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Many cars on the road will either have an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. But there is another common transmission on the road nowadays called a continuously variable transmission (CVT). CVTs have been a technology since the late 1980s but are appearing more and more in road cars. A CVT’s significant benefit is that it usually gives the vehicle better fuel economy and provides a smoother ride.

What is a continuously variable transmission?

Much like a traditional automatic transmission, a CVT doesn’t require the driver to shift between forward gears. However, unlike the automatic transmission, a CVT does not have an exact number of gears to shift through. Instead, it uses an unlimited number of gear ratios for any driving style or condition at any moment. This method of gearing maximizes efficiency and power. In addition, using two opposing cone-shaped pulleys with a belt or chain between them allows the CVT to achieve infinite ratios. J.D. Power explains more of the CVT’s ins and outs. But what are the five best cars that use a CVT in 2023, according to TrueCar?

1. 2022 Honda Accord

2023 Honda Accord 2.0 CVT
2023 Honda Accord | Honda

Taking the number one spot is the 2022 Honda Accord. The Accord is heralded as one of Car and Driver’s favorite vehicles. Large in part because of its price point, fun driver experience, and, most importantly, its efficiency. Not only is the Accord a comfortable family car, but its engine packages make it a fun weekend cruiser. Seating five and coming in nine trim levels, the Accord starts at around $27,615. For the Sport 1.5T CVT, expect to spend just over the $30,000 mark.

2. 2023 Honda Civic

2023 Honda Civic SI side
2023 Honda Civic Si | Honda

Next up is the 2023 Honda Civic. One of the best-selling cars for decades, the Civic is a joy to drive and provides performance model options. It lacks in a few areas but makes up for it with available performance models. The Civic comes in seven trim levels, the most popular being the Sport Sedan CVT. A Sport CVT will start at $26,145 and comes with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

3. 2023 Toyota Corolla

Front view of white 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, cheapest new Toyota hybrid and Consumer Reports most reliable car
2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Toyota

Middle of the road, we have the 2023 Toyota Corolla. A leader in the industry, it continues to be one of the most fuel-efficient sedans on the road. Enhanced safety features for 2023 give the Corolla an edge over the competition, but it lacks in cargo space and performance. A standard Corolla will start at $22,645 and come with a N/A 2.0-liter engine attached to the lovely CVT transmission.

4. 2023 Hyundai Elantra

A good contender for the top five CVT cars is the 2023 Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra has a spacious interior for its class, along with an incredible warranty. Where the Elantra could benefit is the interior quality along with its performance. The Hyundai sedan seats five passengers and comes in seven trim levels. Hyundai sells most Elantras in the SEL IVT trim, which starts at $23,015. With highway mileage at 40 MPG, it is hard to deny the Elantra being on this list.

5. 2022 Toyota Avalon

A 2022 Toyota Avalon shows off its luxury sedan styling at a waterfront.
2022 Toyota Avalon | Toyota

One of the bigger cars on this list, the 2022 Toyota Avalon ticks the right boxes. Although its sporty styling doesn’t match the performance, it still uses a smooth CVT to move passengers around comfortably. Combining the smooth ride with comfortable seating for five, the higher $38,945 price point doesn’t seem too bad. The most popular trim of the Avalon is the Hybrid XLE FWD, which gives 43 MPG in the city and 44 MPG on the highway.

Which car has the best CVT?

It is no shock that the car with the best CVT is the 2022 Honda Accord. The Accord is noted for its smoothness, along with its performance. Considering the Accord is still in the $30,000 price range, it makes for one of the best CVT cars in 2023.


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