Subaru CVT Transmission

Subaru chooses to use a 
Lineartronic Continuously Variable (CVT) Transmission
On this page you will learn why Subaru chooses this transmission, how it works, as well as the safety, performance and handling advantages it brings to the driving experience.

This page contains information explaining:
  • What exactly a Lineartronic CVT Transmission is.
  • How Subaru's Lineartronic CVT Transmission works.
  • Performance, Safety, and Handling Advantages of the Lineartronic CVT Transmission. 
  • Why Subaru's Lineartronic CVT Transmission is better than competitors.

Why The Lineartronic CVT?

The CVT concept and technology are not new. CVT was conceptualized by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 15th century, and it was available on the Subaru Justy from the late 1980s through the mid 90s, and it was the first car available with a CVT for the U.S. automobile market. Starting in the 2010 model year, a revolutionary, state-of-the-art, electronically controlled CVT would become available to all models.  


BENEFITS OF CVT
The Lineartronic CVT has game-changing benefits:

Smooth operation: Continuous, step-less variation of the width of the drive and driven pulleys takes place without mechanical gear changes. Other than the response of the powertrain relative to driver input, there is no sense of upshifting or downshifting. The end result is smooth operation, which contributes to passenger comfort.

Fuel efficiency: The control modules for the engine and transmission keep the engine operating in its optimal power range, changing CVT pulley ratios to achieve improved fuel economy and performance.

Improved response: By eliminating gear changes, the step-less CVT enables the powertrain to be more responsive to changes in throttle application and vehicle speed. A great example of this would be no gear hunting when driving the vehicle uphill.

Fun to drive: By simulating the operation of a manual transmission, the Lineartronic CVT's manual mode increases driver involvement and makes the vehicle more fun to drive.

Interior comfort: By incorporating chain drive in the CVT's design, Subaru was able to engineer a more compact unit. That enabled increased space for the passenger cabin, with more leg room, in particular.
Take a look at this video explaining how Subaru's Lineartronic CVT Transmission works

LINEARTRONIC CVT

It stands for Continuously Variable Transmission, and this innovative technology has been engineered to work seamlessly with the SUBARU BOXER® Engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive to help reduce fuel consumption. The stepless gear ratio allows the engine to run within its optimal power range for improved fuel economy, while its lightweight, compact design helps the vehicle stay as agile as possible.

Available on: 2018 Forester, 2018 Impreza, 2018 Legacy, 2018 Outback, 2018 XV Crosstrek, 2018 WRX
AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION WITH MANUAL SHIFT MODE

Refine the performance of your automatic transmission with smooth-shifting Manual Shift Mode technology. Working with the 6-speed automatic transmission, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow you to take control of the gears when you need greater precision, like climbing hills or passing vehicles, and then settle back into automatic when you don't. Easy. Efficient. Brilliant.

Available on: 2018 BRZ



MANUAL TRANSMISSION


Dependable and lightweight manual transmissions give passionate drivers the control to express their personal driving style. The fully synchronized gears of the 5- or 6-speed manual transmissions make every shift smooth and efficient for fluid and exciting acceleration.

Available on: 2018 BRZ, 2018 Forester, 2018 Impreza, 2018 XV Crosstrek, 2018 WRX
 

A continuously variable transmission functions as if it had an infinite number of gear ratios. It's changes from ratio to ratio are step-less, which contributes to the powertrain's smooth operation. A great benefit of the CVT is that it wastes less power in transmitting engine torque to the drive wheels. Its efficiencies result in the excellent fuel economy ratings of the non-turbocharged Subaru Legacy and Outback models equipped with CVT.



HOW CVT WORKS

The Subaru Lineartronic CVT utilizes an electronically controlled, hydraulically operated pair of adjustable pulleys and a link chain that runs between them. Using a metal chain allows the Subaru design to be more compact.

The pulleys are V-shaped, and the chain rides within each pulley at the point that fits the chain's width. The distances between the sides of the pulleys are adjustable. The powertrain electronic control module varies hydraulic pressure to pull the pulley sides apart or push them together, causing the chain to ride higher or lower in the valley of the V.

The width of the chain remains constant, so making the drive pulley narrower causes the chain to move out from the pulley's hub. At the same time, the driven pulley's sides move apart, and the chain moves closer to that pulley's hub.

When the driving gear is smaller and the driven gear is larger, the CVT functions as if in conventional low gear. Driving through a small gear gives the vehicle starting and pulling power.

When the driving gear is larger and the driven gear is smaller, the CVT functions as if in conventional high gear. This configuration acts like overdrive.
If engine speed is constant, the variations in the diameters of the two pulleys make the vehicle speed up or slow down. In effect, varying pulley sizes change the gear ratio of the transmission - without changing mechanical gears. During normal driving, there is no conventional "shifting." Passengers do not feel the change. Because the forward gear ratio range is continuously variable and step-less, it provides a smooth, linear transfer of power and torque. The Subaru system utilizes a wide range of pulley ratios, which enable the CVT to handle a large range of speed and load conditions. In addition, the Lineartronic CVT can be programmed to hold gear ratios at the driver's discretion.


MANUAL MODE

The Subaru Lineartronic CVT features a manual mode system that simulates a six-speed manual transmission. When in this "virtual" manual mode, the driver can use paddle levers on the steering wheel to select one of six programmed "speeds." These six speeds are ratios intended for various driving conditions.

Shifting to a lower ratio is accomplished by tapping the downshift when the vehicle is in "Drive." The manual downshift holds the chosen ratio until the engine's rev- limit is reached.
 

Which Subaru models offer the CVT transmission?
  • 2014 and newer Forester
  • 2012 and newer Impreza
  • 2010 and newer Legacy
  • 2010 and newer Outback
  • 2013 and newer XV Crosstrek
Altogether, the Subaru Lineartronic CVT adds to the overall premium driving experience of Subaru models.

Some information on the Subaru Lineartronic CVT taken from: //drive2.subaru.com/Sum09/Sum09_whatmakes.htm

Ed Reilly Subaru

150 Manchester St
Directions Concord, NH 03301

  • Sales: (603) 413-2849
  • Service: (855) 856-1264
  • Parts: (888) 848-6072

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