What Is The Difference Between an Automatic vs CVT Transmission?

October 2, 2023 8:31 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Continuously,Variable,Transmission,(or,Cvt),Cutaway.,Modern,Car,Spare,PartsWhen it comes to choosing a car, one of the key decisions that buyers have to make is whether to opt for an automatic or continuously variable transmission (CVT). Both options offer convenience and ease of driving, but they operate in different ways and have distinct advantages. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between an automatic transmission and a CVT, helping you make an informed decision when it comes to selecting your vehicle.

1. Automatic Transmission:

An automatic transmission, also known as a traditional automatic, is a type of transmission that uses a series of gears to shift between different speed ratios. These gears are typically controlled by a torque converter, which automatically adjusts the gear ratio based on the vehicle’s speed and the driver’s input. As the driver accelerates, the transmission smoothly shifts to higher gears, and as the driver slows down or stops, the transmission shifts to lower gears.

Advantages of an automatic transmission:

– Ease of use: An automatic transmission does not require the driver to manually shift gears, making it more user-friendly, especially for those who are new to driving or prefer a hassle-free experience.

– Smooth shifting: Automatic transmissions provide smooth gear changes, resulting in a comfortable and seamless driving experience.

– Power delivery: With a torque converter, automatic transmissions can deliver more immediate power and acceleration compared to other transmission types.

2. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT):

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a type of transmission that does not use traditional gears. Instead, it uses a belt or chain system that connects two variable-diameter pulleys. These pulleys can change in size, allowing for a theoretically infinite number of gear ratios within a specific range. As the driver accelerates, the CVT adjusts the pulley sizes to keep the engine running at its optimal RPM (revolutions per minute).

Advantages of a CVT:

– Fuel efficiency: CVTs can optimize the engine’s power output by keeping it within its most efficient RPM range. As a result, CVTs are often more fuel-efficient compared to traditional automatic transmissions.

– Smooth acceleration: Since a CVT does not have defined gear ratios, it provides a smoother and more seamless acceleration experience. The engine operates at its optimal RPM, ensuring a consistent and continuous power delivery.

– Improved performance: CVTs can provide improved performance by keeping the engine at its maximum power output, resulting in quicker acceleration and better overall performance.

3. Key Differences:

The main difference between an automatic transmission and a CVT lies in how they operate and deliver power. While an automatic transmission relies on a set number of gears, a CVT offers a theoretically infinite number of gear ratios. This allows the CVT to optimize power delivery and maintain the engine at its most efficient RPM.

In terms of driving experience, an automatic transmission provides a more traditional feel with defined gear shifts, while a CVT offers a smoother and more seamless acceleration. Additionally, CVTs are generally more fuel-efficient, making them an attractive option for those prioritizing fuel economy.


Choosing between an automatic transmission and a CVT depends on personal preferences, driving style, and priorities. Automatic transmissions provide a familiar driving experience with defined gear shifts, while CVTs offer smoother acceleration and improved fuel efficiency. It’s essential to consider factors such as performance, fuel economy, and the type of driving experience you prefer when deciding between the two transmission types. Ultimately, test driving vehicles with both transmission options can help you determine which one suits your needs and preferences best.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

Gabriel’s Automotive & Towing is a full-service auto mechanic and repair shop in Chino, CA. For over 20 years, our auto repair shop has provided expert automotive technicians that are highly trained in both foreign and domestic vehicles. It is always our goal to satisfy you and enable you to get the most out of your vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle will give you years of enjoyment. We specialize in BMW vehicles and offer work on a variety of parts, including brakes, carburetors, charging systems, air conditioning systems, electrical components, and emissions. We also perform diesel tune-ups and repairs. For drivers throughout Chino and Chino Hills, CA, give us a call or stop by the shop today!

Categorised in:

This post was written by admin

Translate »