What is a CVT Transmission?

a CVT transmission being serviced

Let’s face it: when buying a car, there’s a lot of jargon to decipher. From MSRP to CVT; MPG and MPH, the acronyms sometimes seem endless. But you came here to figure out the answer to the question “what is CVT?”. Transmissions can be hard to understand, but we have the answer. Simply put, CVT stands for “continuously variable transmission” — a type of automatic transmission often used in Cadillac vehicles. Learn more below with City Cadillac! Or, if you’re still curious, contact us directly!


CVT FYIs: Our Quick Guide to CVT Transmissions 

“CVT” is just an acronym that stands for continuously variable transmission. And at their core, CVTs are simply a type of automatic transmission. Saying that CVTs are the same as automatic transmissions is a bit misleading, though. That’s because although all CVTs are automatics, not all automatics are CVTs. What are some other ways you might’ve heard of CVTs referred to as? Here are a few synonyms for CVT:

  • Shiftless transmission
  • Step-less transmission
  • Pulley transmission.

CVT Transmissions & Fuel Economy

CVTs are basically automatic transmissions that swap fixed-gear ratios for infinitely variable ratios, two pulleys, and an interceding chain or belt. Why is this important? Well, CVTs are most commonly installed in compact, fuel-efficient vehicles — you’re less likely to find one in a performance vehicle. That said, if you’re on-the-hunt for one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles money will buy you, then you should definitely consider a car with a CVT transmission! These models have a chance to make your Astoria and Great Neck commutes less expensive.

How Do CVT Transmissions Work?

Before we tell you how CVT transmissions work, let’s briefly review how standard automatic transmissions work. These common transmissions use a series of different gears to power a vehicle. As you accelerate, automatic transmissions shift gears for you. Continuously variable transmissions, however, are unique because they don’t have high and low gears to shift between. Instead of individual gears, CVTs use cone-shaped pulleys that are connected by an intervening belt or chain. 

CVTs have a fixed side that remains still, and a non-fixed side that moves according to your speed using a hydraulic cylinder. This cylinder changes the distance between the pulley’s two sides, so the belt moves either higher or lower depending on how fast you drive. Though some CVTs offer “manual” or “sport” modes with gear-shifting simulation, these are primarily provided for the sake of the driver’s enjoyment.

What are the Benefits of a CVT?

The first major benefit of choosing a continuously variable transmission is its fuel-efficiency. While traditional automatic transmissions only have a set number of gears and thus, gear ratios (a 6-speed automatic transmission, for example, has 6 gears), a CVT transmission allows for an infinite number of gear ratios. In addition to the above two CVT benefits, these transmissions also offer another benefit: a simpler design with fewer parts than your typical automatic transmission. This makes CVTs simpler to service and repair

Find Your Next Cadillac Vehicle Today!

Looking for a vehicle with a CVT transmission near Brooklyn? The automotive experts here at City Cadillac can help you find and finance the new Cadillac vehicle or used vehicle with a CVT that’s perfect for your needs and your budget! Looking for more information on CVTs or transmission repair resources? Contact our service experts directly for help.

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