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How sporty in this new Continuously Variable Transaxle II transmission?

yoder88yoder88 Member Posts: 3
edited July 2014 in Dodge
How sporty is this new continuouly variable transaxle transmission? I test drove a new compass and it's different feel. My wife can't drive a 5 speed. I need to just teach her so I can get the SRT4:)


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    lexan1965lexan1965 Member Posts: 118
    How sporty? I've got the CVT2 with the 2.0 on my Caliber and I love it. I don't know if I'll buy another car without a CVT again. I love the acceleration and smooth pick up of speed through the CVT2. Many times I've come off of a stop and pressed the gas pedal down and left all other cars well behind me (and I wasn't trying either).
    The CVT2 will feel different in the Compass just because it's a heavier vehicle I'd imagine.
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    yoder88yoder88 Member Posts: 3
    Your comment about leaving the other cars behind is what I'm talking about when I say sporty. I love 5 speeds but my wife doesn't. With this new transmission that doesn't feel like it's shifting I'm wondering if I can take an R/T with the CVT2 and beef it up in horse power. Does that make sense?
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    habalanchehabalanche Member Posts: 57
    The R/T has autostick so if you like a stick shift you sort of have it,and if you want an automatic you have that too.I use the autostick and my wife simply puts it in drve and goes.
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    yoder88yoder88 Member Posts: 3
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    caliberchiccaliberchic Member Posts: 402
    I didn't want to gamble on that transission, I opted for the 5 speed. I had heard previously it some what felt like how a snowmobile shifts. Not sure if that's true or not as I haven't riden a snowmobile nor an automatic Caliber. :)
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    litesong1litesong1 Member Posts: 39
    I've had the CVT 2liter since September 2006. CVT sportiness is none existent. Tho the Carbon fiber Graphite pulley(far stronger than steel) shifts continually, you can't feel it. Its elegantly smooth giving a magic carpet ride. Ascents thru hills & mountains pull well because the CVT is always in the perfect gear.
    But its acceleration is computer controlled & is terrible from 0 to 20mph. Past rubberized pulleys had bad reliability. Tho the Carbon graphite is strong, I believe Jatco(who makes CVTs for Caliber & Nissan Versa), has given extra reliability to the CVT by reducing stress at starting speeds. Pushing the gas pedal very hard above 35mph overcomes a holding economy detante on the pedal(is not in Calibers built after November 2006). Acceleration becomes more brisk, tho economy is greatly sacrificed. Yes, the CVT is not for pretend auto racers.
    To get the last bit of CVT economy, you must be very very easy on the gas pedal(I mean rrrreeeeaaaaallllllllyyyyy easy). If you drive as you would other transmissions the CVT will take large chucks out of your MPG.
    My Caliber is tuned very nicely, & I have gotten as high as 35mpg(vvveeerrryyyy easy driving). But this cold winter, short drives, & lots of cooldowns between gas fillings, & mileage has dropped to 26-7mpg.
    But the CVT is a revelation! Throw the other auto transmissions away. You don't need a wallowing big car anymore for sensually genteel pleasurable driving.
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    kronykrony Member Posts: 110
    I had a CVT on my '03 Saturn Vue and hated it. After a while I got used to the 'no shifting' but never really liked it.

    The fuel mileage claims are a hoax. We never got better mileage on the CVT, especially on the highway (20mpg city/23-25 mpg hwy). I was expecting lower engine rpm and higher mileage on the highway.

    I eventually traded it off because of the poor transmission dynamics that Saturn claimed was normal. (By the way you can no longer get a CVT on a Vue...) Maybe over time other manufacturers can imrove it to make it better. Would like to see what the Nissan CVT's drive like.
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    litesong1litesong1 Member Posts: 39
    This is an update of my Jan.31,2007 post. Under hard acceleration, CVT internal hydraulic pressures approach 1000 pounds per square inch. If you feather foot the Caliber CVT, pressures will be much reduced. For that reason, feather footing the Caliber CVT should give you extra MPG...above the extra MPG feather footing gives with other vehicles.

    During the winter some of my tanks of gas dropped to 25-27MPG, dragging my average down to 28.4MPG. With the warming spring weather & summer mix gasoline, my average has risen to 29.5MPG. By my first year of ownership(September 28, 2007), I hope my average will be into the low 30 MPG range. May not sound impressive, but Caliber owners are having a bad time getting anywhere near EPA averages.
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    djp_63djp_63 Member Posts: 10
    I have a Jeep Patriot with the same drive-line as the Caliber. The CVT has grown on me, and I have to say the more I drive, the more I am impressed. My very first tankfuls are yielding 27+ MPG. Not bad for a 3000 pound vehicle with great power for a 4 cylinder. I hope the mileage climbs past 30 as it breaks in and after the addition of synthetic oil. My only concern is the reliability of the CVT.

