We've just come back from the USA and whilst there we did 2100 miles in the hire car, a Nissan Altima, which isn't for sale in the UK.
Now, obviously, it had an auto box and for a start I thought nothing of it (I like autos) other than noticing how smooooooth it was. Then as I drove more I started trying to see if I could count how many gears it had. Nope. Can't tell. It was utterly, totally seamless on acceleration, literally no sign of it changing gear at all. Only if you put your foot down did the revs climb and gear changes became noticeable. Seriously impressive.
So I googled the car. Ahhh. That explains it. It wasn't a conventional auto but a CVT!
Now I've only seen CVTs on small cars before but this was some seriously impressive box. Under mild and steady acceleration the revs stayed low and constant giving seamless drive. As soon as you back off the revs dropped to just over tickover and cruising at 80mph was a tad under 2000rpm.
Being a real geek, of course I checked the fuel consumption whilst we had it. That never dropped below 35 (UK) mpg which was during some spirited driving up lots of miles of Rocky Mountains and twice topped 40mpg.
I'm assuming the "gear changes" I could feel when I booted it were electronically selected ratios to give the impression of gears, as such a thing is available on some auto motorbikes.
Now this is a 2.5l 4 cyl petrol engine with 183bhp tugging a pretty big car about (I'd say it was bigger than a Mondeo)
So it was doing pretty much what our 1.6 manual Focus does, fuel wise. I can live with that!
But does anyone make a CAR (not MPV or 4x4) with this box or similar in the UK?