Defining your driving experience
Every week, Exhaust Notes will pick out an industry, technical or obscure term from the automotive world and giving you the lowdown on what it means and how it’s used. Already know the answer? Congratulations, you’re ahead of the game.
If you’d like an explanation of an automotive term, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s term: CVT
CVT stands for continuously variable transmission. Unlike traditional transmissions, which have a set number of gears (think of a 5- or 6-speed manual or automatic), a CVT can shift between an endless number of gear ratios, keeping the engine running at its most efficient revolutions per minute at all speeds. This efficiency translates into better fuel economy and a smoother ride. There is a downside, however. Engines mated to CVTs tend to have a limited ability to handle torque, which is why they are usually found in low-power or hybrid vehicles. And that smooth ride is seen as a downside by the performance-oriented, since it cuts down on the engine “jerk” we typically feel while accelerating through gears, and lessens the engine sound.
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