Home / Auto News / News article: Should You Buy a Car with a CVT Transmission? - AutoGuide.com News
 |  May 30 2012, 3:30 PM

Looking for a smoother ride and improved fuel economy in your next car? Then you may want to consider a vehicle with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Thanks to some crafty engineering, you may never have to experience “Shift Shock” again. Here’s how a CVT delivers that smooth driving experience.

HOW IT WORKS

Imagine the CVT like a bicycle’s gear system. It’s made up of a pulley system, with cones at each pulley, all connected by a chain belt. These cones move closer together or further apart to increase or decrease the diameter at which the belt operates. The ratio here is important, and is selected automatically based on factors like gas pedal position, vehicle speed and engine speed.

What all this means is that a CVT doesn’t shift at all like a traditional gearbox. The ratios are always changing in order to find the perfect combination for speed, fuel efficiency or both. Some CVTs even come with buttons to help shift between pre-set ratios which helps mimic a traditional automatic. 

The first time you drive a car with a CVT, you’ll know.

The feel of a CVT can be odd. The rpm of the engine can fluctuate a lot while driving, especially when accelerating. Or when accelerating hard, they’ll just sit unchanged at a lofty rpm level while the car pulls forward.

Compared to an automatic or manual transmission, a CVT is much smoother. Feeling like one really long gear, in reality its a nearly infinite collection of gears all meshed together.

CLEAR BENEFITS

nissan2013altima-08.jpg

Many cars nowadays are being sold with CVTs instead of traditional automatics, mainly because of their efficiency. In fact, the new 2013 Nissan Altima (above, read our review here) uses a CVT transmission and is rated as the most fuel efficient mid-size sedan on the market with a 38 mpg highway rating. In addition, almost all hybrids use CVT transmissions, including the Prius, helping maximize fuel economy.

2012_Scion_IQ_015While drawbacks in terms of responsiveness are usually noted by driving “enthusiasts”, Continuously Variable Transmissions have one key advantage over their automatic and manual counterparts. When driving up hills, where traditional automatics can struggle, a CVT can seamlessly provide power without shifting. Even-speed hill driving can prove to be a tough endeavour for novice manual transmission drivers. We actually praised the CVT in the Scion iQ (read our review here) for delivering exactly this sort of responsiveness on the hills in San Francisco, despite a tiny 1.3-liter engine and just 94 hp.

 Nissan has been selling cars with CVTs for quite some time now, and has had considerable success introducing the new transmission type into the market.

According to Steve Yaeger, from Nissan North America, “With coming CAFE and CO2 emissions regulations requiring better fuel economy and lower emissions, the CVT gives the Nissan lineup an attractive alternative to conventional automatics that is more efficient on both fronts.”

NOISY, AND WHAT ABOUT RELIABILITY?

nissanmurano14

Still, CVTs are having a tough time breaking into the market. It turns out that many drivers don’t like the loud and strange noise of their car’s engine revving wildly. Many drivers liken the sound, and the feeling, to that of a slipping clutch. Additionally, CVTs are usually less likely to be paired with higher horsepower, or higher torque engines.

Lastly, not all CVTs are well equipped to deal with towing.

 Additionally, the reliability of the modern CVT has yet to be tested. The Nissan Murano (seen above) was the first car Nissan offered with only a CVT, and it had some pretty serious problems. Some were so bad that the whole transmission had to be replaced.

However, since then, Nissan has extended the warranty of the transmission to 10 years/120,000 miles. That should help alleviate any fear buyers may have over the reliability of getting a car with a CVT. 

If you enjoy revving your car to its redline, and feeling the thrust as your car shifts, then maybe a CVT isn’t for you at all. For those types, you may want to try your hand at a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) if you want to have a sporty feel and keep an automatic. Otherwise, the CVT is a fine choice in the world of economical cars. Many hybrid vehicles use a form of CVT to get such high mile per gallon numbers. It’s good with fuel, and smooth. Sorry about the noise though, but you might just get used to it.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

In summary, there are a few advantages to getting a vehicle with a CVT: It’s good on gas, gives a relatively smooth ride, and is versatile enough for daily driving. It also has a few drawbacks. It’s nowhere near as fun or engaging as a dual clutch automatic or manual transmission. It can also make quite a racket when accelerating hard. Keep these points in mind when looking at your next car. A CVT can help make or break the purchase, so be sure to know what you want, and how the transmission plays a part in it.

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  • Guest

    I know this article is written for the non car guy but you seriously need to address the fact that not all CVT are the same. The ype you describe is but on variety. Note that the Prius models have a planetary type CVT which by all accounts are way more reliable if not fuel efficient than a band type CVT.

  • peter Ng

    I did rent a Nissan Altima Hybrid 2009 for a week from Bay Area to LA and back with CVT.  IT worked  quite good for 4 cylinder engine when we were a climb mountain near LA. It worked a lot better than what I expected in LA freeway driving and hill climbing in San Francisco. For good driver with stick shift who can do plan ahead with the right gear. CVT may not be as precise and good. For ordinary guy,  daily going to work car, will be perfect as long as it is reliable.Not as good for toys, pretty good for appliance.

  • 280Benz

    Subaru uses a CVT on the Legacy, Outback and Impreza models with automatic transmission. I drove one the other day and it was great. The fuel economy is very good and the acceleration is smooth.

  • http://placement.financeimmo.com/ Rosalind Benavides

    Thanks to some crafty engineering, you may never have to experience “Shift Shock” again. Here’s how a CVT delivers that smooth driving experience.

  • Dndold

    I have a 2008 Nissan Sentra SER and had the CVT transmission replaced at 107K under warranty, and now 17k more miles it needs another one…not under waranty (only good for 12K miles!) and at a cost of nearly $4000 So I would say HELL NO

  • Guest

    The transmission on my 2008 Nissan Sentra went out in 2010 at 65,000 miles, losing all power while I was on the freeway. Very scary scenario. Found out they’d just extended the warranty from 60,000 to 120,000 miles, so they replaced my transmission for free, though I had to pay for my own hotel (was out of town) and miss a day of work. Now, at 121,000 miles, the check engine light came on and dealer says the transmission is about to take a dump again. Opening a case with Nissan Consumer Affairs to see what they’ll do. Otherwise, I’m told it’ll be nearly $3,800 to repair. I second Dndold and would NOT recommend a CVT transmission.

  • Ddeader

    I have a 2002 (263,000 miles) and a 2003 (238,000 miles) Honda Civic HX with CVT. I changed the CVT fluid at 40,000 miles and 20,000 miles after that. Replaced the external filter every 100,000 miles. They are both having a little problem with solenoids sticking when the engine first starts on cold mornings. Other than that they have performed flawlessly.

  • Ddeader

     I looked at the Nissan, takes special equipment at the dealer to change the fluid, and most dealers don not even know about the 20,000 change interval.

  • Lou101

    CVT tranny is not ready for prime time, as of yet.  Not reliable and very expensive to maintain and repair compared to the alternatives.
    Been there, done that….NOT AGAIN!

  • Soukuprick

    I had a 2003 Saturn VUE with a CVT transmission.  It failed after 7 years at 77,000 miles.  GM gave me a $5000 credoit towards a new GM car as a goodwill jesture.  GM settled a class action suit that was nullified when they went bankrupt

  • Alternative Specs.

    10 yr. / 120,000 mile (193,121 km).  No thanks.  Look, I drive my cars for a minimum of 8-10 years, in that time I have well over 300,000 km. 

    There’s no darn way I’m taking a risk.  Have you actually read up on, and researched the number of complaints (complete transmission failures) on Nissan Altima?  Not once have they issued a recall.  That bears repeating again, so you can see my point.  Not once have they issued a recall.  Is that really a company that you want to purchase a product from? 
    The sheer number of complaints has been astounding.  This is a serious safety issue for pete sake.   I can’t for the life of me, fathom why people continue to recommend these problematic transmissions.

