Which Continuously-Variable Transmissions Are the Best?

Which Continuously-Variable Transmissions Are the Best?

Exploring the world of CVTs

Transmissions play a big part in how your car drives, especially when it comes to fuel efficiency. Fuel efficient vehicles tend to use continuously variable transmissions, but they still aren’t universally praised.

Instead, CVTs are often criticized for causing a droning sound by holding the engine at a constant RPM or remind drivers of a slipping (broken) clutch. But not all CVTs are bad. Some act like modern automatics, while others are simply fantastic at sipping fuel. But why waste time testing them all when AutoGuide.com can narrow the list to five? Here’s our take on the cars with the best CVTs available in the market today.

SEE ALSO: Should You Buy a Car With a CVT?

These were chosen because they improve the cars fuel economy significantly, enhance the feeling of the car or offer unique traits that other cars and transmissions don’t have.

  • Disqus11111

    They all stink

  • Shiratori90

    Keep living in the past, luddite……..

  • Shiratori90

    Not surprised at all by this list. Honda and Subaru clearly have the best CVTs within the industry. Glad to see that they are quickly eliminating the stigma and uncertainty associated with the transmissions.

  • Tim

    Well some people like to have fun, ie., drive a manual. In those people’s opinions, any automatic is boring. But if i HAD to buy an automatic, i would probably opt for a honda with a cvt depending on what i needed. But as of right now, i will only buy manuals.

  • Jeff T

    Driven one from Nissan and Mitsubishi. HATED them both! I wish they had a “sport” button that maybe let it rev a little higher. Trying to climb a hill with 1300 rpm is painful and it won’t rev! They just always seem so desperate for fuel economy. Now I would like to try it on a more powerful v6 motor to see and I probably tolerate them then. Also I wonder what towing a boat would be like with them.

  • Shiratori90

    Good luck with your ever-shrinking list of car choices then…….

  • jenny

    My Prius has great CVT. I had a Nissan Versa, I used to think that was great, but my prius outshines it.

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    Great article! ty for writing it 🙂 I’ve been keeping my eye on CVT’s since they became available and I think they have a lot of potential. It’s true the different manufactures make different versions, and that’s very interesting. I’ve driven stick for years, dual clutch, 5 and 6 speed autos, but I prefer the CVT for around town. I’m all for greater fuel efficiency with gas prices being what they are, and these cool little transmissions just keep getting better! Soon I hope there will be one for everyone’s need/want.

  • Richard Joash Tan

    that means that I move on a bit

  • Richard Joash Tan

    I will buy a Subaru soon

  • Moto

    I’ve got a 2014 forester xt. Before that all of my car had been manual (including a 2005 WRX). I’ve been fairly impressed with the CVT most of the time. The article doesn’t lie about keeping the power in the right spot. From a role my gray mom car is able to out pull stock WRXs 2007 and older. After about 70 that the WRX has a better sized turbo and they walk away, but not loosing any time shifting/changing the power band really helps. I don’t use sport sharp mode too often, but sport sharp+ manual mode will let you abuse the engine nearly as bad as driving a true manual. I do wish the paddle shifters were in a fixed position. Downshifting into a corner can be a little tricky if it is long corner that tightens. If subaru had used a slightly larger turbo the forester would be near perfect for my tastes. Anyway… if you live in a rural area or deal with ice covered hill very often it’s hard to go wrong with a subaru.

  • greg

    2009 Nissan Altima Coupe V6. 270 Horses. CVT is very smooth.

  • Jim Beam

    Subaru FTW!!!

  • Corolla Sedan

    Cvt is cheap manufacturing.Personally I do not bite for cvt fuel efficiency,you may save $100 in fuel a year,thats $500 in five years,would you get new cvt gearbox for that money,and are new one available or they throw away gearboxes??? Had 40 years old Holden with same automatic gear box.I did not need another car,but when I find out that 2013 is last year with with automatic gearboxes I jump and bought Corolla,it is a dream to drive it and good on fuel.Leonardo Da Vinci designed cvt gearbox from wood and pulleys,Ducth car maker Daft try to manufacture cvt with no success as durable material technology was not around that time.My gut feeling is after warranty expires there would be lot off sorry customers,but nothing to worry as private car ownership is about to expire with driverless cars in near future as NWO creeps in.

  • Namakabrood Abrood

    You save in gas but pay for transmission repair. Just ask Mini Cooper owners who paid $6000-$7000 for transmission repair @ 60000 miles .

