Hill-Hold-Assist aka Automatic-Stalling-Device

Illustration for article titled Hill-Hold-Assist aka Automatic-Stalling-Device

I have finally parked my RX8 for the winter. For the past week I have been DD’ing my 2016 STi. I’ve owned it since July and have just recently passed 1000-miles on the Odometer.


In that short amount of mileage, I have stalled the car probably a dozen times. And some of these stalls have been lunging and rough stalls. It has been embarassing and I have felt like a 16-year-old girl who is far more interested in her smartphone than in driving a manual-transmission at times.

Now this isn’t the first Subaru I have owned with hill-assist. My 2011 WRX had the same thing although IMO, it was far less invasive. So it took me awhile to figure out that it was the hill-assist that was causing many of these issues.


For those of you who don’t know what hill-assist is, it’s basically a system that applies brake pressure when you are on an incline so you don’t roll backwards when you let your foot off the brake to apply the accellerator. In theory, the brakes release when you start to depress your foot off the clutch and apply pressure to the accellerator.

Now in my ‘16 STi, this system seems to engage on the slightest incline. The cul-de-sac I live on is a slight decline to the main road and at the top of the street, I can let off the brake and only ever-so-slightly roll back. This slight decline is enough to set off the hill-assist. Now this would be ok if there wasn’t such a relatively long delay in the release of the brake. I tend to release the clutch pedal before I start gettting into the accellerator. Because I’m not in the gas, and the brake is still engaged from the hill-assist, this is what is causing my bogging and stalling.


Fortunately, Subaru realizes that the hill-assist is not for everyone and has a procedure to disable it right in the owners-manual. I disabled it a few days ago and couldn’t be happier. It feels far more like a normal car now and I’ve had zero issues at stop-and-go’s and low-speed inclines and declines.

If you are remotely competent at driving a manual and don’t live in an area where there are a lot of hills, I highly recommend disabiling hill-assist.


Your clutch will thank you for it.

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