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Pros and Cons of Continuously Variable Transmissions

If you are shopping for a new or used car and see that a car has a continuously variable transmission (CVT), is that a plus or a minus in your mind?

A CVT is an automatic transmission that instead of using fixed gears uses two pulleys connected by a steel band, with the diameter of one of the pulleys continually adjusting as needed to  provide an optimal gear “ratio” to transfer power to the car’s tires.

The majority of small cars on the market now employ a CVT and with automakers like Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota embracing it across their model lineups. Others are likely to follow as fuel efficiency gains and manufacturing costs for multi-gear transmissions begin to weigh in, especially as vehicles powered by four-cylinder gasoline engines, hybrid powertrains, etc. dominate the market.

The following video from Nissan, illustrating its Xtronic CVT, illustrates how these transmissions work.

According to a Washington Post article from May 27, 2014, more than 10 percent of all cars sold with automatic transmissions employ CVTs, and that percentage is growing.

Advantages of CVT

Because continuously variable transmissions are built with fewer parts compared to conventional transmissions, they are less expensive  to manufacture. This savings is passed along to consumers in a car’s selling price.  Acceleration stays in a “sweet spot” to minimize wasted power, thus improving a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Some folks in social media weigh in on the pros of CVT:

“Initially I was really hesitant about it because I am a Manual guy with two other manual cars including an STi. But after driving it on that trip I’ve grown really fond of it. Its super smooth, easy to drive, does a great job of picking the right ratio for most scenarios, far better than other automatic cars I’ve owned/driven. Gets amazing mileage. I give it thumbs up to the point that if I couldn’t have a manual or a DCT I would take a CVT over a regular automatic transmission now.” —Reddit User, Blindjustice

“CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) provides smooth and “stepless” ratio changes, unlike conventional transmission systems that use sets of fixed gears.” — Nissan Clover Leaf Motors, G+

“Love the CVT in my Outback. Took some getting used to the lack of shifting and the disconnect between engine sound and speed. Compared to my old Neon, the drivetrain is pretty peppy, especially off the line. I had to learn to moderate my lead foot. Now, after some months, I have bonded with the car and I love it.” —Reddit User, Fivetoedslothbear

Disadvantages of CVTs

Some of the criticism of CVTs can be attributed to earlier generations of the technology. As reviewers point out, the newer CVTs are more reliable.  Some people find the steady acceleration, and lack of revv or gear changes to be “boring.” There are also questions about reliability as a vehicle’s adds a lot of miles to the odometer, since it’s costly to have to replace a transmission. Plus, some of the initial savings of buying a car with CVTs is lost with the requirements of transmission fluid changes at regular intervals.

Here are some negative comments from folks in social media:

“The sound of a CVT holding high revs gets some getting used to, it’s a lot slower (appx. 1 second slower 0-60 IIRC), It’s a lot more boring.” —Reddit User, aShowofHands

“I don’t like them because of reliability. The belt driven versions can need belts as early as 50k.” —Reddit User, Tattedbuddha

Comparing Hondas, “Guess which is faster……you got that right, the one without CVT transmission.” — Daryl Yaw, Twitter

What do you think?

Do you own a car with a CVT? Share your comments below.

205 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Continuously Variable Transmissions”

  1. CVT technology has come a long way. I just traded in a traditional automatic vehicle for an Altima with CVT. It was strange as your instinct from driving 5-speed autos tells you to prepare for the shift at certain RPMs, but you learn to relax and just press on the go-pedal when you want to go. Feels sort of like an electric car, really. I’m personally not bothered by the sound of the CVT–doesn’t seem any louder than a traditional auto. And if anything, the acceleration seems more motivated since there’s no shifting.

    1. Good luck on that Altima. The CVT on my 2011 Altima just bit the dust with 73,000 on it. $4700 for a new one.
      I will never buy another CVT equipped vehicle.

      1. @Trex–I just read an article that nissan had a bunch of issues with their older CVT model transmissions and raised their warranty to compensate. you might want to check with the dealership or nissan to see if there’s anything they can do for you. 🙂

        1. I have an 2009 Nissan maxima it has 91k miles on it and it runs like a champ, living in the desert of Las Vegas with brutal summers and this care performs amazingly.

          1. My wife’s 2009 Nissan Rouge just lost it’s transmission at 67,500 miles, I was shocked when they said none of them can be repaired and they cost 5K installed. Then I see the warranty has been extended to 10 years 120K miles, whew. My 2000 F350 Diesel has 460,000, and I have only changed the fluid every 100K. Watch out for CVT.

        2. Nissan know about the cvt engine problem but hasnt done anything about it until 2017. I have a 2014 sentra SR with 610000 miles on it and my tranny is goin up now.warranty is over.

        3. Dealer told me it was functioning as designed . Advised me to trade to V-6 car 1,568 miles on 2017 Rogue. I’ll never own another Nissan product !

      2. I have an 07 Altima at 85K the trans started going out, but it was replaced under the 120K warranty. Didn’t cost me a dime.

        1. Hey how does that work? I have a 2012 Nissan Maxima with 57k on and I didn’t buy it from a Nissan Dealer. when I asked if the vehicle was still under power-train warranty they told me no. but I looked online and saw that the CVT transmission is covered until 120k. How does this work?

        1. Actually, that extended warranty only applies to 2003-2010 Nissans. So a 2011 Altima’s CVT is only covered by the standard 60000 mile/60 month powertrain warranty.

          1. Not really, I have a 2014 Nissan and it needed the transmission to be replaced and the gave me a warranty for 10yr/120,000 miles which ever one comes first.

          2. my wife had a 2011 Nissan Altima with 93,000 on it and it was running like a champ, we traded it in for a brand new 2016 Nissan Altima- love Nissan cars and CVT transmission.

          1. yes they will call a dealer and give your vin number; I was at 119,000 and they replaced my 2008 altima cvt, no charge. As long as it’s under 120,000

          2. Yeah they won’t help me either. Mine just quit pulling on the interstate going 70 mph! Thank God I was in the right hand lane to be able to pull over. Mine though is just 30,000 passed their extended warranty of their extended warranty and will not help with it at all! They have known these trannys were bad for a while. That’s why they extended their warranty, but didn’t let anyone know who owned a nissan about it!! I’m done with nissan!! Never ever again! I LOVED MY CAR!! 3500.00 + that I can’t AFFORD!! THANKS FOR NOTHING NISSAN NORTH AMERICA!!

        2. Maybe he is but my friend just paid 4k to put one in his Nissan Sentra. The CVT transmissions are terrible in all vehicles.

          1. i have a 2013 nissan when i drive up to 25 mph the transmission slips everytime im thinking when i have a oil change that would help

        3. Not true, mine just failed at under 4yrs and 115k. Just a few months back, was told a-ok. Now Nissan refuses claiming my fault. Had issues since 33k

        4. i just bought a 2017 nissan versa note sv from nissan and was wondering if that warrenty 10 years 120 k applies to my vehicle as well?

          1. No! Read your warranty. 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. And next time you buy a car, ask all warranty questions before you sign the paperwork.

          2. The newer CVT were improved. That is why the warranty is 60/60k. It is of better build quality. You should not experience the same problems as the older model.

      3. I am being told that when you have transmission repaired it is only rebuilt by Nissan only new cars get the new transmission.

      4. Our 2010 Subaru Outback needs a new CVT transmission – $6500 for new from the dealer – not sure I will buy a CVT again – though the dealer was itself shocked (so it can’t happen very often). I guess we are just (un)lucky.

        1. I think a lot of us are unlucky. My husband and I have a 2011 Subaru Outback CVT. At around 130k our transmission freaked out, and we got a replacement. 4 months later our car has been in the shop again for almost two months now, and it’s looking like it’s going to need another CVT. It’s past warranty in all regards, and Subaru is doing pretty much nothing to stand behind their product or show good will to loyal customers. I think Subaru’s CVTs are junk. There’s no way this many people can get so incredibly unlucky.

          1. My Outback, 2011 @ 126,000 just got a rebuilt CTV for $3,300. Dealer wanted $6,500 for a new one. I love my car but it was slipping bad at every speed. I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee while my outback was in the shop. Im completely back in love with my Outback. I’d never buy anything else. Runs like mad.

          2. I find it funny that people constantly complain about a Prius battery (maybe) needing replacement, when in reality, ordinary transmissions in cars cost WAY more. A Prius can run to 300,000 miles on a battery, and if it does need replacement, it cost under $2000. The rest of the car is quite reliable. Money is money, whether for a battery or a transmission replacement, and a Prius is literally cheaper. I know. Hums along trouble free. Love it. 230,000 plus miles and happily zips along. Great mileage, too.