  • dj

    Don’t buy them there not as durable as the older transmission

  • Our 2006 Mitsubishi Colt with CVT has almost 500,000 Kms on the clock! The CVT is indestructable!

    We loved our Nissan Micra with the CVT. It got totalled in a crash.

    Also owned a series of scooters with CVT. In bikes the CVT is driven by a rubber belt. Most of them last at least as long as a chain (without any maintenance) and the better ones last many times longer than any chain. Our best experience to date was 51,000 Kms on a Spacy 250 (4-stroke). The Bolwell 110cc 2-stroke belts lasted about 12,000 kms.

    CVT’s are great!

    Wish Toyota would stick a CVT in the Aussie Yaris?

    PS. The dealer says the CVT’s in their Prius’ have got up to 500,000 Kms without failing. They don’t know how long they’ll last before they finally do go bang… but that’s already much longer than a traditional transmission.

  • captainmike

    I have 28,000 miles on my 2014 forester with CVT and it is a magnificent SUV
    I feel really sorry for all the people who don’t do their homework and buy that piece of garbage RAV4
    the RAV4 has not gotten a good review from any qualified review source.

  • captainmike

    and you are an auto expert ??????????????

  • captainmike

    Mini is rated #1 in worst reliability according to consumer reports

  • dj

    I have a 09 Nissan altima with a cvt tranny went out at 134000 mi had two other nissans late 90s early 2000s went over 200 thousandsmiles each one there lighter less durable better gas mileage though you can get if you are light driver heavy hwy driver don’t buy

  • Wu Wei Xu

    I’ve read many articles and comments about CVTs where they say the transmission dies at low mileage (100k miles approx) and repair can cost over $4,000. In addition, CVTs use very expensive transmission fluid, some costing $30 per quart and the transmission takes up 5 quarts. Do the math.

  • Wu Wei Xu

    Mini isn’t actually that bad according to JD Power, it ranks higher than Acura. Truth is, CVTs aren’t reliable. You might save a few hundred in fuel costs but spend thousands to repair the transmission once it dies.

  • tony

    The Rav4 V6 will outlast, outrun, outperform and leave the forester in its dust as usual…

  • tony

    Your correct, they are not very reliable and will not last anywhere near 500k.

  • tony

    So is forester. Toyota Rocks. That’s Rock Solid. GO ravV6.

  • tony

    Reviews are written by Bias writers…

  • Vince Toscano

    hahahahahahahaha thats funny

  • Aditya Ganesan

    i dont care about useless cars like these as im buying a Porsche 911 carrera S/GTS in a few years.

  • Scott

    We own a 2015 Subaru Forester. The cvt surges and bucks at low speed while engine is in cool range. Subaru factory people say it is normal and can’t be smoothed out. I consider Subaru to be a very bad investment. Should of kept the Kia.

  • GJ

    My 2014 Honda Accord Sport was horrible, I brought to Honda twice complaining about the transmission, they once kept it for 4 days and couldn’t find anything wrong of course. It almost got me in a wreck 4 times due to the hesitation that it has, I had planned on suing them but then I thought that I don’t have the time, I only got 6000 miles out of that junk and I got rid of it, I complained to corporate and spoke with several people from Honda and they just ignored me, I had previously bought 3 Hondas from the same dealership and never again will I buy a Honda as their customer service was terrible and wouldn’t help me

  • Michael Davidson

    Vehicles with CVT will soon be everything

    New automobiles equipped with CVT[edit]

    Aixam 400, 500, 500.5 A751 petrol and diesel 1990 on. Belt and Variator CVT supplied by CVTech-IBC Canada.

    Audi A4 2.0/1.8T/2.4/3.0/1.9 TDI/2.0 TDI/2.7 TDI

    Audi A5 2.0 TDI

    Audi A6 2.0/1.8T/2.4/3.0/2.5 TDI

    Daihatsu Mira Custom 0.66 L 3 cyl

    Chevrolet Spark 1.2 L

    Chey tiggo FL 2.0 L

    Chery tiggo 5 2.0 L

    Nissan Micra 1.3 L

    Dodge Caliber 2.0 L, 2.4 L

    Fiat Punto 1.2 L

    Ford Escape Hybrid 2.3 L 4 cyl

    Ford Five Hundred 3.0 L 6 cyl

    Ford Focus C-Max 1.6 L TDCi 110 PS

    Ford Freestyle 3.0 L 6 cyl

    Ford Fusion Hybrid 2.5 L 4 cyl

    Honda Accord 2.4 L 4 cyl

    Honda Civic HX 1.6 L 4 cyl

    Honda Civic Hybrid 1.3 L 4 cyl

    Honda City 1.5 L

    Honda Airwave 1.5 L

    Honda Activa Scooter 0.109 L

    Honda HR-V 1.6 L

    Honda Insight 1.3 L 4 cyl

    Honda Jazz 1.3L/1.4L/1.5L / Honda Fit 1.3 L/1.5 L

    Honda Odyssey (JDM)

