7th Generation Maxima (2009-2015) Come in and talk about the 7th generation Maxima

The Official CVT vs Manual Transmission Thread

Old 04-21-2009, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bk2k3max View Post
To: Light

The guy who said that this is for "Old People" is driving a 95 Maxima, that is why he said it, he doesn't even own an 09 Maxima.

To: All else,

You will find that the people who despise the CVT are those who come mostly from the "I Row My Own Gears" crowd, they like nothing more than a Manual/Stick in their cars and doesn't like the idea of a computer doing the job for them. (maybe it is just a "Control Issue"). <<LOL!

The CVT works fine for me, it shifts when I need it to and it just simply lofts at very low RPMs when cruising at speeds of 80-85mph which is great for gas economy, if I want to drive it in manual I just use my shifter and I still have the control of rowing the gears by simply hitting my stick without having to use my feet to depress the clutch.

The CVT is great for me.
I do appreciate you pointing out that my daily driver is a 95' but you left out the Automatic part.

I also did mention that CVT is incredibly responsive. I left out the efficiency, but it seems that everyone knows about that.

I have to admit, now having driven 07s' 08's and an 09' all w/ CVT that it is comfortable, collected, responsive, and efficient. The drive just isn't as engaging w/o a gear to shift whether its driver initiated or not...

And as far as the elder crowd part, that was but a mere suggestion. Believe me, I know older people (from observing my family),can like to shift or feel the shifts as much as we younger people do, but I do suppose that i meant to say, "Mature Crowd."

At this point it's obvious that some people don't like rowing gears all the time, some don't like CVTs sleep inducing drone, and others don't like automatics fuel mileage. this is why I feel that CVT should just be an option.

And btw, It's not an ego boost for me, I know i'm not the best driver (my car makes me feel lke it though) it's just the connection of Car adn Driver for me...For some reason i also feel it should be taken into acct. that I am 19....So lets get the ricer comments out of the way...
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 4th_Gen_SE View Post
this is why I feel that CVT should just be an option....

You are overlooking the primary purpose of the CVT: efficiency, both in fuel economy and acceleration. The government is continually 'tightening the screws' on fleet MPG average, and the redesigned '09 Maxima CVT is currently the most efficient tranny for both acelleration and fuel efficiency with this gasoline engine.

More than that, the CVT is still evolving, and has room for lots of improvement, whereas a shifting tranny, whether manual or automatic, can add more gears, but that also adds more shift points; those very brief instances where the tranny is shifting, and NO acceleration is taking place.

More than the CVT becoming optional, I see it eventually becoming the standard tranny on most family passenger sedans using only gasoline engines for propulsion (non-hybrids).

You will always be able to find other type trannys, especially in two door sporty cars such as the 350Z, Camaro, Corvette and Mustang, where fuel efficiency is less-important, and which are not intended as family sedans. Other type trannys can also be found in four-door European vehicles such as Mercedes, Audi and BMW, where fuel-efficiency and reliability are less important than the aura of manually shifting, etc. But tighter fuel efficiency requirements will change that. Some European makes are beginning to ease a few CVTs into their lines.

You are also overlooking the fact the Maxima has moved upscale to near-luxury, and production quotas have dropped to around 70K per year (and Nissan won't come close to making or selling that many this year). I don't see any tranny but the CVT in Maxima's future. The only way it would be economically feasable to add another tranny option to the Maxima would be if production jumped from 70K to 200K per year. That is not going to happen.

Rather than 'tilting at windmills', I prefer to enjoy what we have. I have grown to love this new CVT. For real drivers who are willing to pay close attention to what is happening with their car, there is a GREAT DEAL more to driving with this CVT than simply slipping it into 'drive' and mashing the gas pedal.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by lightonthehill View Post
You are overlooking the primary purpose of the CVT: efficiency, both in fuel economy and acceleration. The government is continually 'tightening the screws' on fleet MPG average, and the redesigned '09 Maxima CVT is currently the most efficient tranny for both acelleration and fuel efficiency with this gasoline engine.
I would have to disagree.

There are other cars with NO SHIFT SHOCK, SAME FUEL ECON OR BETTER AND SAME ACCELERATION OR BETTER.

A couple that come to mind rite away:

Lexus ES - fuel econ 26/39 MPG city/hwy
Lexus GS - fuel econ 26/38

(from lexus.ca)

09 Maxima - 26/37 MPG (nissan.ca)

There is no shift shock and the acceleration in both these cars is just as smooth as the Max and I believe the GS is quicker 0-60 and not to mention is RWD/AWD/Hybrid options w/303 HP

I personally hate lexus...imo too plain looking cars exept the IS series
But if ur gonna talk about EFFICIENT V6's then Lexus is still at the top

Dont get me wrong...I would take a 09 Max over an ES any day but facts are facts
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BLACKNESS MONSTA View Post
I would have to disagree.
Originally Posted by BLACKNESS MONSTA View Post

There are other cars with NO SHIFT SHOCK, SAME FUEL ECON OR BETTER AND SAME ACCELERATION OR BETTER.

