Subaru’s Next WRX Will Keep a Manual Transmission

Rejoice, the manual lives on…at least for now.

byRob Stumpf| PUBLISHED Apr 10, 2018 6:22 PM
Subaru’s Next WRX Will Keep a Manual Transmission

The manual transmission is dying. There, I said it. With a heavy heart and a fleeting smile from the thoughts of yesteryear's poster children of the automotive world, I can finally admit what we never wanted to. Fortunately, there are a few manufacturers out there who strive to be the twinkle in an American car enthusiast's eye by equipping their cars with three pedals. Subaru is one of these automakers.

It wasn't always that way. Almost a month ago to the day, Subaru dropped hints that it would likely be axing the manual transmission in the name of safety. Subaru confirmed that only five percent of its vehicles end up leaving the factory equipped with a manual transmission, something which is losing the stage to Subaru's notorious Lineartronic CVT transmission. Though the Forester has had its manual gearbox removed for future generations, rest assured that isn't the case for its entire lineup, at least not according to Tom Doll, Subaru North America's CEO.

In an interview with Drive, Doll mentioned that even though the WRX has undergone the CVT transplant to replace its aging conventional transmission, it will still be offered with a manual option going forward. "We’ll still have manual transmissions in our performance line like for the WRX," said Doll, "But just not in the Forester."

This is surprising news, as Subaru has given every single car in its lineup, other than the BRZ, a CVT transmission. Subaru managers have reportedly noted that this change is due to the CVT's overall efficiency, including in applications that require components to reliably handle a high torque output.

One thing to keep in mind is the recent popularity of hybrid drivetrains, even for sports cars. More manufacturers are ditching the stick and have set up these vehicles for electrification with no looking back. This may end up hurting sales with car lovers, but in the coming years, enthusiasts may have nowhere to run. Until then, just sit back and know that we've got a few good years left out of Subaru's sporty lineup.