          3. I also like to add, for those who don’t know, a Prius doesn’t have a “transmission”. Sure, its called a CVT, but in name only. It’s actually a set of 2 electric motors with very few moving parts. The engine generates electricity for the drive motors as well as charging the battery. These motors don’t slip, act up or ” die” on the road. Incredibly reliable. Don’t want to sound like a commercial for Toyota (I’m not) but only to try to get the message across that these mechanical CVT’s are not quite perfected. Their basic design has limited reliability and longevity. It HAS to wear out. Of you can buy a car with a “normal” trans installed, do that until CVT’s can be MADE to be long term reliable. Not meant to be a rain on anyone’s parade, but automakers are using customers as guinea pigs for their experiments, and WE pay the bill! As someone mentioned, get a stiff guarantee in writing if buying a CVT equipped car. You won’t regret it. All said, be careful with ANY CVT!

          4. Sarah, how did that work out for you? The replacement should have some kind of warranty in force after 4 mo. If you document the problem with the shop or dealer, the length of time it spends in the shop shouldn’t matter.

          5. My 2010 Outback has been waiting for over 3 months for a new CVT. Subaru has told the dealer they are finding problems with the “fixed” ones they send to the dealerships. After 7 years they still haven’t gotten it right.

        2. You are not unlucky.. 2011 Outback and this year (2017) we’ve had to swap out the transmission 2 times (April and August – bought used ones and not brand new). Subaru just came out with a similar CVT repair program in August and I have my mechanic gathering the receipts. Oh, I also had to replace the engine too as it all failed on my wife one Friday driving home from work in April… And we have another 2011 Outback that we bought on the same day. Oil changes and headlights is all that one needs… I’m torn as I search for a new vehicle now (need a reliable one for the family) b/c they both have around 155k and everything started on hers when we paid them off last summer.

        3. My 2010 Outback also needs its CVT transmission replaced. My dealership is packed with cars needing a cvt. I called Subaru and they said that they are finding defects in the transmissions they have “fixed” and have been putting in the cars. After 7 years of making the CVTs they still cant get it right.

      5. My 2009 Nissan Rogue CVT transmission had a recall in 2013 and Nissan replaced it. Now, in 2016 the transmission is doing the exact same thing. Nissan won’t replace again because warranty is up to 120K and I’m at 168K. Not sure what I’m going to do. It won’t go over 45 mph on highway.

        1. You may wanna double check that, because the warranty is on the transmission, so the new transmission restarts the “clock”.

          1. The “new” transmissions that Nissan installs come with 1 year 12k mile warranty. It doesn’t reset to the original 60k miles.

          2. Agree. It should be at 0 from the date it was replaced. My Kia Sportag had it’s Longblock replaced at 27,000km but the new longblock started at 0. My car is now at 45,700 but the longblock is at 18,700.

          3. No, unfortunately it doesn’t. If the odometer reads 60k the warranty is up. I got my transmission replaced in my 2014 Nissan Sentra at 20,000 miles & its in the shop again now getting a new transmission at 58,000. After 60 it won’t be covered. That info came right from Nissan.

      6. I have a 2011 Subaru Legacy and I think the CVT is what makes the car so great. 117K running great. I only rarely have issues shifting when in manual mode but it wasn’t really built for that

        1. I had a 2011 Legacy as well. The CVT failed around 60,000k. It was covered under warrenty. This car was then in a bad accident and never ran well after, so I traded for a 2013 Legacy. I have 80,000k 0n it and it has given a few nervous moments of what the heck was that?
          I am thinking of getting rid of it before my warrenty runs out and going with a regular transmission car.

          1. I , also have a 2011 Subaru Legacy that I’m in love with. The cvt is awesome but i’ve noticed when i’m at a red light the idle speed will sometimes go so low that it will rumble and almost go off. Is that the cvt?

      7. my nissan sentra has 110,000 miles on it as i take off it jerks and as i drive up to 60 mph i would notice my mph hand jump up 1000 mph higher untill i step on the gas pedal harder the mph hand would go back down i would hear humming noise from the left side as the mph hand jumps up to 4 mph while i drive 70 mph on cruise control the highway would be slightly hilly my rpm hand would go up and down 1000 rpms difference as the same time when the hand gos down i would feel a intermittant vibration only when at certain highway speed 65 to 70 mph i wish that theres a way to get an extended warrenty

      8. Agree, I lost the first CVT transmission at 80,000 miles and the second one at 40,000. In my opinion CVT transmission are no good especially on Nissan. Upon reading the comments already submitted, appear that Nissan is ignoring the problems. Although Nissan will replace up to 10 years or 120,000 miles, why drive a vehicle with a continuing problem thus making your car unreliable.

      9. Bad luck for you. My ’07 Altima SL just passed 150,000 miles with no CVT problems; actually no problems of any kind throughout the car.

      10. Had the same problem with my 2015 nissan versa note sv 60,000 miles trans. started shuddering 100,000 she quit all together no warranty after 60,000 $4260.00 to replace!

    2. I love my 2013 Honda Accord EX with CVT.

      I travel the Cal. 152 hwy. everyday for work and have to go up and down that monstrous hill. I see many cars slow down dramatically on the inclines while I just place mine in cruise and climb effortlessly even over 70 mph. I have 66K miles due to commuting distance and no sign of any wear and tear. I love it.

    3. Just bought a 2014 Honda Civic with CVT and wouldn’t have anything else! Not believing one word of the scare stories either. It’s a little over 23k miles and has power I wouldn’t expect from a 4 cyl.! It amazes me.

    4. I just bought a 2015 Corolla on Saturday with 34,000 on. Yesterday it went back to the dealer cause transmission was slipping. Rpms constantanly jump like its not shifting from 2nd to 3rd. It has the ECO system in it which I turned off cause it made RPMS flutter.I could not drive over 20 mph cause car would not shift. It acted worse when car was warmed up

      1. We bought a 2015 Corolla new and took it in numerous times for a belt squealing noise, which ended up being the transmission and at 15,000 miles was replaced by a different dealer. Then we took the Corolla back to the dealer for the 20,000 mile service and they installed another transmission. We don’t recommend buying the Corolla with CVT until they figure it out.

    5. My friend had 2016 Honda HR-V AWD with CVT, He live in NYC and Up state NY in everyday to commute and his CVT gone out by only 78K miles so the engine still great condition to keep going but transmission need to replace new one. He was unhappy because he got stuck on highway by coldest weather in heavy snowing day. He will never to buy any vehicles with CVT. Therefore he want buy with manual shift or conversation 6 speed automatic transmission. PERIOD

    6. Crap tech, cannot last! It’s a freaking belt, it’s like a go cart or snowmobile, belts need to be changed and cannot last. These are throw away cars now, it’s a way to make you go back to the thinking of cars are no good at 100k miles.

    7. The 2.5 SE Altima has the worrisome belt issue well known up until the untried most recent generation. I’ve observed of an 07′ & 09′ Altima CVT transmissions needing swap within 120K miles now with yet another friend working on a transmission casing cooling system simply to appease the problem before he reaches it.

      As someone in the market shopping, I am wary of CVTs driven by chain belts of any diameter w/o research. Please comment on your driving persona as well as your mileage as time goes on, the internet appreciates it.

    8. We have an issue with our Subaru 2011 Outback, 149k miles. CVT Transmission went and now the engine needs to be replaced. SOA did pay for the transmission but told us that we are on our own for the engine.

    9. What people posting here should realize is that it’s not uncommon for automatic transmissions to fail around 100k miles… (yeah, even though yours has 300k on it.) Nothing lasts forever.

      Auto trannys have been around 6 decades, but can SpeedyAuto reliably repair the latest gen 6-, 8-, or even 9-speed autos? Doubt it. Dealers will return them to the manufacturer’s designated repair depot, and replace with a rebuilt. Regardless, it won’t be cheap either.

      At least with a CVT, you’ve been getting better fuel economy.

    10. I have a Ford Freestyle- CVT with 224,000 miles (not a mistype) and haven’t had any issues or fluid changes! I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

  2. The statement that cvt Transmissions are less expensive is a lie. 5500 just for the transmission. It takes special fluid that costs 3 times as much as standard. Haven’t seen one upside yet…

      1. Bolt ons only work with stock parts & that very much so depends on the vehicle. This is an inaccurate post, I wouldn’t rely on it for all cars. Something like a Mitsubishi Mirage, sure. Hybrid CVTs, dream on.

