Does Jeep Cherokee Have CVT Transmission? (Fully Explained!)

The Jeep Cherokee is among the most iconic American SUVs ever created. It is seen by some as the “definitive” American SUV.

It has been presented in many forms over the years and continues to be consistently popular in the US and around the world.

This article answers the question “Does Jeep Cherokee Have CVT Transmission?”…

Does Jeep Cherokee Have CVT Transmission?

The Jeep Cherokee has never had a CVT transmission. Jeep has only ever used them in the Jeep Patriot and the Jeep Compass. These two models were two of only three that Chrysler ever used a CVT, the other being the Dodge Caliber. The Jeep Cherokee uses a 9-speed automatic transmission as standard.

What Is CVT Transmission And How Does It Work?

CVT stands for continuously variable transmission.

It is a form of automatic transmission that can change seamlessly through gear ratios while you’re driving.

A traditional automatic works with a torque-converter system and only shifts through gears via a fixed number of gear ratios.

The CVT, on the other hand, operates through an entire range of continuous gear ratios, with the next gear being prepared even before you think you need it.

The system is built on an intricate set of pulleys.

Each of the pulleys has a connected cone and they are joined by a chain belt.

The cones move so as to grow or shrink the diameter of the belt and that’s what changes the gear ratios. That results in quicker and more precise shifting.

There’s one pulley that’s connected to the engine and another that connects and sends power to the wheels.

The width change of the pulleys is what determines the power level that is required at any time. With one pulley getting larger, another diminishes.

The result is a transmission that works almost in real-time.

A traditional automatic has fixed gear ratios and can’t, by definition, work as smoothly because the mechanical parts have to move into their fixed place, which happens marginally slower than your required gear shifting.

Automatic Vs. CVT Transmission Comparison

There are a number of advantages in having a CVT versus having a regular automatic. The first difference is in shifting smoothness and speed.

Because the CVT moves smoothly with its pulley and chains, the power levels are more flexible and delivered more smoothly.

The traditional automatic transmission works within a fixed framework of gear ratios so to get the output you want, you have to wait for the mechanical parts to align.

In itself, it’s not terribly slow, but it’s much slower than a CVT.

The CVT is able to deliver that smooth shifting at any speed, from a slow drive in a quiet residential zone to high-speed freeway driving.

A traditional torque converter that you find in a regular automatic transmission has to jockey around to find its position.

A car with a CVT finds uphill driving much easier because it is able to continuously optimize the level of torque and gear ratio exactly to suit the road incline as it’s happening.

Traditional automatic cars can get here, too, but it often takes them longer and that can make for a slightly juddery ride when you find a sudden uphill incline.

Finally, the CVT is a lot more fuel-efficient than a regular automatic transmission.

Even though some of the non-CVT transmissions are now very efficient indeed compared to their mechanical forebears, they are not as efficient as a well-built CVT.

The average sedan car armed with a CVT can get about 45mpg.

That’s very much closing the gap with manual transmission cars, which have always had the advantage of efficiency over automatic transmissions.

Does The Big Brother Grand Cherokee Have CVT Transmission?

No, even though the Grand Cherokee is seen by some as the “senior model” of the two, Jeep has never given a CVT to one of the Grand Cherokee models.

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) was only ever applied to three Chrysler models, namely the Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, and the Dodge Caliber.

What Other Jeeps Have CVT Transmission?

The first-generation Jeep Compass, manufactured from 2006 to 2016 for the 2007 to 2017 model years was built with an optional CVT.

This Jeep Compass offered two electronically controlled 4WD systems, and their names were Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II.

The CVT was attached to Freedom Drive II.

The CVT on the Jeep Compass was praised for its very capable gear reduction ratio of 19:1.

The name of the transmission was the CVT Jatco JF011E automatic.

Is CVT Transmission More Prone To Have Problems?

A CVT in itself is not more prone to having technical problems than any other automatic transmission, but it is definitely more expensive to maintain, repair or replace a CVT than it is a conventional automatic transmission.

It would be fair to say that if the CVT is neglected, compared to a neglected regular automatic, then there is some susceptibility to a shorter life and more defects.

In other words, the CVT is more sensitive to neglect than a traditional automatic transmission.

The system’s more intricate pulley system offers smoother and faster transitions, even to the point where it feels as sporty as a manual car.

The drawback of that, however, is that it is much trickier and time-consuming to fix if and when things do go wrong.

The failure rate and maintenance requirements are not so different from other automatic transmissions.

The CVT was designed to make automatic transmissions sportier and more efficient, but they don’t necessarily make them more reliable.

How Long Should A CVT Transmission Last?

While CVTs are more expensive to repair or replace, they are not more likely to need additional repairs.

You can expect a well-built and well-maintained CVT transmission to last at least 100,000 miles, which is exactly what a regular transmission can deliver.

Users should always check in with their mechanic at the first sign of a problem with the CVT transmission.

Some are put off by the fear of getting stuck with a huge repair bill for their transmission.

The fact is that if you get your CVT inspected regularly and stay on top of basic maintenance, then the expense of doing that will act as an investment.

The total monetary value of that investment will always be less than what it would cost to replace a CVT transmission completely.

Basic maintenance requires that you check on transmission fluid, listen for unusual or unwelcome noises, pay attention for any signs of gear slippage (it should be very obvious in a CVT), and ensure that we give the transmission its service whenever that is due, which is usually at least every 30,000 miles.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace a CVT Transmission?

If you don’t look after a CVT, then it could break to the point of needing a replacement transmission within 100,000 miles.

That would be very disappointing.

The cost of replacing a CVT transmission will typically fall somewhere between $3,000 and $8,000 when you factor in both parts and labor.

It’s an expensive piece of work.

CVT Transmission Pros And Cons


The pros of a CVT transmission could be divided into the following three points:

  • Greater fuel efficiency
  • Consistent smooth driving and gear shifts
  • Uphill driving made it a lot easier

Automatic cars with a CVT, in general, enjoy better miles-per-gallon ratings than traditional automatics.

A regular automatic car has always come with a trade-off when it comes to gas mileage, similar to the way that 4WD or AWD does.

The other great advantage is in the smoother shifting.

Where traditional torque-converter automatics feel as though they have some lag in the acceleration and shifting, this is just about eliminated with a CVT.

Finally, suddenly encountering a steep gradient doesn’t create any more feelings of nervousness when you have CVT.

The CVT transmission will simply cycle seamlessly through the appropriate gear ratios until it finds the one that you need at that very moment.

There’s no clunky catch-up or lag that you experience.


The cons of a CVT are first that it is very expensive to install. This pushes the cost of the vehicle up. It can even make a vehicle less practical as a purchase.

It is for this reason that CVTs have mostly been used on higher-end cars that were able to absorb the cost.

Another problem with the CVT is that it doesn’t work well in high-horsepower performance cars.

The CVT is unable to keep up with sports cars and supercars, which is why you won’t see the CVT applied in these vehicles, typically.

Finally, the maintenance and repairs are certainly expensive.

With proper maintenance and care, there’s no reason you’ll need more repairs than with a regular transmission.

The difference, however, is that CVT repair and replacement are expensive.

Your repairs might get close to the lower end estimate of replacing the CVT altogether, from $1500 to $3000.

This is prohibitively expensive, but the CVTs that you find in Honda and Nissan cars tend to be somewhat more affordable.