William C. Montgomery, at The Truth About Cars, on the single-minded nature of Nissan’s Xtronic CVT:
According to Nissan’s literature, the 16-valve DOHC mill cranks out 175 hp and 180 ft.-lbs. of torque. In real life, the [Altima] Coupe’s mechanical stableyard feels a good twenty horses shy of that total. Blame the Xtronic Continuously Variable Transmission. While the shiftless non-cog swapper quickly and accurately finds the right gear ratio in most situations, it quickly and accurately finds the right gear ratio in most situations. In other words, the mpg bias sucks the fun right out of the system.
In defense of Nissan, they have a pretty good (if costly) continuously-variable air-conditioning compressor that is almost imperceptible in normal driving.