  3. Is it normal to feel the cvt trans change pulley ratio and slow the car down when you back off the gas at say 35 or 40 when you see a light ahead

    1. My new Chevy Spark does it too. It feels similar with my previous conventional automatic tranny, when I shifted to a lower gear on severe down slopes to save the brakes. I see nothing wrong with CVT trying to slow down the car when your foot is off the gas pedal by shifting into a lower gear mode.

    2. Yes, an automatic has an underunity first gear that drags, with second being something you can redline with. A CVT on average will attempt a lower gearing ratio than a comparable 2nd & 3rd gear on a manual/torque-converter automatic as per efficiency & production costs for oceanic vehicles (Korean or Japanese USDM make). It allows a base model gas efficiency of equivalency to torque-converter/manual makes with a lower peak gear ratio. This in turn allows higher city mileage on a base vehicle to an optioned vehicle for US EPA listings, which is preferable in the current US market.

  4. I have one of those dreaded 2004 Nissan Murano. I just past 50,000 miles and so far have had no transmission issues. That being said I am now looking to get out of the Murano since I have read that the transmission issues start at around 60,000 miles. I would say that 90% percent of the time it is just myself and my wife in the vehicle and I suspect that the way the vehicle is driven, ie, load, may have a lot to do with the tranny failures. I ma wondering if the latest XTRONIC tranny has ‘fixed’ the reliability issues of the earlier ones

    1. My guess is most CVT problems could be due to aggressive driving with lead foot. CVT works on friction principle, instead of positive connection via gears. Inherently, the friction belt will wear faster with aggressive use of gas pedal.

      1. We have 3 versa’s in the house. The 2012 had the cvt replaced at 48k, then that one was replaced at 70k. Nissan tried to refuse to replace but I am not paying 4500 a year to get a new CVT. Absurd. The ended up replacing for free. The 2015 had the cvt replaced at 40k and the other 2015 has not had any issues. I think they are crap. why would the first transmission come with 100k and the next 12k? When it is the same defective part with the same failure issues…

        1. Exactly!!!! The dealer warranty is less than if you get it replaced at a shop!! Tried to get nissan to replace mine last week on my 2007 altima with bad cvt, of course answer was no after their looking into service records… The car has been service from day one at hall nissan!! Nissan sucks and they know these transmissions are bad!! They were doing “developmental technology ” from 2003-2010, that’s the reason for the “curtosy” extended cvt warranty from the normal 5 years/60,000 mile warranty! B.s. and they know it!! They made the consumers pay to be their guinea pigs!!!!

      2. Agreed…..Remember folks….0-60 in 9. You have to gradually build up speed with the CVT. Once you reach 70mph, they drive like a champ. Be patient and wait for it.

  5. I purchased my used 2004 Nissan Murano 4yrs ago and recently traded it in. The main issue of many issues was the CVT transmission. I had enough of going to Nissan Dealers explaining the problem and no solution. CVT transmissions are mechanically not reliable. Automakers are just looking for a cheaper ways to cut cost.

  6. I agree with Adam, there’s no upside to having a CVT, I’d take a manual transmission over any transmission any day. Having to clutch during rush hour does suck but you do it long enough, you’ll do it on instinct. I have a ’94 Nissan Hardbody with nearly 300k on the dash and still shifts smoothly. I’ve flushed it periodically and it’s never done me wrong. I’ll be replacing the clutch soon, the New clutch will run me around $100, can’t beat that.

    1. Thanks for the comments Elmer, Adam & everyone!
      My car was totaled 2 days ago so here I am looking for a new (to me) car.
      I have never owned a vehicle that was NOT standard. After reading everyone’s comments…my ‘new’ car will have a manual transmission as well!!!

  7. Since I keep my cars a long time, I am keenly concerned with long-term reliability, which is still a deal killer for CVTs. Eventually they will probably take over, but I am in no hurry to get one until they are made more robust.

  8. I just purchased a 2105 Honda Civic with CVT. I am and old-timer, so it reminds me of driving a late 40’s; early 50’s Buick with Dynaflow. Those old “Straight-8” engines really wound up and made it sound like the car was going to take off like a rocket but they just gradually picked up speed.
    Don’t know yet whether I like the CVT vs conventional automatic or not. Haven’t driven it enough. Just purchased the car on 7/10.

    1. Good to hear from an old timer. I also had a 1947 Buick, Dyna ftow, straight 8. The trans probably wasn’t very efficient, but it just went on forever, without problems. I personally, a retired mechanical engineer, wouldn’t buy a CVT car.

  9. I just bought a 2014 Altima 3.5 SL, CVPO. Had 26,000 miles. Drove the car 6 days and noticed a shudder in the trans when accelerating. Took it the dealer. Been in the shop for the last 5 days waiting for a new trans. Time will tell.

  10. 2008 Nissan Rogue went through 2 CVTs. The first one they paid for, the second one they split with me. Perhaps the technology is better today, but my experience is that the life of a CVT seems considerably shorter than either a conventional automatic or a manual. Seems to me that depending on the vehicle, replacing a clutch is a fraction of the cost of replacing a CVT, and even a rebuild and replacement of a torque converter is probably half the cost of a CVT.

    1. HI Cameron,

      I have a similar Problem with My NIssan Rough 2008, where i bought it in Nov 2014 with 79000 Milage, As of Now Aug 2015 it was 85.500, there is CVT Transmission Problem and I was just think to rebuilt it or go for New one. Please advise me.

      Thanks
      Krishna

    2. Except you will be shifting gears manually 60,000 times with a manual tranny, versus 6000 times going from park to drive in the cvt.

  11. My 2010 Subaru Outback has the newly introduced Lineartronic CVT.
    It is extremely responsive, has spirited acceleration for a Four and ample passing power even on the highway. I think the largest problem with CVT is user acceptance. Now that fuel costs are rising again, people will learn to appreciate the newer technology and savings. It’s a myth that manual transmissions are more economical. Maybe that was true in the 60s, but, this is 2015 and the reality is this is much more of a fuel saver than any corresponding manual in the same car. Yes, the engine revs up to find the sweet spot and accelerate the car, but, once you’re up to cruising speed the engine rpms and noise level off to a quiet hum. Its a similar sensation and experience to an airplane taking off on the runway. And, on hills, the cars engine and transmission are perfectly paired it ensures that you’ll always be in the precise sweet spot.
    I think that once people try this, they’ll like it, but, change is hard for some folks. There must be a reason that Subaru chose to drop their old 5EAT automatic for this new unit in all their automatics. Subaru makes their unit in house unlike some other car manufacturers.

    1. I have 44,000 miles on my 2014 Subaru Forester with CVT and I detest the transmission/engine combination. Unlike the Outback, the normally aspirated Forester has no manual transmission controls, so you cannot “downshift” preparing to pass or use the engine effectively to slow the vehicle on mountain roads. This creates a serious safety issue when fully loaded on serious downhill grades, as the brakes are the only way to slow it down, and these can fade and even fail on a big hill.
      Subaru chose the CVT over designing a new step transmission because it was cheaper to do so, and they must figure the American driving public could care less. The CVT makes me lose all sense of connection to driving the car, and feels much like a golf cart. It easily over revs if the pedal is pressed a bit too much and the transmission takes quite a bit of time to catch up, resulting in zero response and a giant “rubber band” effect.

      I have tried to get “used to” this drivetrain combination, but cannot. It’s downright awful.

    2. Mark W, great post! To summarize, the CVT performs better than a geared automatic, and manual tranny in city driving with traffic is insane. However, the CVT is a delicate design because it works on the principle of a friction belt. It is meant to be driven gently, not hot rodding.

  12. I had been thinking about trading in my 2008 Honda CRV until I read negative reviews on CVT along with the negative responses I received at the dealerships. When I looked at Nissan, every time I tried to discuss CVT the salesman changed the subject. When I looked at Jeep, the salesman told me CVT will be phased out and he admitted to me that customers don’t
    want them. When I looked at Toyota I told the salesman that I read Toyota has a better version of the CVT (apparently there are two different versions of CVT) than some other car companies, but the salesman didn’t know what I was talking about. I guess other customers feel the same as I do if CVT’s are being phased out due to low sales, “no thanks, I’ll keep my old car rather than buy a CVT with questionable reliability.”