A couple that come to mind rite away:

Lexus ES - fuel econ 26/39 MPG city/hwy
Lexus GS - fuel econ 26/38

(from lexus.ca)

09 Maxima - 26/37 MPG (nissan.ca)


Are you sure about those numbers? Because the 09 on NissanUSA's website shows 19/26 for the Max. Didn't check the lexus's...

Anyway, I just wanted to point out, the difference in the numbers you posted aren't that noteworthy. Sure those Lexus's have slight better mileage, but that probably has little to do with the transmission, and more with the engine efficiency, but at a cost of a more expensive production.

Last point, the CVT could still be a mainstream standard in the future for cars like these. Obviously higher end cars will still have their high end transmissions, but I believe, that just like Front wheel drive took over the auto industry, so may CVT in the coming decade.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:42 PM
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BLACKNESS - You are mixing cars. I am referring to Nissan's testing which showed the '09 Maxima, equipped with the OEM engine, would get a better MPG with the CVT tranny than it would with a shifting tranny. And the 26 highway rating is based on federal test stipulations that are not truly applicable to the CVT. I am duplicating what several others here on the ORG have done, which is reach between 30 and 32 MPG on open interstates with this '09 Maxima and its redesigned CVT.

Anyone who has studied Physics extensively understands immediately that a well-designed CVT will better any shifting tranny in MPG, assuming everything else is the same (same car, same engine, same wheels, tires, etc).
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by lightonthehill View Post
BLACKNESS - You are mixing cars. I am referring to Nissan's testing which showed the '09 Maxima, equipped with the OEM engine, would get a better MPG with the CVT tranny than it would with a shifting tranny. And the 26 highway rating is based on federal test stipulations that are not truly applicable to the CVT. I am duplicating what several others here on the ORG have done, which is reach between 30 and 32 MPG on open interstates with this '09 Maxima and its redesigned CVT.

Anyone who has studied Physics extensively understands immediately that a well-designed CVT will better any shifting tranny in MPG, assuming everything else is the same (same car, same engine, same wheels, tires, etc).
Yes it is more efficient than the 5spd auto that they had previosuly. Im just pointing out that There are other V6's in the market w/ similar power, similar or better MPG. The Lexus V6 does not have the faults of the CVT since it is a 6 spd (nobody complains about lack of connection to the road or droning rpms when floored) and not to mention the V8 w/ 8 spd on the LS. Those cars are all getting best in class MPG and more people buy Lexus than any other Luxury brand. (just like the 09 max theres no shift shock)

And although i completely sound like a LExus fan boy lol Im trying to say that TO ME it seems like these 6,7, 8 speeds look like they will have better success than the CVT. (this is a response to everyone thinking CVT's will take over mainstream car tranny's)

BTW Ive had 33 MPG in my 04 on open Highways so i do believe the CVT can do much better...
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:26 PM
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Blackness,

All 3 of Lexus' hybrids use CVT. 1 V8, 2 V6's. Why wouldn't they use their other tranny in them?
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:01 PM
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I think that the Toyota 3.5 V6, the 2GR has a direct injection version, which would explain the better MPG's.

I'm not sold on the overall effect on MPG a CVT offers. Many recent 5 or more speed AT's have better MPG's then their MT counterparts because they offer a lower cruise RPM (taller final drive) than the MT versions. And these cars net better MPG's over the MT's while still using torque converters.

I think the Maxima's CVT provides a better overall drive while maintaing very good MPG's on a low tech engine (the VQ35 is getting long in the tooth, mainly no DI). There are so many variables, to pan one type of trans as being "better" is not possible.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Compusmurf View Post
Blackness,

All 3 of Lexus' hybrids use CVT. 1 V8, 2 V6's. Why wouldn't they use their other tranny in them?
Im not sure what ur asking...why wouldnt they the 6 spd? the camry hybrid is also a cvt but the gasoline versions are 6 spd auto and still get better mpg than the Max

Originally Posted by made in china View Post
I think the Maxima's CVT provides a better overall drive while maintaing very good MPG's on a low tech engine (the VQ35 is getting long in the tooth, mainly no DI). There are so many variables, to pan one type of trans as being "better" is not possible.
Couldnt have said it better my self. Alot of the new V6's are becomming more fuel efficient...especially compared to the 6th gen. But there are too many variables to consider

In our family of cars it sounds like the 09 max is much more fuel efficent than the VQ35DE or HR...
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:19 AM
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We are still falling into the trap of naming cars here, which brings in countless uncontrolled variables, and tells us absolutely nothing about the efficiency of the CVT.

