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Adjusting to the CVT transmission

2936 Views 48 Replies 37 Participants Last post by  Rockroad
I know I'm not the only one who is owning a CVT for the first time. I'm just wondering does it take a while to get used to CVT characteristics or might that never happen. The biggest things for me are first it seems hard to maintain a steady speed. I'm cruising along and don't feel my foot move at all and I don't notice any speed difference, but I'm going slower than I was a minute earlier. Also I can't seem to get used to not feeling the shifts of a regular automatic. Makes me feel a little disconnected. One other thing is it seems like it likes to hang out in really low RPMs. Feeling like it's lacking power when you try to speed up. Yes I could solve that with the paddle shifters I guess.

So how about you?? Did missing the feel and driving characteristics of a regular auto or even a stick eventually fade??
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2021 MGM Outback 2.5i Premium with Tungsten Grey seats
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It almost becomes a bit of a "game".

Can I get the engine to a certain speed, then feather my foot as the road speed increases so as to keep the engine at that RPM? That was something I did with my 2011.

With my 2021, it's almost about finding that "sweet spot" where you accelerate but it doesn't use the fake shift points and instead smoothly adjusts the ratio.
 

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2021 XT Touring Popular package #2 OEM Hitch on Crossclimate2 tires
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I know I'm not the only one who is owning a CVT for the first time. I'm just wondering does it take a while to get used to CVT characteristics or might that never happen. The biggest things for me are first it seems hard to maintain a steady speed. I'm cruising along and don't feel my foot move at all and I don't notice any speed difference, but I'm going slower than I was a minute earlier. Also I can't seem to get used to not feeling the shifts of a regular automatic. Makes me feel a little disconnected. One other thing is it seems like it likes to hang out in really low RPMs. Feeling like it's lacking power when you try to speed up. Yes I could solve that with the paddle shifters I guess.

So how about you?? Did missing the feel and driving characteristics of a regular auto or even a stick eventually fade??
Do you have the 2.5 or 2.4... sounds like the 2.5. I get to dive boath.. gfs 2014 has the 2.5 you have to wind it up. It's odd but you have to preplan when you need power. It likes to run 1,000 to 1500 rpms at speed.
I have a 2.4 it drives more normal. It has fake shifts up and down I find. Feels like a truck transmission in tow hall mode to me. I can feel it step down for stop signs. I used to shift it. But now it seams to do it for me.
 

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It appears he has a Wilderness that only comes with the 2.4 turbo.

If the throttle/transmission behavior seems odd then a throttle calibration may help normalize it.


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It appears he has a Wilderness that only comes with the 2.4 turbo.

If the throttle/transmission behavior seems odd then a throttle calibration may help normalize it.


That's some good info. Thanks!!! As many years as I've been driving and all of the modding I've done I never thought I'd be a dum dum when it came to a new vehicle. Feel like such a noob. LOL
 

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2020 Outback Premier 2.5i
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IMO, some of the perception is based on your senses misleading you. When you hear a steady rpm based engine noise you think you're not accelerating, but I venture to say that if you look at the speedo, you are. The trans is gradually adjusting the ratio thus increasing your speed but your ears deceive you. It's been 2 + years now but I can't say when I stopped noticing it - if I noticed it at all. Perhaps that's because I knew of the phenomena before I purchased (having driven CVT rentals) and never considered it to be a problem.
 

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If you haven't yet, get on a good road and from a stop, floor it. Then you'll see how the CVT is better with a turbo engine over a traditional automatic. The boost comes up and engine RPMs balance as the CVT changes gear ratios and you accelerate smoothly while maintaining consistent power and torque output.

You'll get used to it.
 

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I'm quite fond of the "continuous" CVT in my wife's 2016 Forester. The "shifty" CVT in my 2022 OB, not so much, but I'm getting used to it.
One very real observation: The Forry reliably makes 30-32 MPG (miles driven/gallons pumped), where the '22 OB maintains around 28MPG (27.5 last fill). Me driving over basically the same routes/speeds.
This is an average from over a year and several thousand miles in both cars.
I will also comment that the Forester subjectively feels a lot perkier in traffic; better throttle response off of the line, and snappier passing. The OB feels more sluggish, almost like turbo lag, but mines NA.
I actually traded cars with The Missus for a while, but she didn't like the newer car and took her Forester back :-(
I will make another comment; pretty much off-topic but maybe of interest:
We have had snow on the ground since before Christmas. I was mostly driving my 1st gen OB with studded tires, but had the ignition key cylinder fail (had to disconnect the battery and alternator to shut it down). It's been cold and I haven't felt like messin' with it, so I have been driving the new OB in the snow, on the ~10Kmile OEM Yokohama Avid tires. Contrary to my expectations, the car is freakin' Awesome in the snow. Not in the same class as the 5spd/factory studded Hakkapeliittas on the '97 car, but totally manageable. I've almost decided to keep it around.
 

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Hi Bill
An SI button? Well, I don't think mine has one, but there are a lot of whiz-bang doo-dads on the steering wheel I haven't messed with. I have experimented with the "X-mode" on snowpack a little, but I can't really tell much difference.
(edit to add) The '22 traction/stability/whatever control algorithm will not allow you to pull a 4-wheel drift on snow. You can feel the system working to keep you on track, and it does, too.
One thing I did learn about, thanks to somebody here on the forum, is that the electronic parking brake can be used as an emergency brake of sorts. Just lift and hold the actuator; it makes a loud "Beep-beep-beep", and just flat stops. Release the control and it resumes business as usual.
I have to insert a caveat: I did this on a flat snowpacked residential road. Yes, the car stopped, and it stopped just the same as if I had slammed on the regular brake. (I tried that. Same-same.) This implies that it is working with the ABS system to do its job. In a real emergency, where maybe you had lost power or CANbus connectivity, I'm not too sure that this feature would work, but the theory is good, anyway.
Filed in the "little things you never knew (or cared) about" category :-D.
 

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I don't think you have the SI button in USA cars? In mine it makes a huge difference, at lower speeds it's almost like having a turbo but without the lag. I've not used it enough to see what effect it has on mpg though.
No SI button. Had it in my 2009 Legacy GT, but didn't notice much of a difference in fuel consumption. "Intelligent" mode sure neutered the throttle response, though. 😂
 

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I don't think you have the SI button in USA cars? In mine it makes a huge difference, at lower speeds it's almost like having a turbo but without the lag. I've not used it enough to see what effect it has on mpg though.
We don't get that in the US brother, but should have. What a shame. This is what we get for nuke'n the Jap's. No doubt. All of Japanese manufacturers give the rest of the world some really cool cars and features. The US? Not so much..
 
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