Explained: the difference between Automatic & CVT cars

Confused around all the different options available when it comes to choosing an automatic car? Don't worry - you're not alone! 

Whilst an Automatic and CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)​ car will provide a similar driving experience there are a number of differences between the 2. Many of us aren't entirely sure what these differences are, how the transmissions work and what they mean for your day-to-day driving. In this blog we break it down in simple terms to help you with this transmission maze and make an informed choice for your next car.

Automatic vs. CVT

Put it into simple terms, a CVT and an automatic car are the same when it comes to driving with the differences coming in the workings of the transmission itself. A CVT uses two pulleys connected via a steel band, rather than employing fixed gears as in a standard automatic. With a CVT there are no set gear ratios so a CVT is, in effect, a single-speed unit with an infinite number of gear ratios.

Just as with a standard automatic car, there is no clutch pedal in a CVT so when it comes to the actual driving, there are no differences. It also means you can drive a CVT with an automatic-only UK driving licence.

CVT vs. Traditional Automatic Transmission: pros & cons

Let's take a look at how the different transmissions compare when it comes to driveability and other aspects such as running costs.

Smoothness: CVT offers seamless gear shifts, providing a continuous and smooth acceleration without the noticeable gear changes of traditional automatic transmissions. In comparison, traditional automatic transmissions use a set number of gears, causing noticeable shifts during acceleration.

Reduced Noise: If a serene cabin environment is a priority for you, CVT is the way to go. CVT operates with minimal noise, ensuring a quiet ride, especially during highway cruising. Traditional automatic transmissions, on the other hand, can produce more noticeable shifts, which may contribute to increased cabin noise. 

Fuel Efficiency: CVT shines in terms of fuel efficiency. It adjusts the engine's power to the driving conditions more efficiently, resulting in improved fuel economy compared to traditional automatic transmissions, which often have fixed gear ratios that may not be as adaptable.

Responsive Performance: If you prefer a more engaging and responsive driving experience, CVT is a solid choice. CVT responds quickly to your driving inputs, seamlessly adjusting the transmission to provide the power you need. Traditional automatic transmissions may have slight delay during gear changes, which can affect the overall responsiveness.

Versatility: CVT's adaptability shines in various driving conditions. It can optimise both power and efficiency, whether you're navigating busy city streets or taking on rugged terrains. Traditional automatic transmissions, while reliable, may not offer the same level of versatility in terms of adapting to different driving scenarios.

CVT vs. Traditional Automatic Transmission: explore the options

We understand that driving should be a seamless, enjoyable experience. That's why we've got a great choice of automatic cars designed to elevate your driving pleasure to a whole new level.

Explore the Suzuki & Subaru ranges with a great choice of new & used cars available across our Colin Appleyard dealerships.

Join us as we explore each model, highlighting their unique features and benefits.


From the agile Swift to the adventurous Vitara, the stylish S-Cross, the eco-friendly ACROSS, and the compact Ignis, and the versatile Swace, our Suzuki automatic cars are here to redefine your everyday driving experience. 

Suzuki Swift:

The Swift is a sporty hatchback with a youthful design.

Dynamic Design: The Swift features a sleek exterior with bold contours and a distinctive front grille.

Infotainment: It offers a user-friendly infotainment system with touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Safety: The Swift is equipped with advanced safety features as standard like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

CVT: The CVT transmission ensures seamless gear changes, enhancing the Swift's fuel efficiency and making it an excellent choice for city driving.

Suzuki Ignis:

The Ignis is a compact urban crossover with a unique and eye-catching design.

Infotainment: The infotainment system includes a touchscreen display with navigation and smartphone connectivity.

Safety: The Ignis offers a range of safety features designed to enhance occupant protection and overall safety. These features commonly include multiple airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control, hill hold control, traction control system, brake assist, and a rearview camera for parking assistance.

Efficiency: The lightweight design contributes to fuel efficiency, making it an excellent choice for city driving.

CVT: The CVT transmission in the Ignis ensures a smooth and efficient city driving experience, ideal for navigating busy streets.

Suzuki Vitara:

The Vitara is a compact SUV with a blend of urban sophistication and off-road capability.

All-Wheel Drive: The Vitara offers optional all-wheel drive for improved traction in challenging conditions.

Safety: It features advanced safety technologies, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment: The infotainment system includes a large touchscreen display with smartphone connectivity.

CVT: The CVT transmission in the Vitara ensures precise control and efficient power distribution, making it versatile for both urban and off-road adventures.

Suzuki S-Cross:

The S-Cross is a spacious crossover SUV designed for comfort and convenience.

Premium Interior: It boasts a premium cabin with quality materials and ample passenger and cargo space.

Infotainment: The infotainment system includes a touchscreen display with navigation and smartphone integration.

Safety: The S-Cross offers advanced safety features all as standard, including Lane Departure Warning and Blind-Spot Monitoring to assist with safe lane changes. Additionally, the S-Cross offers Rear Cross-Traffic Alert for safer reversing.

