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What is the shifter's "L"-mode in 2014 non-Turbo Foresters?


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#1 Ken C

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:30 AM

2013 and earlier Foresters had a "manual mode" option where you can toggle the shift up and down through the gears (as on those years' Outback, and the 2014 turbo Foresters, using steering wheel paddles).

 

But the 2014 non-turbo Foresters don't seem to allow that.  On the car I can only see an "L" on the shifter (not the old + and -), and I'd like to know that L that represents.

 

Sorry that the thumbnail I've attached is too small to see it clearly.  But it would show the rearmost indent of the shift shows "L - D" meaning that if you pull the shift to the left, from "D", you're in "L".

 

I've heard that it's a single gear ratio (I know it's a CVT, but I mean by "single gear" that would keep the transmission ratio constant in some low ratio) suitable only for rough off-roads at under 25 mph.  I hope that rumor is wrong, because I'm thinking of buying one (a non-turbo, to be able to use regular gas) but would still like to be able to control my gears when driving fast ("enthusiastically") up and down mountain roads.  So can anyone confirm or deny, or explain, what that "L" mode is really all about?

 

Thanks.

 

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#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:01 PM

L = Low
Basically it holds the CVT in a low ratio similar to placing a regular transmission in 2nd. In L it will not vary the ratio, so engine speed will increase and decrease similar to a regular automatic. The idea is to allow some engine braking control for snow driving and limited torque transfer to the wheels for low traction areas.

#3 Ken C

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:08 PM

Thanks for the verification -- I was afraid that the rumor was true!  Your description was exactly what I heard, but you can't find that out anywhere in the brochures -- seems like Subaru is embarrassed by that and won't come clean and give that information.

Very disappointing, a shame that Subaru took away that feature (keeping it exclusive for only the turbo models) -- it would seem that the lower-powered non-turbos need the help of selecting "gears" more than the turbo, wouldn't you think?

Have to rethink our purchase plans now.

Thanks for the reply.



#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:31 PM

Same thoughts here. I don't know why Subaru did away with the option to select "gears" on the 2014 non-turbo CVT. Especially on the Forester which is the more off-road oriented model anyway. That feature has been pretty much standard since 2010 when the CVT became available in the new Outback.
My best guess is that it has something to do with fuel economy or emissions regulations, since the idea of the CVT was to increase fuel economy in the first place. Perhaps the new model isn't capable of meeting the stringent new mileage standards when driven in "manual" mode.




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