2012 Outback 2.5i CVT Issues

cycleridercyclerider Member Posts: 6
I just bought a 2012 Outback 2.5i Limited with a CVT Transmission. At about 1000 miles, I noticed that while decelerating the vehicle feels like it is downshifting. It is not smooth. It is more of a jerking feeling while decelerating. Anywhere from 40 mph or lower, you start to slow down and this is where you feel the jerking feelings. I can even feel it on my drivers seat. My question is: Is this normal or is there some issue with the CVT? I had it to the dealer last week and after a test drive, we drove an Outback loaner and this car had no issues. The mechanic re programmed the transmission. No change what so ever. Thanks for your responds.


  • fm544fm544 Member Posts: 6
    We bought the same model last year (2011 model) that we have 21000 miles on. I to noticed the same issue when slowing down and when I used a loaner car it did the same thing. A friend has the same model and that one also does the same thing when slowing down. I have gotten used to it and I think it is just a characteristic of vehicle and that there is nothing defective about it. After one year and the 21k it has not gotten any worse so I don't worry about it. Overall it is a great car that we are happy with.
  • KeerockKeerock Member Posts: 25
    I have the same car, 2012 and have the same issue. I had a Honda Pilot previously so I'm used to this "engine braking" but did not notice it on my test drive car. It does seem to impact MPG as it will inhibit rolling when taking my foot off the pedal. We get a little over 23 mpg on average here in the Northwest of CT.
  • KeerockKeerock Member Posts: 25
    I find that my CVT setup strains when you try to drive very conservatively. It as if is will not slide down to accommodate the need for more RPM when climbing hills etc. I have to use the pedal more aggressively to keep the revs in the right range so it does not feel like the engine is straining.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited March 2012
    Bingo, they tuned it for fuel efficiency. That's how you get 29mpg out of such a large car.

    To be honest, I prefer it that way. Coast to red lights to save fuel, and no I don't want engine braking because then the guy behind you lays on his horn.
  • KeerockKeerock Member Posts: 25
    My issue is getting no where near that mileage and my transmission appears to be set-up WITH engine/tranny breaking so I can never coast. I have to apply a light pedal to lose the tranny breaking and this usually gets the mpg meter into the negative so I would prefer true coasting.

    Highway, unless perfectly flat and around 60 MPH, is never near 29 MPG. Best I have done on a pure highway trip is around 25.
  • cycleridercyclerider Member Posts: 6
    Well, after moaning quite a bit, I went back to the dealer and my car is going in for service next week. They tell me they will take care of it. I'll let everyone know what the outcome is. Thanks for your replies. :confuse:
  • carteachcarteach Member Posts: 179
    What was the outcome?
  • cycleridercyclerider Member Posts: 6
    I had my car at Subaru for three days. I just got it back tonight. They told me they reset the transmission something or another module. Different from what they did 4 weeks ago. Still does it. They told me they drove the car over 100 miles and didn't notice the problem. I get in it tonight and 1/2 mile down the road it starts up. Go figure. I'll give it a week and then back to the dealer.
  • carteachcarteach Member Posts: 179
    Thanks for the update. Hope you'll continue to let us know what's going on. Totally frustrating for you.
  • hamullerhamuller Member Posts: 11
    I have the same problem with my 2011 Outback. I have 28k and it is just what the transmission does when I'm slowing down going up a hill to a stop sign. It bothered me at first but now I'm used to it.
  • brioboybrioboy Member Posts: 24
    I have a Toyota Highlander Hybrid with CVT and have the same sort of lurch when slowing down to a stop, no problem, used to it - about to get regular service and will check with the dealer as a question. Its probably a feature of CVT. I just checked this forum as I have owned 4 Subarus and still have my 96 SVX and next car will likely be a toss-up between an Outback and a Venza.
  • cycleridercyclerider Member Posts: 6
    Hello Everyone,
    Sorry it took so long to reply to my original message but this is the final update. After 2 months of complaining to Subaru about my CVT issues, having my car in the dealer service department 3 times, and having a district service person tell me there is nothing wrong with my car, Subaru finally (sort of) admitted to an issue with my CVT. Here is what has happened: Subaru agreed to give me a fair kickback toward the purchase of a new car. So, I just picked up my new 2012 3.6R Limited w/moonroof package. Trading in my car with just over 6K and the money Subaru has given me toward the new car, I had to shell out just over 1K to get in the new car. No more CVT's for me.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Congrats on the H6...how are you liking it?
  • cycleridercyclerider Member Posts: 6
    Hey Guys,
    So far so good. I love the power of the H6 and the 5 speed automatic runs very smooth. I know that Subaru thought I was a pain in the butt, but I just felt there was an issue. I only have 200 miles on it since I got it. Hopefully more good mile to come. Thanks guys.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The important thing is that you're satisfied in the end. The CVT issues will soon be a distant memory. Congrats. :shades:
  • seanuseanu Member Posts: 7
    The 2.5 + CVT has a fuel cutoff feature when coasting. The drive train drag will cause the car to slow down... it's not quite as severe as engine breaking though. The engine must stay connected to the drivetrain, otherwise it will stall without fuel. If you keep your foot lightly on the gas it might eliminate the issue... but hurt the fuel economy. I think Subaru should publish a CVT guide that explains how all of this programming logic works... and explain how the cvt should be used.