    1. I have a 2014 Toyota Corolla LE ECO with CVT. My car has been at the dealership for 6 days now waiting to find out if Toyota will offer any monetary assistance for a blown transmission. My car has 66,000 miles on it, 6,000 miles out of power train warranty. The quote that I received from dealer is just shy of $7,400 plus tax. I am a loyal Toyota customer, with this being my 6th one. I went with Subaru for my last two cars (leases). I had to buy this time due to the excessive driving that I do, so I went back to Toyota because of reliability. I am so upset about this whole thing. I am hoping to have an answer shortly.

      1. What ended up happening with you transmission repair? I’m at 103,000 on a 2014 Toyota Corolla S. I haven’t had any problems but I’m beginning to get nervous with all these bad reviews and the fact I still owe a lot on my car and can’t afford a new transmission

    2. i have a 2008 crv too and still drives great, had to give it to my teenage son who has started driving, i love my crv but all their new cars/suvs now have CVTs so I went to toyota instead for an AUTOMATIC, if not for the cvts I would get another car from honda.

  13. I have a 2014 Ford Focus with a CVT. I’m taking it in to the dealer for the THIRD time to have the clutch assembly replaced.

    1. It’s not the CVT technology that is the problem with that car. Your car is equipped with a DPS6 transmission which is also equipped in an automatic Fiesta. This transmission just has a horrible design which causes the clutch to slip. You will end up having to replace the clutch and seals every 20-30k ish miles. The idea is cool about having a clutch type system in an automatic without the use of a clutch pedal, but the refinement of the technology isn’t there yet. I would sell your car immediately and find something else.

  14. I have a 2006 Ford Five Hundred with the CVT transmission and actually love it. It took some getting used to at the beginning without feeling gear shifts. But it works. Constant acceleration with good mpg. I currently have 180,000 miles on my car now and never had any issues with the CVT. Only work done to this car has been replacing the starter and alternator only. At the current rate I should hit 200k easy without issues if not we’ll beyond.

    1. If the car starts throwing itself into lowand the wrench light comes on after it heats up. And lunges hard going into gear your fluid is jelling up because its old just change the fluid your car is getting up there where it happens in milage.

  15. I like my 07 dodge caliber with 155k. I put 4k more in a year. Recently i took a long distance trip to Wisconsin 440 there and back. Then i had a problem. During the beginning of the 3 1/2 hr trip i lost rpm and a dash light came on. Pulled over looked it up. It was a temperature symbol with a gear around it. It indicated transmission fluid overheating. I started it up 15 mins later and was fine for the rest of the trip. Going back, it did the same thing. Hopefully i can just replace the fluid to fix it and to pay off the 2g i have left on it. But will stay away from these transmissions for now.

    1. I also have a 2007 Caliber. I had that problem at 70,000 miles. When that light comes on and the car slows down, the fluid IS overheating. Even if the transmission is okay the fluid will have to be replaced. Cost me $300. My dealer did that twice before they found out a sensor inside the transmission was causing the problem. Only remedy was a new transmission. Dodge split the cost. But the whole deal still cost me over $3000.

  16. I have a Chevy Spark 2014 and when cold start motor ok but when I first
    start to drive it like a bronco taking it back to dealer for second time…

  17. i own a audi a4 b7 2005 model with a 2.0 litre CVT engine. i was sceptical at first but ive driven it for a month now and i kinda like it. it drives incredibly smooth and i havent had any problems yet. although the mileage sucks because its a 2 litre without a turbo so i get like 9 kilometers to the litre

  18. bought a nissan qashqai 2009 cvt 2litr petrol got to be the worst car ever the cvt was atrocious first off it dont creep crap for parking or traffic and it rolls back on hills on long motorway journey on cruise steady 75mph 2500rpm but hit a slight gradient on motorway and watch the rpm increase to 5000rpm good on fuel oh no it aint no worries nissan replaced the gearbox at 37k when it started making screaming noises also watch out for electric power steering pointless if the engine is over 1000cc they were designed for light weight small engine cars to save fuel fine but are not suitable for anything heavier just their for cheapness yup they had to replace that too under warranty along with the interior chrome look plastic covered door handles that flex and the chrome peels off and slices your fingers c**p i always bought Japanese cars for their brilliant reliability but now they have joined league with Citroen and Renault need i say any more

  19. 2015 subaru impreza with cvt. 68,000 miles and the tranny is shot. They say $8000.00 to replace. That’s worth it? I don’t think so. Staying clear in the future!

    1. How did the person with the ’15 impreza put 68,000 miles on a car in one year?? No wonder your cvt gave out on you.. Any transmission with that many miles in that little time would give out on you without proper fluid change intervals or a trans fluid cooler..

        1. I just put 20k on my 08 Honda Element in the last six months. I have 178k on it total,. Engine is amazing. Most costly repair so far has been the sensor and catalytic converter just a few months ago. Can’t complain, I will be hearbroken to see it go. The Body and interior are in excellent condition. Wish they still made them. I hate the thought of going to a cvt. I hate the way they feel and dont trust the longevity of them.

      1. There isn’t a fluid change internal there under normal conditions in the new Subarus…there’s also no trans cooler. It’s got Subaru’s new magical mystery fluid…The dealers weren’t even changing ANY of them until recently. In fact all the dealer typically does for any service is check the level…any issues past that are an 8k repair…there’s no aftermarket or rebuilt units either. I should know as my 2013 Legacy CVT melted down around 80k…

  20. I’ve a 2003 Civic Hybrid with a CVT. The car shudders when I start from a complete stop. It’s worse with more people in the car. Going up hills with a couple passengers makes it shake like big Willie doing the shimmy.

    1. My daughters Patriot did the same thing about three times…fourth time tranny gave out…..$4700. CV are JUNK!

      1. I’ve seen transmissions go out at 12000 miles and cost over $4500 to repair. So is it safe to say all trannies junk. Let’s be real.

        1. “…all trannies are junk. Let’s be real.”

          That is absolutely the silliest thing I’ve read here, and FAR from reality. Conventional automatic transmissions, in general, have proven to be much more trouble-free, long-term, than CVTs.

  21. I have a Ford 2013 with CVT. No problem, runs like the snowmobiles I drove since they were made decades ago. The power transferred is far greater so the main concern would is the strength of the components used. The design is old! Make sure you have a long and complete solid warranty!

  22. I previously owned a civic, manual, now I own a CvT and it doesnt do so great on hills, there is a major pull back and gears dont change fast enough. I miss driving manual, its alot smoother to drive ….

  23. Im a single, handicapped woman considering a 2006 Saturn Vue with 148k miles, from an individual. Im. Kinda freaking out now since im pretty sure my medical bills leave no room for a transmission purchase!

    1. If the Vue that interests you has a CVT transmission I urge you to refrain from purchasing it. My 2004 Vue CVT was a nightmare. After the first transmission breakdown I never again felt good about driving it. Sure enough, it failed again. I have stayed away from all General Motors products since due to the bad experience – an over-reaction I admit. However, I still harbor resentment over the line of crap that the salesman gave me when I specifically questioned him about the reliability of the design. Stupidly, because I liked the vehicle, I allowed myself to buy in to his hogwash. Please don’t rely upon a Saturn Vue with a continuously variable transmission. If it is the 6 cylinder version with a conventional automatic – it might be worth considering.

      1. Ansel Your comment “. I have stayed away from all General Motors products since due to the bad experience ” is a bit crude .I am still driving my 2005 GMC Envoy 4WD and have had to only replace the ignition switch. I will stay with GMC due to the great reliability on my envoy.

      2. T. Ansel, I have owned a 1971 chevy nova with auto and drove it 150k miles, a 1977 Chevy malibu for 100k miles, then switched to Fords with not many problems, back to 2007 Pontiac G5 with 9+ years without a single problem. I think I have spent less than $1000 on all the repairs on my GM cars. But have to admit, the Ford Probe was more fun to drive. Just bought a 2017 Spark with CVT. It is very small but drives like a much bigger car. Rock solid unibody & obviously a good suspension design. I am considering the bumper to bumper extended warranty for 8 years for around $2850 for peace of mind.

  24. I own a 1990 Vovlo 240 with 280 000 km and still running. The automatic transmission (AW71) shifts as smoothly as if it was brand new. I recently purchased a 1992 740 with 317 000 km and the (same) transmission shift just as smoothly. The guy whom I bought it from had a 1987 760 (always the same transmission) as a winter beater with 316 000 km on the clock. It was running smoothly. They were all maintained as recommended (change of trans oil and filter every now and then). They are all original transmissions. The OD 3 speed AW71 was simply bulletproof.