    Honda Stream

    Honda Stepwgn

    Infiniti JX/QX60

    Jeep Compass 2.0L,2.4 L

    Jeep Patriot 2.0L,2.4 L

    Lexus CT200h

    Lexus ES 300h

    Lexus GS450h 3.5 L 6 cyl

    Lexus HS250h

    Lexus RX400h 3.3 L 6 cyl

    Lexus LS600h 5.0 L 8 cyl

    Mercedes-Benz A-Class

    Mercedes-Benz B-Class

    Mercury Montego 3.0 L 6 cyl

    Microcar MC1/MC2 505cc 2 cyl diesel or petrol

    Microcar Virgo 505cc 2 cyl diesel or petrol

    Mitsubishi Colt 1.5 L MIVEC 4 cyl with INVECS-III CVT (Asian-Oceanian version only, 72 kW)

    Mitsubishi Lancer 1.6 L/1.8 L MIVEC 4 cyl with INVECS-III CVT (Asian version only) the 2008 version also

    Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 L/2.4 L MIVEC 4 cyl with INVECS-III CVT 2008 (North America)

    Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4 L MIVEC 4 cyl with INVECS-III CVT (from 2007)

    Mitsubishi RVR/ASX/Outlander Sport 1.6 L /1.8 L /2.0 L MIVEC 4 cyl with INVECS-III CVT 2011

    MG F/MG TF 1.8L

    Mini One and Cooper.

    Nissan Altima (from 2007, Model S and SE)

    Nissan Bluebird Sylphy 2.0 L

    Nissan Cedric 300VIP-Z and 300LX-Z S [1]

    Nissan Cube

    Nissan Gloria 300 Ultima-Z and 300 Ultima-Z V [1]

    Nissan Juke

    Nissan Maxima (from 2007, Model SE)

    Nissan Micra 1.0 L/1.3 L

    Nissan Murano 3.5 L

    Nissan Pathfinder (from 2013 and on)

    Nissan Primera 2.0 L

    Nissan Qashqai 2.0 L

    Nissan Rogue 2.5 L, Model SL

    Nissan Sentra (from 2007 and on)

    Nissan Serena 2.0 L

    Nissan Skyline 350GT-8

    Nissan Teana 3.5 L

    Nissan Tiida / Versa

    Nissan X-Trail

    Opel Vectra 1.8 L

    Peugeot 4007 2.4 16V

    Proton Exora Bold 1.6 L CFE (2011–present)

    Proton Inspira 2.0 L 4 cyl

    Proton Prevé 1.6 L (CFE Turbo / IAFM+ NA) (2012–present)

    Proton Saga FLX 1.3 L 4 cyl (2011–present)

    Renault Koleos

    Rover 25

    Rover 45

    Rover Streetwise

    Saturn Ion Quad Coupe (2003-2004)

    Saturn Vue 2.2 L AWD (2002-2005), 2.2 FWD (2002-2004)

    Scion iQ

    SEAT Exeo

    Subaru R1

    Subaru R2

    Subaru Impreza

    Subaru Stella

    Subaru Forester (Lineartronic)

    Subaru Legacy (Lineartronic)

    Subaru Outback (Lineartronic)

    Suzuki SX4 (2010 onwards)

    Tata Nano

    Toyota Aurion Hybrid

    Toyota Avalon Hybrid

    Toyota Avensis

    Toyota Camry Hybrid

    Toyota Corolla Fielder

    Toyota Ist

    Toyota Highlander Hybrid 3.3 L 6 cyl

    Toyota Prius 1.5 L 4 cyl (–2009)/1.8L 4 cyl (2010–)

    Toyota Prius c 1.5 L 4 cyl (2012–)

    Toyota Ractis

    Toyota Verso 1.8 L

    Toyota Yaris 1.33 VVT-i CVT

    Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1.5 VVT-i CVT

    Toyota Wish 2.0 L 4 cyl

    Toyota Passo 1.0 L 3 cyl

    Toyota Passo 1.3 L 4 cyl

  • Kanadastan

    After you pay off your student loan and move out of your parents’ basement?

