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Discussion Starter #1
In the Outback the larger engined 3.6 vehicles were equipped with the first generation "high torque" CVT. The 4 bangers all received the standard second generation CVT.

There were about 20 design differences between the transmissions but there was enough doubt at Subaru over the second generation CVT to be able to handle high torque that they specified the older, beefier transmission.

Now that the Ascent will be with a 2.4 liter 4 banger turbo the torque numbers are even higher than the Outback 3.6.

Will the Ascent be equipped with the stronger high torque CVT or the newer, lighter standard CVT?

Lots of engine torque in a car that weights 30-40% more and is also now expected to be able to pull a 5000 pound trailer; if its the lighter transmission this might be begging for trouble.

Maybe someone who has a dealer-manufacturer connection can ask that question
 

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In the Outback the larger engined 3.6 vehicles were equipped with the first generation "high torque" CVT. The 4 bangers all received the standard second generation CVT.
Not quite, but common misconception. The turbos also got the high torque CVT.


There were about 20 design differences between the transmissions but there was enough doubt at Subaru over the second generation CVT to be able to handle high torque that they specified the older, beefier transmission.
Not quite why that happened either. They've had CVTs for a couple decades. They knew the torque requirements.

Now that the Ascent will be with a 2.4 liter 4 banger turbo the torque numbers are even higher than the Outback 3.6.

Will the Ascent be equipped with the stronger high torque CVT or the newer, lighter standard CVT?
It will be equipped with a higher torque CVT than the current high torque CVT. The new CVT has went through extensive testing to ensure it can handle pulling 5,000 pounds. They've even pushed it hard with 5,000 pounds in tow for 0-60 tests (9.3 seconds, if you're wondering).
 

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Here's a nice video that shows some of the differences between the standard Lineartronic and the Gen 1 high torque CVT:

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's a nice video that shows some of the differences between the standard Lineartronic and the Gen 1 high torque CVT:
Thanks, I ran across that youtube when digging for details. Originally I saw the mention about the high torque transmission on the 3.6's from Cars101;

2018 Outback specs, options, colors, prices, photos, and more

My thoughts were that with the larger 2.4 turbo motor that will be putting out more HP and torque in to a heavier vehicle with much more towing capacity they would need to run with a beefier CVT. It seems that they have taken that in to consideration; that is a very good thing.

Eventually when the Outback gets up to the Global Platform in 2020 it would not be surprising to see the same 2.4 turbo/ CVT combination in that vehicle as well. The 3.6, 6 cyl is probably at the end of its days now that direct-injection turbo is available.

With the Ascent being a new vehicle on a new platform, with a new powerplant and transmission there are lots of moving parts. It is a certainty that there will be teething pains in this first year.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Clarification found on another site;

Ascent Base
all new model, Subaru's first 7/8 passenger
(Subaru first 5/7 passenger, the Tribeca, was discontinued in 2014)

Base model
model code KCA, standard Package #11

Standard features on the base model
2.4L 4 cylinder turbo engine with 260hp
CVT high torque continuously variable automatic transmission (also on 3.6L Outbacks)
8 speed Paddle Shifters for full control of the transmission for snow driving, towing, acceleration
X-mode and downhill descent control for low speed slippery downhill road driving

So its the same First Gen transmission that is used on the Outback 3.6.


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Link to the site; http://www.cars101.com/subaru/ascent/ascent2019.html
 

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I read some place the beefed up cvt got a new stiffer case, along with internal bits to handle the power and loads. CVTs are being looked at for hybrid Tractor Trailer rigs now and have far fewer moving parts than traditional transmissions. Plus they are posting far fewer issues per x miles than the 6-7-8-9-10 speed traditional ATs today mainly because they have nearly half the parts and complexity.

The cvt is not really my worry. Small turbo engines in the recent past have not been designed well and suffered high cost failures. My current 8 passenger slug very simplistic V8 beast will easily go 300,000+ miles with no major failures. So replacing it with this 2.4 Ascent is? Possibly not a great call. My Sequoia has 99,450 miles on it. At the rate we put miles on it. Cars will be flying by the time it hits 300,000...
 