    Nissan had some good years in the mid 1990′s with their Maximas.  Beyond that, starting in the late 1990′s they have been going downhill.  Simply not issuing recalls where a recall is due. 

    If you’re not looking to own this car greater than 120,000 miles, then go for it, if you don’t mind the potential for CVT failure.

    There are alternatives to a mid-size family sedan.  I suggest you look elsewhere, or be prepared for potential CVT major issues and costly replacements.  Even if you’re lucky and don’t run into these problems, you’re still looking at costly ‘highly suggested’ CVT maintenance every 30,000 miles.

  • G4rdenshade

    Our AWD Highlander Hybrid and Lexus 400h with CVT could not make it up our icy road.

  • Lifeboat46

    I have a new 2013 Nissan Altima with a CVT transmission. If you turn it off without remembering to put the car in park it will roll indefinitely. I think this is a super strange design flaw. Am I the only one who thinks that?

  • Chazz

    Recently had my CVT transmission replaced at 62K miles on my 2008 Altima.  My car has a 10 year, 120k warranty.  I’ll replace the Altima at 100k miles.  Will I buy another Nissan?  We’ll see.

  • Chazz

    The interval is 60K miles, not 20K.  Someone gave you misinformation

  • Chazz

    The reason there’s no recall is because there’s nothing to fix, until it breaks down!  Catch 22…

  • http://www.facebook.com/fazel.subian Fazel Subian

    CVT transmission gives lot of problems

  • Ilikeit

    Kind of like driving a turbine powered car: not much at first, then a few seconds later, hold on and get off the gas!  Some few noises at low speeds, nothing significant.  But wow, 30+ consistent mpg (measured average) commuting in a small SUV (Nissan Rogue), and unwavering cruse speed on hills.

  • Jahmaaaaal

    That why manual camel better

  • ballschwet

    dildo

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikulas.chanas Mikulas Miky Chanas

    Hi, I drive in whole Europe, specialy in Slovakia and my 2002 Nissan Primera 2.0 16v has  CVT with 323000 km, added more CVT fluid when last year found out it was low at Nissan shop and still keeps running like new without changing whole fluid. So it depends maybe what tipe of CVT it has or how you driving. I say YES and dont want other transmition than CVT. It’s so smooth driving! Love it!

  • Tinky Winky322

    Drive stick or go home.

  • Doe

    Why can’t Nissan use a regular 6 speed automatic?  I’d rather spend $200 more in gas per year and have a regular automatic.  CVT cars may take off ok but they can’t change ratio fast enough to accelerate quickly into moving traffic.  They have poor reliabilty and durability.  I guess automakers want to push more people into trucks and large sedans.  It appears that GM and Toyota are only going to use belt CVTs on smaller vehicles, while automakers like Subaru, Nissan, and Honda will be using them on all of their vehicles.  I predict automakers that use the CVTs in high volumes will pay the price in future lost sales after the CVTs begin to break. 

  • Sonke

    I bought a Nissan X trail in 2007. After 150,000 km still doing fine. I will never buy anything else but CVT, if I can ever afford a new car! The smooth ride, rapid acceleration if you want it, instantaneous kick back, fuel economy, are all fantastic. I read comments about noise, and rapid fluctuating engine speed. Well that only applies if you do not handle your accelerator with care and intelligence. But if you are angry while taking off from a traffic light, yep it makes noise, but by golly I challenge any experienced manual transmission driver or planetary transmission driver to beat the acceleration. These CVT’s have really come of age. I worked in the DAF factory in the sixties assembling the first rubber belt CVT saloons. I had 2 myself. The belt lasted only 30,000 km, but it was already quite an experience.

  • Chamwster

    Who would want a car whose transmission and primary power delivery system is a BELT?

  • Bruce

     Want to hear something worse?  I had a 2001 Nissan Primera. At 23k the problems began with the CVT. Seven months later and quite a few “services” I returned the car to the dealer and got another car with a trusty 5 speed manual. Totally agree with you on the CVT. Hell no!!
    Cost to replace mine in the Primera would have been $6000-8000..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Slarti-Bartfast/100000152617413 Slarti Bartfast

     I think that I wouldn’t want to be your insurer!  ;-)

  • Ferdie1369

    I have the 2013 Altima, and it does absolutely NOT get anywhere near the purported 38 MPG on the highway. In fact, I’ve been getting only 1-2 MPG more than the 2004 Maxima 6 speed I traded in for it. STUPID mistake!!

  • Torrance_lws

    i have 2006 ford 500 with a cvt transmission at 86.000 miles a gear poped busted it all up it was to much to rebuild ford said its best to buy a new 7.000 my mechanic found a uesd one for 2800 but the tranny started to make the car take off in drive and rev and make it stall out i liked the smooth shift with tranny but i dont think its very reliable

  • Govt_sucks

    The days of the manual transmission are coming to an end. Even Porsche and Ferrari are abandoning it. Most people are far too lazy to shift gears. They’re too busy drinking coffee, texting, eating, and applying makeup. The new DCTs may shift fast, but to me they’re a sterile experience that takes no skill. Hammering through the gears with pefect upshifts – there’s nothing like it. I’ll keep my Civic Si until it breaks down. By that time, most of the new cars may drive themselves. The driver will simply be a passenger in an auto caravan.

  • Govt_sucks

    Most of the EPA numbers are inflated. Hyundai was called out last year for its bogus numbers. It was claiming about 38 mpg and in reality its cars were only getting about 33 mpg. Ford claims 38 mpg for a Focus. There is no way that is legitimate.

  • Guest

    The only worry I would have with a CVT would be the reliability of the belt. I’ve been riding snowmobiles for years which use a basic belt driven CVT as the power delivery system, and those things shred belts every 500-1000 miles. Obviously its a higher wear component, but it makes me weary. The power band is fantastic, but I’d like to see more reports on how long they actually last. 

  • Williams Keith17

    I’m a huge Nissan fanatic. I love this car brand, but they are starting to conform and lose the character that made Nissan, well…Nissan. No CVT should be in a Maxima. EVER!! The next gen Maxima needs to come available with AWD, Diesel and a 6 or 7 Speed Automatic. Nissan is getting CVT crazy, but if they limit it to certain models (Versa, Sentra, Rogue, Low Trim Altimas) then consumers will actually have choices with Nissan. Honda has a crap load of options for consumers. So Carlos Ghosn, Nissan execs, make a true 4DSC again. If you don’t bring back back Nismo trims, then offer a 2.5SE with DIG and a conventional automatic on Altima and Sentra. Nissan is doing right, style wise, but drivetrain wise, Nissan is losing its distinguishing edge

  • Wally1

    If a dealer tries to sell you on a CVT in a passenger vehicle, Run away. The salesman and the shop techs know nothing about these and most transmission shops won’t touch them. They spout figures about efficency and fuel mileage, what they don’t tell you is about costs when these CVT’s fail. When they fail, (and they do) there is no fixing them, it’s replace the entire unit . Let me translate that for you the consumer, “Serious money”! Don’t beleive all the sales hype, these are nothing more than a electronic designed snowmobile transmission.  The problem is that with computer aided design in manufacturing today is that they can design and build a really tough and reliable transmission, but computers makes it easy to manufacture easy and “Cheaper designs” which are not in the best interest of the end user/consumer. You have been warned.  

  • Wally1

    Just an update on CVT’s. Nissan announced a reprogram on the computer software on the 2013 Pathfinder due to slipping belt issues. And you still want a CVT equipped vehicle?. These are so bad, If you buy anything with a CVT make sure they throw in a new transmission that you can store in your garage, you will need it. Just my opinion.

  • Total_telecom

    They are trying to speed the sales of new cars. What do you do when your 4 yr old car at 120k, blows a cvt and you are facing a $7000 invoice?