  • Kanadastan

    Subaru is notorious for expensive repairs due to head gasket failures. Right now, Subaru is involved in a class-action lawsuit, because many of their recent cars and SUVs suffer from excessive oil consumption, sometimes leading to engine failure. Also, since Subaru dealers have a monopoly on Subaru parts, you’ll be stuck with having to take your vehicle back to the Subaru dealer every time it needs servicing and they’ll charge you an arm and a leg. Plus, keep in mind that CVT transmissions have only been around for a few years, whereas conventional automatic transmissions have been around since the 1940s and have slowly been perfected and made (in most cases) very, very reliable. Time will tell. 28,000 miles is nothing. I have almost 200,000 miles on my Pontiac Vibe which has a conventional 4 speed automatic transmission and no problems with either the engine or the transmission so far.

  • Aditya Ganesan

    well my parents are rich.

  • Nice to know – I wonder if by cool range you mean before the engine gets up to temp? That would make sense that it might behave differently but if I do a test-drive now I know something to look out for!

  • Meh, every engine needs a new head gasket after enough miles. On Chevy’s I consider that part of 100k or 150k mile maintenance! 😀 Good point about the dealer though, that’s not something I’m accustomed to having to deal with.

  • Nodak81

    Have to admit I was a CVT hater without ever having driven one. Just didn’t like the sound of having a rubber belt, etc. I’m still not sure about longevity. BUT I rented a Nissan Altima and I LOVED the CVT in it. It really fit my driving style, I’m a leadfoot when it comes to accelerating, but then I don’t really speed much over the legal limit and that combo seems to suit that trans very well. Maybe that’s what people describe as the “rubber band feel”, but I like it. It springs forward from launch and then the power kind of wanes off, but by then I’m up to the speed I want to stay at so it’s fine.
    I also didn’t know the Subarus used a chain. Sounds a little more durable.

    I can say that I still hate automated-manual transmissions and that is also after having rented a Ford Fusion with one. HATED it, herky-jerky and nearly stalls the engine now and then. I’ve been a life-long Ford guy but not with these trans…

  • Nodak81

    One thing I like about the Hyundai/Kia lines is that they seem to be avoiding CVT’s (for now anyway). I like CVT’s more than I thought I would but still prefer traditional automatics.

  • Nodak81

    Normally I’d agree with you but when it comes to the Mini…sometimes a turd is a turd.

  • yesyoumay .

    Oh! Using money you didn’t work for? Even more despicable!

  • yesyoumay .

    Toyota would like to offer the CVT down under but they felt Aussie mechanics were too lame and retarded to service these complex mechanisms!

  • yesyoumay .

    Toyota no longer offers a V6 in the Rav…stupid decision!

  • The Hyundai accent has a CVT

    Drives very smoothly.


  • The Honda Jazz has a CVT and people love it.

    Why don’t you try test driving a Jazz next time you’re going past a Honda dealer?


  • Took a Mitsubishi Mirage CVT hatch out for a drive. The new model seems to have a lot less body roll than the sedan I tried out a year ago. It’s also fairly nipply without resorting to the B drive option (which is meant to really stir things up).

    The engine was a bit rough (1.2L and 3 cylinders).

    Fuel efficiency is excellent on these cars at ~20 Km/L… which often beats that of many hybrids.

    The body is very light and tinny… although it has a 5 star ANCAP (safety) rating.

    Unfortunately at ~$16,000 it’s not hugely competitive with the likes of the Swift and many other cars.

    They were running these out at about $13,000 a few years ago… at that price it might make more sense.


  • kracker

    i personally think there is a conspiracy by car companies to put the CVT in most of their models. Ask your self this. who is going to fix that out of warranty crap CVT. Only your dealler and they are gonna make hand over fist on you it just looks like a scam. The CVT has been around since the late 1880’s I think in Europe and first patent in USA was 1935. 1950 was when it started gaining traction. A Dutch company I think. ask why though now. Push for instant higher MPG and the added boost of service profit. You’ll never see these in a heavy duty vehicle for the simple reason they are junk. One more thing get up to speed say 35 45 miles an hour then slam the brakes on. Now imagine your in the middle of an intersection or middle of the highway or worst yet on train tracks and your kids are in the car. Try to move that car when you have about 5-10 seconds to avoid certain death. Not gonna happen. they are deth traps waiting to happen and they will kill your wallet. I promise you one day there will be a class action lawsuit that we the taxpayers will end up paying for because the end result will be us bailing out some automaker that is going bankrupt from the lawsuits and sales nose dive of the CVT

  • litesong

    CVTs are expensive to change, as are DCTs, & auto trannies with 8 or 9 gears. I love CVTs. But dealers that charge $4000 to $5000 for a new CVT(or others), make customers go back to the reliable manual transmissions. My non-dealer mechanic charges $1000 to $1500 less than dealer prices for CVT tranny changes . Still, my wife & I recently bought an Elantra with 6sp. manual transmission & we love it.

