CVT Transmission – Pros and Cons Guide 2020
What is CVT Transmission?
Many vehicles come fitted with a continuously variable transmission, also known as a CVT transmission. Compared to standard transmissions, CVT transmission works without any physical gears.
Instead, a belt and pulley system work together to simulate changing gears depending on power demands. One pulley connects to the engine and the other sends power to the wheels.
This can change ratios in response to acceleration, achieving any ratio to match your car. The result is a smoother ride with seamless driveability and efficient fuel performance.
1. Better Efficiency & Responsiveness
Vehicles equipped with CVT maximise fuel economy. Today, almost all hybrids use this technology because of the high level of efficiency offered. It’s widely found in Japanese cars such as Honda CRV’s, Subaru’s, Mitsubishi's and Toyota’s.
2. Seamless Acceleration
CVT transmission offers an infinite number of gear ratios for optimised performance. The infinite ratios help maintain a steady cruising speed which keeps your car’s engine in the peak power range. Seamless acceleration is achieved because the transmission is always in the right gear. It ensures the engine speed is optimised for the ideal level of power, enabling the car to speed faster in certain conditions.
The 2019 Toyota Collora Hatchback employs the latest twist on the technology with the ‘launch gear’. Similar to the first gear in standard transmissions, the launch gear handles the car’s acceleration up to 35km/h, then the CVT transmission switches over to the belt and pulley system.
3. Lighter Weight
Without gears to maintain the proper driving ratio, CVT transmissions are lighter and smaller than standard transmissions. They take up less space underneath the car which reduces weight profile and makes a practical option for compact vehicles. A lower weight profile means your car won’t work as hard when you’re driving, minimising stress and premature wear-and-tear.
1. Expensive to Purchase & Repair
Unmatched fuel economy and smoother responsiveness come at a price. Running expenses and upkeep is low as there are less moving parts. However, repairs can be expensive and often require a complete replacement if they fail. Different types of CVT transmissions also come with their own range of unique problems. CVT transmissions also have different servicing requirements. Special oil, transmission fluid and parts are required for repair and maintenance and should only be completed by a skilled car transmission specialist.
2. Change Your Driving Habits
If you’re considering purchasing a car equipped with a CVT transmission, always go for a test drive first. Driving will feel different because the throttle response will seem delayed compared to other transmissions, especially if you are used to driving a vehicle with a standard transmission.
3. Opposite of Sporty
CVT transmissions are designed to be practical and efficient. For drivers who want a car that is fun to drive around, CVT transmission is incapable of handling high-torque applications which makes it hard to achieve that sporty feel.