  • Total_telecom

    such a high-end vehicle with such a crappy transmission?

  • Total_telecom

    No one else works on
    Those transmissions. Nissan keeps it pretty quiet because it’s all in-house service and swap the units out. However if you’re not under warranty you’re looking at about $7000

  • Total_telecom

    Everything is becoming recyclable and disposable. How many TV repair places are still in business? Cars are headed this direction all in an effort to increase new car sales

  • Total_telecom

    That replacement should have to carry a 120k warranty. Then they will start making better ones

  • John E

    Particularly since I keep my cars 15 to 20 years, I want to see some long term reliability statistics before taking a chance on a CVT. 

  • Nick Delautour

    One of my biggest regrets is not researching CVT engines before purchasing a second hand 2009 lancer. I have owned 2 of the previous model lancers and have no regrets. This CVT engine in the 2009 lancer feels strange to me, the revs fluctuate a lot and there is no power when you put your foot down. From a stand still, if you put your foot down the engine makes a lot of noise and you gradually pick up speed, at about 25 KPH you get a burst of power (not much) and then after more noise and no real sensation of picking up speed, you will find yourself at 60 KPH, where the engine just kind of settles down as you take your foot off the accelerator, no gearing down in the conventional fashion. CVT’s are Noisy (not in a good way it is a droning sound) and are yet to stand the test of time. No towing capability, no power on tap, fluctuating revs, horrible noise. I would not recommend buying a vehicle with CVT, just my opinion as I am not an expert. Feels like the fun factor has been taken out of my lancer! NOT HAPPY

  • Chuckster

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve had my 2005 Murano since new (about 7 years now). I actually find it to be very reliable. I’ve had no issues at all, just regular maintenance on the car. It takes some getting used to, but in my humble opinion it’s a much more efficient gearbox than a regular automatic. Plus, Nissan has extended its CVT warranty to 10 years, so I’ve got 2 more years of coverage. I’ve heard the CVT has been banned in Formula One racing, as it gives drivers too much of an advantage on the track.

  • Ron Helmrick

    I have a 2008 Sentra and the transmission failed at 78 k. Now 17 months later and another 50 k later i am looking at another transmission. So, it appears that i can expect my transmission to fail every 50 k. I drive 168 miles a day round trip to work. The transmission makes a very loud wining noise when it gets warm. I dont trust it to make a long trip without failing. Now that my warranty is expired, i am waiting to see what nissan has to say about my recent visit. The tech was very surprised at the noise. If nissan wont cover the repair or a large chunk of it, what do i do? If they say there’s nothing wrong, then i will trade it in on a car without a cvt.

  • Ron Helmrick

    I drive a 2008 sentra and am about to have the transmission changed for the second time in 135k. I like my car. I even like the transmission when its not needing to be replaced. I dont dog my car but it is tested daily on the Pacheco Pass. A steep hill. I set the cruise and it reaches 4k on the tack. Dont think i will buy another cvt. I was really hoping for a 300-500 k car.

  • Ferdie1369

     AMEN, Tinky Winky322!!!

  • Fluffy530

    I had my 2007 Nissan Murano since i bought it. It now has 150,632 miles on it and i never had a problem with the CVT. I make all my cars go throw so much crap and so many transmission failed on me but this one. I love how i get good gas mileage and i like that sound when step on the gas. i will keep on buying this transmissions. 

  • carbuyer

    Where did the information come from about Nissan extending the warranty to 10years/ 120,000 miles?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607057237 Kenny Rohrs

     At least they were getting in the 30MPH range. I’m not even getting that. In fact, I’m not even getting the 31 combined MPG that the window sticker stated. I can’t help but hate this car because of that. The only reason I got it was because I would get much better mileage. I’m only getting about 28-29MPG, which is only slightly better than what I used to get with my old Maxima. Because of this experience, I do not believe that a CVT has any efficiency advantage over a manual transmission. I can’t wait to get rid of it.

  • Bubba

    I happen to know 3 people with Muranos and they have **ALL** had to replace their transmissions at least once.  I don’t know who’s to blame in all this but I don’t care.  I don’t want any part of it with my next vehicle.

  • Donystoy

    Nissan builds a nice car but I would never purchase one from them with a CVT just because of their improved warranty. Just try to claim on it.  They will try to find any reason in the book to deny a claim.  The filler neck surface where the gas cap goes on our Maxima started corroding when the car was about two years old causing the cel to come on.  Even though it was even identified as part of the emissions and fully covered, Nissans head office told me it was due to environmental and not covered ???? They then hung up.  I finally got it replaced under “good will gesture” some time later after I contacted a newspaper writer. Needless to say it is our last Nissan product.  

  • Nduane402

    I have a 2011 Rouge with the CVT transmission with 16,000 miles and the transmission is starting to slip.

  • Big10bill

    I had a 2008 Jeep with a CVT that failed in 2010. You cannot have them repaired, they have to be replaced, $4000. They really are not well developed yet.

  • Oogle

    People are mentioning that Nissan has extended the CVT warranty to 10 years, however I read elsewhere that they have now dropped this back to 5 years.  Is that true? Costing them too much money?

  • Andrewcaudill42

    I bought a 2013 nissan altima the cvt tranny has been replaced twice do not buy i mean it !!!!

  • multibs

    I drive a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Se 2.4 liter engine with a Continuous Variable Transmission  and Front Wheel drive I think its great I Don’t hear the noise when I accelerate but I don’t take it to the track. I just drive to work and it handles that very well. I am not concerned about the transmission because I have a 10 year warranty . And My previous vehicle was a 2001 town and country Chrysler with 3.8 liter engine with automatic Transmission They said that people had problems with the transmission on that minivan I drove 360,000 plus with loads of things and never had a problem.

  • Anndaly

     From Nissan. They sent letters out to owners of CVT’s like me.

  • Ann Daly

    I have a 2004 Murano top of the line, 70K miles, no issues with CVT transmission.

    Your mileage will vary. 

  • Guest

    Had a 2005 Nissan Altima Cope with CVT transmission here. Had it replaced twice under warranty by Nissan, once at 30K and the second at 60K. Third transmission started to go at 90K and that was enough to get rid of it. CVT not for me… YMMV

  • Matricon1

     Have a Mercedes B 200 with CVT. Excellent all around, after cca 60K and 3.5 years. No noise, since rarely the engine revs past 2000-2500 rpm (except for some stronger starts or extra acceleration). Highway consumption often under 7l/100Km, city 8.5-9.5 (9.5-11 on winter)

  • John

    Not a CVT fan. Especially backing out of my driveway. When I back out I have have to go up a slight hill. The CVT doesn’t offer that pulling effect at idle that you get with a traditional transmission. The result is as you are backing up if you let off the gas at all you will almost immediately lose momentum and you feel like you have to give it SO much gas just to get your momentum back. It’s like that some driving on the interstate too. The second you let off the throttle you just lose momentum so fast, but that’s not as big a deal as trying to get out the driveway! I like the car itself, and the transmission is warrantied for another 6 years so I’ll deal with it. But when the time comes, I won’t get another CVT.

  • Custom Engines

    CVT is just a marketing term for split cone pulley system originally used ( and still are) for high powered electric motors. Electric motors start at full torque and the split cone drive system is used to bring whatever machinery the motor is driving gently up to speed. The first car I’m aware of that had a split cone transmission was a small Citroen with a sliding gear lever the driver adjusted to suit speed, engine revs etc. The nature of fuel engines and split cone drives are not really a good combination, certainly not as good as a proper automatic transmission. CVT is just another cheap and nasty way of lowering the production costs of vehicles and their use in vehicles is promoted by marketing BS.
    I would strongly recommend that before buying a vehicle with a CVT to hire the same vehicle for a couple of weeks and see if you like it.

