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Outback, Forester: how's the manual transmission?

lucapcplucapcp Member Posts: 1
I am a life-long stick shift driver, and I am looking to upgrade from a '99 Corolla. The Corolla has a very smooth shift: inserting a gear is precise, and the shifting is smooth.

I read reviews complaining that the manual shift of the Outback is not very precise (has a 'rubbery' feeling): is this an issue? Is it easy to downshift quickly? How do you like these manual shifts compared to others you may have used?

If you go 70 MPH on the highway, how high are the engine RPMs on the Forester in 5th gear, or the Outback in 6th?

Many thanks for your feedback!


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,130
    edited March 2012
    I think it's fine. We have a '10 Forester. At 70 mph, it runs just a tad under 3,000 RPM and, depending on conditions, will return just under 30 mpg at that speed. If you're running through hills, it will be mid-27.

    The shifter isn't buttery smooth like some others. Thinking of ones I have driven, that includes Civic and Fiesta. It feels very similar to small pickups I have driven, including a Frontier and Ranger (except with a shorter throw!). I guess I would say that you have to intentionally interact with it. If anything, the clutch is the part of the shifting experience I don't like about it. The pedal is very light, so it takes some attuning to get the trigger point down. This was made worse, initially, by the silly "hill holder" feature. I about shot that car after the first hour I owned it.

    At this point, the primary complaint I have about my Forester (and it goes for the Outback, too), from a driver's perspective, is the poor steering feedback. The feedback used to be so fantastic (in the up-to-2009 Outback and up-to-2008 Forester), and now it is heavily muted.

    Give them a drive yourself and see what you think.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • volunteer2volunteer2 Member Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 2012 Forester with a manual transmission and I would say it is very smooth. I would agree that it is not as smooth as previous cars I have owned (VW Golf, Mini Cooper), but compared to my Tacoma, it is fantastic. If you are looking at comparing the Outback to the Forester, the Forester is much smother than the Outback. My brother just purchased the Outback with a manual and he is disappointed that the transmission is very tight and becomes tiresome in traffic. He has driven both the Forester and Outback and is considering trading in his Outback to get the Forester just because the transmission in the Forester is smoother.

    You will turn a couple hundred more rpm at highway speed due to the lack of a 6th gear in the Forester, but depending on the type of driving you do, it may be worth it.

    Good Luck!
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