Ever since CVTs gained in popularity in the mid-2010s, Hyundai has been at the forefront of both the development and manufacturing of CVT transmissions. Like many other major automotive brands (Nissan, Honda, Toyota…), Hyundai has realized the potential of CVT transmission both from the aspect of performance and efficiency. CVT transmissions offer seamless acceleration without any loss of engine power, fuel, and disturbances. Their design is also much simpler, smaller and lighter compared to a standard hydraulic transmission or a direct-shift DSG transmission. This makes them the perfect choice for both small commuter cars and also bigger cars such as crossover SUVs.
I don’t like long content, here’s a recap:
- Hyundai used to have many CVT-related problems, especially low-mileage CVT failures. Most of these issues were resolved in late 2020. Hyundai’s IVT CVT transmission is considered highly reliable.
- Read our article about the most common CVT transmission problems to see what can go wrong with a CVT transmission.
- The most important thing to keep a CVT transmission running without problems is replacing the CVT transmission fluid.
Enough about the benefits of the Hyundai CVT transmission, let’s get into the most common Hyundai CVT transmission problems.
Are Hyundai CVT transmissions reliable?
Based on our research and the owner’s testimonials provided below, we believe that yes, Hyundai’s CVT transmission is among the most reliable CVT transmission on the market today. Their chain belt system fitted to the IVT CVT transmission also improves the chances of long-term transmission problems such as slipping and other power delivery issues.
Like all transmissions, and especially CVT transmissions, Hyundai’s own CVT is not without faults. We will discuss both problems with Hyundai’s first versions of the CVT transmission and the latest IVT or Intelligent Variable Transmission CVT problems. One thing we do want to point out is the fact that Hyundai really stays true to its warranty. We have never seen such positive comments from owners with Hyundai CVT problems in relation to them getting their CVT replaced or fixed without additional questions from Hyundai.
Common problems with Hyundai CVT transmissions
We have divided this section into two subsections due to the fact that Hyundai released a major update to their CVT transmission for the 2020 model year cars. They announced that “update” with a name change, the IVT or Intelligent Variable Transmission is the latest and greatest of Hyundai’s CVT technology but even that does not mean they are without problems.
Pre-2020 Hyundai CVT transmission problems
There is not a lot of information to be found about the early pre-IVY Hyundai CVT problems. There were however occurrences of very early complete transmission failures. Although rare, Hyundai made sure that the affected units were replaced and fixed under warranty. This seems to be a much better tactic than that of Nissan which sparked numerous lawsuits. The early versions of the Hyundai CVTs also featured metallic plated belts instead of a chain belt. That led to more cases of CVT transmission slipping and causing delayed or unwanted engagement. The large majority of owners who took good care of their CVTs experienced little to no problems with their Hyundai CVT. The maintenance of a CVT mainly comes down to regular transmission fluid changes which are crucial for long-term transmission reliability.
2020 Hyundai IVT transmission problems
In 2019 Hyundai introduced and rolled out the first Hyundai Accent and Hyundai Elantra with the new SmartStream IVT CVT transmission. The main change between the IVT CVT and those before was the implementation of the chain belt that connects the pulleys and ensures smooth and reliable power delivery while minimizing the chances of slippage and jerking of the CVT. And while this was a great step toward the much-needed reliability of the CVT transmission, the IVT did not come without problems.
In the first year of the release, many owners experienced a complete failure of the SmartStream IVT CVT transmission. As you can see in this forum thread and by looking at NHTSA complaints, the majority of the IVT Hyundai CVT transmission problems occurred before the cars reached 10,000 miles. Those owners who passed the 10,000 or 20,000-mile mark seemed to have no problems with their CVT transmission. Hyundai was very straightforward about this issue and replaced all the IVT transmissions that failed, no questions asked. The scariest thing about these Hyundai CVT problems was the fact that many IVT gearboxes failed while driving. This led to a complete loss of power and deceleration that could potentially endanger the passengers if it happened on the highway. Many owners also experienced the same exact complete failure two times in a row and Hyundai still replaced the transmissions without a question.
In late 2020, the issue with the CVT was recognized and resolved. Hyundai issued a technical service bulletin 20-01-047H for the Hyundai Elantra which recalled vehicles with the IVT CVT transmission and they performed a transmission control unit update and in some cases where damage has already been caused, they replaced the entire CVT unit.
Since then, there have been very few problems with the IVT transmission despite the public’s doubt that a software fix was going to resolve the issue. A Kia Soul forum user called “bwdz75” who is Kia certified technician (Kia’s have the same IVT transmission as Hyundai) confirmed that the CVT update did in fact resolve the issues by stating that since the 2020 recall, complete IVT CVT transmission replacements were a thing of the past and that they rarely see any problems with these Hyundai CVT transmissions. The only ones still having problems are owners who ignored their call for the recall service.
Who makes Hyundai’s CVT (IVT) transmissions?
Hyundai CVT transmissions are made by Hyundai Transys which is a Hyundai Motor Group company. This means that Hyundai makes and develops its own CVT transmissions.
What is Hyundai IVT?
Hyundai IVT stands for Intelligent Variable Transmission which is Hyundai’s brand name for their CVT or continuously variable transmission. The IVT successfully replicates the feeling of gear shifting with a classic automatic transmission, it improves fuel economy and reduces engine power loss. It features a chain belt system to improve power delivery and reduce the chances of slippage and jerky gear shifts.
Frequently asked questions
Is Hyundai Shiftronic a CVT transmission?
No, Hyundai’s Shiftronic is not a CVT transmission. It is a conventional automatic transmission with the optional override position of the shift lever where the driver can manually upshift or downshift the gears.
Does Hyundai have CVT transmissions?
Yes, in fact, Hyundai is one of the rare car manufacturers that make and features all 4 variants of transmissions: direct-shift/dual-clutch, hydraulic automatic transmissions, manual transmissions, and CVT transmissions which Hyundai calls “IVT”.
Which Hyundai cars have CVT transmissions?
These are the current Hyundai vehicles with the IVT CVT transmission: Hyundai Venue, Hyundai i20, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Creta, and Hyundai Accent.
Hyundai does two things right:
- Despite their bold 10-year/100,000 miles warranty, they stay true to their word despite experiencing a large number of complete transmission replacements. Their warranty is legit.
- They constantly seek areas where improvements can be made. The fact that their IVT CVT transmission features a chain belt system shows their dedication to a future where CVT transmission is not considered complete junk.
If you are in the market for a Hyundai, there is nothing you should be afraid of when choosing a CVT transmission. If you would like to use your CVT transmission for towing, the IVT should be a great choice due to the use of the chain belt. Read more about towing with a CVT transmission. If you are interested in how Hyundai’s CVT transmission ranks compared to other brands CVT’s, check out our list of the top 5 best CVTs on the market today.