  • Grey Nomad

    My wife and I did precisely that, rented a 2012 Subaru Outback CVT with 800km on the clock for an 18 day tour around Tasmania. I have owned 7 Subaru vehicles since 1984 and all have been manual with a the low range gear selector. The vehicle we hired was to help us decide whether to upgrade our current Outback 2002 model to the latest model.
    Suffice to say that after 5 days driving the Outback CVT we returned it as it was absolute rubbish to drive.
    This after, as mentioned, having owned 7 Subarus that we drove into the ground and all having over 400000km trouble free motoring. Not for me a vehicle with CVT and unfortunately no more Subarus as there is no Outback model with a manual gear box. (Tried the Subaru Outback diesel manual, but, oh so gutless)

  • dennykins

    They will get better as time goes on. The new Subaru ones are metal belts where as the Nissan ones are not.

    Anyway I completely disagree with Custom Engines down there, it is not a “nasty way of lowering…cost”. It really is all about efficiency and power. Typical automatic transmissions are very complicated and you only have a defined set of gear ratios. The engine can’t stay in the power band during acceleration or stay in a low rpm range while cruising. A CVT solves these problems, but it must be programed correctly.

    Anyway, the new 2013 Subaru’s have a second generation CVT and they are pretty awesome. They are the future, period (and this is from someone who has only ever bought manuals)

  • bonzomatic

    Every CVT vehicle I have ever been in sounds like it is revving unusually high even at cruising speeds on level surfaces. How can it be more fuel efficient if it’s revving so high?

  • maxwell_2

    I’m a CVT fan, tons of miles on them and no issues. Problem with people and CVT is they dont know how to drive them. Dont tell me you have to floor them and wait for it to catch, up that is simply false, if I would drive like that I would be doing 70mph on city streets real quick, not smart.

  • Liliwen

    I have a 6 year old Ford Focus Titanium, diesel, CVT transmission. Pride and joy, well cared for, one owner, fully serviced by Ford, 68k on clock. Just been told after some weeks of issues with stalling at low speeds that I need a new gearbox. £2,900 bill.

    Ford stopped fitting this type of gearbox shortly after I bought my car apparently as they realised it was not working. But totally shut their door at my attempt to get this work paid for by them.

    I am still in shock. I cannot afford this, to have to pay for what was essentially an experiment gone wrong. Have no idea what to do, I am being advised to trade it in for a different car as there is a concern that this will just repeat itself 30k miles on. The replacement box only comes with 12 months warranty.

    So, in my opinion, CVT may be a great concept and I have to say initially I loved the way the car drove but the price is too high when it all goes wrong.

  • Second CVT in a row

    I have a Honda Jazz (Fit) CVT mated with a 1339cm³ 99hp engine and when driving at a highway at 120km/h (75mph) the engine revs at ~2500rpm or little less. Not bad i think.

  • Dave

    I have a 2013 Nissan Altima 2.5 SV with the new 2nd generation CVT and it is my second car with a CVT, they are great. In Combined City/Highway mileage is 33 to 34 and highway mileage is 37 to 39 MPG. Incredible. As for high rev’s with the new transmission it is not as noticeable. But the new transmission has double gear ratio one for sporty and one for highway. Gives the car plenty of get up and go plus excellent mileage. Almost as fast as my 2008 Nissan Altima 3.5 SE. My 2008 Nissan has 125,000 miles and no problems.

  • not-happy

    We have a 2008 Altima with 208,000km. At 185k I took it into Nissan because the transmission had on several occasions “slipped” for lack of a better word. Their test drive revealed nothing. The transmission quit yesterday and Nissan won’t cover as it is 8,000 over their extended warranty. They said “any customer could bring it in before the warranty to bolster an after-warranty claim.”

  • Ali

    i have suzuki alto 600cc 2011 , automatic gear says we should use CVTF Green 2 or IV which is made by mobil only, But here in Pakistan only two CVTF oils are available 1- Honda CVTF & Toyota CVT oil for Contineously variable transmission gears. Please advice which CVT oil is more suitable for my suzuki alto .
    regards Ali.
    email: aliminto@hotmail.com

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    I guess I’ll stick with a conventional torque converter equipped automatic–I don’t trust a CVT, and dual clutch automated manuals drive me insane with their constant shifting and lurching.

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    Give us a break–you simply press the gas pedal to drive a CVT. Nothing else is required.

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    They’re just loud transmissions. Even revving at 2000 rpm, the CVT in my brother’s Jeep Patriot is loud.

  • maxwell_2

    Not a whole lot different than a regular auto hey? It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

  • maxwell_2

    Incorrect, Nissan equally uses a metal belt, looks different than Subaru. I drove both, Subaru is way noisier and lazy.

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    So tell us, Professor, what we have to do differently to drive a CVT vs. a standard torque converter automatic. This I gotta hear.

  • maxwell_2

    Stop tramping the pedal to the floor!!! Is that so hard to do? You tell me smart a$$ what a standard auto and silly shift shock and flaring does for you? this I gotta hear.

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    Who the hell said anything about ‘tramping the pedal to the floor!!!’? Answer: no one. Driving a CVT takes absolutely no brains at all. Just hit the gas pedal and go.

  • Beefbone

    Got to admit… I’m a new CVT fan.

    I borrowed a 2012 Subaru Impreza from the dealer today, while my manual transmission Forester XT is being serviced. (No problem… just an oil change & installing a new timing belt on the 9-year-old.)

    Of course, the Impreza has a far less powerful engine. My 2004 XT is the best all-around car I’ve ever owned… a real joy to drive. But I’m amazed by the Impreza CVT’s power delivery and drivability. If I decide to get a new car, it’ll probably be a new Subaru Forester XT with the CVT.

  • Dedee

    2008 Altima, transmission out @ 70,000 miles… Horrible sounds in this motor! It always sounded like a truck. Save yourself, do not buy a CVT, were sorry we did!! NEVER again, and I trusted nissan,what a piece of junk.

  • CVT Luvver

    i drove a pulsar with CVT and i loved it, it sat on 6000rpm all the way to 190, never dropped a rev at all, which is amazing, i have never seen a manual or auto box that can sit on peak rev at top speed, its unreal, if it could handle V8 torque i would get one in an instant.

  • Uar

    I have Nissan Rogue with CVT

    I like it a lot. I do not know how many miles it will last.

    It is not true that the engine changes RPM high to low all the time.

    It is the opposite with CVT the engine is much more constant between 1000 to 2500
    all the time.

    I also do not hear any special high or strange noise, not yet, like some people say.

  • Benzened

    I’ve just learnt how to drive a manual, but I have driven auto a lot more because I dont have a manual. To be honest, I find that manuals are A LOT more fun to drive, you have full control over the vehicle and it forces you to be a lot more concentrated on driving rather than texting, drinking coffee and doing things that you shouldn’t be doing while driving. I also find that they’re a lot more punchier than autos, they go when you need them to go.

    Cant wait to get a manual….if they’re still around by the time Ive saved up enough.

  • Skinhorse

    Nissan CVT Warranty Extension
    Nissan has extended the Nissan New Vehicle Limited Warranty for the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to 10 years/120,000 miles (whichever occurs first) for CVT transmission repairs, replacement, and related towing on all 2003-2010 model
    year Nissan vehicles equipped with the CVT. Pasted
    from

  • SkinEhorse

    Nissan CVT Warranty Extension
    Nissan has extended the Nissan New Vehicle Limited Warranty for the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to 10 years/120,000 miles (whichever occurs first) for CVT transmission repairs, replacement, and related towing on all 2003-2010 model year Nissan vehicles equipped with the CVT. Pasted from

  • SkinEhorse

    Nissan CVT Warranty Extension
    Nissan has extended the Nissan New
    Vehicle Limited Warranty for the Continuously Variable Transmission
    (CVT) to 10 years/120,000 miles (whichever occurs first) for CVT
    transmission repairs, replacement, and related towing on all 2003-2010
    model year Nissan vehicles equipped with the CVT. Pasted from

  • Harley

    I have a 2008 Sentra with a CVT transmission. On the way to SLC from Las Vegas, with 68K on the odometer, the transmission failed. The outside temperature was around 107 degrees (late June, 2013). I managed to limp home at 50mph and 3000 rpm, but the smell of burning trans fluid was apparent. I took the vehicle in to a local Nissan dealer and they replaced the transmission at no cost to me. You can fault their transmission, but not their customer service.

