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How is the Honda CVT vs. regular automatic

Ask the People Who Own One:

2015 - 2018 Honda CR-V

Never owned a CVT, and drove one only once (a Nissan). How do you find the Honda CVT to perform re noise, speed of pickup, hill climbing?

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Response from MASTERNC

10:23 am June 22, 2016

Honda has generally done a good job with the CVT, avoiding many of the complaints with competitors' earlier versions. The engine/CVT combo gives you enough low end torque that the transmission can hold the RPM around 2,000 and give you sufficient linear acceleration. There is still a bit of a "shift" as the torque converter engages (the torque converter is one of Honda's differentiating characteristics).

Around town, it is very smooth. Up hills, the RPMs will climb linearly (they will also climb on their own going downhill to add enging braking). If you need more power, it will respond almost instantenously and then "shift" back down as soon as you pull back on the gas (I normally only need quick bursts of power, so the response is more like what I'd expect from a conventional automatic). The droning noise you hear about with CVTs only happens when you are quickly accelerating up to speed from a stop (as the RPMs will hold around 3-4,000).


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Response from Member3940

10:24 am June 22, 2016

I had driven a Nissan CVT and a little Jeep with a CVT and didn't like them. I almost didn't drive the 2016 CRV because it has a CVT. I did drive one, liked it and bought it. The CVT in the CRV feels and drives much like a traditional automatic transmission and even fakes a couple of shifts. It picks up speed better and climbs hills better than a traditional automatic. It doesn't downshift into another get but the CVT changes ratios and the engine speeds up. You notice it when you look at the tach. and you notice it is a CVT when you give it a lot of throttle. I went from being leery about getting a CVT to a CVT fan. I'm glad I bought the car. My overall fuel mileage is in the upper 20s and in the mid or better 30s on trips. it is also quiet.


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Response from Nagatha

2:27 pm June 22, 2016

I think personally I would never go back to a traditional automatic.
Really like to how it has a traditional torque converter so you get that nice kick down when you put the boot down. Even more power if you put in into 's' mode. one caveat is if you have eco on, it let's the car slow down quite a bit on hills before kicking in more throttle. it it bothers you turn eco mode off or drop down into 's'.
Climbs hills with ease, passes with ease. Bit of a whistling sound at slower speeds you can hear barely hear it bouncing of curbs etc.
At 80 KMH when going up a hill makes a mild ringing,hollow sound but other wise its fine. I do have what it seems to be bit of a leak from the bolts. Theres damp along most of the bolts. Not trans related but I get a creak crick crick coming to a stop from left rear . Nothing in the brakes, service was done this winter. When I looked I noticed the left rear drive shaft moves with a thunb a mm or two if you grab it. So I wonder if I have a bad joint, the odd thing a it seems to not always be there and only when it's driven around a while.
It also goes thunk lightley from what wheel when taking off from a stop sometimes.


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Response from ReVolted

8:11 am June 24, 2016

It really depends on the manufacturer and engine.
I have a CVT or reduction gear in my Volt, which has been pretty amazing, but the CVT i had in a 4cyl accord was horrible... And i eventually traded it in for the manual version due to just how bad the CVT performed. It's not that the transmission was bad, it is that the whine of the engine in a monotone sound was bad, and the lack of get up and go was also something i didn't like, yes the car will hold the torque curve, but on long hills it gets really annoying. That being said, the CVT in a refined v6 or v8 makes a big difference in the noise and comfort.


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Response from gs

8:31 am July 8, 2016

My previous vehicle was a manual transmissioned car. I test drove a CVT 4 cylinder accord and a traditional automatic V6 accord. I found that I really didn't notice that the 4 cylinder model had a CVT if I didn't think about it under normal driving conditions. I didn't love the way it drove when I was more aggressive though so I went with the V6 to get the traditional automatic. For me it was too big of a step to go from the fully driver controllable manual tranny to a CVT. I think if you are currently driving an auto, the step from auto->cvt won't be as drastic, though.


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Response from jmiller

9:12 pm August 29, 2016

Having put 25,000 miles on my 2015 CR-V, driving from Washington State south to Southern California and again from Washington State east to North Dakota I think I have a pretty good idea how the CVT works and feels.

At first it takes a little getting used to, but I really, really like it now. I have driven other CVT-equipped vehicles and I have to say I was a little concerned about particular driving characteristics of the CVT like the 'rubber band effect'. This is just not present on the CR-V. The transmission is smooth and really works well. After a computer update it seems to work even better than at first.

Driving through Montana is a real test on the CVT. There is a lot of long, steep hill climbing at very high speeds (80mph speed limit means most folks are going around 90...) which was not a problem for the CR-V but I did find that MPG plummets at speeds of over 80mph especially when hillclimbing. I found the sweet spot for my EX-L around 78mph (not so slow that I'm impeding traffic but also keeping it above 30MPG.) If I tried to keep up with the fastest traffic, I noted that the engine RPM would get pretty high at time while climbing - over 5000rpm at times which was concerning to me. It's probably fine for that small engine, but hearing it whine away makes me nervous and I'd rather spare the motor that extra chore. Under 80 we kept the RPMs below 4000.

On the flat, we've seen gas mileage of 35-37mpg (with a light foot) but in the mountains of Montana we dropped down to 29-31 - which I am sure has a lot to do with the efficient CVT transmission.


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