We need to stop circling around the core truth: all else being equal, and assuming reliability factors will eventually (if not already) become equivalent, a tranny that can keep the rpms in a 'sweet' range without shifting will always be more efficient in both fuel economy and acceleration than a tranny that requires shifting, simply because it does not have those shift points, each of which is an instant where there is no acceleration taking place, but the engine is still running, using gas.

Adding a sixth, seventh and eighth speed to an automatic or manual tranny enables the driver to more easily put the rpms in the 'sweet spot' for what he is doing, which helps efficiency, but every time the tranny shifts, the car is using gas, but not accelerating.

The CVT clearly has the potential to outperform both automatic and manual trannies, and as it continues to improve, we will see more CVTs and less shifting trannies.

Nothing Einsteinian here; simply high school physics.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:24 AM
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2002 gle w/98k - no tranny probs at all.it's been maintained
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:13 PM
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It takes some getting used to for sure. In standard "D" mode the tranny feels like one long tall 1st gear. When I am with a client or on the highway I leave it in "D". I am impressed with the fuel mileage for such a big car and I thing CVT has something to do with that.

For around town driving, I put it in "Sport" or use the manumatic shifter. Nissan did a decent job of making the CVT feel like it is "shifting" in Sport and Manual modes. They did a better job with this than Audi for sure.

In Sport/Manual you will for sure feel some torque steer. I was getting on to a highway and floored it through the on-ramp. The damn steering wheel was wrestling with me the entire time until I left off.

For a daily driver, the CVT is just fine. Any more power and it would have to be a rear wheel drive car without CVT. Infiniti has that covered.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:21 PM
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I was skeptical of the new CVT on the 09 Maxima, but I bought it and I've loved it. It was a *little* weird at first not knowing what gear I was in (compared to other cars I've owned...I always know what gear the car is in even if it was an automatic). But once i got used to that fact, I've loved it. It's great on gas mileage, smooth as I was expecting, fast shifting when using the paddles, and if I need more rev/RPMs I just move the stick into the Sport position. The normal position tends to drop the RPMs way down in an attempt to save gas (which is great). So you'll want to use the "sport" position if you've got an itchy accelerator foot. ;-)
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:35 PM
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I just bought my Maxima about 4 days ago, and indeed the CVT was a bit unnerving. However, after a few days, I'm fully onboard. The car pulls in any gear; it never feels flat or otherwise "caught" in the wrong gear.

Now, it may be because my last car was a beater (Buick Regal, 4 speed auto, 200 hp V6), so my expectations are lower than those who have owned newer cars with more power.

I think Nissan's use of the CVT is smart. It is far more efficient than the automatics they've used previously. Considering that it's spreading throughout most of Nissan's FWD cars, I assume that it's also cost-friendly to build and perhaps fewer warranty repairs than the transmission it replaces.

If you're looking for a slightly more involving driving experience, may I introduce you to a slightly used G35, which probably can be had at the same price as a new Maxima.
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:34 AM
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Love it. Especially since the Max has noticeable torque steer (to me), so having as smooth a transmission as possible is a big thumbsup
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Old 05-07-2009, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BLACKNESS MONSTA View Post
I would have to disagree.

There are other cars with NO SHIFT SHOCK, SAME FUEL ECON OR BETTER AND SAME ACCELERATION OR BETTER.

A couple that come to mind rite away:

Lexus ES - fuel econ 26/39 MPG city/hwy
Lexus GS - fuel econ 26/38

(from lexus.ca)

09 Maxima - 26/37 MPG (nissan.ca)

There is no shift shock and the acceleration in both these cars is just as smooth as the Max and I believe the GS is quicker 0-60 and not to mention is RWD/AWD/Hybrid options w/303 HP

I personally hate lexus...imo too plain looking cars exept the IS series
But if ur gonna talk about EFFICIENT V6's then Lexus is still at the top

Dont get me wrong...I would take a 09 Max over an ES any day but facts are facts
You better check those numbers again...
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:25 PM
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I just had to take my Maxima into the shop today to check out a mysterious "whirr/whizz" sound coming from under the hood. It is pretty loud when the car is cold, and gets louder and louder as RPM increases. Once its warmed up it gets a bit quieter but is still very noticable. The sound is unmistakably the metal belt in the CVT. After a brief half-hour visit to the dealership, the service manager told me that it is indeed coming from the CVT and that he has set up an appointment with a Nissan Engineering rep to come check it out. Said he didn't want to commit to a $5k+ transmission replacement without some backing from higher up. I'm curious how this is all going to turn out. I got the Max in September - shes only got 9k miles on her. Up until now i've grown to like the CVT- I was one of the skeptics. Still can't beat a manual tho...
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by a33i30 View Post
No, the Z has never had a cvt, Nissan never put it in any rwd car.
Wrong. You can the CVT in the Skyline (ie G35/G37) over in Japan. They've been offering the CVT in that car since 2002.

