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Looking at the CVT transmission info in the encyclopedia on this site, it makes sense that there would be some delay in switching to and from reverse, assuming the Civic is like the Insight. In a normal automatic transmission, the engine and drive-side of the torque converter are moving in one direction, but the driven side of the torque converter and all the gears in the transmission have stopped when the car is sitting still and you shift into reverse. The parts of the transmission that now need to spin "backwards" were already standing still when you shifted. There's no shift in momentum for any part in the system, except from standstill to moving.

With the CVT, the torque converter is between the transmission and the drive shafts. The transmission is spinning, even when the car is sitting still, so long as the engine is running. The forward/reverse switch happens in the drive pully, not the driven pully, so when you switch to reverse, the spinning mass of most of the transmission has to stop and reverse direction. That should require a couple seconds.
 
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