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    bigtsrbigtsr Member Posts: 149
    I have enjoyed driving my SXT 2.0L/CVT Caliber
    since I picked up in August 06,however it took
    a lot of getting aclimatized to the CVT after
    regular 4 spd automatic.
    I adapted to the less than spectacular acceleration
    from 0-25 mph thinking this was how it was going to
    be from day one.
    Well I saw TSB# 18-031-07 read the characteristics
    profile,printed it out and had my dealer perform
    the procedure next oil change.
    What a difference it has made,the car accelerates
    smoothly now with no dead spot or hesitation
    0-25 mph and mpg has risen by 10-11% with my same
    driving style.
    Definitely a plus for those whose Caliber was built
    previous to May 07.
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    tarmac_bikeguytarmac_bikeguy Member Posts: 1
    Just took delivery last week on my Patriot with auto trans. Can't seem to break the 20mpg mark yet. Dealer says I need to get to about 3,000 miles before I start seeing advertised mpg and that mpg gauge isn't that accurate?? Going to do manual calculation at next fill-up.

    Spent last 2 days driving around for work, outside air temp 95 to 100 degrees and got around 17mpg. Second day a little cooler out, 90 to 95, plus some highway driving and got about 17.5 mpg. Not sure if heat affected mpg or if there's something wrong?

    How are you able to get such good mileage?? and are you still getting it?
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    daveydodgedaveydodge Member Posts: 23
    So what is your mpg's before and after the TSB#18-031-07? My Caliber was delivered to me in August of 2006 and I am getting just over 28 mpg on my SXT 2.0L CVT with Mobile One Synthetic and about 70% highway driving....Should I have the TSB#18-031-07 done on my car? Should all calibers have this done built before November of 2006? I now have almost 19,000 miles with no problems as we speak. The dealer finally has 5 Calibers sitting on his lot for the first time since last Fall where I ordered mine from!!
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    caliberchiccaliberchic Member Posts: 402
    I had the TSB done on my SXT 1.8 two days ago, hubby reports better acceleration however we haven't drive it much to report on the MPG. We also had a consistent stalling problem when in neutral the dealer said it was to fix that issue as well. We'll see about that.

    PS Ours was built in April 2006, my other Caliber which I bought this year has none of those problems.
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    bigtsrbigtsr Member Posts: 149
    Before the TSB I was getting 24-25 mpg US in the city
    where most of my driving is normally done after it
    has risen to 27-29 mpg US.
    Acceleration has gone from ho hum to chirp the tires
    I'm out of here.
    Lately I have been driving about 70% expressway
    at 65-70 mph and average for the mix is at 31.516
    mpg US.
    I don't know if you NEED the TSB done but if you
    read the criteria justifying the TSB and your car
    was built before April 28,2007 it is elgible.
    Other than that if your happy with it the way
    it is now why bother.
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    daveydodgedaveydodge Member Posts: 23
    Thank you Bigstr for the info....my Caliber went into production on June 6,2006 and I received it August 8th, 2006. I will ask the dealer about it but yes mine is running fine...thanks again for the info!
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    synesthesiasynesthesia Member Posts: 1
    Personally, I love the CVT tranny... But then I drive for economy and a smooth ride. My Speed Racer days expired when my wisdom teeth came in.

    The downside to the CVT is a rather weak torque converter... Not weak in regards to durability, but in fluid coupling. The CVT only uses its torque converter to allow the engine to idle in gear at stop lights. A hydraulic clutch "locks out" the torque converter to avoid hydraulic slippage while cruising and also saves gas by allowing the engine to completely shut off fuel to the injectors during deceleration. Two big pluses and one giant leap for automatic transmission fuel mileage.

    The one thing many Speed Racer types miss in this tranny is the "LUNGE" of power a big beefy torque converter provides coming off the line when the light turns green. With the CVT, acceleration is more like a jet plane, or rocket... Not so spritely off the line, but remarkably firm and smooth once you get rolling.

    I've never had a problem keeping up with the rest of traffic coming off a traffic light, but if you tromp on the gas from a standing start, the lack of oomph is noticeable. Once you're rolling, the CVT is smooth as silk... No lurching from gear to gear like every other tranny on the road, and no "gear hunting" climbing long grades with the cruise control on. Passing in traffic is no problem either... The CVT allows the engine to spool up instantly for a surge of confidence inspiring acceleration, without the lag, waiting for the downshift in a standard auto.

    This is the transmission of the future! Sorry if the drag racers are disappointed with the (lack of) "out of the gate" lunge.
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    morpar1dudemorpar1dude Member Posts: 10
    I am interested in what tsb no. 18-031-07 does to the trans.
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    morpar1dudemorpar1dude Member Posts: 10
    Is tsb #18-031-07 a service that the dealer know about.
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    bigtsrbigtsr Member Posts: 149
    The TSB #18-031-07 is a reprogramming/software mod of both the TCM
    (transmission control module) and the PCM(power control module).
    It makes the changes to drivability and the way the engine responds.
    The dealer can look it up on the Chrysler Service net or check your VIN
    number to see if it's been done or if indeed your car falls within the
    required VIN or manufactured time frame.

