- CVTs can compensate for changing vehicle speeds, allowing the engine speed to remain at its level of peak efficiency. This improves fuel economy and by effect, exhaust emissions.
- CVTs operate smoothly since there are no gear changes which cause sudden jerks.
- Very few problems have been reported with the CVT transmission, lowering the cost of ownership.
- There are 25% fewer moving parts to a CVT transmission.
- They are also cheaper, but still expensive to repair.
- The fluids do not have to be changed as often as in an automatic transmission.
- CVTs operate smoothly and efficiently, without spending energy to jerk the car during a shift. This can give a perception of low power, because many drivers expect a jerk when they begin to move the vehicle. However, the expected jerk of a non-CVT can be emulated by CVT control software, thus eliminating this marketing problem.
- Since the CVT keeps the engine turning at constant RPM over a wide range of vehicle speeds, pressing on the accelerator pedal will make the car move faster but doesn't change the sound coming from the engine as much as a conventional automatic transmission gear-shift. This confuses some drivers and, again, leads to an impression of a lack of power. This can be considered a disadvantage if the driver desires to hear the engine change tone.
- CVT torque-handling capability is limited by the strength of their transmission medium (usually a belt or chain), and by their ability to withstand friction wear between torque source and transmission medium (in friction-driven CVTs). CVTs in production prior to 2005 are predominantly belt- or chain-driven and therefore typically limited to low-powered cars and other light-duty applications. Units using advanced lubricants, however, have been proven to support any amount of torque in production vehicles, including that used for buses, heavy trucks, and earth-moving equipment.