Well, this isn’t something enthusiasts want to hear: Subaru might stop making sticks entirely. And the justification isn’t dropping driver demand, as you might expect, but rather the company’s new EyeSight safety technology. It’s a huge part of Subaru’s new push to define next-gen automotive safety.
The suite of systems incorporates adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pre-collision braking, and pre-collision throttle management to avoid or mitigate the impact of a front-end collision. Since a manual transmission requires an intense amount of driver interaction, making it work with a system which is defined by its ability to override the human element is no small feat, and according to what Subaru’s Chris Graham told our friends at Auto Express, it might not make sense. So in the future, the company might offer its Lineartronic CVT as the sole transmission option. Here’s what he said:
I’m not sure if it’s compatible at all with a manual gearbox. There are certainly no rumours we’ve heard that manual will continue, or Eyesight will be [offered] with manual. My gut tells me it will be Eyesight with Lineartronic ongoing and long term. They want to steal the mantle of the safest car in the world. I think if they do that, then they say ‘here’s a manual without Eyesight’, they’ll just ruin that.
It’s exactly the kind of sound, sober logic which makes us nervous. Particularly since there doesn’t seem to be any real movement on giving one of our favorite enthusiast cars, the BRZ, a major update. Sure, there have been special editions which have offered tweaks to the suspension, but the engine has remained naturally aspirated, and basically not budged from the 200-horsepower mark since it was released. And while fans have been pretty vocal about wanting a turbocharged version, internet comments don’t buy cars.
The good news here is that your local AutoNation Subaru dealer will have no problem finding you a BRZ or a Crosstrek with a third pedal. For now…