  • Marcdawg

    I have a 2006 Ford Five Hundred…I bought with 80,000 and found the original owner had the CVT Transmission replaced at 30,000. At 120,000 I have to have the transmission rebuilt by Aamco Transmission at a cost of $2600….My nearest Ford dealer wanted $5000 to replace and advised they would not repair it. I would not recommend a CVT. My technician explained that is is a great idea in theory it should not be used on vehicles.

  • ljohnson

    I am having the 2nd CVT transmission put in a 2004 Saturn Ion. Thank goodness, I was within my warranty by only 2 months on this one. The first one went out at 81,000 miles and no one would touch it except a dealer. They all said no rebuilds on this tranny. It cost me $5,346.00. Well, only 26,000 miles later it totally quit on me. The dealer is replacing it free since it had a 36 month warranty and it went out in 34 months. I am looking for another car now, but an really afraid of these transmissions.

  • maxwell_2

    No CVT in an 05 Altima, look again.

  • maxwell_2

    CVT engine? No such beast. Do you know cars?

  • maxwell_2

    Everybody is switching to CVT, Toyota is starting with the Corolla, Honda has already done it with the Accord, Subaru, Mitsu. Everyone is following the lead of Nissan.;)

  • lolercopter

    its a ford. what did you expect?

  • korubii

    Driving a CVT is very smooth. Amost like having sex with a watermelon full of KY.
    Basically a CVT is for your grandmother and people who don’t know the TRUE feeling of driving, the wind in your hair and the power between your legs. If you are looking to save money on MPG and don’t care about performance then buy away. But the truth is that the CVT will never entirely replace manual transmissions. Stop with the granny-panties and get yourself some power.

  • Mark Hayden

    That has to do more with you buying a ford product than anything else. Even Chrysler has better reliability–I have had exactly zero problems with my CVT vehicle for about 7 years now even though it is a Chrysler–perhaps because they get their CVTs from JATCO like Nissan does.

    In laws 2010 Ford Escape is a different matter–had expensive transmission problems already–not a CVT but it is a Ford. Stay away from Ford from 2009 to 2011 especially as their lemons outnumber their creampuffs during that time. Only now are they better.

  • Mark Hayden

    See above. This isn’t a CVT problem it is a Ford problem–but not just the cars the dealers too–they will order a replacement when a small part is a problem and use the technology as an excuse. Be careful Ford dealership mechanics00at least where I live–are amongst the more dishonest (Honda and Hyundai were even worse for taking you for a ride too).

    Nissan, Chrysler, Subaru, Mitsubishi–all have used CVTs and with only a few exceptions they are more reliable by far than Ford’s implementation.

  • Mark Hayden

    The Patriot’s tranny isn’t loud–what you are hearing is road and engine noise–2010 and earlier are quite loud. 2011 and later are better.

  • Mark Hayden

    Nissan has never used a non-metallic belt, nor has any other auto maker ever in the 21st century. The last rubber-belt CVT was maybe the tiny Subaru Justy from th 1980s or something.

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    What I’m hearing, Professor–is the CVT in my brother’s 2012 Patriot. Droning. Loudly.

  • chuck

    is it normal, when i push down on the gas to accelerate i have to almost mush half way down just to get moving, like if i have to “get up and go” per say, i have to almost floor it and the response time is horrible, im understanding that with the cvt thats how it works, it just seems that i have to give A LOT of gas for very little acceleration which in my mind says im wasting a lot of gas so the hole thing about cvt’s saving gas goes out the window or am i just mis understanding? That when you push the pedal the computer reads it and then determines how much gas to give engine?? IDK. it just seems that maybe there’s something wrong with the cvt. any advice?? should i take it in??

  • chuck

    by the way i do like the cvt seeing how much gas is and all:) yes its slugish and sounds a bit wierd but the gas mileage makes up for it. i have the 2012 mistu lancer outside of the CVT the lancer is an amazing car i love it.

  • Jr

    I agree I hate my altima nissan cvts are a pease of crap I’m on my third 1st. got reaced at 60,000 2nd st 80,000 n the last at 80,000 horrible up hill and going to Vegas new trani every time

  • Hesster

    It depends on the car. I drive a Versa CVT and it will creep forward at idle just like a normal automatic.

  • high tech victim

    Stay away from CVT transmissions unless you are buying under warranty. They will pack it in like my Toyota Corolla. Dont know what the resale value will be after warranty expires.

  • Peter Cassie

    Bought manuals all my life! Never had a transmission failure. My last Mazda 323 was bought new and has done 400000km. Still on original clutch. A good japanese manual not abused is forever! Look at the long list of problems below. All autos with high milage (and some not so high) are on borrowed time. Don’t be lazy. Buy a manual.!

  • Tina Hembree

    Warning- Do not buy a Nissan with a CVT Transmission! My 2011 Nissan Rogue is in transmission failure and it happend on the freeway! almost rear ended by a semi….buyer beware Nissan is aware of transmission problems.

  • Rick

    I had the same problem with a Rogue (2012). We just traded our 2013 Maxima (Yes..Maxima) for a more dependable 2013 Corolla S. The 13 Corolla has the traditional tranny, but the 14 has the CVT. The Maxima while in “Sport Mode” would actually “hang up”, and not up shift until you backed off the throttle.. When I told the dealer this, they looked at me like a calf at a new gate. Stay away from Nissan!!

  • Rick

    And unfortunately later, they’ll end up in the service bay..

  • Rick

    My wife and I were almost rear ended getting on the 10 fwy by a big rig. Very scary feeling watching smoke billow from the rear tires of the big rig as he struggled not to hit us. Nissan can kiss off..

  • Rick

    And that’s the problem..programing. No matter how advanced, a computer can’t see the road ahead and determine if I’ll punch it or slam on the brakes. The difference is that this is “industry driven”, and Nissan (noosean) is leading the pack..Best trannies (back in the day) were Chryslar Torque-flites and GM mated trannies, 350 motor 350 trannie, etc..

  • Rick

    Just dumped a 2013 Maxima.. No more Nissans for me..:(

  • Rick

    Dump it if you can. It’s going to be an expensive fix..

  • Peter Cassie

    Until I start to hear of CVTs consistantly achieving 300 000 km without failure like you can realisticaly expect from manual don’t touch them! Far too many horror stories! The’re still unproven in real world driving conditions and this will be costing Nissan many millions

  • riverside

    I have a 2008 Dodge Caliber 2.0L engine. In warm weather I can pretty easily get 32 in the city and 34 Highway. I’ve gone as high as 37 miles to the gallon on the highway. Green tires and CVT transmission does it. But it’s NOT a car for someone who’s not gentle with the gas pedal.. You will tear up a CVT in no time, being rough with rapid acceleration.

  • ashiq hassan

    sucks to have a 2010 maxima. I ve done 37000 miles and so far I have changed
    - struts twice
    - CVT transmission failure ( apprx cost $12000) !!!!!
    - bad head lights
    - bluetooth not working
    - axle broke off
    - tire monitor sensor not working.

    i felt been raped and molested by devils mama and delivered with a Nissan logo.

    dealer here least bothered to listen about your problems … however, i am escalating the issue to next level having a lawyer by my side … its my ass or Nissan’s ass !!

