areas.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I dont think this new car is ugly, but I am not feeling it and actually like the outgoing model better from a design standpoint. Not such a disappointment to lose the manual, I think you could only get it on a stripper version anyway. I suppose that is not great for those wanting the stripper version, but it was never on my shopping list. Still waiting for the return of the Legacy GT. I wont hold my breath. Ditching all manuals on the Legacy, offering the new WRX in sedan only, the outback is now a full sized SUV, CVT’s all around. Subaru is losing a lot of its former appeal.

  • avatar
    Slocum

    We’ve driven manuals for years and thought hard about a manual Outback, but we’re going to tow a boat with it, and dealing with the manual at the ramp seemed more trouble than it was worth. So we got the CVT, and I’m really OK with it. The benefits are definitely noticeable climbing steep hills under cruise control — instead of bog/downshift/race/upshift/repeat, you get a gradual, almost imperceptible gear ratio adjustment. And front-wheel bias or not, the thing is a beast in the snow (of which we’ve had more than plenty here in Michigan)

    • 0 avatar

      How much would you be disappointed to know that Subaru’s have hillstart assist with their manuals? Yep, no drama. The car holds itself with the parking break on any reverse incline and you just move forward no matter how bad you are with a clutch (not saying you are).

      Oh, and AWD automatic Subies are actualy RWD biased most of the time, not front.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        Looks like the bias depends on the model:

        http://www.subaru-global.com/tec_awd.html

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Most AWD automatics are front-biased, 90/10 or 80/20 on older models and 60/40 on most recent models. Only the latest WRX and STI have rear bias.

        Edit: I’m slightly wrong. Apparently the previous Legacy 3.6R also has 55:45 rear bias, along with the automatic 2.5GT unicorn.

      • 0 avatar
        Slocum

        Yes, they include the hill-start/automatic electric parking brake with the CVT as well. Which is actually somewhat useful, since the CVT otherwise rolls back much more than a traditional auto. But the boat we’ll be towing with it is at the upper end of the range and clutch burn on steep ramps seemed like a possibility best to be avoided. Also the current generation of CVT Outbacks have an 80/20 FWD bias but can switch to 50/50 as needed.

  • avatar
    Bored383

    there is nothing wrong with CVT’s, and Subaru does them well. All the vitriol from people who honestly wouldn’t buy the car if it still had a manual option is funny. Also, complain about beige all you want, but a big volume of beige is what is needed to support the non beige offerings from the same manufacturer.

    the fact is simple – appliance cars come in many shapes and sizes, and will always far outnumber actual enthusiast cars. And midsize sedans are a big chunk of the appliance car market

    • 0 avatar
      KrohmDohm

      Much of what you say is true. Although Subaru’s CVT hasn’t been on the market long enough for high mileage/long term reliability data.
      Those of us who are long time and multiple Subie owners are losing faith in Subaru. They used to make quirky cars that were unique in the market. Not necessarily enthusiast just something different. The loss of the MT option in even the lowest trim level is depressing to those of us that buy MT cars whenever possible. Since 1995 I have owned 3 cars with manuals including my current car. Yes one of those was a Subie. 3 of my 5 Subies were manuals.
      Also according to many forums posts on subaruoutback.org the CVT’s have one major flaw. Several posters stated they were told by dealers and Subaru of America that CVT’s are not serviced, only replaced. One was quoted $8K with core for replacement CVT.
      Very disappointed to see the Toyotafication of one of my favorite brands.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    So Subaru of America goes from offering a MT Legacy GT wagon (both Limited and plain turbo) in 2005, to MT Legacy wagon in SE trim (sunroof, etc.) in 2006, to MT Legacy wagon (base trim only) in 2007, to no freaking Legacy wagon at all in 2008, and now no MT even on the sedan?

    There are certainly reasons to prefer MT even if fuel economy isn’t an advantage, dammit – especially with Subaru’s AWD MT setup. Well, we will just keep maintaining our ’03 MT Legacy SE wagon (just had the timing belt changed at 105K miles) and our ’06 MT Forester (96K miles) and hope they survive for many years to come.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Two things to point out in fairness:

      1) There is a Legacy wagon with a stick (until next year)… it just sits about 2 inches higher and has some extra plastic trim.