CVT: The CVT transmission in the S-Cross provides a refined and responsive driving experience, adapting seamlessly to different driving conditions.

Suzuki Swace:

The Swace is a hybrid estate car, emphasizing practicality, efficiency, and comfort. It comes with all the spec & tech you could ask for included as standard & an upgraded hybrid system to deliver 62.7miles to the gallon

Hybrid Efficiency: It features a hybrid powertrain for improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Spacious Interior: The Swace offers a generous cargo area and comfortable seating for passengers.

Advanced Safety: The Swace includes a range of advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist which come as as standard!

CVT: The CVT transmission optimises the hybrid system's performance, resulting in a quiet and efficient driving experience, making it an excellent choice for eco-conscious drivers.

Suzuki ACross:

The ACross is the first of Suzuki's line-up offering a Plug-In Hybrid system which achieves an outstanding 282mpg!

Hybrid Powertrain: It features a hybrid powertrain for reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency.

Comfort: The ACross offers a comfortable ride and a spacious interior with high-quality materials.

Safety: It includes a suite of driver-assistance systems, such as Pre-Collision System (collision warning & automated braking, Lane Tracing Assist including steering assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, eCall, Road Sign Assist, Blindspot monitor and Rear-cross-traffic alert.

CVT: The CVT in the ACross optimises fuel efficiency by seamlessly blending petrol and electric power, contributing to its eco-conscious design.


We've delved into the remarkable features and benefits of Suzuki's versatile line-up, highlighting their prowess on the road above. So now, let's pivot our focus to Subaru, a brand renowned for its commitment to adventure, safety, and innovation.

Subaru's automatic cars, including the Outback, XV, All-Electric Solterra, and Forester models, are designed to elevate your driving experience to new heights. We're about to embark on a journey through this exceptional line-up, uncovering the unique advantages and cutting-edge features that define each model. From versatile SUVs to eco-friendly electric vehicles, Subaru has something special in store for every driver.

Subaru Outback

Versatile: The Subaru Outback combines the practicality of an SUV with the driving comfort of a saloon. It's perfect for families and adventurers alike.

Effortless: The CVT transmission in the Outback ensures smooth gear shifts and maximizes power delivery, making every drive enjoyable.

Tech-Savvy: Loaded with advanced technology, the Outback offers features like the STARLINK multimedia system, available navigation, and a spacious infotainment display for ultimate convenience.

Impressive Cargo Space: The Outback boasts generous cargo space, making it perfect for road trips, outdoor adventures, and daily errands.

Subaru XV

Compact yet Spacious: The XV is compact enough for city driving but offers ample interior space for passengers and cargo.

Adaptive CVT: The CVT transmission in the XV guarantees a hassle-free driving experience, making stop-and-go traffic a breeze.

Safety First: Subaru's commitment to safety shines in the XV with its impressive crash-test ratings and standard EyeSight technology. Features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist make your journey safer.

All-Weather Confidence: The XV's symmetrical all-wheel drive provides exceptional traction in all road conditions, giving you peace of mind on your travels.

Subaru All-Electric Solterra

Eco-Friendly: As Subaru's first all-electric vehicle, the Solterra boasts zero emissions, making it an environmentally responsible choice.

Instant Torque: Electric power combined with the CVT transmission delivers instant torque, ensuring responsive acceleration.

Long-Lasting: The Solterra's electric drivetrain is designed for longevity, providing peace of mind for years to come thanks to it's 3 year Warranty plus 8 years cover on the Battery and Electric Drive Units.

Smart Cabin: Enjoy a sophisticated cabin with cutting-edge tech, including a high-resolution touchscreen, advanced voice control, and connectivity features that keep you connected on the go.

Convenient Charging: The Solterra offers fast-charging capabilities, allowing you to get back on the road quickly after charging stops.

Subaru Forester

Adventure-Ready: The Subaru Forester is designed for those who seek adventure. Its symmetrical all-wheel drive ensures optimal traction and control, making it perfect for off-road excursions.

Efficiency: With the CVT transmission, the Forester delivers a seamless and efficient driving experience, resulting in improved fuel economy.

Safety: Subaru's Eye-Sight Driver Assist Technology, available in the Forester, enhances safety with features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.

Spacious Comfort: The Forester offers a spacious and comfortable interior with ample cargo space, making it perfect for family trips or outdoor adventures.

Impressive Ground Clearance: With impressive ground clearance, the Forester can handle rugged terrain while maintaining a smooth ride on the highway.

Drive Away Today!

We're excited to announce that we have a wide selection of automatic models in stock, ready for immediate delivery!

This exclusive opportunity ensures that you can get behind the wheel of your dream car without delay. Whether you're looking for a city cruiser, an adventure companion, or an eco-friendly choice, we have you covered!

Visit your local Colin Appleyard dealership today to explore our range of automatic cars.