The transmission works by shifting through an infinite number of gear ratios between the minimum and maximum threshold without steps. This creates a smooth driving experience without the shift lag experienced in traditional transmission systems. The transmission does not require a clutch and gives the driver optimum fuel efficiency and performance. Discover why Subaru's CVT, found on the Subaru Outback, Subaru Legacy and 2012 Subaru Impreza, is the best economical and performance driven choice for you and your family.
How CVT Works
Before we get into the technical definition (below), you might be wondering why Subaru's use CVT rather than a traditional gearbox transmission that uses gears and gear trains. CVT offers the benefits of fewer mechanical breakdowns, increased fuel economy and power when you need it. Traditional transmissions shift during a given minimum and maximum RPM. This decreases your fuel economy and doesn't give you the maximum power for your automatic transmission.
Subaru's Lineartronic CVT uses two hydraulically operated, adjustable pulleys with a chain link that runs between and connects them. The metal chain allows the system to remain compact while requiring less maintenance.
The chain rides within each V-shaped pulley so that the chain equals the pulleys width. The distance between the sides of the pulleys is adjustable, allowing the chain to ride lower or higher in the valley of the V shape. The gear depends on the size of the V shape within the pulleys.
One of the benefits of Subaru Lineartronic CVT is that it allows you to switch to manual mode, which simulates a six-speed manual transmission. The driver can use paddle levers on the steering wheel, or the shifter to increase gears for cruising, or downshifting gears for passing and acceleration power. When the engines rev limit or minimum is reached, the vehicle shifts the gear if you forget.