Hi jwxr7...You are right about the throttle control. & the CVT for my car does work a bit like a snowmobile tranny. Extra throttle gives extra rpms that increase acceleration. Opinions on Caliber websites seem to suggest that 2000rpms is the position of maximum efficiency(nothing is said about load or acceleration). At several lower velocities & no acceleration, the engine runs near 2000rpm up to about 60MPH. Faster speeds than 60MPH mean increasing aerodynamic loads & the computer selects increasing rpm gearing for some(most?) Calibers to match the load, but still maintain fuel efficiency. Strong headwinds at 60MPH means the computer selects higher rpm gearing to compensate for the increased load while still maintaining fuel efficiency for the speed & load given. Thus, at any given load, speed or acceleration, the computer continually picks the most efficient gear(& thus rpm) to produce the most gas efficiency. On my early Caliber(produced before November 2006 & not after), there is a detent that holds rpms at the 4500rpm level under strong load for most fuel efficiency for that gearing. A very hard gas pedal push can overcome the detant. By doing that tho, the Caliber computer comes out of its 'fuel efficiency mode' & into a 'performance mode'. RPMs jump to 6000 to 6400rpms & the most acceleration is given to the Caliber.
There are many different types of CVTs in development by some companies. Jatco, a subsidiary of Nissan, produces similar CVTs for both the Caliber & Nissan's own line of vehicles.