CVT - what is this Page 1 / 2

tradermark99, Jan 19, 7:34pm
Looking at buying a new car, some say NON CVT, what does this mean and which is better cvt or non cvt. thanks mrstradermark99

ebzn3ys, Jan 19, 7:50pm
its like a auto transmission with no gears, i drove one once and really liked it. but apparently they are unreliable so i didnt buy it

gracey_lain, Jan 19, 7:55pm
We had CVT on our Punto. Best thing ever to drive - was always a race if we had to take two cars anywhere to see who could get the Punto over the Corolla. A dream to drive long distance as well - also liked having the option of "changing gears" as well. We didn't have any issues with reliability (or lack of), but the car was regularly serviced. Next time we buy a car, will definately be on the lookout for something CVT-ish.

silverman1, Jan 19, 7:58pm
CVT stands for Constant Velocity Transmission.They last about 100,000 k/s as long as they are serviced at least once.Has no Torque Convertor and drive system is by 2 variable cones,either driving a chain or belt.

planespotterhvn, Jan 19, 9:05pm
Nissans were putting CVTs in all their automatic cars for a while.are they still doing it!

vtecintegra, Jan 19, 9:27pm
Yep plenty of manufacturers are doing it.

The previous/current Maxima is CVT only and they seem to be holding up fine, plenty of taxis getting up there in age and mileage now.

thejazzpianoma, Jan 19, 9:28pm
CVT has a big advantage over a regular transmission. That is you can always be in the "perfect" ratio for the job at hand.

Combustion Engines don't preform equally well through the rev range. Thats why we have gears in the first place, however just like a 3 speed bike vs a 21 speed the more gears the better you can leverage the power/economy.

This is especially noticeable in a small car where power is limited and you need to extract the most. Unfortunately cars that are a few years old (and especially some popular asian cars) don't really have enough gears in their automatic transmissions. 4 is the norm and there are even a some in the 90's that still had 3.

So yes CVT does a great job of fixing all of that. Unfortunatly though because of how they work (which is usually by inter-meshing cones or using a drive belt instead of metal gears) they are not usually as sturdy as a regular automatic. Also some manufacturers efforts are much superior to others. Lastly maintenance MUST be adhered to to ensure longevity.

Fiat in particular make excellent CVT transmissions, but a lot of that comes from them having made them in production cars the longest (nearly 30 years). Some units like the Honda Jazz lack some design features (like the use of a transmission fluid filter) which make them weaker.

Two I would consider myself would be a well maintained Nissan or Fiat unit. There are probably other good ones but I am basing what I say on first hand experience.

BTW, about the best automatic transmission of all is the system called DSG. Its used by VW/Audi/Skoda as of the last 5-7 years depending on model. It is actually lower maintenance than even the more basic of regular automatics and utilises completely new technology to give you better economy than a manual transmission and works really well with small engines as well.

In some applications the VW product will do so well with the transmission (and some help from their clever engines) it will give you up to twice the economy of the opposition yet you still have more power.

ringo2, Jan 19, 10:03pm
DAF actually used CVT in the 1960's. And they have been used in Combine Harvesters for just about ever.

vtecintegra, Jan 19, 10:07pm
The only CVT I've driven (and only briefly) that I thought was any good is the one that came in the earlier 3.5l Skylines.

Apparently its a unique design that does not use any belts and was only produced for a few years (they switched back to a conventionalspeed auto) so I'd be a bit skeptical about owning one.

thejazzpianoma, Jan 19, 10:11pm
Yes, but I am not entirely convinced that poster one really wants to drive around in a combine harvester. no matter how well proven the transmission.

