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What is a CVT Transmission?

Shifter for an automatic or CVT

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you may have seen that some of the models you are interested in are equipped with a CVT. What is a CVT, and how can it impact driving in Hoover and Meadowbrook? CVT stands for “continuously variable transmission,” and if that sounds strange, don’t worry, we’ll explain just what that means and which current Kia models are available with CVTs.

Kia Models with a CVT

First, you’re here with Riverchase Kia, so let’s start by highlighting which Kia models currently offer a CVT.

  • 2020 Kia Rio
  • 2020 Kia Forte
  • 2020 Kia Soul
  • 2021 Kia Seltos

If you know you want a new Kia with a CVT, you now know where to go. If you still aren’t sure of what a CVT is, keep reading.

Basics of a CVT

A continuously variable transmission is sometimes referred to as a shiftless transmission, a step-less transmission, or a pulley transmission.

If a vehicle you want is equipped with a CVT, it’s understandable to be a little hesitant. Most drivers only know of the manual and automatic transmissions, after all. A CVT is a type of automatic transmission — so there’s no need to worry about a clutch. Instead of fixed-gear ratios, it uses infinitely variable ratios, two pulleys, and an interceding chain or belt. In most cases, CVTs are found on compact, fuel-efficient vehicles. You’re more likely to find them on a Forte than a Stinger, for instance.

How Does a CVT Work?

Regular transmissions use a series of different gears to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. However that is not the case with a CVT. There are no high and low gears to shift between. Instead, CVTs use cone-shaped pulleys that are connected by an intervening belt or chain. 

The fixed side does not move, but the other side moves based on how fast you are driving using a hydraulic cylinder. The cylinder changes the distance between the two sides of the pulley, which allows the belt to move higher or lower based on speed. You do not have to use a shift knob or paddles, 

What are the Benefits of a CVT?

One of the main reasons so many drivers opt for a CVT is because they deliver efficient performance on the roads of Meadowbrook. The infinitely variable “gear ratios” mean that the CVT should find an ideal “gear” for the performance you need, maximizing efficiency — of course, this will all depend on how you drive. CVTs also have a simpler design and fewer parts, so if you find yourself in need of transmission repairs, it’s often more affordable than traditional transmissions.

CVT vs. Automatic Transmission

Now that you know a little more about how a CVT works, you may be wondering if a CVT or an automatic transmission is a better option for you. 

CVT Transmission Benefits

  • Superior fuel economy compared to a standard automatic transmission
  • Smaller size and lighter weight
  • Smooth acceleration with no “shift-shock”
  • Fewer components and lower manufacturing costs

Automatic Transmission Benefits

  • Greater driver engagement and response because of the individual gears
  • Genuine relationship between the sound of the engine and the speed of the vehicle

Find a Kia with a CVT Today

You now have the answer to the question, “What is a CVT?” If you believe that a CVT will benefit you the most, visit Riverchase Kia, and we can help you find a Kia vehicle that comes equipped with a CVT. We have many great options currently available. Contact us today for more information.

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