Nissan makes the best CVT and they're fine for "basic" cars, but I don't see it being the future and I don't like driving them. To me, it sounds like a 15 y/o learning how to drive a manual up a hill. I like shift shock, the induction/exhaust note changes under acceleration, and having real gears. It just sounds so non-sporting when you mash the gas and the rpms rise and then hold. I think Nissan failed badly with this gen Maxima. The car is perfect other than the fact that a CVT is the only option. It should have a 6MT and 6AT available. It would be a seriously quick car (easily 14.0s, probably upper 13s) with either of those trannies. Too bad Nissah focused so much on this technology.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
Wrong. You can the CVT in the Skyline (ie G35/G37) over in Japan. They've been offering the CVT in that car since 2002.

Nissan makes the best CVT and they're fine for "basic" cars, but I don't see it being the future and I don't like driving them. To me, it sounds like a 15 y/o learning how to drive a manual up a hill. I like shift shock, the induction/exhaust note changes under acceleration, and having real gears. It just sounds so non-sporting when you mash the gas and the rpms rise and then hold. I think Nissan failed badly with this gen Maxima. The car is perfect other than the fact that a CVT is the only option. It should have a 6MT and 6AT available. It would be a seriously quick car (easily 14.0s, probably upper 13s) with either of those trannies. Too bad Nissah focused so much on this technology.


Dave - Like you, I grew up on manuals, then automatics. I associated CVTs with those little Dutch cars of long long ago that had what appeared to be to be a large rubber band as a tranny.

But times are changing. Fleet efficiency requirements are going to keep going up, and lab tests are confirming what basic science tells us; a tranny that does not have to have shift pauses is more efficient than one that does. As the CVT continues to improve, it will outperform shifting type trannies in both MPG and accelleration. We may not like it, but that is reality. Nissan said their testing indicated the CVT in this '09 outperforms either the manual or automatic trannies that could have been used.

There is one other change you may have missed: The affordable four-door sports sedan slot filled by the Maxima from the early 1980s until the early 2000s is now filled by the manual version of the 3.5 Altima. Nissan told us this in 2002, at which time they also told us the Maxima would be moved up to near-luxury, with more comprehensive appointments. They have done exactly that. This '09 looks sporty, but is not really intended to be a sports car.

I love this new Maxima, and have had many interesting hours watching and comparing the RPMs with MPH under all situations. I enjoy doing this. I also enjoy getting sround 30 MPG on open level freeways in a 3600 pound car with 290 HP. I seldom came close to that kind of performance with manual or automatic trannies in earlier, lighter, less-powerful Maximas. When we use the manual option available in this '09, the accelleration is not as good, and the MPG is not as good.

As to optional trannys, that is not economically practical on a car intended to sell only 70K copies. Tranny options are much more practical on a car intended to sell 250K copies, like the Altima. As for a manual in the Maxima - surely you are aware Nissan wasted money having a manual in the Maxima right through 2006, and nobody bought them. The last few years in which Nissan made manual Maximas, dealers would not take them, and when Nissan forced manuals on the dealers, they sat for months, and were eventually let go below cost.

Folks stopped buying manuals for many reasons. Manuals are worthless in commuting traffic that moves for hours at 5 to 10 MPH, which is getting to be the case in many areas these days. Drivers also have their hands full with cell phones, hamburgers, eye makeup, operating the navi, radio, CD player, etc, etc. Nissan was extremely wise to avoid that money-losing option with the 7th gen Maxima.
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:21 PM
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I was hesitant about buying a CVT when test driving the Maxima in September but it grows on you. You get high revs quickly and the CVT just applies that torque and the torque launches it down the road.
My wife and I took a long trip with our 2009 Maxima in October, was putting in at least 800 miles a day and after the 5000 mile round trip I have no complaints. It is a very capable and sophisticated car. I could drive a whole tank of gas without being sore or stiff.

Ford tried CVT with their Volvo-based Ford 500 but had manufacturing issues and cost issues reworking their mistakes, finally dropped the CVT as they were losing money on the option. Nissan has done a much better job in assembling their CVT.

