Exploring the CVT with Spring Honda in Cranbrook, British Columbia

While historically drivers have only had the choice between an automatic or manual transmission, the rise in vehicle technology has led to major changes in the way we drive—from advanced safety and driver assistance features, to more fuel efficient performance. One of the biggest changes has occurred in the last 20 years or so with the rise to prominence of the CVT, or the Continuously Variable Transmission. 

What is a CVT?

Despite being invented in the 1500s by Leonardo Da Vinci, the CVT—or Continuously Variable Transmission—didn’t rise to prominence in the automotive world until the early 2000s. Even then, manufacturers were working on CVTs since the 80s and 90s, but it wasn’t until recently that the technology caught up, making a CVT a smart and viable option.

A CVT is a single-speed automatic transmission, using a pulley system as opposed to the fixed gears found in the more prevalent automatic and manual transmissions. Similar to the chain on a bicycle, the pulley on a CVT runs continuously rather than shifting through gears. This results in a smoother, more efficient, and even more responsive driving experience. As CVT-technology continues to advance, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between one and a classic automatic transmission. Your shifter will still show your classic Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive, while some CVTs are even equipped with the ability to simulate a more hands-on driving experience, allowing you to “shift” gears as you drive.

What are the benefits of a CVT?

While earlier CVTs offered somewhat crude performance compared to the more readily available transmission options, the modern CVT is almost indistinguishable from an automatic transmission. In terms of benefits, a CVT has fewer parts, meaning there are fewer opportunities for issues to arise leading to costly repairs. They also tend to be more fuel efficient than their transmission counterparts. Finally, without the need to actually shift gears, a Continuously Variable Transmission provides a substantially smoother drive. This means no stalling out and no gear hunting on the highways, just smooth sailing.

For years, the knocks against the CVT were the cost (in both the initial purchase and repairs), the lack of torque, and the noise. However, as these transmissions continue to improve, these are all concerns of the past. A CVT gives you just as much access to torque as a traditional transmission, they rarely cost more or need substantial maintenance, and have gotten quieter than ever. 

What Honda vehicles feature a CVT?

As one of the leaders in terms of automotive technology—especially when it comes to CVTs—Honda has a diverse lineup of models offering a Continuously Variable Transmission. You can explore our inventory of CVT-equipped Honda vehicles below, or simply click on the specific vehicle to learn more:

Which transmission style is right for you?

Much like the fact that there is no one vehicle right for everyone, there’s no transmission that’s right for every driver either. If you’re a more involved driver or car enthusiast, you’ll probably want to opt for a manual transmission—an option that is becoming harder to find outside of performance-forward models like the Civic Hatchback or Type-R. Conversely, automatic transmission—and to a greater extent—Continuously Variable Transmissions offer a smoother, more effortless driving experience. This is especially great for commuting in the stop-and-start traffic found in the city, though it also takes a bit of pressure off when it comes to driving on the highway, especially in mountainous regions where your vehicle is less likely to hunt for the most efficient gear.

No matter what you decide on, you’ll find the right vehicle at Spring Honda. We’re Cranbrook’s top destination for all things Honda, and would love to take you on a test drive in one of our CVT-equipped Honda models. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll handle the rest!

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