  • kracker

    Mazda Kia and Hyuandi are gonna make a killing in the coming years they make great looking cars and no CVT

  • JJ Joseph

    “fairly nipply”??

  • JJ Joseph

    No car should ever need a head gasket before it goes to the scrap yard. In other words, it should never need a head gasket during its normal lifespan..

  • JJ Joseph

    Nissan Micra 1.6 (made in Mexico) doesn’t have a CVT. It’s one of the few. But the body rusts on the bottom. Can’t win for losing!

  • JJ Joseph

    You don’t “service” a CVT. You recycle it (for $4000).

  • JJ Joseph

    You don’t have to be an “auto expert” to know junk when you hear it

  • JJ Joseph

    The worse it is, the more “potential” it has!

  • JJ Joseph

    The Honda Jazz is a 2-wheel moped sold in Canada. With a moped CVT

  • The Mirage I drove a few years ago was a slug… this years model wasn’t.

    However the sedan is a physically bigger car (I drove that originally)… the hatch is much smaller (I drove that this year).

    If they were selling the CVT at ~$13K instead of $16K it would be more attractive.

    Really liked the Suzuki swift at $16K (with CVT). If it had been available when I bought my Yaris (at that price) I might have bought a Swift? Much better than the Mirage given the price (1.6L? engine in the Swift).

    The Mirage has a B drive option which reviewers say makes the car go much harder…. but I never bothered to try that as it was dong well in D.

    I would have preferred a slightly longer test drive. Maybe next time (I was with a friend)?


  • Service interval is 160,000 km on the Swift CVT… whereas on the Yaris it’s only 80,000 km.

    I used Nulon auto fluid (a multi-compatible fluid) in my sisters Colt CVT… which was about $45 for 4 L (~4 quarts) .

    Dealers can charge whatever they like for their special fluids (usually RRP or above)… but if you want to you can easily find the same fluid or a better fluid at the local car shop for a lot less?

    It was really easy to change the fluid (just one bolt)… and topped it up using the dipstick hole.


  • The mirage CVT has a B option that transforms the driving experience (much more nippy).

    All our CVT’s start to really move as soon as you stomp on the accelerator… but we rarely bother as they move along so pleasantly driving normally.

    Our Colt engine is so quiet it can’t be heard most of the time (my sister called me out one time because she was convinced it wasn’t running)… so not much in the way of engine noise from some CVT’s.

  • All our CVT’s tow better than our traditional auto’s… even the small cars… but for large items the weight of the car ought to be similar to the weight of the item being towed?

  • We’ve got them here as well… but obviously I’m not referring to a scooter?


  • JJ Joseph

    So where do the nipples come into it?

  • Aha… typo.

    Well spotted.


  • They’re metal belts not rubber belts… very durable… most go for more than 500,000 km


  • yesyoumay .

    Am considering getting a small SUV with a CVT in it, (such as the Honda CRV) and wondered how they do at higher cruising speeds? Do the ratios get enough so that the engine RPM’s stay low in order to save the engine and gas mileage?

  • QRT

    but subaru is unreliable, well never been ha ha

  • Mary Jones

    I have a nissan murano that just stopped while I was driving. Thought it was going to be my 200 thousand mile car. Just found out about CVT’s. It is very disappointing. Estimates to fix are between 5 and 10 thousand and no warranty. On Internet many people say that they are having problems with replacements. Problems can start after just a year. Where is the class action lawsuit I’m in. I was almost hit when my car stopped and I was exiting a parking lot.

  • Mary Jones

    Jatco makes the Nissan Murano’s CVT’s and Nissan cars have a lot of issues. I’ve just read about problems due to fact that I have one and at 75 thousand miles its shot and the way I found out about it was, my car just stopped while driving. Supper dangerous. Totally unacceptable. I credit God with my good fortune of survival. This needs to be a class action lawsuit.

