With life getting faster and convenient, a lot of features in the automotive industry are also transforming. These include the latest features in vehicles to the drivetrain and powertrain. But for today, we will be focusing on the drivetrain, that to a CVT automatic. So, before further ado let’s get going.

What is a CVT?

Honda City CVT Transmission
Honda City CVT Transmission

To begin with, CVT stands for Continuously Variable Transmission and uses a combination of belts and pulleys to keep the engine in its powerband.

In the era with loads of automatic transmission to choose from, this is one of the advanced automatic transmissions used in moderns cars is a CVT. This transmission is unlike any other gearbox, as it uses belts instead of conventional gears. To extract the most out of the engine, newer CVT transmission also reads the driving style of the driver and improvises for optimum performance.

Why Choose CVT Box?

A CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)

Well, when talking about automatic transmission CVTs allows the engine to return really good fuel efficiency figures. This is because, with the CVT box, the engine runs at a constant RPM or engine speed. In other words, CVT always keeps the transmission in the right gear ratio.

Keeping that aside, having a plethora of positives, CVT does have some drawbacks. And these drawbacks can be a problem for some new drivers. Well, it’s a no brainer that automatic transmissions are a lot easier to drive when compares to a manual transmission. Moving on, here are possible problems new drivers might face when owning or driving a car with a CVT box.

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  1. Expensive to buy

    Expensive to buy // Representative Image

    When you are in the market in search of a vehicle, manual transmission or an automatic are the two options when it comes to driving a train. And, when talking about CVT automatic, these are comparatively expensive when comparing it to their manual counterparts.

    Taking the price of the 5th gen Honda City into perspective, the base V variant of the vehicle with an MT costs about ₹11.19 Lakh (ex-showroom). Whereas, the same variant with a CVT costs about ₹12.59 Lakh (ex-showroom). And that my friend is a jump of ₹1.40 Lakh.

  2. Costly to Repair

    Service and Maintenance Costs
    Service and Maintenance Costs

    Now if you have got yourself a vehicle with a CVT box, beware, the after-service cost of this automatic transmission is high. In a CVT box, there are fewer moving parts, but this doesn’t mean the service costs are less. Having said that, if a problem arises in the CVT, it is the complete unit that needs to be replaced.

    Meaning, it requires a really deep pocket to get a CVT automatic fixed. So, drive with care. Another aspect involves the periodic transmission service. A CVT requires Special oil and transmission fluid that also is expensive than conventional. In the end, these services are performed by a skilled technician.

  3. A little slow to respond

    paddle shifters
    paddle shifters

    High mileage and convenience come with some compromise. Unlike other automatic transmissions, the CVT box is a little slow to respond to the inputs. This has to do with the working of this transmission. As the belts inside the transmission are in constant tension it takes time for the belt to adjust the ratios. This is what is called a rubber band effect. Also, there are situations when a sudden throttle input is given which lead to the belts slipping i.e the engine power is lost.
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  4. Hard to get used to

    Worst Global Car Recalls
    Hard to get used to

    CVTs can be hard to get used to as they don’t function the same way as the other conventional automatic transmissions. Because of the rubber band effect, the engine sound is monotonous, which at times give rise to difficulty in shifting gears when in manual mode.

  5. Vanilla Driving Experience

    Plain Driving Experience
    Plain Driving Experience

    Now considering all the situations, driving with a CVT automatic transmission, the experience is plain vanilla. With the CVT there is no sudden surge of torque, nor does the engine utilises its complete power. This is why when two cars with the same engine but one with an MT and the other with a CVT, the one with the auto box is slower by a considerable amount.

Also, read Things To Know When Driving A Torque Converter Automatic Car For The First Time


Be it any modern technology everything has its own pros and cons. But with these 5 problems, this doesn’t mean that  CVT is an inferior transmission. It has its own fair set of pros that makes a car with CVT worth a buy. Let us know in the comment section what do you think of the CVT automatic. Also, which is your favourite automatic transmission and why?

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  1. Cvt gives u best efficiency on Traffic jammed roads of city and also has road grip while trekking a steep rise in ghats and no risk of coming or slipping backwards or like AMT car do have.

  2. I own Jazz CVT. On traffic single I am alway 1st to get ahead among all manuals. If you are non-racer driver, you can not beat CVT pickup. It’s linear acceleration, unlike stepup in manual.
    Once expert and knows nerves of your CVT. You will rule the road.

  3. With Hinda Jazz 2021 CVT experiance has been great, Had a smooth ride even in hill areas. I drove almost 2000km on a long trip including hill/ghat roads, I never felt slowness in pickup. Jazz an Excellent CVT.

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