Honda manual vs CVT


#1

Trying to buy a new honda civic LX hatchback but it looks like no manuals were shipped out north west. I have no idea what the pros and cons are of the new CVT’s that seems to be in all the manufacturers builds these days. Maybe I’m just old school but I like shifting gears.


#2

You’ll just have to test drive the CVT and see. I like the CVT in my Insight fine. The manual in my last Civic Coupe was a bit hard to be smooth with (getting old and the drive-by-wire seemed to put a little lag in the throttle). I do hate a clutch in stop&go driving.


#3

CVTs drive differently than manuals or traditional automatics. Some people like them fine, others not so much. I have a neighbor and close friend who has one, and neither he or his wife like its characteristics.

Long term reliability (I’m talking 250-300,000 miles) is yet unknown, as they’re too new. There have been some new-design glitches, but that’s not unusual in the early stages of new designs. The ones being made now may or may not be fine. it’s too early to tell. And it may be related to driving environment; they may be fins in the Midwest but not in NYC. Nobody knows yet.

Should something go wrong, I don’t think the base of knowledge is out there yet to get repairs made.

In short, you need to take some good long test drives with one yourself and determine whether you like its characteristics. Then read all you can about them and decide whether you’re and “early adopter” or, like me, averse to risk. I prefer something with a long history of reliability and longevity. Nothing new can have that. :nerd:


#4

Edmunds is doing a long term test on the Civic with the CVT and turbo 4, they seem to like it:


#5

If you prefer a manual transmission because of its efficiency, you should consider getting a CVT if you like driving it. The CVT will likely deliver better fuel economy than you could on a manual transmission.

If you prefer a manual transmission because it is cheaper to maintain, repair, and replace than most automatics (including CVTs), you should hold out for a manual transmission.

If you prefer a manual transmission because it is more simple (mechanically, and therefore more reliable) than an automatic, you should hold out for a manual transmission.

A CVT is more efficient than either a manual or a traditional automatic transmission because rather than fixed gears, it has a gear system that is constantly looking for the most efficient gear ratio. The only downsides to CVTs are that some people don’t like how they drive and they often can’t be repaired if they break, only replaced. The CVTs I’ve used in fleet vehicles (one Camry hybrid and one Prius) have been reliable and easy to drive.

Owning a CVT instead of a manual might be a good reason to consider an extended warranty, especially if your Civic also comes with variable timing (Honda’s VTEC).


#6

I love this post because I have been passionate about the topic on both sides. When I first tested CVTs a few years back I disliked the sensation compared to a normal, geared auto. However, over time, the automakers have gotten better at the sensation part. Now, when I test a mainstream car or even a sports sedan with a 7, 8 or 9-speed auto, they all seem to lug and hunt for the lowest possible gear - annoying! So I have come full circle and I even bought a car with a CVT, and I like that aspect of the car. All of that said, I have owned a stick-shift Civic and I remember it fondly. I love a good stick shift in a fun car, but if I have to commute, or use it for running errands, I’ll take a CVT now, having become a convert. Just one opinion. I tested the Civic EX-T with the new 1.6-liter turbo and CVT this year and it blew me away. Over a week of mixed winter driving I got 40 MPG. With my high electricity costs, the Civic offers a better cost per mile for energy than an EV.


#7

When my Outback was in the shop for its 60k service, the dealership gave me a brand-new (less than 2k miles) Crosstrek to use for the day. While I was initially skeptical about that Crosstrek because it was equipped with a CVT, I actually found no fault with it, and by the end of the day I really liked that car.

Some manufacturers (chiefly Nissan) have had a lot of problems and complaints in regard to their CVTs, but I don’t recall problems or complaints with the CVTs in Hondas. So, there is only one way to know whether a car with a CVT is for you, and that is to drive it. Maybe you will like Honda’s CVT as well as I liked Subaru’s CVT–or maybe not–but only you can decide. Nobody else’s opinion should matter.


#8

Just thinking outside the box a bit: Have you considered a Mazda3 as an alternative to the Honda? I would be shocked if there were no stick shift models in your local area. It has either a 2.0 or a 2.5-liter engine option. Mazda does offer a base trim with the stick,and also a fully-loaded trim with the stick.


#9

I believe that should be 1.5-liter…


#10

Yes! My bad. Thanks insightful.


#11

It a little bit of two reasons, one most of my driving is back roads and freeway and I enjoy the stick shift. The other reason is as you stated lower maintenance cost. Thankful for all your guys time, as I only know one friend with CVT and he only has had his Subaru for abut 2 months.