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Old 02-06-2013, 09:42 PM   #1
PA452
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Default Impreza manual transmission opinions

Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum, looking at buying my first Impreza as a commuter car.

Every vehicle I've had in the past has been a manual transmission. This time I thought maybe I'd go with the auto, but longevity with the CVT concerns me a bit. I test drove a manual transmission Impreza yesterday and to be honest I wasn't that impressed. But for the past six years I've been driving a 6spd Tacoma, and frankly it may have my MT driving rhythm a little screwed up, because it has some unique quirks. So it may just be that my experience last night wasn't so great just because I'm not used to it. I figure any MT takes more than 10 minutes to really get a good feel for how the engine responds, clutch engagement point, etc..

So in general, for those who have the MT, how do you like it?
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
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I like it and i avoided the CVT for that very reason. It took me a while to get used to it

Installed a Perrin short shift adaptor and that really made a difference
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
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I've gotten more used to it but I think with this engine you're better off with the CVT. In manual you have to drive the piss out of it to get anywhere. I'm stop and go though so my experience may not be typical.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:05 PM   #4
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To be honest that's how I felt on the test drive. I felt like it had no power, though I figured if I was more familiar with the car I'd have known to keep it in lower gears longer.

The CVT felt like it had a lot of get up and go, but of course all you have to do there is hit the gas.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:18 PM   #5
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I have the manual and it's the 11th manual transmission vehicle I've owned and also one of the easiest to drive.

The last manual I had was a 2006 Accord 6sp and this one is easier. The clutch on the Accord was heavier and it didn't like to go into 3rd.

I'd compare this manual to my 1992 Integra 5sp, which I really liked.

Didn't even test drive the CVT. It's interesting that you feel the CVT was quicker because all tests show that the manual is about a second quicker 0-60.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:37 PM   #6
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Well they have the same engine, and anyone who knows how to drive can shift the 5 speed quicker than the CVT responds (see 0-60 times comparing the two) so if you think the CVT has more power, work on your shifting techniques. It probably will just take you getting used to the transmission, every car is different, and this one is no exception.

FWIW I stalled my last new car (2008 Hyundai Elantra 5 speed) often when it was new, it had a very stiff clutch that had to break in, combined with a low idle. I have not had the same problem with the Impreza.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:43 PM   #7
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I test drove both the manual and the CVT when I was shopping. I liked the CVT just fine but manuals are cheaper, I enjoy driving stick, and like you I mistrust the reliability of "new" technologies like the CVT. (Side note: so far I haven't heard of any problems with the CVT?)

5,500 miles on my car since August and I am enjoying my manual transmission. I know a lot of people gripe about the Impreza being underpowered but I guess they must be race car drivers. I came from a 1.5 liter engine so to me the Impreza is adequate. I am always able to go as fast as I need to. Sometimes it is necessary to drop down a gear when quick acceleration is needed or when going up hill.

If I were you I would go do another test drive to decide. Maybe a longer one to get the feel for the transmission a little better?
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BigFatHorse View Post
If I were you I would go do another test drive to decide. Maybe a longer one to get the feel for the transmission a little better?
I plan to, but it may take some time. I'm in the Pittsburgh area. I've called a lot of dealerships. The one I test drove last night seems to be one of the only MT Imprezas in the Pittsburgh area.

I test drove a MT Impreza in 2011 (I think) and I loved it. This one seemed different though. But we also had the defroster cranked full blast, so I could hardly hear the engine.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:57 PM   #9
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Well they have the same engine, and anyone who knows how to drive can shift the 5 speed quicker than the CVT responds (see 0-60 times comparing the two) so if you think the CVT has more power, work on your shifting techniques. It probably will just take you getting used to the transmission, every car is different, and this one is no exception.

