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You might encounter the term “IVT” when shopping for a new vehicle or when reviewing the features of a vehicle that you already own. IVT stands for “Intelligent Variable Transmission.” If you’re unfamiliar with how this type of transmission works and how it impacts your vehicle, you’re reading the right article.

IVT Explained

Some automakers like Hyundai and Kia manufacture their vehicles with a type of transmission that’s considerably smarter than a conventional transmission. IVT improves your vehicle’s fuel economy and makes your ride smoother and more responsive.

To fully understand how an IVT works, let’s look at how Hyundai and Kia describe this innovative feature.

Hyundai’s Smart Stream IVT

The Hyundai Smart Stream IVT boasts improved comfort, responsiveness and engine performance.

A conventional automatic transmission must make a number of gear ratio changes. To do that, the engine disconnects from the driveline when shifting gears. When the engine reengages, you’ll usually feel a disruption in forward momentum. With IVT, you’ll experience little to no changes in momentum, making your ride more comfortable.

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An IVT transmission also changes ratios more quickly than conventional transmission. That means power gets to the wheels more quickly. Hyundai vehicles with IVT have less delay and less lag.

Lastly, IVT keeps your engine at its optimum power band, resulting in improved fuel economy. It keeps the engine’s RPM (revolutions per minute) at a certain range where the engine produces its best level of power and torque.


Kia’s IVT is designed to improve how a traditional continuous variable transmission (CVT) works. It features an adaptive style shift logic for smoother and more linear acceleration. This makes the transmission more efficient. It also improves fuel economy.

The IVT in modern Kia vehicles has a wide ratio pulley system, so it has a broader ratio operation compared to the traditional transmission. Kia’s IVT also uses a chain belt rather than a traditional push belt like a normal CVT.  Expect lesser transmission noise from vehicles equipped with IVT.

Are There Any Disadvantages in Buying a Vehicle with an IVT Transmission?

IVT improves your vehicle’s fuel economy and responsiveness. But like any other innovative feature, it can also have a few drawbacks. For instance, IVT transmissions can be more complex to repair.

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How Much Does it Cost to Repair an IVT Transmission?

IVT is an improved version of a CVT transmission. You’ll normally spend around $3,000 to $8,000 to have your CVT transmission repaired or replaced. This can vary depending on the specific vehicle that you own, the extent of the damage, and what parts need to be replaced. You’ll also have to consider the labor cost in your area.

What Happens When a Transmission Fails?

A failing transmission will slip, leaving your vehicle with not enough traction. You may also hear a whining and/or grinding noise once your transmission starts to malfunction.

To avoid dealing with these problematic symptoms for too long, make sure to have your ride checked by a trusted mechanic as soon as you notice something wrong with your vehicle.

Where to Get Your IVT Transmission Repaired

There are many auto repair shops out there that offer transmission repair services. If you already have a repair shop or a mechanic you trust, you can go ahead and take your vehicle there.

If you’re a new driver, and you’re still trying to look for a repair shop you can rely on, you can look for shops that are certified by ASE (Automotive Service Excellence). These shops usually have ASE-certified mechanics that are trained to handle your vehicle. These mechanics have all undergone training and tests before they were given certification.

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Remember that IVT is a relatively new and complex type of transmission, so you have to find someone qualified to handle it.

Transmission Maintenance

The best way to take care of your transmission is to follow your regular maintenance schedule. Refer to the owner’s manual or consult your dealership.

Your ride’s transmission is important. It allows your vehicle to efficiently transfer engine power to the wheels at different speeds and torque levels. Without a fully-functional transmission system, your vehicle won’t be able to function efficiently at different speeds, and it won’t be able to adapt to different driving conditions. In worse cases, your vehicle might not even move at all. That’s why it’s important to take good care of your transmission’s health and have it repaired and replaced as soon as you find out it’s faulty.

About The Author
CarParts Research Team
Written By Research Team

Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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