The 2015 Subaru WRX: Manual or CVT Transmission?
When it comes to choosing a transmission for the 2015 Subaru WRX, you have two options: the six-speed manual or the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This decision can greatly impact your driving experience and overall satisfaction with the vehicle.
CVTs have gained popularity for their ability to offer limitless gear ratios, allowing the engine to operate at its most efficient or powerful range during acceleration. Additionally, automakers are drawn to CVTs for their performance and fuel economy advantages. However, in reality, CVTs can often amplify noise and vibration issues while diminishing the traditional sensations of sportiness and speed.
While Subaru’s CVT is one of the best in the market, thanks to its programming and controls, it still doesn’t compare to the precise linkage and light clutch pedal of the manual transmission. Therefore, for driving enthusiasts, the choice is clear – the manual car is the preferred option.
However, what makes the 2015 Subaru WRX truly appealing is its ability to perform well in all seasons, including winter. This means that there are plenty of people who want a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan like the WRX, which is both quick and suitable for year-round commuting.
For those still undecided, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each transmission.
Reasons to Choose the CVT:
1. Fakes an eight-speed automatic: The WRX offers steering-wheel buttons that allow you to switch between Intelligent (I), Sport (S), and Sport Sharp (S#) modes. While these modes affect both manual and CVT versions by adjusting accelerator sensitivity and turbo spooling, the CVT truly shines in Sport Sharp (S#) mode. It offers a ‘point and shoot’ experience, ideal for predictable behavior on the track or mountain roads. The shifts may feel slightly sluggish in lower gears, but once you reach the higher gears, it becomes snappy and resembles an eight-speed automatic.
2. Reduced driveline noise: A noticeable difference between the manual and CVT versions of the WRX is the level of noise. The manual transmission tends to generate more noise, while the CVT remains quieter. This can be attributed to the absence of a direct connection between the shift knob and the rotating components in the transmission. Subaru also utilizes an all-wheel-drive system with electronically controlled clutches in the CVT versions, further contributing to the reduced noise levels.
3. Improved fuel economy: CVTs are known for their efficiency, especially when configured with modern technology like Subaru’s system. The CVT variant of the WRX offers better fuel economy numbers compared to the manual. So, if saving fuel is one of your priorities, the CVT might be the better option for you.
Reasons to Choose the Manual:
1. Better car control: If you appreciate being more engaged with the driving experience, the manual transmission is the way to go. With a manual, you are more connected to the engine and the road, allowing for quicker reactions when needed. The 2015 WRX features a direct-injection turbocharged engine, which provides sufficient power without requiring constant rev maintenance. The manual transmission enhances the car’s vividness, ensuring the revs are perfectly matched to what comes next. The short and precise throws, along with the light clutch pedal, make the manual WRX enjoyable, even in heavy traffic.
2. Stronger launches: While the CVT in the WRX offers smooth acceleration, it fails to provide consistent launches. The lowest ratio offered by the CVT system may be taller than desired, compromising the vehicle’s ability to take off swiftly. On the other hand, manual transmissions allow drivers to fully control the revs and clutch engagement, resulting in more precise and stronger launches. Mastering this technique may require experience and skill, but it offers a rewarding feeling when executed perfectly.
3. Engine braking: One complaint often associated with automatic transmissions, including CVTs, is the lack of sufficient engine braking. In the case of the WRX, even the Sport Sharp (S#) mode with the CVT feels excessively smooth and gliding, regardless of paddle usage. In contrast, downshifting with the manual transmission provides a more direct and pronounced deceleration. For those who prefer the reassurance of engine braking, the manual transmission is the obvious choice.
In conclusion, the decision between the manual and CVT transmission for the 2015 Subaru WRX ultimately depends on your priorities and preferences. While the CVT offers benefits such as improved fuel economy, reduced noise, and a pseudo-eight-speed automatic experience, the manual transmission provides better car control, stronger launches, and more pronounced engine braking.
No matter your choice, the 2015 Subaru WRX remains a standout performance car that excels in all seasons. Its combination of power, all-wheel drive, and affordability makes it an attractive option for driving enthusiasts and those seeking a versatile sedan.