FWIW I stalled my last new car (2008 Hyundai Elantra 5 speed) often when it was new, it had a very stiff clutch that had to break in, combined with a low idle. I have not had the same problem with the Impreza.
I don't think it's my shifting technique, I think it's just that I wasn't used to it and I was shifting too soon. We pulled onto a side road up a very modest hill from a red light, and the car seemed to really be lagging when I shifted to 2nd.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:26 PM   #10
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These little Imprezas have more in them than you might first guess. They develop about no torque or power until you get them to about 3 to 4k rpm. You may well have been used to shifting sooner if your engine had more low end torque. The impreza will do 0-60 in 8 sec with a good driver, and that's a bit faster than most other cars in its same class, save for the Focus and a couple of others. I know exactly what you mean about not revving it though. I had the same problem when I first got it (it was my first manual but I thought I shouldn't have to rev so much). Turns out these little 2 liters love to rev. A lot. Now if I keep the revs high and don't shift till about 3 to 3.5k rpm, sometimes more, I can get really good acceleration while still managing fuel economy (obviously not as well as efficient driving but still). If you really want to have a try at it, floor it to about 5k before you shift. Do this for every gear. No, its not good for the engine long term (pre break-in), but a short stint wont hurt it, and you will see what this little thing really has in it. To be honest I've been really impressed, it can hold its own against other cars once you figure out how to manage it. Don't be afraid to throttle this engine, its designed to do that.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dirt Bringer View Post
These little Imprezas have more in them than you might first guess. They develop about no torque or power until you get them to about 3 to 4k rpm.
That's one of the problems with the CVT. Watch the mpg's when you're revving above 4k rpm. It really starts sucking the gas, and it doesn't take much of a hill to make it wind above 4k rpm.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:17 AM   #12
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That's one of the problems with the CVT. Watch the mpg's when you're revving above 4k rpm. It really starts sucking the gas, and it doesn't take much of a hill to make it wind above 4k rpm.
For some reason I felt the CVT was SLOW. I know it really isn't as slow as it feels, but there isn't really any feel of anything happening. I'm sure many people love them, but I don't think I will ever be able to own one and not lose my mind.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:26 AM   #13
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I like the 5 speed. If I could change something, I'd give it a taller final drive ratio.

The manual is faster, lighter, quieter, cheaper and judging by a lot of the real world MPG numbers posted here, possibly more efficient.

The AWD systems are different as well.