Some manufacturers claim they get slightly better mileage with a 6 or 7 speed automatic but that claim is hard to quantify
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:07 AM
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I think, the 09 Maxima CVT is very responsive and smooth, much better than the 07-08 Maxima CVTs. Only thing is I wish it got better mpg in the hwy.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:52 AM
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My overall mileage is better than advertised but highway mileage has been less than I expected based on other owner's reports.. Mine won't get much over 27 mpg on the highway if driving 73-74 mph. It will do over 30 mpg at 60 mph but that isn't realistic for interstates. It feels like it's pushing a lot of air at higher speeds.

Bright spot is every tank has been 23.2 or above with an overall average of 24+ so I guess it all evens out.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lightonthehill View Post
But times are changing. Fleet efficiency requirements are going to keep going up, and lab tests are confirming what basic science tells us; a tranny that does not have to have shift pauses is more efficient than one that does. As the CVT continues to improve, it will outperform shifting type trannies in both MPG and accelleration. We may not like it, but that is reality. Nissan said their testing indicated the CVT in this '09 outperforms either the manual or automatic trannies that could have been used.
Of course Nissan will tell you their CVTs perform as good as their auto or manual counterparts I think they're full of it though because the Skyline 350GT CVT is significantly slower than the 6MT/5AT (about .4 second and 2mph).

If CVT technoology was the wave of the future, Benz would be heavily embracing it seeing that they are usually the ones to introduce and embrace technology way ahead of anyone else.

The biggest problem I have with the CVT is the complete lack of sportiness. The future of automatic trannies is not the CVT. The future is the new generation automatics that were recently introduced by Benz which don't have heavy, fluid-filled torque converters, but rather very lightweight electronic multi-disc dry TC's. Shift speed, both up and down, is greatly increased while maintaining superior reliability and power. These new Benz trannies behave just like sequential manuals, but without the complication or price. Removing 30lbs+ in rotational weight also increasing acceleration and effiency. Let's face, the CVT will never be able to back real high power/torque application.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
Of course Nissan will tell you their CVTs perform as good as their auto or manual counterparts I think they're full of it though because the Skyline 350GT CVT is significantly slower than the 6MT/5AT (about .4 second and 2mph).

If CVT technoology was the wave of the future, Benz would be heavily embracing it seeing that they are usually the ones to introduce and embrace technology way ahead of anyone else.

The biggest problem I have with the CVT is the complete lack of sportiness. The future of automatic trannies is not the CVT. The future is the new generation automatics that were recently introduced by Benz which don't have heavy, fluid-filled torque converters, but rather very lightweight electronic multi-disc dry TC's. Shift speed, both up and down, is greatly increased while maintaining superior reliability and power. These new Benz trannies behave just like sequential manuals, but without the complication or price. Removing 30lbs+ in rotational weight also increasing acceleration and effiency. Let's face, the CVT will never be able to back real high power/torque application.



The Maxima is not intended as a 'real high power/torque application' vehicle. It is built as a near-luxury family sedan with a sporting edge. It attempts to find a 'sweet spot' combination of performance, comfort, price and practicality. I will be disappointed if the Maxima goes much over 300 HP, and the CVT can handle that.

I hear those new Benz automatics are really good. But I still feel the CVTs may be less expensive to build. Two of the most important differences between Benz and Nissan are price and reliability. Those two things are at the top of my list, and, all things considered, Nissan currently has the edge in both.

Driving is very subjective. In the early 1950s, I laughed at the automatics of those days. My '49 Studebaker with manual shift made those slush boxes look feeble. By the mid-to-late 1950s, I found the automatics had improved greatly, and, although less fun to drive, were very effective.

I loved my 1978 200SX Datsun with 5 speed manual. But crawling along each workday morning and evening required over a thousand shifts, with top speeds seldom passing 20 MPH. At those speeds, the fun was just not there. So I changed to an automatic tranny Maxima, and adjusted my brain to accept the fact manuals were not as much fun in crawling congestion.

Now we have the CVT. My first thoughts when the '07 Maxima arrived (with no other tranny option) were not printable. I would not have bought an '07 or '08 Maxima. Reading of the experiences others here on the ORG reported, I found the CVT was not quite as bad as I had feared, and turned out to be reliable. But I still wasn't convinced.

But those early buyers of the '09 were finding the redesigned CVT to be a much better performer, so I decided to find out for myself. I have gradually adjusted to this newfangled CVT, and am actually enjoying watching it perform. I compare what it does in each situation with what I would have done in a manual, and there isn't a great difference.

