Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to make myself look really car dumb but can anyone explain the purpose of the paddle shifters? I believe its something about making the car drivable similar to a manual but I just don't get the concept seeing as there is no clutch.

I should also point out I know zero about driving a manual so this probably contributes to my paddle shifter dumbness.

So tell me all the good things about them. How do you use them? Are they fun? Does it serve any real purpose?
 
  • Like
Reactions: traildogck

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
The only practical purpose I can think of is holding the CVT in a certain gear for engine braking. Traditional automatics have low gear settings that prevent transmission from upshifting beyond a certain gear. It can be useful for controlling speed while descending long stretches (such as mountain roads) and prevent overheating of the brakes from excessive use.

Fun? Perhaps. Aggressive driving while switching through gears is very enjoyable in a true sequential manual sports car. But a sports car the Ascent is not. Paddle shifting with a CVT for aggressive driving theoretically could be fun, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
590 Posts
We live in the mountains and get a lot of snow, I use them in winter to keep the car at low speed on hills that are snow covered so I’m not constantly on the break. Also use them on steep grades all year to stay off the breaks! Saves ya some worn breaks and hot warped rotors! Lol!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
We live in the mountains and get a lot of snow, I use them in winter to keep the car at low speed on hills that are snow covered so I’m not constantly on the break. Also use them on steep grades all year to stay off the breaks! Saves ya some worn breaks and hot warped rotors! Lol!
I'll second this, used mostly for snow covered hills on ski trips in my wife's crosstrek. I haven't used them on the Ascent yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
334 Posts
Typically don't use them in regular driving but also have used them for engine braking. Recently driving down a steep dirt road with lots of turns. It was a long grade and i didn't want to ride the brakes the whole way. This heavy car can pick up some speed. So i just down shifted to help slow the car. It's something you would do with a manual transmission. I suggest finding somewhere without much traffic to just try it out and see what happens.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kathytn

·
Registered
Joined
·
300 Posts
Paddle downshifting with CVTs used to be the only way to utilize engine braking on long downhills. But now with ACC, I find that much more useful, as you can also set your desired speed, and it will use both engine braking and brakes as required to maintain that speed. Plus it will slow further to follow another car that is going below your set ACC speed.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,163 Posts
Not so much on the Ascent. Our Fauxtomatic™ transmissions fake shift to a very low gear when you floor the car, and do so a lot quicker than paddle shifting downwards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
561 Posts
I like using them as a braking aide when i get too lazy to move my foot or after having a ruff day at work to see how close to red line I can get without blowing up the motor...a form of therapy:)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,163 Posts
Therapy?

I like using them as a braking aide when i get too lazy to move my foot or after having a ruff day at work to see how close to red line I can get without blowing up the motor...a form of therapy:)
I'm trying to decide if that would make me really want to go to you or really want to avoid you, if I ever needed therapy. So confused.

:grin: :grin: :grin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
932 Posts
My 2011 doesn't have x-mode, so I use it to artificially increase my RPM's for more engine braking during snow/ice/sleet type weather. This way the engine slows down my wheels and I don't have to brake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
597 Posts
Not so much on the Ascent. Our Fauxtomatic™ transmissions fake shift to a very low gear when you floor the car, and do so a lot quicker than paddle shifting downwards.
While true a lot of times I will downshift before moving over if someone is coming up quick so the power is already there. Granted I don't do this often and it isn't needed.

I have used it while going downhill but I'm not a big fan of putting that much unnecessary strain on the engine and drive line components. Now if I was on a large hill like the ones out west I would probably do that as I would worry more about the brakes failing.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,163 Posts
I have used it while going downhill but I'm not a big fan of putting that much unnecessary strain on the engine and drive line components. Now if I was on a large hill like the ones out west I would probably do that as I would worry more about the brakes failing.


I was worrying about that at one point, but, after extensive use of ACC in the mountains, it seems the car itself is programmed to use the CVT and engine for some serious vehicle braking.

I've come out of the Adirondacks on Route 73 into Ticonderoga and the car has not even touched the brakes, where, in previous cars, I'd have smoking hot stinky brakes at the bottom.

I still kinda wonder about that.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,336 Posts
Not so much on the Ascent. Our Fauxtomatic™ transmissions fake shift to a very low gear when you floor the car, and do so a lot quicker than paddle shifting downwards.
Maybe I'm used to driving a stick shift and being in gear for that immediate throttle response... but I've found when mashing the accelerator in the Ascent, there's a bit of a delay before it revs up to accelerate. The downshifting a gear or two in advance has helped me a little with that :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Robert.Mauro

·
Registered
Joined
·
951 Posts
Given the CVT is made to tow 5,000 lbs, I'm sure it can work the other way and help slow the car down with no more load than it does towing. I think the main worry for engine braking causing wear was when you were in a manual trans and doing extra shifts to engine brake. More wear on the clutch and clutches are much more expensive than brakes!

After driving the outback CVT for a year (and one of my previous Subies was a WRX) I think the CVT does quite a good job of keeping up with what I'm doing. I haven't felt the need to force it. I think the Ascent is even a bit smarter at it too, to support the ACC and such.

I did sometimes pop it in manual just to have the "sports car" feel for fun. Also was going to go to a rally cross with my outback and then I'd use the fully manual to maintain proper gears for max speed. But never got out before my Ascent arrived!

Oh, and we don't get much snow in Phoenix, but in the slippery stuff I'd move it up to 2nd gear to slow the wheel speed. Again, looks like X-Mode has you covered anyway, so the manual override isn't necessary, but it's there if you DO need it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Robert.Mauro

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,407 Posts
The shifter, in a form of paddles, is located there at the steering wheel is primarily a convenience. I don't have an Ascent yet but I don't want that feature. I would rather have the shifting feature located w/in the shifter at the center console, like Forester.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
They are oddly fun to use; I drive up Parley's Canyon once a month to go out to the family property and I imagine they will be used exclusively for the downhill section on my way there and back; just pop it into a slightly lower gear and just let it cruise at 65 or so. I did something similar on my WJ; just turn OD off and it kept it perfectly at speed.

Your engine and trans handle the revs more than the brakes for sure; i hate riding the brakes on the way down. not worth the smell, wear and tear. plus its annoying to have to keep my foot on it for the whole time. I can just let it do its thing ( i still keep it close to the pedal for safety)

just my 2 cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
I used to use them on my Outback to hold a gear while descending one of our Front Range canyons. I have since figured out Eyesight does the same thing only better since it maintains a safe distance between me and the rental car or RV hogging the road in front of me....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
I used the paddle shifters to downshift for engine braking in our 2012 Outback. Decades of driving standard transmissions in ski country has us liking to control downhill speed with the appropriate gear.
Something we noticed in this 2019 Ascent is that one doesn't need to move the gear selector to Manual and back to Drive to get the car out of Manual. Our Outback needed to have this done. The Ascent is smart enough to figure out the appropriate time to revert to Drive after having used the paddles to downshift. No longer do we have to move the gear selector when briefly paddle shifting.
Pretty darn cool.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top