  • Rick

    Absolutely.. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, why fix it” applies here.. Those who follow Nissan might as well been on the Titanic..

  • Mark Golden

    smh……people kill me when they make stuff up…..

  • blupp1

    “( apprx cost $12000)” Yeah, the CVT is more expensive than the engine! smh

  • Mark Golden

    you do realize that standard transmissions have a ton of issues…….more so then cvts

  • Mark Golden

    you had typical ford issues …….buy cvts dont by fords …..

  • Rick

    I’ve “never” has a standard tranny take a dump. But the cvt in my “Brand New” Rogue was junk. Nissan didn’t even want it back on a trade in! 27k going down with the Lysol in the toilet!

  • GREG

    I HAVE A 2010 ALTIMA 3.5 SR WITH 105K MILES ON IT. PRETTY MUCH ALL HIGHWAY. LOVE THE CAR NO ISSUES WITH CVT AT ALL. ONLY ISSUE WAS A/C COMPRESSOR TOOK A DUMP AT 57K….CALLED NISSAN. THEY HELPED OUT I PAID $300 WHICH INCLUDED A NEW DRIVE BELT. I HAD THE TECH HOOK UP THE LAPTOP TO GET A READING ON THE CVT AND IT CAME BACK 1,014 ?? I ASKED WHAT THAT MEANS AND HE SAID NISSAN DOESNT SUGGEST CHANGING CVT FLUID ON READINGS BELOW 3,000?????? NOT WORRIED ABOUT FLUID COST AND THINK I WIILL JUST HAVE THEM DRAIN AND REFILL THIS WEEK. JUST DONT KNOW IF I’M GOING TO CREATE A PROBLEM…..ANY FEEDBACK WELCOME. IT IS CRAZY THAT IF YOU ASK 10 DIFFERENT DEALERS AND TECHS YOU SEEM TO GET 10 DIFFERENT ANSWERS….UGH!

  • Luc

    2008 Sentra here. 191000 km and currently sitting at the dealership waiting on the final touches to replace my SECOND transmission not impressed at all.

  • Ribit

    I have no personal experience with a CVT but would not buy a car with one at this point. As the article states: “Imagine the CVT like a bicycle’s gear system.” It would appear that the CVT is best suited for a small motorized cycle or scooter. Honda will sell at CVT when hooked to a 4 cylinder but not with a 6 cylinder. That would tend to indicate the CVT is not as sturdy. I agree with others, that a manual transmission will usually go the distance with fewest repairs. When BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes start putting CVTs into their cars, I might take another look at the CVT.

  • Sensei

    But Lexus does have a CVT. All of their hybrids use one, and they’re not all weak vehicles either. The RX450h, GS450h and LS600h all make over 300-hp, and use a CVT transmission.

  • Ribit

    Thank you, I stand corrected on the Lexus brand.

  • allaresa

    didnt DAF have this system in the 60s and called it variomatic

  • Skirmich

    No.. CVT are being used on V6s like the Nissan Altima and the Honda Accord for the maximum range.. They must not be used when the driver its an Enthusiast who wants a sporty feel.

  • Skirmich

    You know they include an OEM Price tag right with Labor?..

  • Daggor

    The answer to the question is “NO.” I purchased a 2013 Honda Accord with CVT and it jerks and shudders in the 20-40 MPH range. Meaning, every time I drive it.

  • Phil Poeschl

    I have to say you need to compare apples to apples. Therefeore, you really cannot compare a manual to a CVT. The CVT must be compared to automatic transmissions. Personally, I have NEVER owned a car with an automatic and got past 170k miles without problems and most crapped out at 130k miles. So these comments about CVT’s should be compared with what automatics are doing. I recently purchased an Accord with the CVT. I am somewhat concerned and a bit worried I did the wrong thing. If only the wife would drive a manual…

  • Troy

    I had a 2009 Dodge Caliber with a CVT transmission and had it go out on a roadtrip in Colorado with only 17,000 miles on the car. This past summer, a year after the first time it went out, it started acting up again. A week later I sold the car and got a Ford Edge with an automatic transmission. I will never buy a car with a CVT again.

  • Troy

    Chrysler has had issues with CVT as well. I had a Dodge (Chrysler owned company) and had a terrible time with my transmission. A dealer told me that Chrysler has been working on transitioning the CVT’s out of all of their cars over the last few years.

  • Paul M.

    the cvt in my caliber has worked flawlessly so far, 86K miles, I find that pushing the pedal way down doesn’t do much it accelerates better when I gradually push the pedal down

  • maxwell_2

    Sorry but you bought an Ion, not in the same league at all.

  • Reggie

    I’m looking at this only now that I’ve had my first CVT transmission failure…at 5,342 miles on the car. I got it in July. Brand new 2013 Versa SV with 8 miles on it when I bought it, my first brand new car I’ve ever owned, and the last car with a CVT I’ll ever own. Seriously, this is the kind of crap lemon laws were created for.

  • Carl Rodgers

    What on earth do you mean Nissan has extended the warranty to ten years? I was just at a dealership driving a Nissan with CVT–it has three years on the powertrain. You can “buy up” to a five-year, but that’s it.

  • Michelle

    I have a 05 Satrun Vue that has a CVT transmission. It was replaced at 65K miles and now, its failing again! I recommend not buying a vehicle with CVT transmissions!! There are only a few places to get them repaired or replaced and it is very expensive!! DO NOT GET CVT!!!!

  • Prius Mike

    I have owned a 2001 Toyota Prius for the last 11 years. Bought as a demonstrator with 14,500 km on it. I have just sold the auto with 495,000 km on it without a single transmission problem. I believe the new owners will get another 500,000 trouble free km from this auto. Toyota does not use a pulley and belt system in their tranny. It has planetary drive gears. Check out the video comparing the newer Toyota CVT to their original one. I believe Toyota has the right idea when it comes to CVT vehicles, at least with the Prius. My new auto will be a Prius city (the closest Prius to what I had before). Please do the homework before you buy a car with a CVT. If it has the planetary gears in it, you will probably be fine.

  • Pismopal

    I rented a 2013 Altima at Atlanta airport for 5 days and really liked the car. I am a “driver” and the car handled well but I dont lurch or accelerate needlessly. The acceleration was seemless..smooth and I liked it, especially the miserly use of fuel. Without trying hard I was getting 44 mpg on secondary roads at 55 or so and over 38 on freeways. I am turned off by stories of cvt failures which I consider to be too numerous to ignore. Thanks for the info.

  • Honda Civic HX Driver

    I purchased a 2002 and a 2003 Honda Civic HX (equipped with CVT since 1996) new. The 2003 went 260,000mi (before a RAV4 making an illegal turn totaled it) and the 2002 is still going at 285,000mi. It has a problem with the start clutch not engaging when it is cold (since 275,000mi). Planning to overhaul the valve body this winter. CVT care is important. Change the fluid every 20,000mi, replace the inline filter every 100,000mi, keep dirt out of the dipstick/filler plug area. Just bought a new 2013 Altima 2.5 SL, already has 8000mi and so far no issues.

  • iErnest

    I purchased a 2013 Nissan NV200 with CVT 4 month ago. It’s a commercial compact van. I use it for work. In 4 month I made on this car already 14,000 miles and so far 0 problems.
    It’s great car!!! Especially for what I paid for it $21,800 out the door in CA state.
    Under factory it’s suppose to give me 24 MPG in the city & 25 MPG in the city. My NV200 is constantly loaded with HVAC equipment with a ill’ over 1000 lbs. and I’m getting average 24.9 – 26.1 MPG all the time. I have also a 2008 Chevy Express 1500 that’s is loaded with exactly the same equipment and I’m getting 12 – 14 MPG on it. My monthly gas cost on the Chevy Express is around $1,100 – $1,200 vs. the Nissan NV200 which is only $500 -$550
    So my little Nissan NV200 I’d definitely a winner in gas efficiency.
    The only minus is that the car does not accelerate very fast. But what can expect from a 4 Cylinder 2.0L engine on a commercial compact van, it’s not a Ferrari.
    One more thing is it’s also have a very comfortable and smooth driving, great suspension.

