DETROIT -- Honda is betting that buyers of the redesigned 2013 Accord will embrace the car's new continuously variable transmission, even though CVT technology is being refined.
The CVT will be the only automatic transmission offered with a four-cylinder Accord, said Tetsuo Iwamura, CEO of American Honda.
Honda will roll out CVTs in other vehicles in quick succession, but sports cars and vehicles with off-road capability will keep a geared automatic transmission, said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president.
CVTs traditionally have used a system of pulleys, belts or discs to deliver engine power to the wheels. Consumers have frequently complained of an uncertain feeling under acceleration, similar to that of a slipping clutch, as a CVT finds the proper ratio to deliver power. But journalists who recently tested Honda's new CVT said that the driving feel was more precise.
For customers, "there will be some institutional learning, but I think we'll do fine with it," Mendel said.
The four-cylinder Accord also will be offered with a five-speed manual transmission, but typically that accounts for less than 10 percent of total sales. The V-6 Accord will be offered with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
Typically, four-cylinder Accords make up about 80 percent of total Accord sales, and about 90 percent of those four-cylinder Accords have automatic transmissions, which means CVTs will be installed in about 250,000 Accords a year.
Nissan uses a CVT in its Altima, Maxima, Murano, Rogue, Sentra and Cube. Nissan has had some teething problems with its CVT that triggered complaints, service bulletins and a goodwill warranty extension.