Clearing a room of automotive enthusiasts is easy. Just lecture them on how “amazing” the continuously-variable transmission in your car is.
Just like stick shift nostalgia, a decided distaste for CVTs is far from enough to dissolve their success in new cars. Automotive component manufacturer Bosch said today that it expects 25 percent of cars without a manual transmission to use a CVT “soon.”
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The company didn’t offer a more specific timeline, but highlighted the fact that its own CVT can accommodate engines with up to 300 horsepower and about 330 lb-ft of torque. CVTs were unusual a decade ago, but consumer preferences have shifted to put a greater emphasis on fuel economy. With that, many automakers have turned to the infinitely-geared equipment in an effort to offer improved fuel economy.
Subaru and Nissan both make extensive use of CVTs in their product lines. In Nissan’s case, that often means mating the gear to its V6 engines. The Japanese brand began using its Xtronic CVT in the 2013 Pathfinder (above), which spelled doom for the V8, but greatly improved fuel economy.