  • Joe Blow

    Now THAT is funny.

  • Judy Epperson

    Nissan has had SO many problems with the CVT transmission that it doubled the extended warranty to cover up the problems but did not notify the consumers. If/when the transmission swarms, if it is after the warranty mileage, they will not fix it and it costs nearly $4000. They are continuing to place these transmissions in cars and selling them knowing they are likely to swarm and leave motorist stranded as in my case. Not a fan of Nissan any longer and was a big fan.

  • Sasha Vlasov

    Hello from Moscow.

  • ObamaSmellsBad

    Nissan stinks. Maybe had they ironed out the problems in their standard automatics first, then I would hold more faith in CVT transmissions. Nissan is also terrible with warranty, if you are one foot out of warrant you are screwed.
    Odd how I never had problems with any of my cars that had manual transmissions. Yet I have blown through 8 automatic transmissions in my life over 3 cars. CVT? No thanks.

  • Penmore

    I’m driving a 13 year old car now and it’s getting time to replace. Looking at vehicles now and I’m generally feeling like staying away from CVT is the way to go. Some Jeep models used to have CVT and in the 2014s have now switched back to a regular automatic transmission. The guy at the jeep dealership said don’t get CVT and in a few years everyone will probably switch back to regular auto transmissions.

  • Knuckles Mutatis

    Quote: “Nissan has extended the warranty of the transmission to 10 years/120,000 miles”.
    Assuming that means whichever comes first – which will likely be 120,000 miles in around 5 years for average drivers – that would add up to pretty poor transmission life. Many modern automatics can do over 300,000 miles in comparison.

    The concept of the CVT really appeals to me, but I don’t think they’ve worked out the weak points just yet. That said, I do believe that could easily change at some point over the next 10-15 years.

  • Joyce

    I purchased a 2012 Nissan Rogue with a CVT and was NOT told about it. I complained that between 20-40 miles per hour, the front end vibrates like the tires are not in alignment. I spoke to the dealership and was told that this is normal for this car. I hate it and I am sorry that I purchased it.

  • Hands on Security

    okay so I bought my wife in 2004 Saturn Vue not knowing that it had a CVT , I found out after It refused to go into drive it goes into reverse and works fine however there are times with putting it into drive yields no results. the engine just revs it may rock a bit but will not go. has anyone else had this problem with your CVT? continental transmission told me 28 to 3,200 to fix or replace

  • Zombie H

    i agree with you, Rick because i am already so deep on the Titanic wreckage. I recently purchased a 2004 Nissan Murano from a pregnant thief mexican living at plant city, she certified that the car has no issue,ironically i am facing so many problems, and i do not even know where to start. CVT failure, main seal leak, back gasket leak, broken axels, bad camshaft, but do you know what i pray for her night and day because my money she will one day regret for using it. I will send two pairs of zombies o get my money back to my bank account. I hope she knows how to read and use a computer.

  • ngonur

    Ford (R = repair. O =or. F = fix. D = daily)

  • bob dole

    the lexus and toyota hybrid CVT is completely different from other CVT transmissions. These toyota based hybrid cars are basically driven by an electric motor with the gas engine providing a variable level of assist based on its input to a sun gear on a planetary gear set. The secondary motor-generator in this toyota trasmission controls the assist or the use of the power from the gas engine. Toyota calls this system synergy drive and it is known as an ECVT or electronic CVT. Nissan, honda, chrysler use a belt driven type CVT that conceptually compares to a bicycle gear set using cones and a belt. This is the type that is giving you guys a problem.

  • ERIC DINGLE

    I am looking for a cvt transmission for a ford five hundred 2006 v6 engine

  • billythekid2012

    You people are all crazy on here, nissan Sentra 119,200 miles on a CVt transmission smoothest driving car I ever had, never had one issue with it and the fuel economy is excellent! Used to have a VW jetta, worst car ever!

  • bill

    My B200 Benz needs a 3 rd transmission in only 180,000 klms !!!!!

  • GuestComment

    No offence man, but that should have been part of your research. A car is an expensive purchase, and you need to ensure you check at least such basic details of the car before you buy it. Expecting others to tell you a car has CVT transmission is ridiculous!

  • Allan

    My 2012 Nissan Altima has a serious problem when it first starts up on a cold day, say, below 32 F. I have to warm it up for about 10 minutes, otherwise it is forced to use low shift by which rpm is pretty high at even low speed and the acceleration is slow. I dare not to drive it to a high way since 45 miles requires 3k~4k rpm. And, the engine/transmission makes noise like some gear is dying. I was told by the dealer that it is normal due to the CVT. Surprisingly, people seldom talk this issue.

  • http://www.farrstdevelopments.blogspot.com/ Stewart Farr

    Come again. Subaru Outbacks come in a 6sp Manual or CVT???? They have always had the manual.
    I suspect you didn’t like the CVT as it was not a manual and didn’t have “gears”. You yourself claim you have only owned manuals.

  • http://www.farrstdevelopments.blogspot.com/ Stewart Farr

    Harley……even up to 600hp. And they don’t run a metal belt???!!!!

  • http://www.farrstdevelopments.blogspot.com/ Stewart Farr

    Drive a DSG (double clutch auto)…..you can thank me later.

  • Peter

    Maybe he does not know cars, but indeed his 09 mitsu lancer has CVT tranny in it; and it’s true that people complain about the trannies in that particular car, saying they are sluggish.

  • Peter

    I don’t know firsthand about advantages or disadvantages of CVT transmissions, but in my opinion the introduction of CVT to the newest vehicles can be due to the newest CAFE standards, that the US government is to enforce in 2025. By that time corporations manufacturing cars have to sell cars with average 54,5 MPG per car. The car manufacturers have to do something to raise their average MPGs and they do it. Since gasoline engines can be improved in that area only to some point, and there is so much mandatory safety equipment and electronic gadgets adding weight to contemporary vehicles these days, so the CVT transmissions have to make up the difference. Nobody in the corporate world give a s…t that these transmissions won’t last as long as the conventional automatic ones, and that it will cost final users of such equipped cars a lot of money to fix or replace these transmissions, not to mention that these trannies are more suitable for constant torque electric engines driving machinery that gasoline driven automobiles.

    The corporations have to deliver numbers and they will deliver numbers; all the cost associated with introduction of these numbers will be a burden of final user/owner of a given automobile.

  • David Lusse

    Don’t let Nissan’s extended warranty fool you! Look on the web! I have a 2010 Nissan Murano that leaks oil from transfer case. After numerous phone calls over period of a week, I am stuck with no warranty and a repair bill from Nissan of $1500

  • _J

    Sorry to hear that you had to go throu 2 transmissions so far. Thou I think our overreacting to CVT’s.First CVT’s were barely a thing back in 2005.Its now 2014 and they have had 9 years to work on them. Secondly Saturn was a very small part of GM back then that why they are so darn expensive to fix. In 2006 GM sold Saturn this may also explain some things.(No offence to GM loving people, but I truthfully think they were making too many crap copy cars. (ex. there was three copy’s of the Aveo.)

  • P Lee

    Prospective buyers of Nissan vehicles with CVT, beware!!! 2013 and 2014 models are still experiencing transmission failure and are being bought back by Nissan. They have not fixed the problems. The damage being done to the brand is great, just check the blogs of any Nissan products with CVT. They need to switch back to a normal auto transmission with a torque converter. Even if they were not failing at a high rate, the vibrations, strange noises, jerky low speed operation etc are not acceptable in a new car. Do yourself a favor buy something that does not use a CVT.

  • RONALD S.

