I'm moving from a normal automatic to a CVT gearbox - are they very different to drive?

After nearly eight years of living with the 2015 Honda CRV automatic we are getting the new Jazz in March. I haven't driven a CVT model before, and wonder whether you have any tips for someone who is making a move of this kind?

Asked on 22 March 2023 by Mike Murphy

Answered by David Ross
Although a CVT gearbox is mechanically quite different to a conventional automatic with a torque converter or a dual-clutch automatic, driving one is essentially the same process for all three - a brake and accelerator - put it in Drive and off you go. However, because a CVT is a 'stepless' transmission and effectively has infinite ratios, what you won't experience is hearing and feeling a change in gears, as you would with a conventional auto or a dual-clutch gearbox.

Instead, the engine speed remains constant while the gearbox alters the ratio to provide acceleration with maximum efficiency. If you put your foot down and demand strong acceleration you'll find the engine revs quite high and stays there for some time, which can sound a little alarming if you're not used to it but is entirely normal. What we would suggest is that being smooth with your throttle inputs when accelerating can mitigate this effect - pay attention to the speedometer rather than engine revs to get a sense of how quickly you are accelerating, as the lack of gearchanges can fool you into thinking you are accelerating more slowly than the reality.
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