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Old 01-30-2011, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Mayberry
31,572 posts, read 12,705,655 times
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Car shopping, looking at Nissan Sentra SR and Ford Focus. The Sentra has a 2.0 with a CVT, drove it and was weird not feeling any shift. A little leary about a belt drive transmission. I haven't read any bad stuff except on the Rogue and Murano. Any way, have any opinions?

Thanks for your input!
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
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We've had a Rogue for over a year, not a single problem. The warranty is very long on the CVT's.

I prefer the CVT to the standard automatic in my Mazda.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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Versa CVT 4 years, 54,000 miles so far no problems.

It does drive a bit differently than a standard transmission which can be a tad annoying. Basically the car does not try to move forward until you press the gas. It does not creep forward when shifted into drive.

This creates two minor issues:

1. The car wants to roll back on most inclines unless you give it a tap of gas (inclines that most other cars would not roll back on).

2. The car wants to ride over the snow rather than cut into it (It drives ok in snow, but not a bull in the snow).

On the plus side the CVT is smoother riding than a regular transmission not sure about the gas mileage but I think if it improved the mileage by a mile or two it is worth it.

Now for the gothchas:

1. I would be remise if I didn’t tell about the letter I received extending the warranty on the CVT. I suspect there could be lifetime issues that Nissan was trying to address.

2. The CVT requires special transmission fluid and this service can only be done by the dealer. I think I had mine replaced at 30,000miles (not sure…I think I did it two years ago or early last year.) It is one of those must do things. It does not need to be changed yearly, just when the required mileage is up.

3. The rubber band effect. This is something you basically adapt to. If you put the petal to the metal, the engine will rev but the car will go nowhere then zoom! Basically you learn how hard to gun it to assure that your car accelerates rather than pause and zoom. However in order to do this you really have to gun it and if you know about the effect it does not surprise you.

Despite the all the gothas and the warnings I like the CVT and would purchase it again. The gotchas are minor in the grand scheme of things and I live in an area with flat terrain. If I lived in a hilly area or an area that receives a lot of snow (and the snow does not get plowed) I would advise against it. I live in Chicago and the snow gets plowed plus Chicago only gets a moderate amount of snow (i.e. We usually don’t get feet of snow).
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Mayberry
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Thanks for the info. I also heard the fluid for the transmission is very costly.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasmtairy View Post
Thanks for the info. I also heard the fluid for the transmission is very costly.
It is costly but you don't do it every year.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Mayberry
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The warranty doesn't cover the fluid I suppose, is it 300 or 600 dollars? I read it somewhere.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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They are loud and course but seem to be pretty durable.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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Nissan had MASSIVE issues with the CVT's when they were first introduced across all platforms. To their credit, they did step up and extend the warranty on them. However, the warranty carries an asterisk that only the recommended Nissan brand CVT fluid be used in the car or the warranty is voided. Not saying you couldn't fight that in court, but that would be a heck of a hassle.

The cost tends to run between $200-$300 for the fluid change. However, Nissan does not recommend changing the fluid at any particular interval outside of their Premium Maintenance schedule. Basically, they offer three scheduled maintenance options. Options 1 and 2 are the "normal" and "severe" duty schedules, while option 3 is the premium. Most peope will fall under the "severe". You do NOT need to use the premium schedule to maintain the warranty. However, the other schedules will call for testing the fluid at intervals that can only be done at the dealer. IMO, this is a way they are slaving people to their dealer service bays. At given intervals they will inspect the fluid and either state that it's fine, or that it needs changing. Of course, they charge for this diagnostic. Also, if the diagnostics are not done (or the fluid is not changed per the premium schedule), or if you change the fluid with something that is not the Nissan fluid, they can void the warranty.

If it were me and I chose to buy a CVT Nissan and keep it for a long time, I would most likely default to dealer maintenance to insure the integrity of that CVT warranty. It's not so much a question of if, but when it will fail. I would also never plan to keep one past the CVT warranty period unless I had the funds available to spend on a replacement.

To me; Nissan + CVT = Throwaway car. If you're someone who likes to hold onto their cars as long as possible, I would look elsewhere.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:47 AM
 
Location: The Milky Way Galaxy
2,256 posts, read 5,901,941 times
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I'll agree with NJGOAT...two people with Nissan Sentra's bought a few yrs ago had 45K and 62K miles on their cars respectively when the transmissions went.

IMO go with the Ford Focus...its a serious contender in the small car high mpg market and despite all the Ford haters out there, Ford has really stepped up its overall quality.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:52 AM
 
6,368 posts, read 13,342,993 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
It's not so much a question of if, but when it will fail.
You could make that statement about any part on any car ever made.

To the OP, wife's '07 Altima is closing in on 100k without even the hint of any problem. Very smooth and is always in the right ratio which helps fuel mileage. As far as driving in snow, it's no different than any other fwd car.

Genuine Nissan CVT fluid runs about $20qt and it holds around 6qts. If you have the ability to change your oil then you can do a drain and refill on the trans. A flush costs considerably more.

I'd pick the Nissan over the Ford.
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