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Hey guys,

I just test drove a ‘21 Ascent Premium and felt the transmission was pretty jerky. Is this normal and I just need to spend more time getting used to how to drive it or could this be a car with transmission issues? I know that was a problem with the ‘19’s but I thought Subaru had taken care of that.

Thank you!
 

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The CVT in the Ascent really is not that smooth (the Outback loaners I've driven have been super smooth). They've tried band-aid fixes with ECU updates, but the one I had never really worked. I mean, you can get used to it, but it haves me longing for a regular automatic at times. I highly doubt it's the actual transmission since those issues surrounded the wiring harness for the CVT and not the actual CVT. It's mainly just the way they programmed the fake shifts into it that gives you that jerky feeling.
 

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It's the CVT and throttle mapping that does this. You may be referring to the relatively aggressive "bog" or "upshift" shortly after you get moving from a stop. You'll get used to it and learn to manipulate it with the throttle pedal. If you start it off slow and gently, you can start to roll in with more throttle just as it's wanting to aggressively increase the ratio...more throttle at this time will prevent it from doing it and, when you time it right, it can feel really smooth. It just takes some getting used to.

Yes, I think it's super silly. And I wrote that letter to Subaru (linked above). I hope everyone who doesn't like it also lets Subaru know that this is really not necessary or appreciated. I think it happens only in the turbocharged powertrains (like the Ascent and Outback XT). I understand the regular 2.5L Outbacks and Foresters drive much more smoothly. I have some warranty work on our Ascent I'd like to have done and I'm going to hope to get a 2.5L Outback loaner to try that powertrain out for a little bit.
 

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Hey guys,

I just test drove a ‘21 Ascent Premium and felt the transmission was pretty jerky. Is this normal and I just need to spend more time getting used to how to drive it or could this be a car with transmission issues? I know that was a problem with the ‘19’s but I thought Subaru had taken care of that.

Thank you!
I would definitely drive another Ascent to confirm that it is a commonality between vehicles. If not, avoid the first one at all costs, no matter the discount.
 

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Just curious under what conditions, and speeds you notice the shuddering. I notice mine shudders under moderate loads at speeds between 15 to 35 mph. It sometimes gets flummoxed going up hills at moderate speeds too, but that's more of picking the wrong ratio causing the car to lug, rather than outright shuddering. Mine is a '19.

Under petty much any other condition the CVT is fine. But I still prefer a regular ratioed transmission.

I would test drive a different Ascent to see if it happens again.
 

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My ‘20 is very smooth, in fact under normal acceleration you cannot feel any of the artificial shifts. Under spirited acceleration it feels like any average automatic, but because it simulates 8 gears, it will “shift” more often than say a 5 speed auto.
The gas pedal is rather touchy so off the line it may feel jerky until you get used to it. Took me about two weeks I’d say.
 

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My 2019 jerks a little sometimes on when slowing down and.then pressing moderately hard on the gas and my 2016 impreza sport jerked sometimes on the highway with stop and go traffic, similar situation but more noticeable on the impreza. It doesn't always do it .. it's the CVT. Both had CVT.

My 2016 silverado lt truck had thunk sound when slowing down .. chevy says that's normal. Lol sure Chevy. 8 speed transmission thud and it's not even a CVT.
 

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To be blunt, we've had NONE of the fake shifts that people complain about.
If you put the throttle to the floor, will the engine will just rev up to near redline and stay there while the car accelerates? It doesn't simulate shift points like a tradtional automatic will have?

Our 2020 will smoothly adjust CVT ratios to hold a steady RPM with throttle inputs below about 60% (you can add the throttle % to your dash-top screen favorites to see it). Above about 60%, it'll switch to a "simulated shift" mode where it'll step through its simulated gear ratios as you accelerate, and the CVT will then feel like a conventional automatic.

Your 2021 doesn't do that...and the CVT is smooth regardless of the throttle input? If that's the case, then it seems they have modified the programming.
 

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Regarding removing the fake shifts, alas, they haven't, and, if what I've been told is correct, it's not planned for any time in the immediate future. 😞
 

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Alas, it will try to hold or change rpms to warm up the emissions system and drivetrain as quickly as possible, so, as it's by design, I doubt it will change. Cars are very dirty polluters when cold. 😕
 

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I test drove a premium about 18 months ago and felt more jerking then the limited and touring. I did test drive them at three different dealerships. Not sure if that is a coincidence or if the limited and tourning have a better transmission. I own a limited and it doesn't really bother me too much if I do not jam on the gas.
 

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If you put the throttle to the floor, will the engine will just rev up to near redline and stay there while the car accelerates? It doesn't simulate shift points like a tradtional automatic will have?

Our 2020 will smoothly adjust CVT ratios to hold a steady RPM with throttle inputs below about 60% (you can add the throttle % to your dash-top screen favorites to see it). Above about 60%, it'll switch to a "simulated shift" mode where it'll step through its simulated gear ratios as you accelerate, and the CVT will then feel like a conventional automatic.

