CVT - Embrace It or Fear It?



The CVT transmissions seem to be popping up in more and more models. However the biggest question is how will they hold up after 100,000 miles…or better put - after the warranty has run out? Until recently it seemed if there were problems, it would be a “replace” rather than a “repair” That’s a pretty high dollar item out of pocket. Now that some of the early Nissan’s like the 2003 Murano are finally coming around to that magic number…any insight? CVT - Should I Embrace It or Should I Fear it?


This technology is new enough for me to want to avoid it until it has a more complete track record in consumer’s hands. I don’t understand why I should buy a car with this option when conventional automatic transmissions are fully developed and can get very good fuel mileage with a lockup final gear.

You can be sure that some features are made available due to consumer demand. Pushrod engines are entirely adequate for the average family car; are old technology dating back to the very early days and with a proven track record. That being so, the latest and greatest engines must have overhead camshafts which are more expensive to build.


After the problems with the Subaru Justy CVT I am going to have to see a long proven track record before even considering.


All choices depend on what you prefer. You could get a good or a bad anything. I like the great non-shifting ability of the CVT when you have to climb lots of steep hills, like the ones on the West coast. The engine is never straining, never being jerked around by the transmission as it hunts back and forth between D and OD. Everybody Knows Dept: Engines cost a lot more than most transmissions. If you want smooth power and good gas mileage; here is my story: 2003 Saturn Vue, 28 to 29 MPG highway with the AC on for half the way from Santa Barbara to San Diego, a good long trip. About 23 MPG driving locally. I got rid of it after 30,000 miles because I hated the seats and the engine computer glitch. The one where you step on the gas and get no RPM increase. That’s why I say that Saturn is the new name for Oldsmobile. Not true, but it expresses what I think of Saturn.


To our benefit, most of the US is not as described for the west coast. If this is the only justification for a CVT transmission, that is a minority view.