    Now, why didn’t manufacturers stick to this, you might be asking? Well, the only reason I can see why is because they wanted to cut corners and make more money, so they lowered their standards. My father owned a 2012 Versa with CVT and at 50 000 km for the past 3 years. It was already begining to show signs of wear. He traded his Versa for a 2015 Note (sic), and I’m guessing he’ll get the same problem in 3 or 4 years, but whatever. To think that a 28 years old Volvo transmission beats a 3 years old Versa’s… I think it says a lot. I would go with the Micra (4 speed traditionnal auto) over the Versa Note’s CVT, anytime!

  25. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to post your experiences and knowledge re CVTs. I am doing research to buy a second vehicle and after reading these, I feel you all helped to keep me from making a huge mistake by buying a vehicle with a CVT. Much appreciated.

    1. We were thinking of buying a Jeep Patriot Sport with a CVT, but thanks to all of you seriously considering staying away from it. It’s a 2007 and my husband was still thinking of getting it even after the sales man said he had fixed it 3 times and Jeep said there was not anything wrong with it. When we drove it I could feel it jerk which I did not like. I will talk to my mechanic but but right now am very Leary of buying this vehicle. Thanks to all of you for your input.

  26. I have a relatively new 2015 Accord Sport with about 3 thousand miles on it and I absolutely love it. I don’t know how the complainers are driving their CVT cars but my car feels like a normal automatic for the most part. Sure If I apply the same amount of force on my gas pedal, enough for my car to accelerate, I will not hear traditional shifting sounds or feel it and see the needle climb, but whenever I need more pickup, I’m going to press harder on the gas and my 2500rpm will change quickly to 4000 or higher and I will hear and feel like it dropping “gears”. I’m suspecting a drastic change in the ratio is the reason for this. Now regarding performance, remember we are comparing CVT to traditional automatics, and since there’s no auto-manufacturer providing both CVT and traditional for the same engine, make, year, & model, how are you able to know which transmission is faster? Granted manual is always faster if you’re a professional racer or are flawless at operating the clutch and shift, but again we’re not comparing auto’s to manuals. As far as reliability and cost of operating, time will tell.

  27. The CVT on my 2008 Rogue has just failed at 220k. It was insured to 200k by Nissan. So, it cost me 4k$ to replace it with a NEW one (it’s actually brand new, not remanufactured. My mechanic told me it is ‘shiny’ as new from the factory.). I’m now skittish, and trying to sell it on Kijiji.

  28. I have a 2014 accord and now have 34000 miles on it and the transmission is making a loud grinding noise, it shifts and drives like a dream but the grinding noise is worrying me. as far as changing the fluid goes, I’ve had GM cars since forever and never changed the fluid in 250000 miles and they still ran fine when I traded them off. I better read the fine print because I was not aware the fluid needed to be changed really often, either way I really wanted to like this Honda, but I think no more..

  29. cvt transmissions suck they are a waste of money n all are going to end up costing the owner a pretty penny seeing as most cannot be rebuilt n u have to buy a new one average cost on cvt trans compared to conventional trans big difference cvtsrange from 4000 to 7000 depending on make and conventional 1500 to 2500 what would u rather with ur broken car with 30 to 100k on odometer

  30. I have read this post but i think cvt is a new technolgy and better if you want a average car. CVT is smoother than convetional gearing and much better than it.

  31. Comments from Carfax Community:

    I have a 2009 maxima and tyranny went out at 115.000 miles dealer fixed for free….2009 Nissan altima. .tyranny went out at 124000..I have to bit this one 4000$…not buying a used Nissan again. ..cvt are just too expensive. .4000$ for a reman tyranny with 12/12000 mile warranty seems expensive. .but not worth putting a used one in and it going out than still have to pay labor at my expense. .so it worth it cost to go to the dealer. .sad sad sad..
    –doublejay
    10-9-2015

    My Grandfather’s 2011 Jeep Patriot Latitude X had a CVT in it. We bought it new with 4 miles on it, that car had a very rough life. I drove it very hard as well as my brother drove it very hard. My Grandfather babied it but he very rarely drove. He traded it in two months ago with 112000 miles on it, we had ZERO problelms with the vehicle and the CVT never missed a beat. His new 2015 Patriot has the 6 speed automatic in it, he said he misses the CVT from the 2011. My 2011 Altima also has a CVT which so far hasn’t given me any trouble. I am a fan of CVT’s.
    –augrpeters
    ‎11-08-2015

    I brought a 2012 Nissan Rogue brand new had it 3 yrs and transmission is gone. Nissan will not repair my car because I’m over 60,000 miles. Don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think a transmission shouldn’t go bad after 3 yrs.?i have fought with them and can’t get no sastifaction. So I’m stuck with car payment, can’t drive my truck and need a 4000 dollar transmission
    Report Inappropriate Content
    –Cpw405
    ‎11-10-2015

    My wife recently got an 2013 nissan altima and at 60,000 miles we had to replace the transmission. When we first got it we felt vibration and immediately went to Nissan. I told them it was vibrating around 2000 rpm i think its the transmission. 1-They said there was a bend in the exhaust and fixed it. Got the car back and still vibration. We took it back and they said it was nothing. 2 months later transmission starts to slip we take it back and they say the transmission needs to be changed and that we just passed our power train warranty. I told them we brung it before for the transmission and they said no we bring it for the exhaust and refuse to cover it. CVT sucks and Nissan sucks its loud also and its a brand new transmission not to mention we needed a new shifter after the install because it started getting stuck all together roughly $4500
    FordManBlacc
    ‎11-21-2015

    I have a 2014 Sentra that has roughly 28,000 miles and have to have the transmission replaced. I hope new one is a lot better because I love the car it self. Not sure how long it will take to get it back. Frustrating.
    –HopeD
    ‎01-05-2016

    I ( my girl friend ) has a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander.
    2.4 lt. AWD, 110k miles : CVT went out $8700…+ $1500 to put it in… are you kidding me! The car is not worth much more. And no help from Mitsubishi.
    Will not get another CVT or another Mitsubishi.
    bwatts

    ‎01-07-2016

  32. I have a 2013 Subaru Legacy which had the CVT start to go out around 80k. This was nearly 100% easy highway miles…Subaru made what would could be considered a reasonable offer to me IF the new one was 3k…but they aren’t…the REMANUFACTURED ones from Subaru are $6500 in parts…installed cost is around 8k from the Subaru dealers. There is no aftermarket for these either and it sucks. The technician (not service advisor) at my dealer told me he’s seen three failures in the new Crosstreks in the last month.

    I cannot convey how disgusted I am with them…they have a total monopoly on an exorbitantly priced transmission where the only option is to buy from them…or buy used. I was fortunate to find a used one with 16k with a two year warranty installed for just under 3k.

    People should avoid these like the plague unless they either fix these issues or extend the warranties on them like Nissan did. When the manufacturer is claiming they are essentially maintenance-free and that same line is being pitched by the dealers minus the differential changes, they share some responsibility here.

    Don’t get me started how even if someone does want a change, the dealers are reluctant to and even then it costs $300-400 for the “special” Subaru fluid.

    1. Wow I thought Chrysler was expensive at $5K for the Jatco trans (Nissan). It would be nice if you could put in an automatic from the older Subaru in and then not have to worry about it.

  33. 2014 Ford fusion hybrid, 110k miles no issues, it’s smooth and 46mpg, will survive till the tesla with no transmission comes in I’m sure.

  34. In 35 yrs, I have never driven a Nissan less than a quarter million miles (other than one total wreck at 150,000). Common bond? All manuals. The CVT on my 13 Altima blew after 3 yrs, 130k highway miles. They are refusing any responsibility other than offering “half” of an inflated replacement price, subject to other replacement parts on my own dime. I’d welcome any advice on getting them to step up on a transmission that everyone at my dealer, local transmission pro, etc, admits is a problem.

    1. Try contacting someone at an executive level if you can’t get someone from customer service to do anything. Don’t make threats, just explain your customer loyalty to them. For some reason the Dealers want 30% to 50% more to fix anything than any other shop can do. You would think they should be able to fix their own cars for less since that is all they work on!

  35. A CVT is a good idea, but is poorly executed. My nephew owns a Caliber that had 60K on it when it went, when he was on the other side of the state. It seams there is a big problem with these transmissions that the car manufacturer’s don’t want to admit to, one that will effect the resale value of any car with them. What I don’t understand is that the car companies say they are less costly to manufacture, but they are insanely expensive to re-manufacture. Dealers typically want around $5K and Trans shops around $3.7K, Compared to $2K to $2.5K to rebuild an automatic at a trans shop. The trans shops say they cannot rebuild them, they have to buy a factory rebuild. The rebuilds have a 3 year warranty, so get rid of the car before the warranty is up! I just hope they don’t get the bright idea to put these on heavier cars or trucks.

