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2015 Subaru WRX Manual Vs. CVT: Tips To Help You Choose

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The 2015 Subaru WRX is one of this year’s standout new performance cars. And if you’re considering putting one of these affordable all-wheel-drive sport sedans in your driveway, you have a fundamental choice to make: Do you go with the six-speed manual, or the so-called Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

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CVTs tend to be appealing in theory, as they permit infinitely many ratios within a range, allowing engines to be held at the revs where they’re most powerful or economical when accelerating. They're tempting to automakers as they offer some real advantages in performance and fuel economy numbers. But in execution they can exaggerate noise and vibration issues, and interfere with traditional sensations of sportiness and speed.

Subaru’s CVT is one of the best we’ve driven, and perhaps the best we've experienced in a performance-oriented car. And much of it is due to programming and controls—and a strategy that doesn't surge and 'motorboat' but instead feels comfortable when you need it to be, while adding back in some of the benefits of having gears.

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2015 Subaru WRX - Driven

2015 Subaru WRX - Driven

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Even considering all that, now that we’ve driven WRX models with both of these transmissions, both at early drive events and then on familiar roads, for us it’s still a no-brainer. Like most driving enthusiasts, we’d choose the manual car, with its nice precise linkage and rather light clutch pedal.

But part of what makes this car so appealing is that with the right set of tires it can just as easily be a four-seasons winter-weather champ. And there are probably plenty of people who want a 268-hp turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sedan that's quick yet great for the year-round commute.

If you're still unsure which transmission to choose, click on and take a look at our list of three crucial pros and cons for each.


 
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