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Subaru Legacy Owners Manual: Continuously variable transmission

Subaru Legacy Owners Manual / Starting and operating / Continuously variable transmission

The continuously variable transmission is electronically controlled and provides an infinite number of forward speeds and 1 reverse speed. It also has a manual mode.

WARNING Do not shift from the "P" or "N" position into the "D" or "R" position while depressing the accelerator pedal. This may cause the vehicle to lurch forward or backward.


  •  Observe the following precautions.

    Failure to observe these precautions could cause damage to the transmission.

  •  Shift into the "P" or "R" position only after the vehicle has completely stopped.
  •  Do not shift from the "D" position into the "R" position or vice versa until the vehicle has completely stopped.
  • Do not race the engine for more than 5 seconds in any position except the "N" or "P" position when the brake is applied or when chocks are used in the wheels. This may cause the transmission fluid to overheat.
  •  Never move the vehicle rearward by inertia with the select lever set in a forward driving position or move the vehicle forward by inertia with the select lever set in the "R" position. Doing so may result in an unexpected accident or malfunction.
  •  When parking the vehicle, first securely apply the parking brake and then place the select lever in the "P" position. Do not park for a long time with the select lever in any other position as doing so could result in a dead battery.


  •  When the engine coolant temperature is still low, the transmission will upshift to higher engine speeds than when the coolant temperature is sufficiently high in order to shorten the warm-up time and improve driveability.

    The gearshift timing will automatically shift to the normal timing after the engine has warmed up.

  • Immediately after transmission fluid is replaced, you may feel that the transmission operation is somewhat unusual. This results from invalidation of data which the on-board computer has collected and stored in memory to allow the transmission to shift at the most appropriate times for the current condition of your vehicle. Optimized shifting will be restored as the vehicle continues to be driven for a while.
  •  When driving under continuous heavy load conditions such as towing a camper or climbing a long, steep hill, the engine speed, vehicle speed and air conditioning system cooling performance may automatically be reduced.

    This is not a malfunction. This phenomenon results from the engine control function maintaining the cooling performance of the vehicle. The engine and vehicle speed will return to a normal speed when the engine is able to maintain the optimum cooling performance after the heavy load decreases.

    Driving under a heavy load must be performed with extreme care.

    Do not try to pass a vehicle in front when driving on an uphill slope while towing.

  •  The continuously variable transmission is a chain type system that provides superior transmission efficiency for maximum fuel economy. At times, depending on varying driving conditions, a chain operating noise may be heard that is characteristic of this type of system.
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