What is a CVT Transmission?

Transmission Cross Section Close-Up

CVT stands for continuously variable transmission, an exceptionally efficient type of automatic transmission system. But just what does that mean? What is a CVT transmission, how does it work, and how does it affect your driving experience on the roads of North Haven and Meriden? In this guide, our service team at Executive Chevrolet answers these questions and more. 

What is CVT?

So, what is a CVT transmission? At a basic level, a CVT is a type of automatic transmission that uses infinitely variable ratios, two pulleys, and an interceding chain or belt, rather than the fixed-gear ratios you’d get with a standard automatic system. You’ll usually find CVTs on compact vehicles that offer increased levels of fuel efficiency.

While a continuously variable transmission is often referred to by the acronym CVT, it can go by several names. These include shiftless transmission, step-less transmission, and pulley transmission. But no matter what you call it, the system works in the same way.

How Does a CVT Work?

Unlike standard automatics, CVTs don’t have high and low gears that you shift between. Instead, they work by using cone-shaped pulleys connected by an intervening chain or belt. One side of the pulley system remains fixed as the other side moves according to your speed with the help of a hydraulic cylinder. The cylinder changes the space between the two sides of the pulley, which allows the belt to move higher or lower based on how fast you’re traveling. This means you don’t have to use shift paddles or a knob when shifting.

Why Should I Buy a Vehicle with CVT?

The main benefit of a CVT is efficiency. Since it doesn’t need to switch between gears, your engine is able to run within an optimal power range without consuming excess fuel. The result is better fuel economy and fewer trips to the Cheshire gas pump.

Another big appeal of a CVT is its straightforward design, which includes fewer parts than a standard automatic. Without an intricate system of gears, a CVT can often be repaired faster, easier, and cheaper if the need arises. 

Which Chevrolet Models Come with CVT?

The Chevrolet Malibu has long been one of the automaker’s most popular sedans. It offers a robust engine paired with a CVT. The Chevy Spark, which was discontinued in 2022, is a compact hatchback that also boasts a continuously variable transmission. 

Find Your Next Vehicle at Executive Chevrolet

We’ve covered a lot of important information here: What is a CVT transmission? How does it work? What are its benefits? What Chevrolet vehicles are equipped with CVT? When you’re ready to find your next vehicle with CVT, check out our current inventory. And don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or to set up a test drive around Wallingford.


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