  36. I ride for decades only cars and automatic transmission. Always a classic, hydraulic. For several months I have Murano 2007 with the CVT, the European version (I live in Poland). Mileage 220kkm. Nissan predicts oil in CVT lifetime of the car, but it does not say that all life is only about 200kkm. I replaced the oil in the CVT in a specialized workshop, the occasion was made complete diagnosis of the gearbox – no reservations!
    Changing the oil in the CVT two times more expensive than classical, but the pleasure of driving more times greater. I would recommend CVT.
    No other transmission does not give much fun to drive as CVT, especially that the need for engine braking have the possibility of manual gear shifting.
    Change the oil every 60kkm max. and enjoy the ride!

  37. Sounds like more complaints about Nissan, not surprising.

    2016 Forester, great car, trading it in. CVT response is like taking a shower with your socks on.

    1. My wife is looking to replace her 2004 Forester XT and was looking for a new Forester and decided against it because of the CVT. My son had a 2011 legacy with the CVT and I absolutely hated the way it drove. So many Manufacturers are now using CVT that it is really limiting our choices.

  38. My 2008 Nissan Sentra bit the dust at 180,000 miles. I found out there after that none of the shops will repair a CVT and you cannot buy remanufactured transmission is for these cars. My 2008 Nissan Altima started going out at 130,000 miles. I already knew that I would have to scrap the car if I decided to keep it so I went ahead and sold it to Carmax. I will never own another car with the CVT transmission especially a Nissan.

  39. I have a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with a CVT. At only 70K miles on it, the transmission is starting to rev unusually high when pulling away from a stop and when pulling the slightest grade. I’m taking it to the trany shop on Thursday to have it checked, but the tech on the phone didn’t sound to promising. Over the past 45 years I had many outos and trucks with both automatic and standard tranies and with the exception of a few clutch plates in the muscle cars, I never had a transmission problem. I don’t believe I’ll be buying another vehicle with a CVT.

  40. i have a 2013 nissan centra as i drive up to around 20 mph my car would shudder little bit i dont know if my tranny oils dirty hopefully it isnt going out as i drive on the interstate the car would feel like your driving over pebble rocks or something i cant tell if its the transmission shuddering at high speeds or if its the suspention of the car can anyone help me with any answers?

  41. I have a friend with a Nissan Rogue with about 120, 000 Km, on it.
    We where discussing the CVR transmissions earlier this year and I told him that I know lots of people who have had a multitude of problems with them and had to replace them at substantial cost. Only last week he expressed his concern about his vehicle, he was noticing shuttering in the shifts and said its felt like it was slipping in gear while driving. My advice to him was to get the transmission fluid changed as soon as possible and if he noticed the same problems afterward to trade the vehicle in for a vehicle with a regular geared automatic tranny. I almost purchased a Nissan Altima with a CVT until I found out about their chronic problems with the CVT. Ended up with a Toyota with a regular geared automatic transmission. I personally won’t touch a new car with a CVT. And don’t ask a salesman about them because they simply don’t know or won’t tell you about any mechanical defects with a specific vehicle. Once they sell you the car they have their money and have nothing else to do with the vehicle or any problems you run into. Do your homework and it’s buyer beware.

  42. Most of the comments here confirm my impression that CVT’s have huge reliability problems, even though the technology has been around over a hundred years. That, and they are extremely boring & unsafe to drive having no positive shifts points. I will avoid them as long as I can.

    My last 2 cars had/have sequential transmissions – quick, positive & reliable (so far).

  43. I did not read through ALL of the comments here, but I thought I would point out that the heart of this transmission system (CVT) is really nothing new conceptually. The same basic system was used in the 1960’s Rockwell bench lathes where the speed at which the lathe’s spindle turned was controlled by the same means; two variable diameter pulleys connected by a belt (not sure of the composition of the belt). Same principle, but of course the speeds of the lathe were varied by cranking a handle back in those days.

  44. I have a 2015 Honda CRV with a EVT transmission. After about 6 months I noticed when I was going down a slight incline and put foot on brake the car downshifted big time like you were going to down shift to 3rd but missed and got 2nd. At a steady highway speed the rpms bump up to 2000/2500. The rpms also bump up when you just normally put your foot on the break. Just took it in to dealer questioning these things. They kept for a week, didn’t even drive (I checked mileage) it and the technician said that was the way a CVT worked. I just find it weird and mostly unacceptable. No wonder the transmissions die early. Probably due to over revving.

  45. I find it interesting that people who dislike the CVT for all the wrong reasons because they are coming from an old design that requires manually shifting gears, to which they find it to be fun. Accept CVT for smoother acceleration and provide greater economy. If you like shifting grears, get yourself a sports car, not an economy car with CVT.

  46. I recently bought a used honda civic for my daughter, we drove a2014 ex civic with cvt and a 2013 with a traditional auto trans. We didn’t care for the feel of the cvt. Felt sluggish. We bought the 2013 and very happy with it

  47. I had a 2012 Nissan Sentra with 95,000 miles on it with CVT. That thing was total crap! Worked well within the city of Los Angeles but on 4 separate occasions heading to San Diego and back (120 miles away) the transmission would start to whine about half way there. I would never take it past 70 mph. The whine would be accompanied by a drop in rpm’s and wouldn’t go past 3,000, which in turn would drop the speed to 40 mph (on the freeway!). On one of those occasions it dropped to 20mph and every time it would happen there would be a smell of burning plastic. The only way to get it to work again was by letting it cool off for about an hour or overnight.

    After taking it to the dealership, all they would tell me was it would be 200$ just to look at it and that they probably wouldn’t find anything, since the car would be fine when I would get back into the city. They went on to tell me that the car was no longer under warranty but it was fine and it wouldn’t be worth leaving it with them and I shouldn’t worry about it.

    I’ve since sold the car and will NEVER buy a car with CVT again.

    Beware when buying cars equipped with this, because it seems that manufacturers won’t stand by there products with this feature.

  48. My 2006 Mitsubishi colt has done 117000 kilometres and had a 10 year or 130,000 kilometre warranty whichever came first.The car has been fully serviced and is in beautiful condition. The CVT transmission died at 117,000 and the dealer told us that CVT can’t be repaired and a replacement would cost $7,800 AU. The cost is more than the cars resale value. Our only option is to sell a ferfectly good motor vehicle to the wreckers because CVT transmissions can’t be repaired. Why would any carmaker use CVT if it can’t be repaired?

  49. I think they are BS! I have three vehicles with regular transmissions, all with over 200k miles and still going. I have a 06 Nissan versa with the CVT trans and it’s about to go at 120k. Quoted 6k to replace. For a transmission that is cheaper to manufacture why more to replace? The replacement price is more than the car is worth. Nothing but sales hype and garbage! There is nothing wrong with geared transmissions and you would be a fool to think they pass the savings on.

  50. I always buy an extended warranty. At least it will soften the shock and limit my expenditure to the deductible. When it expires, buy another one!