If I wanted a sports car, and was still hung up on feeling the thrill and control of shifting for myself, I would not have considered the Maxima. But I frequently have four or five folks in the car, am almost never alone, and am using this thing for transportation with a little flair and elan. When on the open road, I have been known to 'let it hang out' somewhat, and this Maxima is great at that. I couldn't ask for a better overall fit.

This new CVT does its job very well, and I have prepared myself to let go of yet one more thing from my past: shifting for myself. Life is sometimes easier when we remain flexible.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:27 PM
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When I think about it, CVT's seem like the perfect transmission.

At full throttle, the motor can always be in the optimum power range.

I see no reason why they wont become mainstream, perhaps if they make them react a little faster.


I don't know, it could just be me, but the idea of a CVT just makes so much sense.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by lightonthehill View Post
When on the open road, I have been known to 'let it hang out' somewhat, and this Maxima is great at that. I couldn't ask for a better overall fit.
Please tell me WHERE in ATL you can "let it hang out" unless it's at 2am I feel your pain, I lived there for a short while. 45-60 minute commutes for an 11 mile drive was insane. LA traffic moves faster than ATL traffic.

This new CVT does its job very well, and I have prepared myself to let go of yet one more thing from my past: shifting for myself. Life is sometimes easier when we remain flexible.
I agree, it does it's job well and the new gen CVTs are much better. I have Altima S rentals all the time with the new CVTs. They're perfect for cruising, around town driving, etc. if you just want a smooth and quiet ride. However, in sporty car, I feel it's a let down. I just can't get over the motor drone as you're accelerating. I want to hear the gears. I know the CVT can emmulate that gears well, but usually the car is slower doing it that way. Even in that "manual mode", it doesn't rev like a nicely built auto or manual. So the CVT might be ideal for the Maxima, but it takes away from the sportiness of the car simply from a perception standpoint. Many sporty cars make sporty sounds even though it might not help performance at all. The same could be said for a nicely geared and responsive automatic in the Maxima.

With all this said, MOST current automatics absolutely blow. I rent tons of cars every year for work and I fully admit that most automatic are unresponsive, laggy, poorly geared, and feel totally disconnected. The 5AT in my G is a jewel. It has deep gearings, a small and efficent higher stall TC, and damn good shift programming. Many BMWs and some GM autos drive pretty good too. If all autos were laggy, like most are, I'd probably go with the CVT too.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:23 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
Please tell me WHERE in ATL you can "let it hang out" unless it's at 2am I feel your pain, I lived there for a short while. 45-60 minute commutes for an 11 mile drive was insane. LA traffic moves faster than ATL traffic.

I agree, it does it's job well and the new gen CVTs are much better. I have Altima S rentals all the time with the new CVTs. They're perfect for cruising, around town driving, etc. if you just want a smooth and quiet ride. However, in sporty car, I feel it's a let down. I just can't get over the motor drone as you're accelerating. I want to hear the gears. I know the CVT can emmulate that gears well, but usually the car is slower doing it that way. Even in that "manual mode", it doesn't rev like a nicely built auto or manual. So the CVT might be ideal for the Maxima, but it takes away from the sportiness of the car simply from a perception standpoint. Many sporty cars make sporty sounds even though it might not help performance at all. The same could be said for a nicely geared and responsive automatic in the Maxima.

With all this said, MOST current automatics absolutely blow. I rent tons of cars every year for work and I fully admit that most automatic are unresponsive, laggy, poorly geared, and feel totally disconnected. The 5AT in my G is a jewel. It has deep gearings, a small and efficent higher stall TC, and damn good shift programming. Many BMWs and some GM autos drive pretty good too. If all autos were laggy, like most are, I'd probably go with the CVT too.


In the Atlanta area, the only thing I 'let out' is an 'AAAARRRGGG' or two every mile. My 'fun' driving is usually on deserted back roads in the swamplands between the coast and piedmont of SC and GA, and very rural southwest AL. The REAL fun is when driving on 'farm-to-market' roads in southwest Texas, or back roads in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana. Back in the 1950s, I did some major speeding in New Mexico and Arizona (lived there), but traffic is thicker and enforcement is stronger there these days.

I was not on the ORG most of last week, because we took back roads to and from Surfside Beach (south of Myrtle Beach, and around 400 miles from where I live). We turned the heads of a few cows and buzzards. This '09 will flat purr.

I agree with you that the piped-in engine noise in the '09 is not realistic; more like a drone. I agree that the CVT damages the preception of the Maxima as a 'sporty' car with many folks. I also agree that the manual mode of this CVT serves little real-world purpose. I also agree there are some fine automatic trannies, but still remember some of the troubles I have had with them at times in the past.

