Is the "SPORTSHIFT" feature in an automatic worth it?


I’ve always driven a manual, but we’re looking to buy a new Subaru Outback wagon and given the fact that we now have a 2 1/2 month old baby, we are going to buy an automatic. Subaru offers the SPORTSHIFT transmission, but I have no idea how it works or if it is worthwhile to bother with for the times that I’d really like to drive a manual. Any thoughts or opinions?


Just about every manufacturer is offering some variation of automatic transmission with a “manual” shift feature, usually involving steering wheel mounted shift paddles, and they all have their own names for them.

Most automatics could be shifted manually LONG before the advent of shifting paddles, however, so it’s not really new. If you feel the need for an automatic, but still want to shift it manually, then go for the “Sportshift.”


Hi there!
Yes, in most cars. If the system works like this: The transmission will allow YOU to do the shifting (within the engine computer limits). This means you can start say, in first, go to second, and it will stay in 2nd even to the red-line, when the eng cptr will cut fuel to the eng. YOU tell the trans when YOU want to shift.
When gearing down, it works the same way, except if the RPM would go above redline if/when you shift, IE 4-3rd…


As others have pointed out, there’s nothing new about automatics that allow the driver to select his gear. Ignore the fancy name that each manufacturer uses. They all have something similar. This issue ought not be a consideration in your decision, not at all.


Nothing new. You have to decide if it is worth it to you. Me, I just buy standard shift cars and save money.


Take one for a test drive. Perhaps it’s arranged in a pattern emulating a manual shifter pattern Perhaps you’ll like it.

As already stated, all automatics can technically be “manually” shifted, but many are arranged in a straight line with a thumb button and that’s not very “sporty”. Perhaps Subie has a sportier feeling setup.


I guess this is a little off-topic, but why does your new baby mean you have to get an automatic?


Have you ever tried to teach a 2 1/2 month old baby how to shift gears?


I wondered the same thing. What does the new kid have to do with it? If are thinking you can tend to the child while driving if you have an automatic, please re-think that. Whoever is driving needs to be driving. If you have to pull over to tend to the child, then pull over. DO NOT attempt to drive and tend to the child at the same time. Please!

Now, does that solve the problem? If you are saying your wife wants an automatic, then that’s a different issue. If she is going to be the primary driver of this new vehicle then it should be her choice. If not, I’d hold out for the stick shift. Those “semi-automatics” are not like the real thing.


It is worth it! I absolutly love the ‘sport shift’ on my 2001 Mitsubishi Spyder. It’s nice being able to just leave the car in drive… but when the mood strikes (and it strikes frequently) I can move the gear shift to the side and into the sport shift mode and I get to do the shifting. I can take it right to the read line (or more) before shifting. My car will not automatically shift up to the next gear for you, however it will downshift at a certain RPM- to prevent the car from stalling. It just makes driving an automatic more fun!


I was driving a stick shift at 2 1/2 months, but the shift was on the column and the car only had 3 speeds. Furthermore, the car was a 1939 Chevrolet and the column shift, which was an option, had a vacuum assist (as Chevrolets did from 1939 to 1948). Therefore, as a mere infant, I could handle the gear shift. With todays 4, 5, and 6 speed transmissions with the shift on the floor, it makes the shifting for babies a lot more difficult.