Hyundai CVT Transmission Problems Include Below Average Reliability And Sudden Loss Of Power - Vehicle History (2023)

Cameron Aubernon

18. April 2022

Hyundai's SmartStream IVT CVT solves a major problem by replacing the metal belt with a chain belt system. But is that enough to overcome the problems owners initially experienced with the new CVT?

Hyundai CVT Transmission Problems Include Below Average Reliability And Sudden Loss Of Power - Vehicle History (1)

key points

  • Hyundai introduced SmartStream IVT CVT in 2020 on models like Elantra and Accent.
  • The SmartStream IVT CVT uses a belt system instead of traditional metal belts, eliminating the possibility of slippage and improving power delivery.
  • However, as with all new technology, some owners have had teething problems with the CVT, including a sudden loss of power.
  • CVTs have a reputation for reliability issues. However, it's still too early to tell if Hyundai's CVT might be one of the few to beat the odds.

Hyundai offers a new version of the traditional CVT with SmartStream IVT chain drive unit

The continuously variable transmission, or CVT, is a type of non-manual transmission that has appeared on many models from different automakers over the past decade. Nissan has almost completely replaced the traditional automatic with its brand Xtronic CVT across its range.

Unlike traditional cars, the CVT distributes power via a pair of pulleys connected by a belt, improving efficiency and providing a smoother driving experience as there is no need to change gears.

However, the CVT belt is one of the main weaknesses of a CVT. When Hyundai entered its own unit, the SmartStream IVT, in 2020, it finished the belt. Instead, a chain belt connects the two power distribution pulleys on the brand's SmartStream line of motors.

AccordinglyAutomatically, the so-called “intelligent variable transmission” uses the tension in the chain “to adjust the pulley diameter, eliminating slippage and improving power output”.

Hyundai CVT Transmission Problems Include Below Average Reliability And Sudden Loss Of Power - Vehicle History (2)

Though rumored to be more reliable, Hyundai's new CVT has teething problems

Some disadvantages of the CVT are constant belt hum when distributing power and the possibility of slippage as the belt passes over the pulleys. Also of concern is Nissan's bad reputation for its CVTs, which tend to overheat.

With Nissan being the standard bearer for CVT adoption, the automaker's woes are casting a shadow over other manufacturers' CVT units, even if those units don't compare (for better or for worse) to Nissan's.

Hyundai claims its belt-driven SmartStream IVT is a stronger and more durable unit than traditional CVTs. The CVT can be found in select Hyundai models including the Accent and Elantra as well as the 2022 Kona and Santa Cruz, so data on the new CVT is still being collected.

The data released so far about the reliability of the Hyundai CVT indicates some teething problems. About itRedditForumr/Hundai,Owner Elantra 2020They were stuck on the freeway due to "an internal fault in the transmission" and experienced large RPM fluctuations.

On the other hand, among the 18 complaints filed by consumerscar complaintsAbout the 2020 Hyundai Elantra, 17 of them relate to a CVT issue ranging from “sudden uncontrolled acceleration” to random power loss on the freeway.

Hyundai CVT Transmission Problems Include Below Average Reliability And Sudden Loss Of Power - Vehicle History (3)

Will Hyundai's innovative CVT overcome early failures?

As noted above, Nissan's widespread adoption and promotion of the CVT, and the company's consequent problems with its own version of the transmission, did little to bring other manufacturers' CVTs to the attention of the general public.

Hyundai's entry into the field aims to improve the reputation of the CVT in general, mainly through the use of a chain belt instead of a steel rubber belt.

Although the new technology had shortcomings early on, they have not drawn the attention of watchdogs like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during recalls.

Perhaps the SmartStream IVT can transcend Nissan's dark shadow to set a course to improve the reputation of many consumers' least favorite non-manual transmission.

Photos: Hyundai

Frequently Asked Questions

VonStephanie Stephan| 18. April 2022

Who makes Hyundai's CVT transmission?

