Good News! The Next-Gen WRX Will Be Offered with a Manual Transmission
But, it will be optionalby Kirby Garlitos, on
As disappointing as it is to see the manual transmission fade into the sunset as more automakers lean on its automatic counterpart, there are some automakers who are keeping the dream alive. One of these manufacturers is Subaru, which coincidentally dropped hints a month ago that it was axing the manual transmission from its models. Turns out, not every Subaru model is completely ditching the manual transmission because the fun-tactic three-pedal setup will live on through the WRX performance line.
Not every Subaru model is completely ditching the manual transmission because the fun-tactic three-pedal setup will live on through the WRX performance line.
This is a welcome development. When Subaru U.K. managing director Chris Graham spoke to Auto Express at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, he hinted that the manual transmission’s days could be numbered because it wasn’t compatible with the company’s Eyesight suite of active safety tech. "I’m not sure if it’s compatible at all with a manual gearbox,” Graham said. “My gut tells me it will be EyeSight with Lineartronic [CVT] ongoing and long-term. They want to steal the mantle of the safest car in the world. I think if they do that, then they say ’here’s a manual without EyeSight,’ they’ll just ruin that."
More recently, though, Subaru North America CEO Tom Doll told Drive that just because most Subarus will adopt a CVT transmission, that doesn’t mean that a car like the WRX would have to acquiesce to that change as well. "We’ll still have manual transmissions in our performance line like for the WRX," Doll said.
This is a big deal for those who buy the WRX for the purpose of enjoying it as a driver’s car.
If his comments have any weight to them — there’s no reason to think otherwise — the manual transmission will remain an integral part of the WRX lineup, maintaining its status as one of only a handful of models that will keep using a manual transmission. That should be music to the ears of driving purists.
This is a big deal for those who buy the WRX for the purpose of enjoying it as a driver’s car. As advantageous as CVT transmissions are in the overall experience of driving a car — they’re much better as far as efficiency is concerned — nothing beats the rush that drivers can get when they’re in full control of their car, blending all three pedals together to create a driving experience that’s hard to replicate on a car that largely does the gear-switching itself.
So, breathe a sigh of relief, fellas. The Subaru WRX is still getting a manual transmission. Sure, it’s going to come as an option, and it’s probably going to be a temporary move, but we’ll take the victory any way we can get it. It’s hard to imagine a world where a Subaru WRX doesn’t have three pedals in it anymore. Thankfully, that day hasn’t arrived yet.
Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.
Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX.
Read more Subaru news.