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Clarification found on another site;

Ascent Base
all new model, Subaru's first 7/8 passenger
(Subaru first 5/7 passenger, the Tribeca, was discontinued in 2014)

Base model
model code KCA, standard Package #11

Standard features on the base model
2.4L 4 cylinder turbo engine with 260hp
CVT high torque continuously variable automatic transmission (also on 3.6L Outbacks)
8 speed Paddle Shifters for full control of the transmission for snow driving, towing, acceleration
X-mode and downhill descent control for low speed slippery downhill road driving

So its the same First Gen transmission that is used on the Outback 3.6.


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Link to the site; 2019 Subaru Ascent 7 passenger research webpage


It's definitely not the same. I think you're reading way too much information in that sentence that Joe didn't put. I've talked to some of the Subaru Product Managers, and the VP of Product also noted it's not the same. Joe over at Cars101 will fix it in the future, I'm sure. *A* high torque CVT is also on the 3.6L Outbacks, *and* on the WRX 2.5 Turbos, but it is not the same one as is going into the Ascent. A number of us have confirmed this with multiple product managers at Subaru.

And here's Subaru of America's press release on it:
"Feb 15, 2018 - The SUV is built on a strengthened and extended version of the Subaru Global Platform. Powered by an all-new 2.4-liter BOXER engine, the Ascent comes with a new version of Subaru's high-torque Lineartronic® CVT (continuously variable transmission) and legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel..."
http://media.subaru.com/pressrelease/1250/1/subaru-america-announces-pricing-all-new-2019-ascent

This is one of the questions I've been asked the most, so, I thoroughly researched it. I'll send Joe a message shortly so he can update the site.
 

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It's definitely not the same. I think you're reading way too much information in that sentence that Joe didn't put. I've talked to some of the Subaru Product Managers, and the VP of Product also noted it's not the same. Joe over at Cars101 will fix it in the future, I'm sure. *A* high torque CVT is also on the 3.6L Outbacks, *and* on the WRX 2.5 Turbos, but it is not the same one as is going into the Ascent. A number of us have confirmed this with multiple product managers at Subaru.

And here's Subaru of America's press release on it:

Subaru U.S. Media Center

This is one of the questions I've been asked the most, so, I thoroughly researched it. I'll send Joe a message shortly so he can update the site.
So does this mean that they've fixed all the CVT issues that plagued them the past years? I know that Subaru extended those warranties to all affected to 10 yrs, 100K.
 

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So does this mean that they've fixed all the CVT issues that plagued them the past years? I know that Subaru extended those warranties to all affected to 10 yrs, 100K.
I am not aware of any warranty changes on the high torque CVT except as noted for the one year and vehicle below. There's a lot of confusion on the CVTs, even from shops who don't realize there's more than one:
  • Gen 1 regular Lineartronic
  • Gen 2 regular Lineartronic
  • Gen 2 regular Lineartronic modified
  • Gen 1 High Torque Lineartronic (All Outback 3.6R, all newer WRX, various other 2.5L *turbo*)
  • New High Torque CVT (2019 Ascent only, so far).
You'll note that the warranty extension only covers the Gen 1 and Gen 2 regular CVTs (and one odd 3.6 high torque). When the WRX switched to the 2.5L turbo, it switched to the high torque CVT. Newer Subarus had modified Gen 2's, from what I info I can get from Subaru reps. It's also when they added different shift points and fixed/mitigated the "shift into gear" delay. You'll note there's only one year 3.6L that's affected. I am not sure what the difference in CVTs were for that year.

  • 2010-15 Legacy/ Outback 2.5L NA CVT
  • 2015 Legacy/ Outback 3.6L NA CVT <---
  • 2012-15 Impreza 2.0L NA CVT
  • 2013-15 Crosstrek 2.0L NA CVT
  • 2014-15 Crosstrek Hybrid CVT
  • 2014-15 Forester 2.5L NA CVT
  • 2014-15 Forester 2.0L Turbo CVT
  • 2015 WRX 2.0L Turbo CVT
In the interest of customer satisfaction, Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is extending the New Car Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage for the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) on the above listed models and model years from the original five (5) years or sixty thousand (60,000) miles (whichever comes first) to ten (10) years or one-hundred thousand (100,000) miles (whichever comes first). This change is not in response to any specific condition, rather it is to provide customers with added assurance regarding the function and overall performance of their CVT. Additionally, vehicles which are more than ten (10) years old or beyond one-hundred thousand (100,000) miles at the time customer notification letters are mailed are being offered additional coverage for a period of one-year from the date of the customer notification letters. A copy of the customer letter is attached to this bulletin as reference.
...
16-107-17
So, I am not aware of any problems in the high torque CVT, and there's no warranty extension for it, and no pending cases against it other than the 2015 Outback. Regardless, the new CVT isn't the current high torque one, and it's definitely not the 2010-2015 regular CVT. :tango_face_wink:

Anecdotally, I can tell you that the new Gen 2 revised CVT drives light years different than the Gen 1 regular CVT and noticeably different than the original Gen 2 regular CVT. I've never driven the high torque CVT, but there's videos talking about the differences.
 