I think the things that won me over with this '09 CVT were:
1 - If I'm easy on the pedal, the RPMs stay very low all the way up to freeway speed. That saves gas.
2 - Unlike earlier slow-to-rspond CVTs, this '09 responds to any action I take instantly; never any delay or hesitation, never any 'searching', and never any jerking or slippage. Always seems to choose the right RPMs.
3 - I find I am approaching 30 MPG on trips on sort of hilly interstates. I have the feeling that, on open, level interstates at 70 MPH, I could beat 30 MPG. In a 3600 pound car with 290 perky HP, that is very very good.

But I also realize there will be many folks who derive great satisfaction from manual shifting, and those folks have major mental and emotional adjustments to make if they are to truly love the CVT. Most will probably not advance beyond 'CVT tolerance.' I am fortunate that my very long life has required me to adjust to many things I did not particularly care for, so I had no real difficulty adapting to one more thing; the CVT.
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:39 AM
  #68  
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I'm a big fan of the CVT. The smoothness is by and large, without peer. The only downcheck I have after 30K miles is the (for me) relatively hi-speed disengagement to neutral when slowing for from highway speeds (although it seems to be more noticeable in "manual mode." It has taken me a while to get used to this (it seems it disengages around 15-20mph) when using the tranny to brake the car from highway speeds. The first time I almost went into to "panic mode!!!!!"

Thumbs up to Nissan for matching this tranny to the powerplant. It is going to take a lot to get me to go back to manual or traditional automatics after getting spoiled with the CVT.
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:32 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by LtLeary View Post
I'm a big fan of the CVT. The smoothness is by and large, without peer. The only downcheck I have after 30K miles is the (for me) relatively hi-speed disengagement to neutral when slowing for from highway speeds (although it seems to be more noticeable in "manual mode." It has taken me a while to get used to this (it seems it disengages around 15-20mph) when using the tranny to brake the car from highway speeds. The first time I almost went into to "panic mode!!!!!"

Thumbs up to Nissan for matching this tranny to the powerplant. It is going to take a lot to get me to go back to manual or traditional automatics after getting spoiled with the CVT.
I'm with the LT on this
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relatively hi-speed disengagement to neutral when slowing for from highway speeds (
I really noticed this yesterday but for as long as I have had my car I didn't really pay it much attention until I had my wife and daughter with me for the ride and it kinda scared my wife.

I do use the CVT to kinda "downshift" if you wanna call it that from DS to D mode when I'm coming down from faster speeds, I found that this kinda helps to take the scare away as the CVT in DS mode sounds so much more aggressive than in D mode.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:35 AM
  #70  
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My CVT was growing on me up until a few weeks ago. The squeeks, squeels and whines coming from under my hood got worse this weekend so I decided to bring her into the shop early (they had me scheduled to meet with the Nissan Engineer at the end of the month). Hopefully the problem is something stupid, not the whole transmission. That would be a shame on an 8 month old car...

Last edited by ANNINO; 05-12-2009 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BLACKNESS MONSTA View Post
I would have to disagree.

There are other cars with NO SHIFT SHOCK, SAME FUEL ECON OR BETTER AND SAME ACCELERATION OR BETTER.

A couple that come to mind rite away:

Lexus ES - fuel econ 26/39 MPG city/hwy
Lexus GS - fuel econ 26/38

(from lexus.ca)

09 Maxima - 26/37 MPG (nissan.ca)

There is no shift shock and the acceleration in both these cars is just as smooth as the Max and I believe the GS is quicker 0-60 and not to mention is RWD/AWD/Hybrid options w/303 HP

I personally hate lexus...imo too plain looking cars exept the IS series
But if ur gonna talk about EFFICIENT V6's then Lexus is still at the top

Dont get me wrong...I would take a 09 Max over an ES any day but facts are facts
The ES350 has shift shock like a fother mucker, my father has one, excellent car but no smooth transmission, in fact Toyota/Lexus has more then a few TSB out on the 6speed auto, and many have had transmissions replaced

The GS350 is nice, have not had enough seat time to judge the trans and shifting smoothness but I would not compare it to a Maxima, substantial price difference and rwd vs. fwd makes for a different buying crowd, and the Hybrid model comes with a CVT

09 Maxima is nice, most people don't know what a CVT is and have no idea the trans is any different, I've driven the 09 Maxima and compared to my 06, they are a lot alike, it feels like a smoother shifting 5speed auto
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:41 PM
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downshifting