Your 2021 doesn't do that...and the CVT is smooth regardless of the throttle input? If that's the case, then it seems they have modified the programming.
I own a 2019 Ascent Touring which is my first Subaru and first CVT. I got used to the “fake shifts” because every vehicle I’ve ever driven had real shifts inherent in a non-CVT transmission with conventional overdrive. It’s my belief that one goal of the Ascent was to take market share from potential competitors, a good number who have non-CVT transmissions. The standard CVT transmission behavior MAY have put some potential buyers off.
There is no doubt that the 0-20 mph jerkiness is real, especially when cold. I find at full operating temp of the transmission it’s barely noticeable. But another factor which has been noted is the top hung accelerator pedal, which has been covered elsewhere in this forum. You cannot manage it the same as a pedal mounted to the floor. You are somewhat forced to pivot from between the pedals and use more of your forefoot and toes than the flat part of the foot when moving between gas and brake. I find this position to be a little better for throttle control than using the gas pedal with the flat of the foot. I have to do this anyway as I take a size 15 athletic shoes.

On another note, I have owned both the W123 (300D) Mercedes and the W124 (E320 wagon) Mercedes models, and their transmission design held the transmission at lower gears to allow the transmission to warm up. In addition, both have a tendency to shift abruptly. Subaru is not the only carmaker with odd transmission behaviors. I drove the CX-9 and I found that transmission shifted abruptly.
 

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I own a 2019 Ascent Touring which is my first Subaru and first CVT. I got used to the “fake shifts” because every vehicle I’ve ever driven had real shifts inherent in a non-CVT transmission with conventional overdrive. It’s my belief that one goal of the Ascent was to take market share from potential competitors, a good number who have non-CVT transmissions. The standard CVT transmission behavior MAY have put some potential buyers off.
You're absolutely right about that. I'm likely one of the few who was interested in the Ascent because it has a CVT (and I was hoping for a smoother drive, honestly). You're right that many automatic transmissions have questionable behavior in some situations.
 

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Hey guys,

I just test drove a ‘21 Ascent Premium and felt the transmission was pretty jerky. Is this normal and I just need to spend more time getting used to how to drive it or could this be a car with transmission issues? I know that was a problem with the ‘19’s but I thought Subaru had taken care of that.

Thank you!
I hate to say this since I love the Subaru brand, but my 2020 Ascent does the same, and after two visits to the dealer, no improvement, and I'm stuck with it. NOT HAPPY! It is a doable fix, by un-"stepping" the supposed-to-be smooth CVT, but they won't do it. I would NOT have bought this car, if I knew how annoying this was. Other Subarus (Outbook, Forester, etc), do not have this feeling, and no matter how I drive the vehicle, there is always a lag/lurch which drives me bonkers. VERY disappointed in Subaru and wished I'd never bought this car because of it....
 

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For those not happy with the transmission and how it's programmed, please send an email to SoA about it and let them know that you're not happy. This particular issue is discussed all the time here and if Subaru received as many reports from customers about this as this forum receives, I have to think they'd be compelled to fix it. :cool:
 

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For those not happy with the transmission and how it's programmed, please send an email to SoA about it and let them know that you're not happy. This particular issue is discussed all the time here and if Subaru received as many reports from customers about this as this forum receives, I have to think they'd be compelled to fix it. :cool:
Will do, thanks.
 

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I think all of this appears to smooth out when you adapt to the Ascent. I remember when I first got mine I thought the thing felt like a bucking bronco when I'd accelerate out of turns into traffic. This was most likely due to the sensitive throttle tip-in and giving it more gas than nececssary. In short time I was able to drive the car smoothly and without thinking about it.

I recently had a rental while my rear bumper cover was getting reaplaced from a rear-end collision. I unfortunately had a Dodge Caravan for several days. While the Pentastar V6 has similar power to the FA24T, it takes a while to get there. As soon as I got my Ascent back, there I was again bucking the car like I didn't know how to drive. A couple stop signs later and I was re-acclimated to the Ascent's throttle. If you go back and forth between different cars I can see this being a small issue.
 

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I think all of this appears to smooth out when you adapt to the Ascent. I remember when I first got mine I thought the thing felt like a bucking bronco when I'd accelerate out of turns into traffic. This was most likely due to the sensitive throttle tip-in and giving it more gas than nececssary. In short time I was able to drive the car smoothly and without thinking about it.

I recently had a rental while my rear bumper cover was getting reaplaced from a rear-end collision. I unfortunately had a Dodge Caravan for several days. While the Pentastar V6 has similar power to the FA24T, it takes a while to get there. As soon as I got my Ascent back, there I was again bucking the car like I didn't know how to drive. A couple stop signs later and I was re-acclimated to the Ascent's throttle. If you go back and forth between different cars I can see this being a small issue.
Even driving gently I still get jerking. It happens on slow acceleration and also when you let off gas slightly, we had an Outback and never did this, probably because of turbo. Had our Ascent for over a year and I'm very gentle and smooth on accelerator and it still does it mostly when cold but occasionally when it is warmed up also.
 
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