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I am not aware of any warranty changes on the high torque CVT except as noted for the one year and vehicle below. There's a lot of confusion on the CVTs, even from shops who don't realize there's more than one:
  • Gen 1 regular Lineartronic
  • Gen 2 regular Lineartronic
  • Gen 2 regular Lineartronic modified
  • Gen 1 High Torque Lineartronic (All Outback 3.6R, all newer WRX, various other 2.5L *turbo*)
  • New High Torque CVT (2019 Ascent only, so far).
You'll note that the warranty extension only covers the Gen 1 and Gen 2 regular CVTs (and one odd 3.6 high torque). When the WRX switched to the 2.5L turbo, it switched to the high torque CVT. Newer Subarus had modified Gen 2's, from what I info I can get from Subaru reps. It's also when they added different shift points and fixed/mitigated the "shift into gear" delay. You'll note there's only one year 3.6L that's affected. I am not sure what the difference in CVTs were for that year.

  • 2010-15 Legacy/ Outback 2.5L NA CVT
  • 2015 Legacy/ Outback 3.6L NA CVT <---
  • 2012-15 Impreza 2.0L NA CVT
  • 2013-15 Crosstrek 2.0L NA CVT
  • 2014-15 Crosstrek Hybrid CVT
  • 2014-15 Forester 2.5L NA CVT
  • 2014-15 Forester 2.0L Turbo CVT
  • 2015 WRX 2.0L Turbo CVT


So, I am not aware of any problems in the high torque CVT, and there's no warranty extension for it, and no pending cases against it. Regardless, the new CVT isn't the current high torque one, and it's definitely not the 2010-2015 regular CVT. :tango_face_wink:

Anecdotally, I can tell you that the new Gen 2 revised CVT drives light years different than the Gen 1 regular CVT and noticeably different than the original Gen 2 regular CVT.
Thank you. I'm not familiar with Subaru (engines, powertrain, etc.) at all.... so I really appreciate the insight.
 

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Thank you. I'm not familiar with Subaru (engines, powertrain, etc.) at all.... so I really appreciate the insight.
I wish I or anyone could give you more insight, but none of us have seen the new CVT in heavy action outside of a few demo videos. So, I'm not saying there won't be problems. I'm hoping that they've learned. They're claiming this new CVT is as bulletproof as they get.

The thing *I* am counting on is that in the event of issues, Subaru will stand behind their products without a ton of owner fighting, just like with the regular CVTs (and the one off high torque one). I read about CVT failures all over the place. It sucks, no matter what you own, but I like that they stepped up and dealt with it. :tango_face_wink:
 

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I wonder if the base-model (2000lbs towing capacity) will have the same tranny as the others (5000lbs towing).

Based on this source, the base-model do not have the external tranny cooler but the towing capacity is 2x less, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me, unless they got different tranny.
 

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I wonder if the base-model (2000lbs towing capacity) will have the same tranny as the others (5000lbs towing).

Based on this source, the base-model do not have the external tranny cooler but the towing capacity is 2x less, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me, unless they got different tranny.
As far as I've heard, there's no other change in the vehicle besides cooler and receiver (1.5" Class II instead of Class III). That may include harness (4 pin only) as well. It also includes anti-sway hookups (Limited above) vs none, iirc.

Transmissions get VERY hot under heavy towing load, and, the Ascent is a lot heavier than an Outback. Also, keep in mind, the regular CVTs are not designed for the high torque. The Ascent must have a high torque transmission, even if it's not towing.

I don't see why they'd put the older Gen 1 high torque CVT in the car, since that would be added work and bigger differences in the production line. Also, none of their statements indicate such. They all indicate that the Ascent (no trim specification) is getting a new high torque CVT.
 

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Well, we know that the diff gear ratio are consistent across all trim-packages. If the tranny is the same and the addition of tranny cooler is to yield 3000lbs increase, or 2x+ towing capacity, then I speculate that the rating is rather bloated.

