Nissans Penchant for Cvt

By: Mike Bartley

In the ever competitive world of the auto industry, car manufactures are always looking for ways to improve the performance of their vehicles. The recent trend is to produce fuel efficient vehicles as the public demand for these vehicles increases.

Forced by increasing prices of gasoline and increasing awareness of the global warming thereat, consumers have turned away from larger vehicles such as pickups and sport utility vehicles. In order to meet the demand of consumers, car manufacturers have been developing technologies to make their vehicle more fuel efficient. In Europe, the trend is to develop cleaner diesel engines since diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline. In the United States, hybrid electric cars are more popular with Toyota and Honda hybrids leading the way. For Nissan though, they choose to exploit the use of continuously variable transmissions (CVT) which has proven to have the capability to reduce fuel consumption.

The continuously variable transmission or CVT is originally conceptualized by the artist Leonardo da Vinci in the 1940's. Although the CVT was conceptualized as early as that, it was not until 1886 that the first patent for the CVT was filed. After years of development, the continuously variable transmission finally became popular in the auto industry, thanks to the efforts of Nissan in developing their own CVT.

The first Nissan auto model to be equipped with a CVT is the Nissan March introduced in 1992. The said model was sourced from fellow Japanese car brand Subaru. After some years, Nissan complemented the CVT with a torque converter to increase its efficiency. One of the advantages of the CVT over conventional manual and automatic transmissions is that it maximizes the torque produced by the engine.

It is known that CVTs provide an infinite number of gear ratios within a finite range. This means that the engine's output can be harnessed efficiently with limited waste of power. This, on the other hand, translates to less fuel consumed by the engine to drive a vehicle.

Currently, there are already eleven Nissan models offered with the continuously variable transmission. These auto models are marketed throughout the world. One of the Nissan models equipped with the CVT is the Nissan Altima which is a mid-size sedan and this has replaced the Stanza in Nissan's lineup in 1993. The Altima is initially marketed as a compact car until 2001 but in 2002, it was upgraded to become a mid-size car.

Another Nissan auto model to be equipped with the CVT is the Nissan Cube. The Nissan Cube is a mini multi-purpose vehicle that is sold only in the Japanese market. This fuel efficient boxy car was first introduced in 1998 and bears a resemblance to the Chevy Aveo, Honda Fit, and the Scion xB.

The best selling Nissan Maxima is also equipped with a CVT. The Maxima is a mid-size executive car which competes with modes such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Impala and the Ford Five Hundred. Its CVT is reported to perform better than vehicles equipped with a manual transmission using components.

The Nissan Micra, the supermini car produced by the Japanese car company, is another car model equipped with a CVT. The Micra is known as the Nissan March in the Japanese market. The first March/Micra were first introduced in 1982. The current March/Micra models represent the third generation of the car.

The near-luxury midsize crossover sport utility vehicle Nissan Murano is also offered with a CVT. It was initially slotted at the top of Nissan's lineup in the United States auto market before the arrival of the Armada. The said crossover SUV equipped with a CVT is first introduced in 2003 and is frequently labeled as the "Maxima of SUVs".

Another Nissan auto model to be equipped with a CVT is the Nissan Primera which is marketed as a compact family sedan in the European auto market. The Primera will be discontinued this year though.

Another Nissan model to be equipped with a CVT is the QASHQAI known in the U.S. auto market as the Nissan Rouge, Nissan Dualis in Japan and Nissan CCUV in China. Other Nissan car models offered with the CVT are the Nissan Sentra, Serena, Skyline, and Versa/Tiida.

This wide range of Nissan vehicle offered with CVTs are part of the company's Green Program, the goal of which is to promote the use of CVTs to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

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