You are quite right, the concept is oldbut the point here was who has the most experience putting these things in motor vehicles like poster 1 is likely after.

vtecintegra, Jan 19, 10:17pm
The issue I have with the earlier Nissan CVTs in the Primera, Avenir, Bluebird and similar is that the low end of the range doesn't seem to go low enough which results in them seeming fairly sluggish around town.

ginga4lyfe, Jan 19, 10:18pm
CVT= Crappy Vehicle Transmission , though they can be ok, alot of them crap out and are VERY expensive to replace or fix

vtecintegra, Jan 19, 10:21pm
Could say that for any design of auto transmission - it is one of the most common and most serious potential points of failure in a car.

thejazzpianoma, Jan 19, 10:27pm
This is a bit misleading. They are not necessarily more expensive to replace/repair than a regular automatic at all.

They tend to crap out if they are not serviced correctly, and while less forgiving than a regular auto to lack of servicing a regular auto will also eventually suffer the same.

No point in scaring people away from good quality well serviced CVT's they carry some massive advantages.

rovercitroen, Jan 19, 10:30pm
Usually due to lack of servicing in other countries before they arrive here.
I hear the newer Mitsubishi CVTs such as being used in the Outlander are developing a good reputation. In any CVT use of the correct oil is vital. The wrong oil will kill them very quickly.

carmedic, Jan 20, 6:35pm
Wrong. Its Continuously Variable Transmission.

tradermark99, Jan 20, 10:38pm
hi everyone thanks for your posts, i didnt get it in time and are looking at a car under option, now im freaking out, its a 2001 honda civic, thoughts!.

vtecintegra, Jan 20, 10:44pm
Should be okay, just have a drive and make sure that it isn't shuddering or otherwise behaving weirdly (at least not any more weirdly than CVTs usually seem).

phillip.weston, Jan 21, 12:18am
CVT stands for Continuously Variable transmission and most DO have torque converters - how does the engine idle without the car moving on the spot! Their lock up clutchs just engage alot earlier on than on an automatic transmission.

jrlaw, Jan 21, 12:24am
Own a Mitsubishi Cedia with C.V.T. done 115,000 k's now serviced at 95,000 k's cost about 340 dollars for the service plus special oil, must be serviced by with a pressure oil change unit. Best trans car I have owned so far.

jason18, Jan 21, 12:32am
hahaha what a load of shit

jason18, Jan 21, 12:34am
I had a good run with one of my cvts 145kms no worries. Mate had one just over 200kms and my latest purchase had never been serviced haha the cvt was poked.

carkitter, Jan 21, 7:10am
My ex and I had a 2002 Civic EXi sedan 5spd and I can't praise it highly enough. The 1.5L SOHC engine is exceptionally reliable, smooth running economical and provides good performance too. I once got 700kms off a tank when commuting from Torbay to Mt Albert. It would take a thrashing and come back for more, but got quite breathless before the redline which I guess would be overcome by a pod filter and a bigger exhaust. Plenty of room inside, a flat floor, large boot, competent but not sporty handling, strong brakes and a beautifully slick gearchange makes for a great little small car.

carkitter, Jan 21, 7:31am
Honda's CVT was developed extensively by their motorcycle division for scooters. Later the car division developed a version for the '96 Civic, the first mass-production car to meet California's then strict Low Emissions Vehicle standards. there are CVT's in several small Honda cars.

The CVT is (in theory) the best transmission design around. A car fitted with one should have a significant performance advantage over conventional automatics AND manual transmission equipped cars. The reality is though that the design has an inherent problem with wear and strength of the belt used and that's why you don't see them used in performance applications and large capacity cars.

Honda's initial run of CVT in '96 Civics was a disaster and '97 models were much better but by then the reputation was out. I tend to stay away from them myself but if the car has low mileage and you drive gently (neither of which usually applies to me) you'll probably find a CVT to be of great benefit. It's EVEN MORE CRUCIAL to service a CVT properly than other Honda automatics.

Jazz, Honda don't use a trans filterbecause they put a magnet on the trans sump plug instead. Magnets don't impede flow.

net_oz, Jan 21, 8:30am
Have just recently spent just under $4500 on one for my Nissan Primera.
Shit itself at 135,000km with servicing.
Still a bloody good car to drive.

Share this thread

Buy me a coffee :)Buy me a coffee :)