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Old 08-14-2009, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Seward, Alaska
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Subaru is coming out with a CVT (continously variable transmission) for some of it's 2010 models. CVT's have already been tried by Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler, and Ford with a somewhat mixed bag of success. They are saying it gets best in class EPA mileage of 26 city, 31 hwy mpg, which is pretty good. But... what are the pros and cons with CVT's?
I was thinking Subaru would "can" the old 4-spd, and come out with a decent 5-spd. A CVT wasn't on my "radar"...not sure what to think...

Yer thoughts?


Bud
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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I have one of the Ford CVT's in a vehicle and love it. Problem free after close to 5 years and not a hint of any coming either. Can't say much about the ones Subaru is going to use, but if they are anything like the ones Ford used, I wouldn't worry a second about it.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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The main problem is when they break. They cost way more to fix than a regular automatic transmission.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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Having recently pounded CVT equipped outbacks for Subaru quite extensively, there were no problems. Without revealing proprietary information I would describe the belt for the transmission as metal and having examined it myself it appears quite durable. I know the reason why Subaru went to this was due to fuel economy issues. Of course there is no way for me to guarantee anything, but from what I have seen, I don't think the new Subaru CVT would have any issues any worse than a regular manual or auto tranny.

The unreliability associated with CVT's dates back to rubber belted CVT's which of course would stretch or break over time.

CVT's have a different feel to them in that the revs spool up and then the car goes. Depending on how you are accelerating, the tranny holds the revs at the most optimum point and doesn't "shift". I noticed on the new 2010 outback and legacy the delay is not too long and more noticeable on the Nissan or Chrysler products.

Essentially I found the best way of describing CVT's as having an infinite set of gear ratios between two fixed points. Most manufacturers like with Subaru and with Nissan, they have added paddle shifters for a sporty feel and again without going into proprietary info(having worked on both) the computer picks out a set of six "gears"(ratios) for you to shift from point to point with.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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The CVT can save you some gas, maybe, if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving. If you keep the car long enough, you will be spending some, if not all or more of your savings on the transmission. And if you trade it off before it breaks, no matter, the buyers at that time will know what they cost to fix, and how close your car is to the average age/mileage for needing that fix.

For me, give me a 5-speed or 6-speed, with 3 pedals on the floor, thanks. And hold the nonsense about the "flappy paddles" too...to me, it's a brilliant answer to a question I didn't ask...
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:59 PM
 
Location: San Bruno, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
The CVT can save you some gas, maybe, if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving. If you keep the car long enough, you will be spending some, if not all or more of your savings on the transmission. And if you trade it off before it breaks, no matter, the buyers at that time will know what they cost to fix, and how close your car is to the average age/mileage for needing that fix.

For me, give me a 5-speed or 6-speed, with 3 pedals on the floor, thanks. And hold the nonsense about the "flappy paddles" too...to me, it's a brilliant answer to a question I didn't ask...
Although I'm not a flappy paddle fan myself, it's a proven fact that a true DCT with paddles is faster than a standard manual at changing gears.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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That is true, but to me, driving a car that I expect to be fun to drive in a non-competitive environment, it's also irrelevant. If you are not a fan of them, it's probably also irrelevant to you, too.

To me, a "real" manual trans always wins out because it's simple and rugged, if you keep the lube level up all you ever have to do is change (one) clutch, it gives me better control of the car, and most importantly, it's a big part of making the car more fun.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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CVT transmissions start out around $6500 to replace. I have read the transmission in the Prius is $8,000. If you are going to buy a new car, and get rid of it by the end of the warranty, it will be ok. Otherwise, forget about it.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
The CVT can save you some gas, maybe, if you do a lot of stop-and-go driving. If you keep the car long enough, you will be spending some, if not all or more of your savings on the transmission. And if you trade it off before it breaks, no matter, the buyers at that time will know what they cost to fix, and how close your car is to the average age/mileage for needing that fix.

For me, give me a 5-speed or 6-speed, with 3 pedals on the floor, thanks. And hold the nonsense about the "flappy paddles" too...to me, it's a brilliant answer to a question I didn't ask...
I think with what I have seen so far on the Subaru CVT, I don't expect reliability to be an issue any worse than any standard tranny.

The first time I dealt with flappy paddles on a CVT was with the Nissan Rogue back in 2007 and the reasoning for them(direct from Nissan) on a CVT was to give a sporty feel to the customer. Seems to kind of defeat the purpose of the CVT really, but whatever. I guess you have to remember you are dealing with an American public that for instance, never educated themselves about ABS, so in panic stops a significant percentage of people eased back on brake pressure when they felt pulsing or vibration. Hence in response, brake assist systems have been developed.

So yes it's a question you may not have asked, being a car guy and all, but to the average dork out there that doesn't know cars those paddles allow some interaction there with the transmission. Stupid perhaps but you gotta remember who the car is being sold to.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:22 AM
 
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I am seeking real accounts of Subaru CVT transmission problems. All I have read on this forum is speculation and opinion based upon prejudice. Here are some facts..
Subaru was the first automobile manufacturer to offer a CVT on production vehicles sold in the US. This was over 15 years ago. It used much different technology (rubber belt) than the current Subaru CVT offered in 2010 and 2011 Legacy and Outback models. Subaru is so confident that it is recommending it for towing applications up to 2700 pounds of load.
Nissan has been offering a CVT trans on most of its passenger car models for over 4 years. Ford , Honda, and Toyota use a CVT for all hybrid power vehicles. Chrysler has offered a CVT on the smaller vehicles manufactured in its Belvidere, IL plant (Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass) since 2007.
The only issue I heard about the Subaru CVT was a leaking transmission fluid connection on some units manufactured between June 2009 and October 2009. A siple problem corrected by a simple modification to coolind line, and there were no failures reported because of the leak.
Yes, I agree that the CVT is still a "slush box" and some drivers prefer to row through 6 gears everytime they come to a stop. But, I see the CVT to be a simpler solution to changing gear ratios automatically than the 4, 5 and six speed automatic transmissions that are used in other vehicles.

Last edited by gearhead4; 06-09-2010 at 07:28 AM.. Reason: punctuation correction
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