    THESE CVT TRANSMISSIONS ARE JUNK. MY MURANO FAILED TWICE UNDER 90K IF THEY OFFER AN CONVENTIONAL AUTOMATIC CHOOSE IT AND IF NOT FIND ANOTHER MODEL

  • Help

    My 2005 ford freestyle makes this loud awful whining sound. Is this a result from the cvt. Is it repairable? Is it expensive?

  • WingLdr

    In my line of work I deal with many auto mechanics. They unanimously hate the CVT. It is impossible to work on and there is generally no choice but to remove and replace at great expense. This is generally after a much shorter life span than a typical automatic transmission. Very often I hear 5 years. That in no way comes close to more fuel efficiency to pay for the cost of the new CVT.

    My question is, where can I find a listing of vehicles that do not have CVT? I think there are a number of auto makers that would love to get their vehicles on a list like that. I’d be one of their customers.

  • WingLdr

    Just because of CAFE standards does not mandate use of a specific technology, particularly one as flawed as CVT. For example, there is a new design for a crank shaft that doubles the torque. In doubling the torque, the fuel economy is also doubled. With that added power you don’t need as many cylinders and can have smaller engines, adding further to fuel economy. In other words, this is a superior technology that implemented actually slightly decreases the cost of the vehicle and vastly increases fuel economy. And you don’t have to worry about it failing and costing you a fortune to repair.

    This is the type of technology that should be deployed in today’s vehicles and it will meed CAFE standards.

  • WingLdr

    Why just Nissan? Why not all CVTs?

  • Danny

    “Nissan CVT” isn’t identical with “CVT”. Subaru equips their newest Forrester and now the WRX with a CVT model. I drive a 2010 Dodge Caliber with CVT, with 90K miles, and I love it. The smooth shifting is awesome, I have had no issues with power – I drove from Montana to AZ with my Caliber packed to the roof with my belongings, and got over mountain passes at and above the speed limit. I LIKE the way it sounds, and of course I dig the better gas mileage. No issues with transmission maintenance. Would love to test drive a new Subaru!

  • deserthackberry

    Because, as I previous post noted, it’s possible that not all CVTs are faulty. Nissan has known it’s CVTs were faulty since 2007, yet they’re still selling them.

  • deserthackberry

    Note that it only applies to 2010 or earlier, not to 2012-present.

  • Arizona living

    Just got a call from the Dealership. When I get the car back (90,000 miles) this will be the third CVT in it. First one died at 30,000, second died at 90,000 miles. At least it’s still under the warranty the company extended, but if Nissan keeps forcing CVTs down our throats, they’ve lost me as a customer, and except for old Mustangs and one, unfortunate mistake with a Chevy, all I have ever owned is Nissan.

  • D White

    Nissan CVT’s is too expensive to replace. Once the car is out of warranty the costs to replace a CVT transmission from a Nissan makes it an unwise decision not to junk the car. Avoid like the plague.

  • theotherRJH

    I have driven Nissans with the CVT and it “feels” terrible. Especially in the Rogue. I have never driven one in a Ford, perhaps I should.

  • n2y2

    I think the problems you describe are attributable to Nissan’s engineering and not the CVT itself. Toyota has been building vehicles with CVTs for over a decade and those models have transmission reliability well above average. Nissan has long been know as one of the shoddiest car builders in Asia.

  • Si Lito Ako

    Oh, so I have been right all along. All the four cars that I had for the past ten years are MT. No problem at all.

  • PJ Alston

    What about the CVT in Maxima’s ? How reliable are they?

  • Ketchup

    I’ve had my 2004 Murano for over 8 years. I can tell you it’s been a great car, except for one thing. The Transmission. AVOID ANY CAR WITH A CVT! Why? They will fail, and when they do, it is CO$TLY! I’m now going to have my third transmission in the vehicle in two years. My car has 165,000 miles on it. Just the labor alone to remove the transmission is bad, but wait till you try to find a good used on, because there aren’t any “NEW” transmission you can buy to replace yours.

  • Ketchup

    CVT is CVT, I’d avoid them unless you are getting the new warranty 10 years or 120K miles.

  • Ketchup

    The Saturn Vue’s CVT is the only worse that the Murano’s. Sorry to hear that!

  • Ketchup

    Phil,
    Are you saying you don’t have a stick she can shift?

  • voyagerfan

    i’m really glad i’m doing some research into my next car purchase and i had a sneaking suspicion that cvts were absolute crap. i live in south africa where the standards towards the environment etc is not so stringent, so when you purchase almost any car they give the choice of manual, auto or cvt. but according to what i’ve read, it seems that manual is being phased out completely in countries like the US so that you are forced to buy cvt? please explain

  • Jonny

    We have a 2007 Murano and it has 250,000 on it and we never had a transmission proplem. But in 2003 when the Murano came out it was the first time it was only offered and used. They didn’t change anything until 2006 when they made improvements to the cvt, and since then they have gotten better.

  • Michelle

    The new maximas have a new and impove cvt and it’s great!

  • Doctor von Wer

    Was looking at a new Accord….and the CVT has me looking elsewhere ’cause I’m not spending the extra $6K for the V6. Effffff you Honda.

  • Doctor von Wer

    You ever hear of the lemon law. You should look it up.

  • dm21

    I don’t get this. I have an ’07 Nissan Altima (144,000km) and it drives like a freaking dream. I have never enjoyed driving another car even half as much as I enjoy driving this one and I have driven them all (Acura, Honda, Ford, Suzuki and VW) I have a 2.5 with a CVT – it does not lack in power in the least and gets good mileage to boot. It purrs like a kitten no matter how hard I push it and I have never had a problem with my tranny. Don’t let this article sway you. Do your research (statistics, reviews, mpg, safety etc.) and don’t base your choice solely on articles and comments like these.

  • eddie144

    First of all, my condolences about the loss of your father.

    Everything you described about your situation is just how it works. Here’s how it works: So, you buy a car. It has a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty. This warranty states that for THAT PERIOD of 5 years, or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, that they will repair or replace any faulty item, basically as long as they can’t prove you broke it by being negligent.

    Ok, so your transmission died during that period. All the warranty states, is that they will replace the faulty part… it doesnt mean that that particular part gets a brand new, refreshed warranty period. While I understand your frustration in thinking that the new part should have an identical warranty as the original that came with the vehicle, the fact is, the warranty is on the entire vehicle, and the entire vehicle will only be covered for that stated period.

    However, had you had to purchase that replacement transmission out of pocket, then the 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty (in fact, if Nissan warranty works like toyota did, replacement engines and transmissions have even longer periods) would be in effect. But since you did not pay for the repair, and it was done under the ENTIRE VEHICLE warranty, thats the end of it. Even if the trans was replaced at 59,990 miles, that transmission only has 10 miles of warranty coverage, because that was the period of time Nissan was obligated to provide you with coverage.

    I will say too, that, so long as you have a good service history with the dealership, and you aren’t a giant pain to deal with, if your replacement transmission died at say, 65,000 miles, the dealer could encourage Nissan to offer goodwill replacement. But, at that point, its solely at the dealers discretion. Be nice to your service department, and try to go to the same place you bought your car… all of that will work in your favor when you need one.

  • asif

    Any idea on the nissan micra ivy performance?

  • Abhi

    Hi I got Nissan note got problem with cvt I just scan my car with computer it shows errors in cvt p0746, pressure control solenoid valve A component remains open

  • Arizona living

    Yep, I’ve heard of it. And I also know it doesn’t apply. Lemon Law (California, since that’s where I bought the care): within eighteen months or eighteen thousand miles of purchase, the car goes through an unreasonable number of problems (very simplified definition).

    Since I was beyond both when the transmission failed the first time, and since the law also allows for the company to fix it, the law doesn’t apply.

  • Doctor von Wer

    I would go take a drive to the dealer and accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes near their front entry.