Hyundai Motor Group produces its own CVT, MT, DCT (dual clutch), AMT (automatic manual transmission) and four/five/six/eight speed automatic transmissions in South Korea through its sister company Hyundai Transys. Hyundai Transys merged with Hyundai Powertech and Hyundai DYMOS in 2019.

Are Hyundai automatic transmissions reliable?

11% of all Hyundai complaints concern the performance of the brand's transmission. Hyundai recalled its seven-speed DCT/dual-clutch transmission for 41,000 2016 Tucsons and settled a class action lawsuit covering 135,000 automatic transmissions for the 2017 Elantra Eco, 2017 Sonata Eco, 2016-2017 Tucson and 2016 Veloster Turbo.

owner comments

MessageEdit Write a comment

Microphone d on December 3, 2021

2017 Veloster with gear misfires, reverse parking, reverse neutral.

The readout on the screen said the transmission was overheating, although I had all my fluids and hadn't driven it much since it only came out of the shop a day. The second most dangerous problem was that every now and then when I put it into reverse from a cold start it wouldn't reverse and appeared neutral (idling with no acceleration of motion when the pedal is pressed). If I put it in park at other times, having come from somewhere, it won't turn on, but behaves as if I put it in reverse (active throttle pulls backwards unless you have throttle ), which is extremely dangerous. There have been numerous reports of DCT issues the Veloster is having.

knox am 5. November 2021

That must be illegal!!!

You'll take it for a test drive and feel a little weird with the manual-shift automatic transmission, but no big deal, right? I'm just getting used to it, but it's a lot worse. The transmission in this car prioritizes its own longevity over the safety of the people inside. If you step on the gas pedal, he may or may not hear you. Even if you turn all traction and stability controls completely off, the transmission still tries to think for you... but it can't react to the environment the way you would.

Tabitha on February 10, 2023

transmission problem

I cleaned my transmission on my 2016 Elantra only to find out it was an electronic transmission. Right after the dealer washed the transmission it wouldn't turn off. I was then told I would need an entry/exit sensor and harness shaft upon return. I was eventually told that a new gearbox was needed. It cost me a total of 3300 in Jason Pilgrim Hyuandi

dan garrett am 8. April 2022

Double gearbox/clutch

The problem is the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. From a stop it will shake and shake until it picks up speed. The dealer servicing this vehicle claims the problem is "unsolvable". Another statement they made is "all Tucsons do it," as if that justified it. Don't buy a Tucson if it has a dual-clutch transmission. It's a real problem for us and the Hyundai is difficult to drive.

Arm am 1. August 2021

transmission problems

I have a 2019 Santa Fe, 10,000 miles. Transmission is choppy, especially on startup and for a few miles. It has a turbo engine and sounds like a diesel at 1500 rpm. vibration problems. It was at 4 dealers and they don't know what it is. Does anyone else have these problems? I guess I stayed with the 6 cylinder. That has to be the worst transmission I've ever driven and I got my driver's license in 1965.

Anna m am 09.08.2021

I hate my car and probably won't buy another Hyundai again.

It has a dual clutch transmission and I hate it because it squeaks and jerks when you shift gears. I have an appointment with a Hyundai dealer near me to get a software update to fix this issue. I've had the car twice now for this issue but they keep telling me the car shifts like this because of the dual clutch transmission.

Gerry Boyle on March 13, 2022


Has anyone experienced a hard downshift with the gearbox in this car? It reportedly has that intuitive transmission that adapts to the driver. With almost every oil change I have to reset the transmission to factory settings because of a hard downshift. I wish they could turn off that intuitive setup because otherwise we like the car.

Manic mechanic am 09.09.2022

We weren't prepared for that.

The CVT transmission is still regularly improved. This even includes Nissan. These are the transmissions they use today. If I drive my 100,000 km, I'm satisfied. Time will tell but I think they will struggle. All CVTS have issues, but that's all we have for now

jaclyn s am 19. November 2021

The car has plenty of space in the front and back.