Look at 2018 Tundra. The base model can tow 7000lbs but the higher trim-package (limited or platinum; diff regeared and tranny cooler) are rated for up to 10000. They have to do tweaks to two components just to get 3000lbs increase, and the regearing is a major tweak.

y'all see where I'm going?

I think 5000lbs is just to do a short haul across the neighborhood or less. If I were to towing across city or state and want the tranny to last, I wouldn't tow anymore than 2000lbs.
 

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Can someone please clarify if there is a difference between the towing capability and factory provided set up between the different trim levels? That is what I am getting from the above posts. We ordered a Premium but, if the Limited is better for towing, might need to switch this up ASAP.

Thanks, Eric
 

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Well, we know that the diff gear ratio are consistent across all trim-packages. If the tranny is the same and the addition of tranny cooler is to yield 3000lbs increase, or 2x+ towing capacity, then I speculate that the rating is rather bloated.

Look at 2018 Tundra. The base model can tow 7000lbs but the higher trim-package (limited or platinum; diff regeared and tranny cooler) are rated for up to 10000. They have to do tweaks to two components just to get 3000lbs increase, and the regearing is a major tweak.

y'all see where I'm going?

I think 5000lbs is just to do a short haul across the neighborhood or less. If I were to towing across city or state and want the tranny to last, I wouldn't tow anymore than 2000lbs.
Any tow rating you aim for 50% empty weight for long RV style trips regardless of the vehicle.

My Sequoia with the 4.7LV8 and old as dirt 5spd Is rated at 5600. Trust me its not enjoyable to tow much more than 4000lbs with it on long hauls. The Ascent should easily haul 2500lbs on long trips I would even say 3500 should be a comfortable haul.

My Legacy and my OB both do ok in the 1600lb and under range on long trips. But 1800lbs and up starts to get into shorter trips range.

I have found the cvt is really nice towing given its range of ratios and active management of said ratios. The weak link so far has been the Torque Converter but that just comes down to spending more $ for a higher quality part on Subarus side. The 6-7-8-9-10 speed autos all have multiple torque converters you can bet that those are quality parts given the cost to tear down those ATs to replace a failed Torque converter in those would be a deal breaker.

The cvt only has one sitting infront of the cvt case not difficult to get a good one on there.
 

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Well, we know that the diff gear ratio are consistent across all trim-packages. If the tranny is the same and the addition of tranny cooler is to yield 3000lbs increase, or 2x+ towing capacity, then I speculate that the rating is rather bloated.

Look at 2018 Tundra. The base model can tow 7000lbs but the higher trim-package (limited or platinum; diff regeared and tranny cooler) are rated for up to 10000. They have to do tweaks to two components just to get 3000lbs increase, and the regearing is a major tweak.

y'all see where I'm going?

I think 5000lbs is just to do a short haul across the neighborhood or less. If I were to towing across city or state and want the tranny to last, I wouldn't tow anymore than 2000lbs.
If you look at the SAE J2807 towing test Truck Trend Link, there are multiple tests that a vehicle must pass. Each of those tests could potentially highlight a specific weakness in the vehicle.

In the Ascent's case (as is the case with many other light duty tow vehicles like minivans, etc.) the Davis Dam test may be the test that highlights the overall vehicles weakness in terms of passing the test requirements. It is totally feasible that the Base model Ascent cooling package cannot meet the tough demands of the 11.4 Mile 100+ degree F test without overheating or throwing a check engine light loaded with 5000 lbs.

As far as the Tundra, it may have not been able to pass other test requirements at 10,000 lbs (the acceleration tests for instance) without changing the gear ratio. If the Ascent can hit 0-60 in less than 10 seconds loaded with 5,000 lbs, there clearly is no need to change gearing to pass testing.

If Subaru is rating the Ascent for 5,000 lbs towing in all but base trim, they are doing testing and evaluation with 5,000 + pounds. If not, they will be on the hook for warranty claims.
 
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Can someone please clarify if there is a difference between the towing capability and factory provided set up between the different trim levels? That is what I am getting from the above posts. We ordered a Premium but, if the Limited is better for towing, might need to switch this up ASAP.

Thanks, Eric
Eric,

Base is the only trim with the 2,000 lb tow rating. Premium, Limited, and Touring are all rated at 5,000 lbs. No need to change your order :smile:
 
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