Do Subaru Have The Best Manual Gearboxes?

As experts in gearbox repair and refurbishment we were intrigued by a recent report.

The Consumer Reports site looked at the 10 cars with manual gearboxes with the best reliability.

Their report is not definitive – there is no established list of best gearboxes as there is always a degree of subjectivity. You can also argue which factors are most important when assessing reliability and which one is ‘best’.

However, the report did provide some talking points.

Their lists of 10 models across different categories included three from Subaru. No other manufacturer had that many.

The Subarus to make the cut were the Crosstrek – named the best SUV, with the iconic Impreza listed and so too the BRZ.

The rankings were made based on member responses and so any results must be taken with a pinch of salt. It may be that certain makes have a loyal fanbase who are far more likely to fill out responses positively.

It may also be that some manufacturers pushed for owners to send in reviews – we are not suggesting this happened with Subaru, instead suggesting it could be a tactic used by any manufacturer. 

Are Subaru The Best?

So, what is our take – do Subaru make the best manual transmissions.

Sadly, we are going to have to sit on the fence. Subaru have some very good gearboxes but it would be hard to argue they are at a level that blows all rivals out the water.

It is worth noting that while Consumer Reports gave awards for reliability, they did also factor in criteria such as driver satisfaction. Subarus can be great to drive – rally fans will always have a soft spot for the Impreza – but driver satisfaction doesn’t really factor into our view on reliability.

Reliability is more will the thing break down; will it be good for tens of thousands of miles of driving.

We probably also tend to focus more on the gearboxes that aren’t so reliable – they are the ones we have to replace for customers!

What is intriguing perhaps is that despite making very good manual gearboxes, Subaru may ditch them from many models. There has been speculation for some time that they will stop having a manual option in cars such as the Impreza,  instead focussing on their automatic with EyeSight safety feature.

Motor Authority reported on this, quoting Subaru’s UK Managing Director Chris Graham who said: “My gut tells me it will be EyeSight with Lineartronic (Subaru’s term for its continuously variable transmissions) 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.”

As we have blogged about before, this highlights how some are moving away from manuals, though this will equally make others more determined to keep producing manual transmissions. They will up their share of (an admittedly dwindling) market.

If Your Gearbox Isn’t So Reliable

If you have a gearbox that isn’t 100% reliable please consider our services.


At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearboxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.