    I personally printed it out and went to my dealer and told him that
    Iwas experiencing the problems described in the criteria section.
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    morpar1dudemorpar1dude Member Posts: 10
    I had the TSB#18-031-07 done it runs like a different car.thank you.
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    morpar1dudemorpar1dude Member Posts: 10
    gas mileage is a steady 24 mpg.in town after tsb#18-031-07.
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    robsmom2robsmom2 Member Posts: 1
    Just looking at new cars, and I liked the Caliber.
    But I do not want a manual transmission. What is it like to drive this new type of transmission? I had an explanation about what it is, but need to know if it is like an automatic.
    At the age of 77, I am not about to get a manual trans.
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    bigtsrbigtsr Member Posts: 149
    I have being driving my Caliber SXT 2.0L/CVT(auto)
    for almost 4 yrs and I am 69 now,love the transmission.
    It takes a bit of driving to adjust to the ecentricities of the
    CVT i.e. torque converter lock/unlock at 20 mph,the car
    playing catchup to the RPM under heavy acceleration.
    By the time the car was 6000 miles I was in tune with it,
    Original plugs,regular oil changes and 1 software update
    it still gets 27 mpg city and 34 mpg US hiway.
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    micwebmicweb Member Posts: 1,617
    You said, in part:

    "By the time the car was 6000 miles I was in tune with it"

    I have to agree that different transmissions - manual, conventional automatic, CVT - all require some adjustments from their drivers. I have now driven 5 and 6 speed manual transmissions (and started years ago with "3 on the tree" and "4 on the floor"); a Nissan Cube CVT; 3 speed auto (Dodge Neon); 4 speed auto (many); 5 speed auto (Honda CRV and Odyssey); 6 speed auto (MINI).

    With manual transmissions, the clutch is usually the big difference. Some clutches start to engage low to the floor, some in the middle, some near the top; some engage gradually, some faster. Within a week or two of getting a new manual transmission car I was always "adapted" to the new feel. On those occasions when I had two daily drivers both with manuals, the switch between cars was a little disconcerting and it took two days of driving to get tuned back to really smooth shifting - meaning I try not to have two manual transmission cars as daily drivers anymore (one stick and one auto is better for me).

    With automatics, there are tricks as to how much throttle to give them. When coaxing gas mileage out of them, I learned how to give more throttle (for better pickup) without forcing a downshift. Of course that's when automatics were biased towards good pickup. Now that they are biased towards fuel economy, you have to give them a LOT of throttle even when you WANT a downshift - but not so much you get a double downshift. I also learned how to "urge" the throttle, depressing it a little more just before it would usually upshift, if I wanted to hold a lower gear longer. So when people think an automatic does all the work for you, that's wrong, there's a way to "play" the throttle to emphasize fuel economy (by not downshifting) or performance (by not upshifting).

    A CVT is a bird of a third feather - the throttle nuance is different. On the Cube (Nissan also makes the Caliber CVT, but Chrysler did their own shift programming), I learned just how to keep it in almost unbearably low-rpm mode to get incredible city mileage. Conversely, to avoid annoying engine roar, I had to learn how to give it more throttle for better acceleration when I wanted it, but not so much that it would jump from 4,000 rpm - which was the sweet spot on the Cube - to 5000-6000, which was the thrashy noisy zone.

    Finally, the MINI (one of my current daily drivers) has TOO many gears - 6 - and it takes a lot of artful throttle application to keep it where I want it - too much throttle and my gas mileage goes down, too little throttle and people get impatient behind me. Since there are more gears, it is more willing to shift, but often I don't want it too, either to preserve gas mileage or to preserve pickup. I also try to avoid upshift/downshift/upshift "hunting" in slow and go traffic - partly to preserve mileage, partly because the MINI throws MUCH harder (which means sportier) shifts than, say the 4 speed auto Subaru Impreza.

    So I guess my message is that you might think manual transmissions are the ones that require adaptation and adjustment, but bigtsr is absolutely right, automatics, and especially CVT's also require some adaptation and adjustment. So when you switch cars or transmission types, experiment with different throttle under different speeds and loads. You may be surprised how much difference an artful use of the throttle can make in terms of driving enjoyment, mileage, and performance. Simply flooring it or driving like a mouse aren't good solutions. The trick is to learn how to urge the throttle so you don't get a downshift (or it's equivalent with a CVT) when you want better performance, and how to load the engine without throwing a downshift, when you want better mileage.
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