You might find this poll useful.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:42 AM   #14
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IMO the ratios are too wide. Bit I'd still rather have the mt than the cvt.
I'm going to have politely disagree with Nels0300- my 91 integra had a smooth as silk transmission with better ratios. And it shifted smoother.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirt Bringer View Post
For some reason I felt the CVT was SLOW. I know it really isn't as slow as it feels, but there isn't really any feel of anything happening. I'm sure many people love them, but I don't think I will ever be able to own one and not lose my mind.
It's uncomfortable to me to wind it all the way out like the CVT does. When I'm just doing a leisurely drive and come up on a hill and all of a sudden the engine's turning over 6k rpm I kind of think I'm abusing it. Apparently I'm not since it's designed to do that, but the car does it a few times on my way to work on hills that my Corolla handles just fine in 5th gear on cruise control - slowing less than the 10 mph it takes to kick it out (at least when I'm using pure gas).
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:24 AM   #16
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The catch point on the car when new is different than when its broken in. After I perfected using the clutch the damn thing broke in on me one day and I was stalling out engaging into first. 30 mins later I had my aha moment, since I have two of these cars the red one I generally drive differently than the dgm which is the newer one, needeless to say I started driving it like the red and everything was a ok. You do have to wind this engine up for some power especially on hills, get it to at least 3k going up hill. Also this engine has too personalities the nice cool and calm pre 3k and then the I am over 3k and the boxer is frigging kicking ass. I dunno if you have ever heard a wrx or sti on startup but thats what the sound is equivalent to when that thing starts to come alive its heaven. In comparison with the honda tranny, 1st gear can be notchy in the fact that it can resist you engaging when downshifting at times when coming to a stop. it likes you to be stopping to put it in first or if you are going very very slowly. 3rd is for fun, love it, unlike the honda 3rd which was always problematic. R is not syncro if I recall so some times you need to just shift to 1 then R when it won't engage. in terms of power my 09 accord was about 30hp more but I barely notice it this car is quick, whenever ppl start tailgating I just take off and leave them scratching their heads the car really does suprise you when she wants to go. I test drove both cvt and mtl and the cvt was nice but I wasn't gonna get it because I was burned once by a cvt, (mini cooper) and also mtl would be cheaper for me to change fluids on. The transmission is not as buttery as the honda but a honda mtl is very easy to drive so apples to oranges. This car is also very retardedly stupid to work on, working in the 5spd favor is if any thing breaks you are doing a simple mechanical fix, no need to deal much with computerized systems and etc. you also get 50/50 awd split under normal driving, for my purposes thats good, when it comes to winter driving climbing steep hills in PA in 1st and 2nd or driving in blizzards in 3rd is very reassuring, the car handles very well in winter weather. Since PA is so hilly I would stick with the mtl just because you have more control over selection though you can blip the cvt. For this year I took her to bloombsburg and mountain roads and unplowed roads of catawissa pa where they use wood chip and no salt or plows in site. I would have probably **** my pants in an auto on some of those roads with this car it just kept going in tank mode. IN terms of driving in traffic, I actually find it to be more enjoyable in the 5spd than the auto, I can judge it easier and use brakes less also at any given time I am stuck in traffic in nyc or northern nj, your legs get use to it after a while. In comparison to all the cars on the market right now, would I pick the impreza the answer would be yes. the 2013 civic redesign was very unimpressive and the car is pretty much ruined, the 2013 accord while the looks are spot on is lacking to me all that I want in the car which is something fun, simple, with not so much tech overload. the mazda 3 while nice is very iffy mechanically speaking especially in mtl with a clutch that eats itself too early. hyundai, kia, toyota, german cars, american cars: NEVER I would still buy this car in a heart beat. To the OP You might be able to find someone in pittsburgh that can let you drive their car and get a real feel for it, don't get too scared when you shift from 1 to 2nd and that awd jolts you, also in the am when cold, when you put this car in 1st it likes to take off so don't get too alarmed by that.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:06 PM   #17
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I might test drive another CVT model this weekend. I'll be looking to test drive another MT, but I can't find one so far.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:01 PM   #18
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I might test drive another CVT model this weekend. I'll be looking to test drive another MT, but I can't find one so far.
What does that tell you?
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:05 PM   #19
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What does that tell you?
Not sure that I can take it that way or not. Some dealerships seem to be low on Imprezas in general. A salesman showed me a list of Imprezas they have coming in about two weeks from now, and every one of them was a CVT.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:09 PM   #20
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Maybe that's because the 5 speeds are already sold. How about 2 months out? I would wait...
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:30 AM   #21
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My only problem with my 5spd is that the throws are too long. Ive gotten used to it but its annoying in stop and go traffic. Other than that it feels like any other 5spd subaru tranny to me.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:45 AM   #22
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you probably will have to custom order the 5spd only pay at or below invoice
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:51 AM   #23
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I've got one with a five speed I'd part with.. No wait time, you can just come get it... Fluids changed very regularly, 100% subaru inspected and serviced... All records, clean carfax..
I'll even throw in a case of 0w20 ;-)
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:10 PM   #24
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My only problem with my 5spd is that the throws are too long. Ive gotten used to it but its annoying in stop and go traffic. Other than that it feels like any other 5spd subaru tranny to me.
short shifter...
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:13 PM   #25
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Not sure that I can take it that way or not. Some dealerships seem to be low on Imprezas in general. A salesman showed me a list of Imprezas they have coming in about two weeks from now, and every one of them was a CVT.
the dealers push the CVT's. I had to flat out tell the everyone I inquired at that "I will not buy an AUTO, if you ask I walk"

get the 5sp, is a great! was lucky enough to be able to test drive one and I liked it, I also drove a CVT and if that was my only option I wouldn't be driving an Impreza
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