I'm a dealer tech.
We don't have very many 500s where I am but so far we haven't seen any problems with them. The Freestyle is the same vehicle underneath and other than a couple emmision problems on one they have been good too.
I can't really see Ford dropping the CVT any time soon.
I like the 500. Magazine articles say that it's underpowered but I think it feels good to drive. Maybe it feels a bit slow to some people because of the transmission. It takes some getting used to. Last week I drove both a 6 speed and a CVT and I prefer the feel of the CVT.