I have a new 2009 maxima. When I'm cruising at around 30-35 mph and I floor the gas the transmission downshifts likes it has a passing gear. This also happens on the highway at higher speeds...you can actually feel the transmission as if it is shifting. Shouldn't the CVT transmisstion be smooth during hard acceleration.....Is this normal.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by caseymax View Post
I have a new 2009 maxima. When I'm cruising at around 30-35 mph and I floor the gas the transmission downshifts likes it has a passing gear. This also happens on the highway at higher speeds...you can actually feel the transmission as if it is shifting. Shouldn't the CVT transmisstion be smooth during hard acceleration.....Is this normal.
if you feel it shifting , that must mean you have it in Ds mode which is normal
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:04 PM
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When is it in the DS mode......is this the normal driving mode or the mode when you are using the paddle shifters? This condition occurs when it's in the normal driving mode.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by caseymax View Post
I have a new 2009 maxima. When I'm cruising at around 30-35 mph and I floor the gas the transmission downshifts likes it has a passing gear. This also happens on the highway at higher speeds...you can actually feel the transmission as if it is shifting. Shouldn't the CVT transmisstion be smooth during hard acceleration.....Is this normal.

You may be in Ds mode,

OR

If you mean the RPMs suddenly jump up (similar to dropping into a passing gear), then that is correct. The CVT is very quick to put the RPMs at the optimum point for the amount of acceleration you have requested (how far down you have mashed the gas pedal).

That is one of the beauties of the CVT. As soon as you ease pressure on the gas pedal to stop accelerating, the CVT immediately drops the RPMs back to a gas-sipping low level, without your having to do a thing.

In a way, the CVT is an automatic tranny with an infinite number of gears, and which does not have that little shift gap between gears at which time no acceleration is happening.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:13 PM
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How do you determine when it's in DS mode.....is this the normal driving mode or when you are manually shifting with the paddles. This condition occurs when you are in normal driving mode. Thanks

Last edited by caseymax; 10-12-2009 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by CT Maxima View Post
The CVT is unconventional to say the least. But it delivers on torque, mpg, and quick shifts. The issue seems to be it's idiosyncratic driving experience. A normal manual starts low in the rpm band and revs higher. The CVT starts high in the band and goes lower. It sounds almost like a slipping automatic tranny. It's off-putting and you may think you're driving a ricer.

But no, it is working just fine and does a wonderful job.

I got to learn more about these double clutch trannies.
Also compare it to a Diesel motor. Not much on top but it shifts up, rpms drops and thrusts you forward.
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by caseymax View Post
How do you determine when it's in DS mode.....is this the normal driving mode or when you are manually shifting with the paddles. This condition occurs when you are in normal driving mode. Thanks


The writeup on page 5-12 of the Owner's Manual, along with the diagram on page 5-13 of the Owner's Manual, explains this. The stalk of the gearshift handle rests in a 'double opening', in that there is a right side (which we call 'D' for Drive) and a left side (which we call 'Ds' for Drive, Sport mode).

If you have the stalk on the RIGHT edge of the opening, you are in 'D', and have Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive available. The confusion is caused by the fact the 'P', 'R', 'N' and 'D' denoting these positions are placed on the LEFT side of the double opening. Just pretend they are placed on the RIGHT side.

If you have the stalk over on the LEFT edge of the double opening, you are in 'Ds', which is essentially a manual mode, and all you have there is a + (plus) at the top and a - (minus at the bottom, and tapping the shift lever up or down has the effect of shifting a manual tranny up or down to the next 'gear.'

Play with this while you are moving fairly slowly on a flat, deserted street (or better, the empty end of a large parking lot), and it will all start to make sense.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:40 AM
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Just finished our first long trip in the Maxima (500 klics each way) and the CVT still leaves me scratching my head a bit. From launch it seems to take a second for the trans to decide what it wants to do. Sitting on cruise control at 110 to 120 kph and transitioning into a downhill, one gets the feeling that you've just driven off a cliff. I really thought perhaps the engine had stalled and had to check the tach. Road speed never varied though. It's a little unnerving. I've also noticed the sound, like the gyro winding down on a small plane, when you park. Figured it was the CVT. Neighbour's son has a two year old Altima with over 50K on it (sales rep) and CVT has not coughed at all. Not convinced they will take over the world though. I would still prefer to row my own but the second person driving this car refuses to drive a manual and given that I like being married....
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:38 AM
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I've actually been impressed with this CVT trans. After reading reviews about CVTs in general I was preparing to be disappointed during the test drive. It seems to be a little lazy when just cruising around but I think that's to help gas mileage. Once on the gas I find that it's pretty responsive. Actually, it's the most responsive auto I've ever driven. And the trans "shifts" almost immediately when using the paddles which is pretty cool. Since I wouldn't want a manual in a sedan, I think this trans is great at giving a sporty feel in Ds and manual mode. When I feel like shifting I just jump in the Z.
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