  • Mary Jones

    Where did you get this longevity (500,000 km)? Have one never even got close to you longevity and went to educate myself on a CVT and I am not seeing what you are claiming. Did the manufacturer tell you this? If so who is the manufacturer?

  • We’ve owned a series of cars and motorcycles with CVT’s. They have always outperformed the traditional auto’s for reliability (often despite poor servicing) while requiring less servicing. However as the vehicles we own are only a small number of the total vehicles using CVT’s I also went to the local Toyota dealer (for another reason) and the service department told me that they have quite a Prius’ coming in for servicing with 500,000 km on the clock (no CVT problems). Also a search on the internet also turns up very few CVT problems. However there will always be exceptions to the rule?

  • The tendency of manufacturers is to over-complicate the transmissions which can then lead to problems?


  • One reason we bought the Mitsubishi Colt was because it had a 5 year warranty and a 10 year drive train warranty (peace of mind). Presumably that meant the CVT as well?

    Either way the warranty hasn’t needed to be used… and that’s exactly the kind of warranty you want (one that never needs to be used).


  • Yela Wolf

    Cvt is nice. I don’t understand the hate. My dad has an outback and a scion hatchback, both with cvt and both those cars kill it. The subbie is an awesome highway car. The scion is fairly nippy in city.

  • RSJ

    I just bought a 2017 Subaru Forester with an updated CVT transmission – my first CVT equipped automobile. So far I really like it. It took about a week to get accustomed to the feel of a CVT but once I did, I really like the incredibly smooth delivery of power. It takes an easier foot on the pedal to achieve this – aggressively pressing the pedal down like you might in a regular transmission to get it to downshift, type of driving is not pleasant with a CVT. I came from a Honda Civic with the a traditional 5-speed automatic which required a much heavier foot to keep the small engine downshifting to keep moving the car briskly. This CVT is much smoother and seems more eager in acceleration. I do not know yet about the long-term durability and reliability but from most ratings organizations like Consumer Reports, it seems as if Subaru’s transmissions as well as Honda’s are reliable – Nissan, on the other hand, has had some issues…

  • Honesty Counts

    I buy my cars USED with over 100,000 miles on them. Most of the cars with CTVs have serious problems after 100,000 miles so I won’t even consider buying them used. I only buy cars that have a conventional automatic in them.

  • Honesty Counts

    You can get a new Hyundai Elantra with a conventional automatic, a BASE Toyota Corolla with that old 4-speed automatic, and the Mazda3 with a conventional automatic. I’d go with the Mazda3 as they are the most fun to drive.

  • TIE

    Because of rising CAFE standards, they’ll either move to a CVT like everyone else or keep their current 6-speed autos and move to smaller displacement engines.

  • Slartifartfast

    what a load of rubbish.

  • Slartifartfast

    Toyotas own CVT is actually much more reliable than the Nissan/Mitsi Jatcos.

  • Slartifartfast

    yes the 1500cc Mitsi Colt was a much better power/economy proposition IMHO

  • Slartifartfast

    Toyota CVTs are good.

  • Slartifartfast

    at 500k? I’ll go for that!

  • Slartifartfast

    no, you just have to be a keyboard warrior who can ignore what the owners say.

  • JJ Joseph

    The average CVT won’t make it past 100,000km

  • JJ Joseph

    The engine/trans isn’t German, it’s a Renault combo

  • JJ Joseph

    Towing ANYTHING will destroy a CVT real fast. Read the manual

  • JJ Joseph

    Also the Nissan Micra comes with a 4-spd hydraulic auto trans, even while the mechanically identical Sentra has a CVT

  • JJ Joseph

    The hate is because they’re so unreliable and expensive to replace (they can’t be repaired).

  • JJ Joseph

    “I also didn’t know the Subarus used a chain.” Anything larger than a moped uses a chain reinforced belt. Mopeds use Kevlar belts.

  • JJ Joseph

    The Nissan Micra 1.6 uses a 4-spd hydraulic auto trans

  • JJ Joseph

    No, at 60,000 it goes into the recycle bin

  • The smallest of our cars with a CVT was the Micra.

    It towed the largest loads without CVT issues.

    It’s not categorically possible to disprove your comment… but our experience suggests otherwise.


  • Slartifartfast

    says the armchair expert, when we have several actual owners saying their cars have done over 8 times that without repair. People just repeat urbans myths that their buddy heard in a bar somewhere.

