What is a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and How Does it Work?

May 25th, 2020 by

a CVT continuously variable transmission shift knob inside a hybrid vehicle

More and more current vehicles are coming out of the factories equipped with CVTs as transmission options. So, what exactly is a CVT, how does it work, and what are its advantages? We’ll answer all of these questions today at the Carl Black Hiram Auto Superstore!

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What is a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)?

A continuously variable transmission, also known as a continuously variable-speed transmission, is an automatic transmission that changes/shifts almost seamlessly through different gears. 

What are the Advantages of a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)?

Due to a CVT’s greater shifting capability, continuously variable transmissions offer quicker shifting and acceleration as their primary selling points. However, additional advantages in comparison to standard automatic transmissions are a CVTs lighter weight and higher durability. 

What are the Disadvantages of a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)?

This can vary by model and depend on how the CVT is implemented. While excellent CVTs offer all of the advantages above, those not properly matched to their model can cause harsh and sudden acceleration as well as unnecessarily high revving. 

2020 Toyota Corolla interior shot closeup of steering wheel, transmission knob, and infotainment display
2021 Kia Seltos interior shot of driver's seat, steering wheel, and dashboard design and layout


Which Vehicles Have a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)?

CVTs are most common in hybrid and electric vehicles, but can also be found in many brand-new models and recent redesigns of gasoline engine models from major brands. Most recently, the newly introduced 2021 Kia Seltos compact SUV released with a continuously variable transmission being its standard transmission option. Other notable vehicles with CVTs include current year models of the following: 

Buick Encore GX

Chevy Malibu

Ford Escape Hybrid

Honda Accord and Accord Hybrid

Honda Civic

Honda Insight

Hyundai Venue

Kia Forte

Kia Soul

Mitsubishi Outlander

Nissan Altima

Nissan Kicks

Nissan Murano

Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru Forester

Toyota C-HR

Toyota Corolla and Corolla Hybrid

Toyota Prius and Prius Prime

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

And More!


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Shop for a CVT Model in Rockmart, GA

If you’d like to see how a vehicle paired with a continuously variable transmission handles, get behind the wheel and on the road by scheduling a test drive. Browse through our online inventory to take your pick and make an appointment over the phone or online. For additional information, please continue to read our blog and contact us. Drivers in the Northwest Georgia area can find pre-owned sales and automotive services here at the Carl Black Hiram Auto Superstore of Paulding County.