Engine and transmission problems. Very comfortable and safe but I had engine issues and Hyundai is very unprofessional in dealing with issues I had with my car. Functions are also fundamental in the car. I wouldn't recommend Hyundai.

stop there am 26. September 2021

gear shift

Then it ended with a new transmission. Mine rattled a lot, especially early in the morning. I had to park at the dealership overnight (keep the key) and then go there and ask them to turn on the computer and ride with me. It took two or three times to diagnose.

directly l on February 27, 2022

None to highlight.

Engine recall, the transmission was out of gas to replace every dry engine that had ever turned up in the middle of the road without warning. I will never buy a car from them again. Terrible car made recommended. Customer service junk is just trying to use people.

Asunta Sandrasagra am 13. September 2021

Changed gearbox so quickly

I bought a new Sonata in 2016. The first year has problems. They changed the gearbox in the first year, it took 6 months to get the parts. Every year I change the transmission at the dealer. I switched three times. stream.

Ron Bermann am 13. April 2022

See, when you step on the gas, it doesn't say double clutch

I can't wait for the 2018 Tucson to come off the lease with the "new" dual clutch. This car is a death trap. should have been called back due to known transmission problems. Don't do that, don't own a dual clutch Hyundai.

jessica w on February 19, 2022

A nice little car that drives and looks classy.

Complete 80,000 miles in two years. The transmission clutch was replaced and now the transmission continues to have problems. I would recommend getting a sample so you don't have any trouble with it.

Donna on June 27, 2021

Two big problems in 4 years...

However, the 2016 Sport just had the transmission replaced, which cost us $700 to do the job, and now our engine needs to be replaced. Stuck on the freeway. What's going on at Hyundai?

shy w on December 3, 2021

Would not recommend for new buyers or executives, see above for details.

It now has electrical problems with the gearbox and the brakes come off easily, I don't think I'll need to buy new ones especially as I'm 2 and it's 2016.

Brian on December 19, 2021

will own no other

The shifting processes of the transmission last until they are fully engaged. I can understand why people have problems. - Thanks to the gearbox, the engine always turns at the lowest speed that the 2.4 lacks the power.

Seen am 1. August 2021

friend car

I changed the 7k gear oil earlier, has it turned brown yet? Written complaint received, car will be a lemon, future buyers BEWARE. The shape of the Veloster

Candi B on March 30, 2022

1 bad feature ruins the whole car.

It has a dual-clutch transmission that makes the car rock violently when braking. Otherwise the car is a great car. Sporty, beautiful and easy to drive.

amanda h on February 21, 2022

It gives me the feeling of being in a racing car, it can be driven in manual or automatic mode.

The turbo is pretty good, but the gearbox has been removed so shifting gears can sometimes make the car shake.

jay un am 30. September 2021

Hyundai Sonata - get what you pay for.

slow collection; Sometimes the transmission hangs. Reliable and gas efficient.

i will be wrong am 6. April 2022

transmission via warming

Too bad my new N-Line 2020 gearbox is getting too hot!

Cameron Aubernon

Former fashion blogger Cameron Aubernon's journey into automotive journalism began in the early 1910s when she began contributing to various automotive publications including Ford Authority, Hagerty, Ride Apart and Street Trucks. She was also the managing editor of a short-lived online social publication in Louisville, Kentucky; Intern at the city's NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM; and was the de facto resident publicist for a community art space near the University of Louisville. Aubernon is a member of the International Motoring Press Association and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

  • Article
  • Problems with Hyundai's CVT transmission include reduced reliability and a sudden loss of power

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Last Updated: 12/23/2022

Views: 5900

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gov. Deandrea McKenzie

Birthday: 2001-01-17

Address: Suite 769 2454 Marsha Coves, Debbieton, MS 95002

Phone: +813077629322

Job: Real-Estate Executive

Hobby: Archery, Metal detecting, Kitesurfing, Genealogy, Kitesurfing, Calligraphy, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Gov. Deandrea McKenzie, I am a spotless, clean, glamorous, sparkling, adventurous, nice, brainy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.