  • JJ Joseph

    Nonsense – no CVT owner has ever managed even 200,000km without total breakdown. In fact, the CVT can’t be repaired – it goes into the recycling bin. That is a horrifying prospect for a car owner.

  • JJ Joseph

    What’s to ignore? Owners say that CVTs are junk – pay attention!

  • JJ Joseph

    Mirtsubishi offers 10 year/160,000km powertrain warranty only. Pay attention to the “kilometers”. A 200,000 km warranty will cost you an extra $2,448. This is where CVTs start to get expensive. Most need to be replaced before 200,000km.

  • Our 2006 Mitsubishi Colt has 470,000 km on the clock.

    My sister forgot to do at least one oil change on the CVT… so what came out last oil change looked awful (lots of metal) according to the mechanic.

    Despite that it continues to run well.

    It was about 200,000 km between oil changes.

    You can’t ask for more?

    There are a lot of high mileage CVT Colts on the roads (at least there are here) suggesting it’s not unusual to get this kind of mileage. Likewise you’ll see a lot of high mileage CVT Honda Jazz’s and the owners claim they are unbustable (and very fuel efficient).

    I had to look really hard to find some bad stories about CVT’s from people who actually owned one. Most negative opinions are from people who don’t actually own one and often haven’t driven one.

    The Colt (1.6L) is currently returning ~14 km/L and has maximum as new compression. Recently my lead footed brother has acquired the Colt from my sister but in 30,000 km he has only managed to make it run even better (needed a new coil and he changed the petrol filter which had never been changed). We also added a foam air filter (better filtration) recently and long life iridium plugs (100,000 km). These thing reduce the maintenance required on the vehicle.

    CVT horror stories are rare. CVT good time stories are common.


  • Slartifartfast

    so now you’ve gone from 60k to 200k? you’re just making stuff up, aren’t you? sorry , but I believe actual owners genuine experiences, not some barstool rumour monger.

  • Slartifartfast

    and ps of course CVTs can be repaired.

  • JJ Joseph

    The problem with repairing CVTs is it’s not possible to buy the parts needed to do the repairs. When the belt shreds, it usually takes out the thin hardened surface of the sheaves which are irreplaceable. The dealer can’t buy the sheaves separately, so now what’s your next plan?

  • JJ Joseph

    Sorry – those are your numbers, not mine. I’m just trying to work with
    whatever BS the CVT “owners” crowd is throwing onto the page! They’re most likely car sales reps trying to make their quotas on CVT sales. You have to talk to the maintenance techs, not the car sales types. Consumer Reports says,”Even Nissan, which has been using continuously variable transmissions (CVT) for awhile, has been plagued by issues with the new CVT”. Edmunds says,”Long term reliability is questionable and may be unrepairable”. Carfax says,”There are also questions about CVT reliability” . . .

  • The warranty you don’t need to claim on is the best warranty?


  • JJ Joseph

    Just 3 pages up, Consumer Reports is quoted slagging the CVT’s horrible reliability. None are so blind as those who would not see.

  • JJ Joseph

    Jatco is the worst of the lot. Nissan has been having fits over the poor record of their Jatco CVTs

  • JJ Joseph

    Prius CVT is not a belt-driven CVT like the Jatco boxes in Nissans.

  • JJ Joseph

    The Micra CVT manual says “Towing prohibited”! The Mexican Micra has a proper hydraulic transmission that can tow small trailers, but the CVT Micra can’t tow anything.

  • Towing wasn’t prohibited on the one we owned.

    The towbar was factory fitted

    PS. Our Toyota dealer made us sign a disclaimer about the towbar on our Yaris 1.3L (2015) even though the manual says that you can tow with it and despite the fact that the dealer fitted it.

    I sometimes wonder if the dealers read their own manuals? We’ve now owned Starlet and a 2006 Yaris with tow bars and both haven’t had trouble. We only tow from time to time… and we’re not trying to tow caravans or boats. We have a small trailer for motorcycles… but we sometimes load that up with other stuff too.

  • I think our warranty was unlimited km.

    They were having trouble convincing buyers that they had fixed their reliability issues which is why they had such a long warranty on the drive train.


  • Tony Benstead

    The Dutch manufacturer DAF was making CVTs in the early 60’s. Like 55 years ago!