  51. Before I purchased my 2015 Nissan Altima, I drove several of the other cars with CVT and once I drove the Altima, the decision was easy. Nissan has the best CVT. I, like many people, didn’t think I would like the CVT, but now, I never want to go back to a regular automatic trany. On trips it averages around 40 mpg at a constant 73 MPH on I-5. Overall, it averages 33.4 mpg on regular gas. It is not a dragster, but it doesn’t hold up anyone when entering a freeway. Good performance and great gas mileage has sold me on CVT. Also, when going from a level surface to a hill climb, one never feels any down shifting; You just see the rpm smoothly increasing to whatever rpm is needed to pull the hill with no strain, and this the 184 hp 4-cylinder engine. With the cruise control on, the car will maintain any speed you want, up til 90 mph. If you want to go faster, you have to take over manually with your foot on the gas pedal.
    On a side note, 2 things I don’t like about this car is the steering and the lack of any rain sensing wipers option. I live in an area where it rains frequently and I find myself having to play with the wiper speed stalk a lot. The steering problem is a very hard problem to describe, but I will try. Most cars are easy to steer, when the steering wheel is on center and just minor pressure is needed to move the car back on track, but Nissan’s electric power steering is the opposite. This is the first car I have ever had that gave me cramps in my fingers because of having to hold on to the steering wheel so hard on long trips. By the way, I don’t have weak hands. I also rode a motorcycle. One other thing I might mention is the warning lights for letting you know that another vehicle is in your blind spot. If you are driving in daylight and are wearing dark glasses, this system is useless. I asked Nissan if they could install brighter lights and they said no. I am going to pull the light our and see if there is possibly a led light that might work. also, under the same driving conditions, you can’t see some of the information on the instrument panel. Another problem is the GPS screen. About 50% of the time, it is useless, due to light refraction off the screen. I built my own shade over the screen which works great, but the point here is, why didn’t Nissan think of this and just recess the screen into the dash so the sunlight can’t get to it. You would think that someone would have caught this when they were developing this system. What would it cost to recess it about 1.5 inches into the dash.
    Needless to say, I will be remembering these problems when I look for my next car. Oh, also the A pillar is so bulky that I almost hit a pedestrian a couple days ago, because the A pillar blocks out so much of the view. Now, I move my head left and right, like an owl, to look around the pillar, when I am in an area where I feel I need to see everything. I notice the Subaru, Kia and BMW equivalent models have more narrow A pillars. Its just a matter of using better steel; enabling the manufacturer to reduce the size to improve visibility. What would be very cool, would be if they could put a small screen in the pillar with a small camera on the outside of the pillar that showed you what you can’t see, but this, of course, would weaken the pillar. Just a thought.
    Otherwise, I have had no mechanical problems in the first 22,000 miles. Don’t get me wrong, for every minus there are 100 things done right on this car. I am especially impressed with the size of the front brake rotors on this car. The brake pedal is a little too sensitive, but now, I am really getting picky. Oh, the cure to the cramping fingers is to put on a steering wheel cover that has a good gripping surface and is a thick cover. It gives your fingers more leverage and they can relax more on those long trips. I also have a Mercedes SLK32 AMG which is done to perfection when it comes to steering manners. Steering is always easy on center and gets more firm as you turn the steering wheel to the left or right. It never wanders on the road like the Altima. If you are thinking of buying an Altima, make sure you drive it for 20 miles, or so on a freeway and look for pedestrians thoroughly around the A pillar when approaching intersections. Also, make sure you check to see if you have adequate lumbar support. I bought my Altima with adjustable lumbar, but it is not adequate for me. I have to use a small pillow behind my back.
    Hope I have helped someone with my comments, including Nissan. Maybe they will address some of these problems on future models.
    Jim A.

  52. I had a 2005 Honda Civic GX with CVT. Transmission died at 55K miles and I ended up having the local Honda dealer install a rebuilt CVT for $3,800. The new transmissions lasted 10 months and 24K miles. Luckily Honda replaced this CVT under warranty. When I picked up the car I drove it straight to another dealer and traded it in. I’ve avoided CVT’s ever since.

  53. I own a 2009 Jeep Patriot 2.4 with CVT Trans. Just passed 192k miles and will probably drive it till it breaks. Manual shifting mode gives 6 preset ratios and works very well!

  54. So what is the professional opinion on CVT reliability in 2017? While I’m at it (and reading more comments) what about driveability? Thinking of new Subaru to replace 06 Lexus RX with mounting moderate problems. Thanks, KDM

    1. Check how many shops are in your town to repair/maintain geared automatic transmissions. That will answer your question. Keep in mind those shops do not repair CVT’s, because CVT’s are replaced, not repaired.

      After that count all the complains about CVT’s breaking down before 100k miles. Keep in mind people with problems are much more likely to vent on a CVT forum like this. Those with no problems with their CVT will not bother to seek out this forum. They are busy enjoying their CVT car.

      Now divide the number of complainers on this forum by total number of CVT’s on the road. You will find that number will be below 1%. Which simply means 99% of CVT’s are running fine, saving the drivers ton of money on gas and better performance than either manual or geared automatic going 0-60mph.

      I am driving a small car with CVT and love it. But….I will ignore the owner’s manual, and replace the transmission oil at 50,000 miles. The manual says CVT does not need oil change under normal conditions. I wonder how many complainers bothered changing oil at 50,000 miles.

  55. I have a 2014 Toyota Corolla S with CVT. I’ve had no trouble, but only have 29,000 miles. Love my car. However, after seeing all of these comments, I’m concerned about longevity of the transmission! Should I consider trading it? If so, choices are limited since many new models now come with CVT’s. Hyundai and Mazda still use geared transmissions, but are they as good as the Toyotas and Hondas that I have owned?

  56. Just bought a 2016 Nissan Rogue AWD. After reading the comments about CVT transmissions wish I had read before buying.
    With a 3 year 36000 mi. warranty, better buy an extended warranty.
    Doubt this transmission will go 100,000. All these vehicles with CVT should be on a recall but what would they be replaced with.

  57. 2010 Rogue SL
    86k miles
    Cvt has been flawless.
    People need to remember when you see these comments people who had problems are looking to vent.
    Truth is the vast majority of cvt trans have no issues.
    Subaru..Nissan etc are not stupid..they would have bailed on the design were it truly dmging sales and reputation.
    Its being used because it works.
    You can search any model car and find the same complaints. I am not saying people who had issues dont deserve to have the situation handled by the manufacturer but 90% of people who don’t have any ussues don’t bother saying so online.
    I am a ASE cert. mechanic and know many dealer techs who have never seen a cvt need replaced.
    I would easily buy another vehicle with cvt.

    1. Thanks for a valuable post since you are a certified Mechanic, versus others who are probably not.

      I love my new Spark with CVT. The tranny is a joy to drive. So smooth, no jerky gear changes, no jerky revving up the engine when accelerating. This car has less blind spots than any car I have driven since 1964 Corvair and a dozen other cars.

  58. Let me tell you alll. If you plan buy any vehicles with CVT for only short term as buy on lease that okay. If you want longest term to buy yout own vehicle without CVT. For you the best with Conventional automatic transmission or Manual transmission for to keep longer term.

  59. I will NEVER buy another car or SUV with the CVT transmission! Hate it with a passion! Can’t wait to be able to trade it off. First 2 months I thought it was just me, then one day my wife said what is wrong with the car to which I said soooo it isn’t just me. That is when I started looking into what was different. Total nightmare on snow covered roads! it has no clue what it wants to do! I’ll by something with a stick shift before I buy anything with this junk transmission in it. As for mialage I avg about 2 MPG less both city and highway vs my 2014 that had a real transmission. Same car! If I had only known I’d have kept my 2014. Even Ford had the sense to scrap this transmission.

  60. If the old style geared automatic transmission is so great, why are there thousands of transmission repair shops spread around the country? These shops have been in business since the geared automatic transmissions were put in service! CVT’s can not be repaired, only can be replaced, and they are relatively new. Therefore the repair shops are doing a thriving business repairing the old style geared automatic transmissions! Why??

  61. OMG…was closing in on 2017 Honda CRV but since I want to drive it into the ground like my current, amazingly reliable ’02 Toyota Highlander (242k)….maybe I shouldn’t…never ever want an expense like this!…frustrated cuz love the Mazda cx-5, no cvt!…great driving fun, but cx 5 has poor rear visibility (may be improved in 2017 due out by April or May 2017)…not sure what to get now!…seems like most of top rated compact SUV’s (including Forester) have these cvt’s…dealers get us into cars cheaper, then take in huge amount when they have to be repaired…UGH. Reliability is number one mist important consideration for me…Highlander forever spoiled me.

  62. My 2008 Nissan X-Trail has 140000km on the clock and the CVT runs as good as new. I am thinking of changing the transmission fluid now, even though the manual says it never needs changing.

    1. Sigi, yes go ahead and change the transmission fluid. It is great insurance in preventing metal wear particles in the fluid ruining the transmission .

  63. 2013 Nissan Cube CVT failed at 57,500. Thank God before 60,000, Daytona Nissan replaced at no charge and provided a nice loaner car until it was finished. I would not buy another CVT of us warrented to at least 100,000 miles

  64. I just leased a 2016 Impreza with a CVT and I’m not impressed. People say CVTs used to be worse but I don’t think the current models are any good. The high revving and slow acceleration makes me nervous. It sounds and feels like I’m in second gear until I’ve reached the speed limit. I’m definitely going back to manual.

  65. I have a 2013 Nissan Altima with 60,080 miles and the CVT transmission just went out. Nissan says they will provide the parts but not pay for the labor and that the work has to be done at the dealership. $2000 for labor alone for being 80 miles past the warranty. Nice Nissan!

