Manual Scoobys currently lack a crucial safety feature.
Subaru has a stellar reputation for safety, mostly thanks to its advanced suite of EyeSight driver-assistance technologies. Unfortunately, various models have lost out on this feature because of their transmissions. Sadly, EyeSight has never been a standard feature on manual cars, which means self-shifting Subarus lose out on various IIHS Top Safety Pick awards. The previous-gen WRX is a prime example. Equipped with Scooby's Lineartronic CVT transmission, EyeSight is standard, and it received a Top Safety Pick rating. The manual lost out on the EyeSight package, which included several features which have slowly become the standard in the automotive industry.
As standard, the current version of EyeSight includes lane departure prevention, advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and front collision warning with automatic braking assist.
This issue is not unique to Subaru North America. It's a global issue, as Subaru Japan has been unable to provide manual vehicles that work with EyeSight. It's incredibly odd, considering several manual cars use the same safety systems. The Mazda 3 hatch with a manual transmission gets all the previously-mentioned features as standard, plus more.
Australian publication Drive highlighted the issue at the recent local launch of the WRX. When asked about the omission, Subaru Australia's boss, Blair Read, told journalists that it wasn't an option. "We are working on bringing (AEB) onto manual variants. We're just not in a position to do that just yet," said Read. He was referring to automatic emergency braking specifically, but we presume that it's the manufacturer's goal to bring all EyeSight features to manuals.
"From a Subaru Australian perspective, we would like to see it as soon as possible and it's something that we work really closely with Subaru Corporation on, and something that's definitely on our radar to get to market as soon as possible. (Subaru Japan) has been very supportive and working to make it happen for us."
That's good news. Once the technology is available on manual cars, it will inevitably be released to the rest of the world. It will also improve the Crosstrek, BRZ, and the GR86, which have the same problem. That particular part of the development must have been left to Scooby because Toyota has had no issue getting Safety Sense 2.0 to work with a manual gearbox.
A Corolla hatch with a six-speed manual comes as standard with automatic high beams, pre-collision warning with pedestrian assist, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and road sign assist. These features have now become as expected as airbags and ABS, giving Subaru one less selling point to work with.