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Next-gen Subaru WRX to keep manual option

By Barry Park, 23 Jun 2017 News

Next-gen Subaru WRX to keep manual option

Customers are slowly turning off manual gearboxes in mainstream Subaru models. But there is still a place for them, the car maker says

SUBARU will ensure its next-generation WRX will have the option of a manual gearbox despite buyers spurning self-shifters in other models in the showroom.

Masahiko Inoue, the project manager for Subaru’s Impreza and XV development program, confirmed that performance models in the Japanese car maker’s future line-up would include a clutch pedal.

Subaru has launched its new-generation XV in Australia with only a CVT automatic mounted behind the engine after only 12 percent of buyers opted for the six-speed manual-equipped version in the previous-generation small SUV – making it unviable.

While most future models would default to the CVT, some would still need a self-shift option, Inoue said. “On some sporty models, the manual should be adopted,” he said.

Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said the decision to bring in a manual version of a car would ultimately rest on the model, but for some cars it was needed.

“You look at products like the WRX and the STi – the STi is a manual-only model – we’d expect that to continue into the future,” he said.

“The WRX now has a CVT and a manual, and the sales are about 60 percent CVT now to 40 percent manual.

“We’d expect that in the performance range there would be a manual transmission in the foreseeable future.”

He said the commercial reality for car makers in Australia was that more customers were moving to automatic transmissions for the cars they bought.

“I’d imagine that over time you’d see more and more automatic-based or CVT-based product in the market,” Christie said.

He said a surprise was the number of younger male WRX buyers who were being attracted to the WRX, but who bought a CVT-equipped version.

“A lot of people who will come in and they’ll drive the manual and the CVT are choosing the CVT,” Christie said