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Does the Toyota Highlander Have a CVT Transmission?

CVT transmission or you can say Continuous Variable Transmission is one effective gearbox that enables you to change the gear ratio without any limit. Most modern models have this type of system as it has many advantages and ensures a smooth gear-changing experience. In addition, the continuous variable transmission allows you to save more fuel than the traditional automatic transmission.

That is why many people look for a CVT transmission whenever they want to buy new models, however, they get confused about which models have a CVT transmission.

Therefore, in this article, we are going to discuss whether the Toyota Highlander has a CVT transmission or not.

Does the Toyota highlander have a CVT transmission?

Not all the models of Toyota highlander have a CVT transmission. Toyota has started to add the CVT transmission to its 2011 hybrid models and the latest 2023 model will have a CVT transmission. Apart from these models, all the models of Toyota Highlander have automatic transmissions.

CVT transmission works in a systematic way. The function of a CVT transmission is completely opposite of the automatic transmission. The driver chooses the appropriate gear combination among the set amount of gears in a manual transmission.

Although an automated car likewise has a fixed number of gears, it employs a hydraulic mechanism that senses tension from the environment to decide which gear is necessary even despite the driver’s involvement. The only similarity between a CVT and an automated one is that neither one requires the driver’s involvement.

There are no gears in a CVT. There are two pulleys rather. The engine is connected to one shaft, while the wheels are connected to another. The two pulleys are connected by an elastic strap. In contrast to the automatic, which has a specific amount of gears, the pulleys and the strap can give an unending supply of gear ratios because they are never static nor rigid.

On the other hand, CVT transmission has many advantages which is why a majority of car manufacturers are heading for CVT transmission. One of the main benefits you can get from CVT transmission is that it lets you change gears without any limitations.

In addition, if the engine of your car is at full speed, then still you can change your preferred gear ratio. This ensures that CVT transmission also offers you full efficiency even in drastic situations. When compared to a comparable vehicle with normal automatic transmission, many CVT-equipped vehicles deliver a comfortable experience.

This is due to the transmission’s lack of shifting. When the automobile requires more energy, there is zero sudden downshifting, as well as you won’t experience the gear-related bad experience that a typical automatic transmission occasionally causes.

To be precise not all models of the Toyota Highlander have the CVT transmission. But some of the recent hybrid models do have the CVT transmission. Apart from these models, the old models have an automatic transmission gear ratio. Below we have noted the models of the Toyota Highlander that has CVT transmission:

Toyota Highlander ModelCVT transmission function availability
2018 Toyota HighlanderYes
2019 Toyota HighlanderYes
2020 Toyota HighlanderYes
2021 Toyota HighlanderYes
2022 Toyota HighlanderYes

Do all Toyota Highlanders have CVT transmission?

The CVT transmission is a very systematic mechanism and offers you a seamless gear-changing experience. The CVT transmission makes sure that you don’t need to be bounded by the limited gear ratio and gives you the luxury to change the gears at any condition. The CVT transmission works completely different compared to the Automatic transmission.

The fact that neither a CVT nor an automated transmission needs the driver’s input is the sole commonality between both. A CVT is devoid of gears. Therefore, the ability to shift ratios without any restrictions is one of the key advantages of CVT transmissions. Additionally, you can change your chosen gear ratio even if your car’s engine is running at full throttle.

This guarantees that even in emergency situations, CVT transmission will provide you with maximum efficiency. Many automobiles configured with CVTs offer a nice ride especially contrasted to a similar model with a typical automatic gearbox.

The Toyota Highlander does not come in every variant with a CVT. Toyota has already begun adding CVT transmissions to its 2011 hybrid models and still continued up to the 2022 models, and the newest 2023 model will feature one as well. All other Toyota Highlander models feature automatic transmissions, excluding these models.

When did highlander get CVT?

The eye-catching advantages of CVT made the manufacturers to use the mechanism in their models. A methodical process underlies CVT transmission operation. In comparison to an automatic transmission, a CVT transmission performs entirely the opposite purpose.

In a manual gearbox, the driver selects the proper gear sequence from a predetermined number of gears.

Although an autonomous car also has a set number of gears, it uses a hydraulic mechanism to detect environmental strain to determine which gear is needed even without the driver’s input. The only thing a CVT and an automatic transmission have in common is that none needs the driver to operate it.

Firstly, the Toyota company started to add the CVT transmission only to its hybrid models. The hybrid models started to enter the market in the year 2008. A continuously variable automatic transmission was available for hybrid vehicles (CVT). In those other Highlanders, a standard five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capabilities was employed.

Why does the Toyota highlander have a CVT transmission?

There are many reasons why the Toyota highlander has the CVT transmission. The CVT transmission doesn’t only offers you a smooth riding experience but also offers you royalty to change the gear depending on your choices. Also, there are other advantages you can get from the CVT transmission and we have described them below:

Smooth gear-shifting experience:

One of the main benefits of CVT transmissions is the unrestricted freedom to shift gears. Furthermore, even with the engine of your automobile operating at full speed, you can alter the gear ratio you’ve selected.

This ensures that the CVT transmission will give you smooth operation, especially in urgent situations. Many vehicles outfitted with CVTs provide a comfortable ride, especially when compared to a comparable model with a conventional automatic transmission.

Lack of shifting:

Many automobiles equipped with CVTs offer a nice ride when contrasted to an equivalent model with a typical automatic transmission. This is because the transmission does not change. No rapid downshifting occurs whenever the car needs more speed, and you won’t have the odd negative gear-related encounter that comes with an automatic transmission.

Which highlander has CVT transmission?

Well, the CVT transmission has been one of the most efficient transmissions introduced to vehicles. It is not only energy efficient but also ensures you a smooth gear-shifting experience. The Toyota company started to install the CVT transmission not long ago. They started from the 2008 models and continued till now. Below we have discussed all the models of Toyota highlander that have the CVT transmission:

2008 models:

Toyota started to add the CVT transmission from the 2008 models. However, they have only added this feature to their hybrid highlander models. Apart from all the hybrid models all the other normal models had automated transmission.

2009 models:

The four-cylinder V6 engine with 270 horsepower was conventional on Sport, hybrid, and Premium versions and available for base vehicles with CVT gearboxes.

2010 models:

The 2010 models are unchanged and have a similar feature and CVT transmission as the other models.

2011-2022 models:

Toyota stopped adding the CVT transmission on their hybrid cars and started to add this feature on their regular models. The cars that have been manufactured in these years all had CVT transmission features.

Final Thoughts:

The CVT transmissions have been added from the 2008 hybrid models in the Toyota Highlander. For the numerous benefits that CVT transmissions offer, the Toyota company has continued to add CVT transmissions to their later models. Therefore, you should always go for the CVT transmission models.