  • Bazza

    I agree that kracker speaks rubbish. I have a Forester (Au) 2.5iL 2013. When I need to move fast it moves instantly and quickly. I’ve already had to avoid some accidents and got out of the way safely. I even have to be easy on the pedal to avoid wheel squeal! I’m new to CVT but I am impressed. Before this I spent 12 years with a 3.5 litre V6 5 speed auto and this CVT is all over the 5 speed auto with the bigger motor. I have to admit I was unsure how the CVT would perform but after one week I’m comfortable with it, even on steep hills. The only regret is the V6 had a nice lower power band where as the newer 2.5 boxer motor with CVT has a higher power band. The V6 sounded and felt a bit like a V8. But who cares? I don’t.

  • matt long

    not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ it DOES break as ALL belts, metal or other, will break and that metal will shatter all around it. they aren’t replaced but have to have NEW transmissions. they ALL are NOT going to last like the ‘old’ transmissions. I’d rather have less mpg than more transmissions costs.

  • James Kirk

    Considering that Mazda is second only to Tesla in fleetwide MPG standards, I don’t see how not having CVTs puts them at a disadvantage. However, they may be forced into offering EVs, which I also don’t see as a problem. They’re also working with Toyota in making Skyactiv hybrids, though those will likely have the Toyota CVTs.

  • Neil Ashton

    Where do you people get your info from ? Hear say none of you have a clue..40 year transmission specialist. ..

  • Yew Kian Chee Andrew

    My first car used a CVT. The CVT transmission failed right after the 2 years warranty. Now I follow a facebook group of a CVT car that I am interested in. Every other day I get reports of failure of the torque converter of cars 12-24 months old. I am now looking for a traditional transmission car.

  • Bujceram Agasal

    Hi! May i know the brand and model of your CVT equipped car?

  • Yew Kian Chee Andrew

    It was an early CVT model of Mitsubishi Lancer.

  • Ronnie Harrison

    CVT are generally garbage and usually used on low performance cars only due to the inherent weakness in the design. Manufacturers are pushing this junk purely because they make more money on the car.

  • Ronnie Harrison

    I would really stay clear of anything with a CVT in it.

  • Ronnie Harrison

    Yes in Europe DAF began using CVT in their 44 in the seventies, then Ford tried them for a few years but quit after many failures and issues. The only advantage is to the manufacturer as they are cheaper to make than a regular automatic. They are unable to carry a large amount of horsepower and inherently their design is flawed.

  • Grom Hellscream

    PSA: Mitsubishi recall 80,000~ cars due to CVT problem. Add that to the list of more CVT problem. I don’t understand why people still defend it. Okay, in this case it is a quick fix, just require a software update. The problem was sometime there would be a strange delay when you step on the peddle and the car accelerating.

    But the stories I’ve heard are scary, like for example; someone said they were afraid to go on the freeway, because the CVT might throw a fit and refuse to accelerate. This is very dangerous when you’re trying to speed up to merge and your car refuse to go.

    There is nothing good about CVT, okay you save a little gas, but we all know why manufacturers are using CVT. They are cheaper to make and that is the only reason.

  • Then again, Williams used one in an F1 Prototype, and it was looking pretty good until bernie banned it.

  • My mother got a CRV with the CVT in it. The RPM will stay low when maintaining a constant speed, like on highway use. Great for long trips.

  • Kelly

    I like home insurance and car insurance and especially life insurance I don’t need to put a claim on.

  • Anyone who does transmissions for a living is worth listening to.

    What do you think of CVT’s?

    Obviously there are a few bad CVT’s? Which ones?
    Obviously there are a few good CVT’s? Which ones?

    Overall what is your opinion of CVT’s?

    Many of the people offering an opinion have never owned a CVT. A few of seem to have owned one (or more than one?).

    There’s definitely a polarisation of opinion going on. Is it justified?

    PS. Mechanics tend to see stuff that has broken down… and presumably they see less of the trouble free transmissions?

  • Commiserations… there are obviously some bad CVT’s that we shouldn’t buy.

    It’s useful to hear about the bad experiences especially if the owners manage to work out why they have failed. However too often it’s just a rant without specifics.

    At least some of the reports must be coming from people who never service their CVT’s?


  • It would be nice if CVT’s were easier to service and repair.

    However traditional auto’s are also expensive to repair if they stop working.

    I hate having to pull the bottom off the auto transmission to change the filter. If it was easier to do I’m sure I’d do it more often?

    I’m sure the manufacturers could do better?


  • Toyota isn’t on the list of worst reliability… which probably reflects the fact that it’s easy to service.

    Most people seem to only get interested in reliability after they buy a dud car? Or perhaps it’s a case of

    “It won’t happen to me”?