  66. I just bought a new Mazda CX-5 AWD GT, and one of the deciding factors in buying the CX-5 was that it did not have a CVT. While I understand that CVTs can have a lot of advantages if executed properly, I still feel that the reliability can suffer, and it’s very expensive to replace. When I was shopping around, it seems like Mazda has not incorporated any CVTs into their line up (yet).

    1. Smart move Mike! We had a brand new 2014 Jeep Patriot with the CVT transmission. It’s great around town but once we were on the highway in 90 degree + heat it would overheat and we have to pullover and wait for it to cool down. The engine would power down and could not go over 30mph as as an internal protection, my protection was comprised when I was in the fast lane on Interstate 5 in California and couldn’t accelerate to change lanes to get onto the shoulder. Fortunately it was a lease vehicle and we turned in. In my opinion, an extremely unsafe transmission for highway driving

  67. I have a 2012 Nisan Altima and the cvt transmission broke down, I contact my dealer and they gave a number for Nissan consumer affairs then I contact them I explained that my car cvt transmission started acting weird around the 20,000 miles even I let my dealer know about this issue but dealer said:”that is normal” so the answer of Nissan consumer affairs was that they can’t do nothing for me because is no recalls for this year in particular, then I ask to speak with a supervisor but I received the same answer. Anyone there that can help me?

  68. never again will I buy a Nissan with a CVT transmission. Nissan would not fix it because it was 6,000 over the warranty. Mine 2015 went out at 66,000 and what a pain in the rear. I’m going back to Hyundai, they have great cars and 100,000 mile warranties. Forget Nissan…. I will be their worst “Good Will” nightmare.

  69. I have a good friend who makes his living working on automatic transmissions. I asked him about Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla with a CVT. He feels that they are a stopgap to meet CAFE averages, and says at about 60k they will be trouble. He told me to lease and not buy, which I did, so that I’m always under warranty. I went with a Corolla. Another thing he said made logic, if they are getting better than why doesn’t Nissan keep the 10 year 120000k warranty instead of going back to the 5/60k

  70. I owned a 2011 Altima SR sedan (v6 model) with CVT. Bought the car due to engine and overall features of the car as well as the fact that is was not a manual (as a historical manual driver, just couldn’t hack the highway stop and commute any longer). Owned Altima for 4 years. Car developed a driveline “shimmy” that no techs I have used for years could figure out during 4 years of ownership. I attempted to get Nissan to look numerous times even under warranty term To get them to acknowledge a problem but they dismissed it as typical driving manner of the vehicle. Tires always felt unbalanced as well but entire wheel assemblies were always found to be perfectly round upon new tire purchase (went through three sets over term of ownership trying to figure out the shimmy).

    Eventually, the transmission became noisier and noisier (noticeable speed-variable clicking which was heard under overpasses and on super-smooth asphalt). Techs acknowledged that the tranny, at 103,000 miles was the cause and thankfully I ran across a new-to-me vehicle and sold the Altima to a dealership. Happy owner of a Honda product with a traditional sequential automatic now.

    I say stay away from these vehicles, Nissan knows these are garbage transmissions and dealers are likely coached to dismiss customers by corporate.

  71. My 2008 Ford Escape hybrid with CVT has over 200k with no problems.The only thing I do not like with cvt is that is not a transmission that work hard when you are stuck in snow.

  72. I have a 2011 Rogue which is at 55000 miles and now needs a new transmission. It started making this growling/whining noise recently. I took it to my mechanic who replaced the bearings in hopes that would fix it, but it didn’t. Took it to a Nissan transmission mechanic who said the whole thing needs to be replaced. Nissan said they won’t do anything to help even though they are aware of the issue. Are the CVTs really worth it?

  73. Well this is my first experience with cvt transmission and it will be the last one. Put it this way if you live in usa you buy american cars if you live in japan you buy japanese cars and so forth. I will never get another car that is not made in the usa as long as i live here , that should said something. So anybody out there with cvt transmissions winning noise we learn the lesson . cheers

  74. Any salespeople out there? Do any of you know if sales of certain models are suffering because of cvts. I can remember when dealerships had a hard time keep inventory of corollas up. Last month I had a hard time walking through their new car lot there were so many Corollas. Of course I could have had CVT on the brain and it was my imagination. Anyway, I bought a camry instead of my usual corolla. I just don’t feel comfortable getting a cvt

  75. My 2011 Sentra S has 187,000 miles, has never received a transmission fluid change, and up to this date, the cvt works like a charm. Maybe I got lucky with this one.

  76. 2014 Subaru Outback 4cyl, CVT, 128,000 miles. Home is S. Texas, but we have driven it to VT/Canadian border once and to Seattle, twice. It’s amazing in snow. Had the dealer replace transmission fluid @105,000. Still runs great. Replaced a leaky radiator last month. It’s not a hard job. It leaked water at the seam between metal and plastic. Transmission cooler and radiator are one unit.

  77. I have a 2013 Nissan Sentra. I drive it off the lot with 24kms on it. Starting a week later, my car was stalling at intersections. To make a very long story of warranty issues short, my car had its first new transmission put in at 39000 kms. It wasn’t installed properly and had it back in the shop numerous times to fix issues over the next year and a half. My car just hit 68000 kms, and it’s in the shop getting its second transmission. What a piece of crap the cvt transmission is. My dealer has spent more money on my car than I paid for it!! They seem to only last 30 or so thousand kms. I wouldn’t be surprised if in another 30000 kms, I’ll be getting the third transmission. Seriously thinking of selling and buying a car from a company that doesn’t sell cars using the cvt transmission.

    1. I have a 2015 Nissan Sentra with 27,000 miles. Started hearing a grinding noise like an idler wheel bearing gone bad. Took it to the Nissan dealer. They told me the CVT was bad and had to be replaced. Replaced it and seems to be running OK. But only have a week of travel and a couple hundred miles on the new CVT.

  78. I rented a new Nissan Altima with a CVT transmission, motor had plenty of power but no way to put it to the ground because of the Mickey mouse CVT transmission, when you stomped the accelerator it was like driving a 5 speed manual with your foot half way out of the clutch like it was slipping. Kills your horsepower on take off. Would recommend you avoid any vehicle with that transmission in it. Great on gas though. What you save on gas you would lose on repairs.

  79. Hi Guys. I’m in the Uk. Currently driving a 14 year old Audi A6 CVT.
    Just gone over 100,000 miles. A couple of months after I bought it the gearbox became really rough. I changed the oil. Now it runs fine, as smooth as silk.
    I didn’t even realise it was CVT when I bought it, thought it was a regular automatic. But I tell you, I love it. Smooth and quiet, then flip the lever to the right, I get six (pretend) gears to play with. So I can still redline it if I want to.

  80. ALWAYS check what transmission your car has. CVT = no way! It’s an old transmission from the industrial revolution to power weaving looms and the like, but not modern automobiles!

  81. Our 2014 Carolla just turned 92,000. CVT works good as new. Don’t get why most of these posts are problematic, Carolla is not a performance car. Just drive the car!

  82. I have a 2008 Mitsubishi Outlander with 115,000 miles. The cvt is “whining/groaning” louder lately. Is this normal or a sign of imminent failure?

  83. CVTs have infiltrated trans market because they can be: built cheaper, have compact dimensions, lower parasitic energy losses, and allow the engine to be tuned for better efficiency. For low torque applications they are marvelous. For torque loving Americans , it is engineered failure. Picture several thin metal bands supporting hundreds of “H” shaped coins as a belt that must handle the more than 200 lbs of torque/pressure squeezed between pulley halves , covered with cooling lubrication and bending around a continuously changing pulley radius. Most design actually press/push the belt to transmit power. What a trick it is to push with hundreds of pounds on a 10 inch long stack of coins with a slight arc at each end at hundreds of rev. for 50K miles of metal to metal contact of super thin treated metal surfaces and expect them to survive. When they do shred, the case is full of super hard abrasive shrapnel. Avoid them until they mature.

  84. Meanwhile, my 1995 Civic has 240k miles and original normal Automatic transmission. (and engine) 22 years and not a single transmission (or engine) problem. But, you can’t get normal Auto on many smaller cars

  85. I have a 2013 Subaru Outback, with the oil consumption issue. I now have 130K miles on the car and the CVT is bad. Subaru does not offer a repair, they upped the Warranty to 100K, after I was over that mileage, so now they want $6000 to replace it, plus labor. Subaru dealer says no parts until Dec 2017, as they have SO MANY Warranty replacements. The 2017 Foresters are also now having CVT failures, so should we all sue Subaru again?

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