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Drawbacks of CVT Transmission

by Michael Ryan

A CVT, or continuously variable transmission, uses a pulley and belt system to provide an unlimited range of gear ratios when driving a car. Although this system theoretically provides better fuel economy than a traditional automatic transmission, there are some downsides.

Sluggish Response

Although a CVT transmission offers an unlimited range of gear ratios, the transmission can be very slow to respond to throttle input. As the belts in the transmission adjust to the throttle input, you may notice the vehicle revs increasing faster than the car accelerates.

Not User Serviceable

Some CVT transmissions do not even allow the user to check the fluid level. This means that even regular checks of the transmission are a dealer-only procedure.

Slower Acceleration

A CVT transmission steals more power from an engine than a traditional automatic or manual transmission. While a CVT is fuel efficient, it will take time to adjust to the slower acceleration.

Higher Cost

A CVT transmission carries a higher cost than a manual or traditional automatic transmission. Although the added expense of a CVT is not that significant, the longterm reliability of CVT transmissions has not yet been established.

Expert Insight

CVT transmissions offer good fuel economy, but it may take some time to get used to the driving dynamics. If considering a vehicle with a CVT, be sure to complete a thorough test drive. Also be sure to check if the manufacturer offers a traditional automatic transmission in your preferred vehicle.

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