      2) Subaru’s automatic AWD systems have improved a lot in recent years.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        With respect to point #1:
        Outbacks don’t interest me… I had plenty of opportunity to drive a family member’s 2000 Outback before buying our same-generation Legacy, and I simply didn’t like the feeling of being that high off the ground when in curves or going around corners. I’m sure the same is true for the present-day (in Japan and perhaps other markets) Legacy wagon versus the current Outback. (Note: the ’03 Legacy was our first car with 16″ wheels, so it already felt “high up” – but not too much so – relative to the ’90 Legacy wagon it replaced as well as our other car at the time, a ’99 NUMMI Prizm.)

  • avatar
    mjz

    Unless, I am mistaken, it costs the manufacturers a bundle to certify emissions testing for each engine/transmission combo they offer. The overall take rate for MT’s is only 6% across the industry. For a high volume brand (i.e. Honda), or a luxury/sports brand (i.e. Audi/Porsche) with higher transaction prices, that 6% might be worth it. But for a lower volume manufacturer like Subaru, it’s not worth the expense for such a low take rate. Slowly eliminating MT’s doesn’t seem to be hurting Subaru sales lately, now does it?

  • avatar
    mjz

    I always laugh when I read how outraged many are when a manufacturer like Subaru (or Nissan for that matter) announces no more MT’s or even AT’s now. Typical reaction: OMG! “I” was JUST planning to buy the 2014 Fartfire Smokeduster with the MT but I couldn’t find the Gran Turismo Sportwagen version in Lingonberry Sunglow Pearlcoat with the ejector seat option and now you tell me that the 2015 will have a CVT?

  • avatar
    Hemi

    I don’t trust CVTs and their reliability. Look at Nissan and Jatco’s history. Ive known many Murano and Maxima drivers who had them fail. Funny enough, I love the looks of the new Rogue and was researching it for a friend. I see the 2014s are already having CVT issues.

    I decided against my better judgement to trust the 2013 Accord CVT, hey it’s the fIrst year, but it’s a Honda! On my 2 mile test drive, all was smooth and then the trans made horrible noises while pulling up to the dealer. Everyone in the car heard it, I thought I popped it into reverse or something. Salesman was baffled and pretended he didn’t hear it. Needless to say, I walked away from that deal.

    I did rent a 2013 Altima 4 cylinder with over 15k miles and the CVT to my amazement performed fine. It got good MPG and had very little whine.

    Toyota has also now installed the CVT in the Corolla, will be interesting to see how that holds up.

  • avatar
    Kato

    Great, just as they fix the hideous styling of the previous model, they delete the MT. Their sales might be going up, but they are p1ssing off the enthusiasts big-time. No MT = no sale in my books.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    DAF introduced a CVT in 1958. It certainly went well for them as a car brand!

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Mercury, etc. etc. all had both manual transmissions and automatic transmissions available back then. It certainly went well for them as brands…

  • avatar
    Jon1800s

    I am getting to the point of planning to by a new car, this will be a 10 year car $30-50K cash purchase. I have an ’03 Outback 5sp – love the car, want something a bit larger across the shoulders. I have looked at Volvo – no MT in the line up, no go for me. I really like the 50/50 manual torque distribution the manual offers.

    Now Subaru is ending the MT in the Legacy and Outback. I may consider the Crosstrek but I wanted something a bit larger. The top end in my budget is if Volvo ever offers a manual in something I am interested in owning.

    The main thing holding me up is a promise I made to myself not to purchase a brand new car until I finished my project restoration. Not likely to be done in 2014 but possible, certainly will be done in 2015.

    I figured Subaru would always keep the manual. I mean BMW wagons have no ground clearance and not interested in SUV – I want a car with some ground clearance so I can drive down gravel pot holed roads at speed and not worry about denting the rocker panel when going over a large rock or hitting a pot hole. I may be one of a few who desire such vehicles yet the Outback and Audi Allroad fill that niche for more than just me. (No way would I buy an Audi for any long term ownership)

    Now if Fiat would bring in that little “outback” wagon they sell in Brazil to give Subaru some competition in the market place for AWD cars with ground clearance – too small for me and it’s a Fiat but I was impressed with it.

    I should have brought a V70R back when Volvo still made them – same problem – no ground clearance.

    So if nothing is interesting at the time I am ready to buy new I will buy used, maybe pick up my Dad’s Lincoln and build another garage. This way I can have a nice Subaru Outback 6sp and a 2000 LS 5sp to go along with my Volvo ’67 1800S – manuals are becoming a rare breed indeed.


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