TO CVT OR NOT TO CVT?

Car (South Africa) - - MAIL -

I fully un­der­stand the mis­giv­ings en­thu­si­asts have to­wards sports ve­hi­cles us­ing a con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion (CVT). Surely this must be a mis­match of trans­mis­sion and per­for­mance for any sportscar? Man­ual mo­tor­ing is driv­ing in its purest form; how­ever, look­ing at the top-end sportscars, man­ual trans­mis­sions are seem­ingly a dy­ing breed, which to some ex­tent in­val­i­dates this ar­gu­ment. I was shocked to re­alise this, as I con­sider my­self a mo­tor­ing purist, too.

There are still some great man­ual gear­boxes avail­able; take the one in the new Honda Civic Type R, for ex­am­ple. I was puz­zled to hear the Honda Jazz Sport is avail­able with a CVT only in our mar­ket. How­ever, when test driv­ing one, I was amazed by its smooth, ea­ger power de­liv­ery.

De­spite what I’d ex­pected of CVTS, I am con­vinced this is the best solution for me, as I spend much of my time in heavy Jo­han­nes­burg traf­fic. The ra­tio­nal ar­gu­ment won over the emo­tive per­for­mance-only di­a­tribe, since the ef­fi­ciency of the CVT comes with sat­is­fy­ing

per­for­mance in the real world. I am now sold on the idea of the CVT and no longer find it a dis­agree­able trans­mis­sion op­tion.

I chal­lenge driv­ers to try the lat­est CVTS on daily routes and favourite roads. You will be im­pressed with how well a CVT fits into your real-world driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence: hap­pily, with­out gears.

GUY MCIL­ROY Jo­han­nes­burg

[Point well made, Guy, but I re­main a CVT scep­tic; a wellengi­neered torque-con­verter au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is the best op­tion for the ur­ban slog. That said, I’d trade any auto for the sub­lime man­ual gear­box in the Civic Type R, an el­e­ment which helped the Honda charm ev­ery­one who drove it at this year’s Per­for­mance Shootout – ed­i­tor.]

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