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As an Ascent owner, would you prefer to be able to manually change gears in your CVT using paddle shifter buttons or using the transmission select lever?

Background:
  • I have a 2019 Subaru Ascent and it is a great vehicle. I make use of the paddle shifters to manually change gears in the CVT at times. While I love the option to manually change gears using the paddle shifters, it can be difficult to locate the position of the paddles on the steering wheel, particularly when driving on a curvy road. Driving on a curvy, hilly road can be a situation where you want to manually select your gear for a rewarding driving experience.
  • My 2012 Forester had the 4 speed EAT automatic transmission (AT), not a CVT. You could manually select the gear on the AT by sliding the transmission select lever to the left and then pulling back on the lever to get a downshift or pushing up on the lever to get an upshift. l found making manual gear shifts in my 2012 Forester more rewarding and easier to accomplish than making gear shifts in may 2019 Ascent via the paddle shifter buttons, particularly when trying to make a shift when turning the steering wheel.
So I am interested in hearing from driving enthusiasts whether they would prefer using paddle shifters or the transmission shift lever to accomplish an upshift or downshift with an automatic transmission car (no matter whether the automatic transmission is a CVT or another type of automatic transmission).
 
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First... I can never call a CVT an automatic transmission... I can’t stand automatics ?
Anywho. I don’t use the paddles often. It’s mostly to lock it into 8th on the highway so that’s fairly easy to do—double tap the left paddle and move the lever over, done.
If I were to want to use the paddles more regularly I think I would have to train myself to be more consistent with my hand placement on the steering wheel in order to find the correct paddle. It would take some work for sure.
As my first statement was alluding to, I am a big fan of manual trannys. In that regard it feels a whole lot more natural to me to reach down and shift with my right hand. Though I still didn’t like it when I had a vehicle with an actual automatic transmission because it wasn’t natural to just go forward and backwards for gears.
So to wrap all that up, I like the paddles but it would include a learning curve if I were to use it often.
 

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I am a big proponent of manual transmissions, and have logged most of my driving time using a stick shift. On the non three pedal cars I have driven, I have manually shifted all of them at some point. Even though I enjoy using the gearshift on manual transmission vehicles, I much prefer steering wheel paddle shifters for gear changes on two pedal cars.

I believe the use of the gearshift to change the gear in an automatic vehicle seems unnatural to me since the movement is different than when you are driving a manual transmisson. Compound that with the fact that some automakers have upshifts requiring a push forward on the gearshift when other require a pull backwards, and that adds to the weirdness for me. We also owned a Focus with a (not great) dual clutch transmission that used an up/down rocker on the gearshift to manually change gears. That design was especially frustrating as it was difficult to use quickly unless you kept your hand on the gearshift, which isn't great practice.

Overall, having paddle shifters on the steering wheel is the most natural feeling and simplest / quickest shifting design for me.
 
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I've never used paddle shifters on any vehicle we've owned that had them and used the "manual shift" capability on the stick of my JGC only a few times and that was in some extreme weather conditions to control speed without hitting the brakes. I think that it's very convenient to have the ability to do this, but it wouldn't cause me to choose one vehicle over another. And with the CVT, it makes "fake shifting" even more of a thing. :)
 
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Paddles are generally fine with me, because my main use is highway. I use them if I happen to disagree with the ratio that the Ascent is choosing for me (whether ACC or not, and I use Eco ACC setting). But I've also found that on the highway, the Ascent has it right - when I think that it's revving higher than needed and I want to save more gas, forcing an up-shift often uses more gas, so my instinct isn't quite there yet.

Other place I use it is backroads occasionally. There are certain slight inclines near my house where the Ascent decides that my accelerator position asking for constant speed 35mph gets a a CVT ratio that revs the motor to 2800. In this case, I think the CVT software is simply choosing wrongly, so for these daily stretches of road I'll go manual. Problem is, there's a rolling right turn in the middle of one, and I'd love to be able to shift mid-turn, but I cannot do it with paddles.

So, slight bias toward a stick-based manual up/down, but really no big deal.

F.S.
 

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The paddles are definitely worthwhile when descending hills. I use them a lot here in New Mexico and up in Colorado.
I just think Subaru should move the paddles from the steering wheel to the column so they are in the same place all the time.
 

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I have experience with both paddle shifters and shift levers.
The left paddle shifter often gets utilized for breaking. Sometimes the CVT needs told to shift up already when cruising.

I have a Tucson with the center console lever. One-handing the steering wheel while shifting is fun but suboptimal.
 
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