CVT VS Automatic Transmission Truck

Do you want to know the difference between CVT vs Automatic transmission? CVT is an abbreviation for continuously variable transmission, and it is a form of automatic transmission with an uncountable number of gears/speeds. The automatic transmission has a countable number of gears/speeds, which usually range from 6 to 10. When driving, the CVT and the automatic transmission gearbox drive and handle almost similarly but you will notice very big differences.

CVT VS Automatic Transmission Truck

When buying a new truck, you have to decide whether to choose a CVT or automatic transmission. The CVT and the automatic transmission have pros and cons. This guide will compare CVT vs Automatic transmission to aid you in making good decisions on the one to choose when buying a truck.

Advantages of a CVT

Fuel Economy

Most trucks fitted with the CVT transmission get better fuel mileage than those with manual or automatic transmissions. The CVT is not limited or fixed to several gear ratios, and they operate at the peak of a truck and the driving conditions. The CVT will attain its peak fuel economy and waste less energy than the other transmissions.

It is lighter

The CVT is very light because they do not have many moving parts compared to the conventional automatic transmission. It will save you some money at the gas station, and the lightweight makes it faster.

Smoother Operation

The CVT trucks are very smooth and offer a comfortable ride. They do not have any hard gears to change when driving. On rare occasions, will you experience CVT jerking while in motion. 

Disadvantages of CVT

Poor Driving Experience

The CVT is the worst choice for drivers who love experiencing how the gears change and how the engine sounds.


The CVT is louder as compared to the normal automatic transmission. You can quickly notice the sound of the belt as it changes the gear ratio. 


The cost of repairing a CVT is relatively high compared to an automatic or manual transmission. They need calibration in case of service, which makes them challenging to repair or service. 

Advantages of Automatic Transmission

Better Engagement

Driving an automatic transmission gives a better feel and is more engaging than CVT

Relatively Cheap to Repair

The cost of repairing an automatic transmission is lower than CVT, and they never need intense calibration during servicing.

Disadvantages of Automatic Transmission

Less Fuel Economical

The automatic transmission depends on gears, the dependence on gears makes it at a less than optimal gear ratio, and it will consume more fuel than the CVT.

More Emissions

On most occasions, the automatic transmission never runs at an ideal RPM, producing more emissions. In case you need that truck with fewer exhaust emissions but are not ready to buy an electric truck. You should opt for a CVT. 


Automatic transmission is widespread in both new and used trucks, and the popularity of the CVT is growing. The growing popularity of the CVT is because they perform better than and are fuel-economical compared to an automatic transmission. The CVT is better for the environment, even though some people like to have the feel of driving an automatic transmission truck. 

How CVT Works in a Truck

Do you know how CVT works in a truck? More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci invented the continuously variable transmission (CVT), which has proven to be more reliable and is now replacing the widely known automatic transmission in some trucks. Many improvements have occurred with various automobile manufacturers such as GM, Honda, and Nissan adopting this kind of drivetrain. In the early 90s, the CVT was tested in formula one cars, and the f1 cars powered with the CVT were quicker than those powered by manual transmission. This article will explore how CVT works in a truck.

Components Of A CVT System

The CVT has three basic components.

  1. Hight-Power metal or a Rubber belt.
  2. Variable input pulley or the driving pulley.
  3. Output pulley or the driven pulley.

Apart from the above three basic components, the CVT has various sensors and microprocessors that aid in its smooth operation. 

How CVT Works In a Truck

At the heart of the CVT, there are variable diameter pulleys. Each of these pulleys has two cones that face each other at a 20-degree angle. At the groove of the two cones, there is a belt. Sometimes this belt is made of rubber. In such a case, a V-belt is preferred. The V-belts are v-shaped to increase the grip at the groove of the two cones. 

The belt will ride lower when the two pulley cones are far or their diameter increases. In such an event, the belt loop radius around the pulley grows smaller. 

The belt will ride higher the groove on an occasion when the two cones of the pulley are close, or the diameter decreases. In such a case, the belt’s radius around the pulley will increase. The sizes of the pulleys rely on the adjustment of hydraulic pressure, centrifugal force, or spring tension. 

The variable diameter pulleys are always in pairs. The first pulley is the drive pulley that connects to the engine through the crankshaft. It is also known as the input pulley because it powers the other pulley. The other pulley is the driven pulley, which relies on the motion from the driving pulley to turn. The driven pulley is the output pulley that transfers power to the driven shaft.

The two pulleys work interestingly. When one increases its radius, the other will reduce its radius, keeping the belt tight. The variation in the radius of the two pulleys creates an infinite gear ratio – from low to high gears. For example, the rotational speed on the driven pulley will decrease and give a lower gear when the radius of the driving pulley is small, and that of the driven pulley is large. On the other hand, if the radius of the driving pulley is large and that of the driven pulley is small, the rotational speed increases, giving rise to the higher gear. 


The CVT has a lot of gears that we cannot exhaust if we start to count. But how the driving and the driven ratio behave will give rise to either lower or higher gears. The other gears between the lower and the higher gears result from various variations in the radius of the two pulleys.