Subaru "paddles" best use

I hate the “paddles” on the Subaru that are used to slow the vehicle down and also increase the speed. I preferred the old gear shift into a lower gear.

Question - which is better to do a, apply the brakes when approaching a traffic light, or use the slow -down paddle? I assume the first is better for the brakes and the second for the engine.

Brakes are for braking. its a lot cheaper to replace brakes than a engine or transmission.


The best use of those paddles is for decoration and ego enhancement. I’d leave them alone, leave the transmission in drive, and forget they are even there.


The only time I’d use them is on a long hill descent.


Agree with the other comments. The only time I touch the paddle is in mountain driving on steep roads. In that case I use the sport mode and down shift before the decent.

1 Like

That is the only time that I use them.

1 Like

Just forget you have those paddles unless like others say you are in the mountains. Also I wonder why someone riding with you did not ask ’ why are you doing that paddle thing ’ ?

I always thought the paddles were for wannbe hot roders who never learned to drive a stick shift.

1 Like

The manual shifting feature is mostly for fun by people who enjoy doing that (except for when you’re going down a long hill). If you hate it, then don’t use it. Your car should be designed to work properly for the 99% of people who don’t use the paddles.

Keep in mind that your brake lights don’t come on when you downshift, so you still want to be applying the brakes regardless.

Also keep in mind that most people who shift manually consider paddles to be better than the gearshift because you don’t have to take a hand off the wheel, so you’re in a minority for preferring the gearshift.

1 Like

Don’t most Legacies have CVT’s these days? There’s no lower gear to downshift into. The transmission physically lacks a gearset.

Just use the brakes, that’s what they’re for. You can use the paddles if you want, but they seem to be more of a gimmick that actually useful in this case.

1 Like

All Legacies, Outbacks, Foresters, and Crosstreks have had a CVT for several years. Even w/o gearsets, one can manually change the transmission ratio by “downshifting”.
I assume that this is the result of altering the diameter of one of the output shafts in the transmission.

In other words, the opposite of what happens automatically as one gains speed and the transmission ratio changes.

Thanks everyone; I get it. I won’t use except a steep downhill which is what I have done in the past. i just happened to wonder if using to brake was a good idea and I understand that it is not!

I dont know how you got that from what we said. use the brakes not the paddles.

Yup; that’s what I said. It is not a good idea to use it to brake.

1 Like

A CVT has an infinite range of gears. The paddles select from a fixed set of these.

1 Like

I use manual shift mode with cruise control to prevent drastic downshifts.

Talk about making something simple complicated :astonished: .

1 Like

Talk about “I don’t understand what he’s saying, but I’ll crack wise because I’m a grumpy old boomer”.

I don’t like my CC downshifting to high revs when climbing a hill or resuming speed.

I understand that. I just find it funny that manufacturers are resorting to having their CVT’s behave like traditional automatics because consumers didn’t like how they naturally operated. CVT’s with pre-programed “steps” to mimic an automatic seems silly to me as it sort of defeats the purpose of a CVT.

I have had cruise control on almost every car since the 70s, have never experience “high revs” with cruise engaged.

1 Like