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2010 Chevrolet Spark – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors is considering the introduction of continuously variable transmissions in its next round of small cars in an effort to improve fuel efficiency. According to a report from Automotive News, the Chevrolet Cruze is being considered for CVT application, as well as Bowtie's smaller Aveo and Spark compacts.

In speaking with AN, Sohn Dongyoun, GM's vice president of engineering at Daewoo, says that CVTs offer an easy, quick fix in order to help improve fuel mileage. Dongyoun says that GM will need to improve the fuel economy on its small cars by at least 10 percent in their respective next generations.

This will not be GM's first application of CVTs. In the early 2000s, the automaker used CVTs in the Saturn Ion coupe and Vue crossover, as well as the Opel Astra hatchback overseas. This CVT was not well received, however, and was discontinued at the end of the 2005 model year. Currently, no word has been given as to whether or this GM's new CVT would be developed in-house, or when we might see the first applications being offered.



[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 44 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nooooo!

      They are not reliable and way too expensive to replace. I will not buy a car with a CVT.

      The Cruze gets great mileage with a 6 speed anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Great" mileage? I haven't seen many real-world reports that have used that word. Mostly because the car's 300 pounds too heavy. Try addressing that first, GM.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damnit GM, you don't need any reliability issues! Don't go CVT, or else I'm going Ford!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think for small cars/City cars :

      Hybrids are the way to go ( PSD and electric motors, EVT ) because the efficiency gain ( Regen, start sop, electric motors 100% torge at zero rpm etc ) will be really high compared to putting ICE working on inefficiency.



      • 4 Years Ago
      booo.
      • 4 Years Ago
      No no no.

      The EPA mileage may be higher, yes. But in real world driving, with your engine spinning up to 3500+ rpm every time you encounter a hill, the mileage is not better.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We mad the mistake of getting a MINI Cooper CVT for my wife. Freaking horrible! When it breaks, the whole freaking car is pretty much disposable at $4000 for repair costs. Needless to say MINI does not do CVT's any more and neither do we.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My Prius uses an Electrically Controlled Variable Transmission (ECVT) that is different than a conventional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). There are no pulley and belt arrangements to wear out or need adjustment. The Prius uses a planetary gear system that couples the drive motor and engine resulting in a smooth power curve from full stop to full speed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That car gets uglier and more misproportioned every time I see it. Reminds of the Green Goblin from Spiderman. I'm glad Chevy is offering a city car, but it seems to have picked the ugliest of the original three concepts to produce.

      Also not a fan of CVTs, at least the ones I've driven, more recently in a Honda Civic Hybrid
      • 4 Years Ago
      CVT = Continuously Vague Torture

      Seriously, has anyone at Chevy ever actually DRIVEN a vehicle with a CVT? They're horrible... all of them. If they won't to torture people that can afford a vehicle with a nicer transmission with them, that's their right. But they shouldn't expect anyone to be excited about it, either.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Consideing most automobile users are non-enthusiasts this move makes sense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I know that people are going to say that CVTs suck, but having been in a Nissan Rogue with a CVT, I honestly had zero issues with it. Didn't get any of that weird buzzing that used to plague old-school CVTs. If GM can introduce a CVT that is at least as good as the one in the Rogue, it would be a good option for those that refuse to drive a stick.
        • 4 Years Ago
        CVT's suck for anything more spirited than point a to point b driving. There's no real compelling reason Nissan or GM can't go with a dry clutch dsg which autoblog's already mentioned doesn't cost any more than a cvt for OEMs. I drove the fully loaded juke to refresh my memory of cvt, not horrendous but moot in a DSG world really, I'd love to drive that car with a real dual clutch box vs a few cone shaped objects and a rubber band :). It's not horrendous, it's just inferior to dsg.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Zam,

        It's a compact Chevy, its purpose is for A-to-B driving, and if you want something more spirited get the manual. It's not like the 4-speed slushbox auto was an edge-of-your-seat thriller. If they can improve fuel economy and get better performance why not? As long as they have an option with 3 pedals, I don't really care.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've driven a Mini with a CVT, and didn't much like the throttle response. But I guess the mileage was a tad better, and that's the point here.

        If the CVT is smaller, cheaper, lighter, more reliable and more efficient than a DCT, then by all means, use it for the Eco models where it makes sense.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ sw

        Unfortunately that reminds me too much of other technologies that the domestic carmakers did a 1/2-ass job of bringing to market. They ultimately failed and ended up turning off consumers to all versions of the technology for years.

        The old Olds diesel comes to mind.
        As does Cadillac's V8-6-4.
        The IRS in the older Mustang is another.

        I really hope that the new GM has learned from those mistakes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My thoughts exactly. I have an Altima and have no issues with the CVT. Most people that ride with me remark at how smooth it is and seem to come away with a positive reaction.

        Can GM get the same experience and tuning quality out of their CVT?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The CVT in the Rogue is the least of it's problems.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I drive a Legacy with Lineatronic CVT. It is the best CVT I have driven so far, better than Nissan's CTVs (and that is very good too). In Drive it has a fake upshift, so that it feels more like a regular automatic. It is also extremely responsive in manual mode, both on upshifts and downshifts. Also, you can downshift three ratios in a row in quick succession and WITHOUT any engine braking (this is something that Nissan's CVT can't do yet). While going up and down through the ratios, it is more responsive than DSG (it does what I tell it to do), I suggest anyone to try it. CVTs have come a long way in the last 10 years (and so have automatics in general).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @dondonel_

        I have a 2010 Legacy with the cvt, and I back up everything you've said. There's a right way to do a cvt and a wrong way. Subaru/Nissan did it the right way, Chrysler did it in such an awful way (Jeep Compass/Patriot)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Zamafir - what percentage of driving is more than getting from point A to point B? This might be easy to forget for people like us who visit a site like Autoblog. But keep in mind that the design engineers who are weighing different options are going to place fuel economy way above driving fun.
      • 4 Years Ago
      When is the Spark coming to the states? I hate when automakers show a car and then don't bring it out until a few years later. GM seems to be the worst with this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I know! The Cruze was the worst!
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