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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the 1.3T is a no brainer for me, and I'd take a 200hp engine if they offered it, but I'm torn on whether CVT FWD or 9-Speed AWD is better.

Its hard to tell on short test drives, and Sofyan on his TB review oddly said that he preferred the CVT FWD over the 9-Speed AWD for everyday tooling about.

Anyone spent much time with either and can weigh in, and what about from a reliability standpoint? I know Nissan is having non-stop problems with their CVTs for years with premature failures, and Hyundai/Kia for 2020/21 MY have a ton of failures with their IVT (a type of CVT), but what about the one used in the TB? Is it used in any other vehicle to give it some kind of track history?

Also, I can't seem to find anyone that has drag raced a CVT FWD vs a 9-speed AWD to see if there's a 0-60mph difference. CVT FWD should be lighter, but the 9-speed I see has a near 10:1 spread on gear ratio so maybe can launch harder. Hmmm...
 

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It's intesting that all models show 0-60 in 9.4 sec and 1/4 mile in 17.1 sec. I know in FWD the little 3cyl can light up 1 tire, but not in AWD which was expected. I personally don't like CVT's which is why I traded a 2016 Corolla S for the Trailblazer. The 9spd works good and has predictable upshifts and downshift.
 
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Im in a different camp. I had an old Dodge Caliber that had a CVT in it and i loved it. i put over 300k miles on it with no transmission trouble. I really wish i could have had the best of both worlds, AWD with CVT. But so far i am quite pleased with the 9 speed in my RS.
 

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This is my first CVT vehicle. I was apprehensive getting it since I always hear such bad things about CVTs, but I honestly don't know why people don't like them. I really like it. I don't notice anything negative about it, and if I didn't know any better I would assume it was a typical transmission.
 

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I live in the northeast so an AWD was a must have. I did have a first gen 2008 Nissan Rogue with a 170hp motor and a CVT tranny. I Never had any problems with the CVT in the Rogue (maybe I was just lucky) so if they offered the AWD with the CVT, I wouldn’t have hesitated getting it.
Interesting that you mentioned the performance. I haven’t timed my car but I see that Car&Driver gives a time of 9.4 while MotorWeek gives a time of 8.7 for the Encore GX, which is as far I can tell is mechanicals identical. There is also a YouTube video where a guy clocks a 7.8 second 0-60 with a 1.3 9 speed Trailblazer.
 

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0-60 in 8.7 is what GM advertises. 9.4 is what several reviews show, with some even going as slow as 10. 7.8 is pretty good.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
0-60 in 8.7 is what GM advertises. 9.4 is what several reviews show, with some even going as slow as 10. 7.8 is pretty good.
Makes you wonder if its because of what trim they were testing, if it was FWD or AWD and if it was an LT, ACTIV, or RS which I think all have unique tires that can affect launch.

I don't need AWD here in Houston as its nice and flat and I don't go offroad, but I do like to have some ground clearance as we always seem to get at least light flooding and its nice to be able to creep through, and there's always so much debris on the highway its nice to be able to straddle it unlike with the Vette where you have to swerve into other lanes or risk tearing off the skirt that's an inch above the ground. So for me I'm mostly just concerned about efficiency, performance, and longevity of CVT vs 9-speed, and would take the AWD for 9-speed if it seems worth it for that. Hmm...
 

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Makes you wonder if its because of what trim they were testing, if it was FWD or AWD and if it was an LT, ACTIV, or RS which I think all have unique tires that can affect launch.
That’s a good point, to get reliable results the cars should all have the same equipment. The person who got a 7,8 time did it with sport mode on and traction control & auto stop off with FWD set. I think the 3 cars tested were all 1.3 9speeds set to FWD but who knows about the other parameters.
It would very interesting for someone who has the equipment to get definitive results. The person in the YouTube vid used a SOLO GPS monitor to test with instead of a stopwatch because reaction times can also add a few tenths to the results. A FWD 1.3 CVT. could maybe get a better result because a FWD might also be lighter than AWD.
 

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I have the 1.3L CVT in FWD (sorry for the alphabet soup there). It seems like it's almost programmed to feel peppy off the line, since it's only pushing out ~160HP. Definitely feels peppier from the getgo than my previous Volkswagen Rabbit, which was both lighter and had more HP and peak torque.

This is my first car with a CVT, and it's really not noticeable if you're used to driving econoboxes. Mashing the accelerator glues the tach to about 3k RPM, and regular city driving floats between 1.5k-2k, which is only weird if you watch the needle while driving. In terms of feel, I seem to have forgotten to expect shifts.

I was a bit apprehensive at first with the CVT, but after some googling, this is the same CVT that's been used in the Malibu for quite some time now; and I haven't heard of rampant issues with that model. Though this is a new engine, so it's still a roll of the dice.

In theory, a CVT is a much simpler device than a 9-speed AT, but like you say many OEM's have had about a decade of issues with them now.
 

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I live in the northeast so an AWD was a must have. I did have a first gen 2008 Nissan Rogue with a 170hp motor and a CVT tranny. I Never had any problems with the CVT in the Rogue (maybe I was just lucky) so if they offered the AWD with the CVT, I wouldn’t have hesitated getting it.
Interesting that you mentioned the performance. I haven’t timed my car but I see that Car&Driver gives a time of 9.4 while MotorWeek gives a time of 8.7 for the Encore GX, which is as far I can tell is mechanicals identical. There is also a YouTube video where a guy clocks a 7.8 second 0-60 with a 1.3 9 speed Trailblazer.
I friend of mine works as a mechanic at Nissan. He said they replace 3 CVT's per week, and will do that every week until the end of time. He said they have 13-15 vehicles booked in for replacements at all times.

Though I'm sure any mechanic at a specific dealership would be biased against what they have to fix all the time. He did say he thinks the new Rogue is one of the worst new cars on the road, so sounds like you made the right switch over to the TB haha.
 

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I have about 8k on the 1.3T and CVT FWD and have had no issues. It seems to be much peppier than the times suggest (I had to lighten my foot a bit). I have done a road trip through some decent hills and it handled things fine. Overall, very pleased with the transmission.
 

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So what I'm seeing maybe weird here but joining having a Encore GX which is the same platform just different badging, I have a front-wheel drive 1.3 t but I have the 9-speed Auto. As far as I knew the 1.3 came with a 9-speed and the 1.2 came with the CVT or a Buick just all different?
 

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So what I'm seeing maybe weird here but joining having a Encore GX which is the same platform just different badging, I have a front-wheel drive 1.3 t but I have the 9-speed Auto. As far as I knew the 1.3 came with a 9-speed and the 1.2 came with the CVT or a Buick just all different?
The 1.2 and 1.3 are available with the CVT, but you can't get the 9spd unless you also get AWD. As far as I know the Trailblazer isn't available in FWD with the 9spd, only the CVT.
 

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The 1.2 and 1.3 are available with the CVT, but you can't get the 9spd unless you also get AWD. As far as I know the Trailblazer isn't available in FWD with the 9spd, only the CVT.
Alright, well i can confirm at least the 9 speed mates up with the 1.3 in FWD for the Encore GX, I looked a little into it before getting it just on the GX side of things however. Still have the window sticker as well which says it comes with it (at least for Buick)

All honestly might be a "brand upgrade" thing where 1.2s come with the cvt but the 1.3s come with the 9 speed for the GX for some exclusive feature type deal
 
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