    As a little anecdote, when I first got my 2013 2.5 CVT Outback, I took a 300 mile (mostly highway) trip with only 70 miles on the odometer. As part of the break in, I was stepping on the gas, getting the revs up to about 3500, then letting off to let the rpms drop down to 1800 or so while cruising between 65 and 80mph. I thought I was going to get horrible gas mileage with a new engine, 4 people, and the trunk packed with luggage. It turns out, I got over 28mpg for the trip. I was very surprised and happy to see that mileage based on how I was driving.
  • cycleridercyclerider Member Posts: 6
    Well guys,
    8000 miles since I got my 3.6R Subaru Outback. I am getting between 23 and 26 mpg. Couldn't be happier with the car. Like I said before, no more CVT tranny's for me.
  • winter2winter2 Member Posts: 1,801
    I own a 2013 Outback 2.5i Premium with the CVT. I have 4000 miles on the car and have not had a single issue with the CVT. The CVT in the 2013 is different from the CVT in earlier models. It is responsive but does whine some when accelerating or applying power. There is none of the "braking sensation" that I have read about here. It is easy to coast and it appears as if Subaru has applied adaptive/learning software to the new CVT.

    The CVT is geared toward good fuel economy and on the long trip my wife and I took, we got over 27 MPG while crusing at 70 MPH with an engine that had about 1500 miles on it. My commute use to be sixty miles per day in mixed traffic and I got twenty-six MPG average.
  • firstawdfirstawd Member Posts: 3
    I agree with you. I have a 2013 2.5i Limited and I love the CVT !! For the past 26 years all of my cars have been standard shift. I am 45 years old and sick and tired of shifting :). I drove my girlfriends 2012 Rogue and was impressed by the CVT and knew I wanted one in my next car. I bought the Outback soon after driving her Rogue.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Member Posts: 4,085
    edited July 2013
    I realize I am responding to an old post but this cannot go without a response.

    Lets be clear.... The CVT offered with the OLD engine (pre-2013) is different from the CVT connected to the NEW engine (2013+)

    It is not a huge difference, but nonetheless, the 2013+ CVT was extensively optimized, tuned and refined to the power-delivery characteristics of the new engine.

    For those folks who are unaware: The NEW engine is TOTALLY new (called the FB engine) It is very easy to identify because the oil-filter is ON TOP of the engine behind the left headlight.
  • dcm61dcm61 Member Posts: 1,567
    For those folks who are unaware: The NEW engine is TOTALLY new (called the FB engine)

    Totally new for MY2013 Outback, but the FB25 has been in the Forester since MY2011.
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