By on March 16, 2017

Opel Insignia Grand Sport

Newly published emissions certification documents on the California Air Resources Board website now confirm the existence of the Buick Regal TourX wagon — and much, much more.

The CARB documents show GM’s 250+ horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powering both front- and all-wheel-drive Regal hatchbacks, plus the anticipated all-wheel-drive-only TourX wagon.

But how AWD Regals get their power to the wheels diverges from the script.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2017

2017 Mazda CX-5 – Image: Mazda USA

Mazda, heretofore an avid provider of manual transmissions, is killing off the manual transmission in the brand’s most popular product, the CX-5.

CarsDirect’s pricing analysts informed TTAC of the CX-5’s exclusively two-pedal future, having received confirmation from Mazda.

Few consumers were taking Mazda up on the company’s offer of an entry-level CX-5 with a manual transmission, so while the CX-5’s advertised base price shoots up by $2,290 with the loss of the standard shift, the typical transaction price for the typical CX-5 buyer won’t change.

CarsDirect says the CX-5’s manual transmission will continue to be offered north and south of the border. But for American consumers in search of a manual shift crossover, where are they to turn? (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2017

2018 Honda Odyssey - Image: American Honda

Got $43,695?

Honda spoke excitedly about the inclusion of an all-new, Honda-designed 10-speed automatic in the 2018 Honda Odyssey lineup when the van debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit two months ago. Along with a higher-powered 3.5-liter V6 and a standard 10-speed automatic from the Pilot, Honda made clear that the 10-speed would be reserved for “upper grades.”

Now we know precisely how high up the Odyssey food chain you must climb to obtain the minivan world’s first-ever 10-speed.

And it’s quite high. (Read More…)

By on December 27, 2016

6-speed manual transmission

Let’s face it — the manual transmission is on life support, and its relatives have flown in from Atlanta and Houston to crowd around the hospital bed.

Stick shift aficionados can dream all they like about an 11th hour renaissance of the three-pedal setup, but transmissions aren’t vinyl LPs. One day in the near future — no doubt a dystopian landscape where dessert speakeasies doll out sucrose to sugar-taxed denizens of a Bark M.-imagined superstate — we’ll talk of the manual in the same manner as the front bench seat. Hell, rumble seats, for that matter.

Drivers of manual transmission vehicles already find themselves in a shockingly small minority, castaways on an island of technological obsolescence. Edmunds estimates the stick shift take rate at less than 3 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. It’s no wonder, either. Dual-clutch transmissions offer lightning-quick shifting, while continuously variable transmissions boast smoothness and enviable fuel economy gains. Eight, nine and ten-speed automatics fill in the gaps.

For the holdouts, what keeps the row-your-own fires burning? (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2016

2016 Ram 1500 R/T interior center stack, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Just when it thought a troubling roll-away controversy and resulting recall was almost behind it, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself under investigation for a similar problem.

This time, it isn’t the now-defunct Monostable gear shift that supposedly confused drivers — it’s the rotary shifter found in late-model vehicles. After numerous complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into 1 million FCA vehicles that could pose a roll-away risk. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

You don’t just develop a multi-cog transmission with your longstanding rival and not use it.

With that in mind, General Motors has big short-term plans for the nine-speed automatic it co-developed with Ford Motor Company. Already announced as uplevel equipment in three models, GM plans to spread the nine-speed love to a total of 10 models within a year. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2016

2015-Ford-Focus-15

The problematic dual-clutch transmission that owners love to hate has made enemies around the globe, and yet another country is ready to send its PowerShift anger Ford’s way.

Canadian Ford owners are poised to join the U.S. and Australia in leveling a class-action lawsuit against the automaker over the balky automated manual transmission, which many claim is unsafe. Meanwhile, the Great White North’s transportation regulator has the Blue Oval in its sights, and a future recall isn’t off the table.

While known for their politeness, nothing gets a Canuck peeved like multiple tranny swaps.  (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Cruze

There’s plenty of speculation that General Motors wants to launch the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze Diesel with a highly marketable 50 mile-per-gallon highway fuel economy figure.

“Hybrids are for wimps! Volkswagen just didn’t like you!” the automaker could claim. GM, of course, hasn’t exactly been silent on its grand plan to lure jilted TDI owners to the brand.

Now that specifications have been released for the upcoming oil burner, we can see that a “new” transmission added to the Cruze lineup will play a big role in chasing that mileage crown. (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2016

6-speed manual transmission
Because we haven’t yet adopted a Utopian work calendar, it’s now the day before the weekend and time for some unusual automotive news.

While there hasn’t been any reports of people or cars being crushed by colorful fall foliage, Mother Nature has been a bad girl, as animals are conspiring to destroy our vehicles through theft or by making a very distracting corpse. Meanwhile, a shrinking number of vehicles are coming from the factory with the best anti-carjacking device ever made. (Read More…)

By on September 13, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited Billet Silver

From the get-go, the nine-speed automatic designed by Germany’s ZF in the United States and built and tuned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was deserving of criticism. It was criticism that FCA could not righteously label as unfair, criticism the automaker could not deny.

“We have had to do an inordinate amount of intervention on that transmission, surely beyond what any of us had forecast,” FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said early last year.

The nine-speed, responsible for sending power from a variety of engines to the front wheels of a large number of vehicles, became a reliability nightmare for many buyers who either didn’t perceive its shortcomings on a test drive, or didn’t care. Unless drivers ventured well beyond posted speed limits, the nine-speed wasn’t even able to benefit from its ninth gear. Surely deserving of partial blame for the Chrysler 200’s demise, the ZF 9HP was clearly launched long before it was ready.

Nearly three years since my first exposure to the nine-speed in a 3.2-liter V6-powered Jeep Cherokee, I’m driving a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited this week. It’s a stunning minivan, and at CAD $62,340, it’s a minivan with which one needs a whole week to get a full picture. Yet only a few minutes into our first drive in the new Pacifica, it was clear that FCA had finally sorted the previously dreadful nine-speed.

Almost. Mostly. Sort of. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71, Image: General Motors

Sales of midsize trucks are heating up, and General Motors doesn’t want its slice of the pie to grow stale.

Changes are coming to the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado by way a host of powertrain updates aimed at squeezing better performance and fuel economy out of its volume model. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2016

2015 Honda Fit EX 6MT Front, Image: Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

Apparently, the 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed by Ford and General Motors doesn’t impress Honda, because it wants a gearbox with more cogs.

The Japanese automaker recently filed a patent for an 11-speed, triple-clutch transmission, AutoGuide reports. (Read More…)

By on June 17, 2016

Tremec transmission

A major automotive supplier plans to build a production facility in the Detroit area and make it the base for its U.S. operations.

Tremec Corp., best known for its high-performance transmissions, plans to invest $54 million in a multi-purpose facility in Wixom, Michigan, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Besides production of transmissions and powertrain components, the facility will host Tremec’s sales and technical operations, and serve as its American headquarters. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2016

2015-Ford-Focus-15

Ford Motor Company probably wishes it had gone with a CVT.

After weathering years of complaints about the performance of its six-speed PowerShift dual clutch transmission, Australia just added to the misery with a class-action lawsuit, CarAdvice reports.

The suit, which alleges the transmissions are unsafe, concerns 2010–2014 Ford Fiesta and Focus models.  (Read More…)

By on January 7, 2016

ELIO_STILLS.07-723x406

Regulators may rain on Elio’s parade even before they got started.

That, Volvo takes a serious stab at full-size luxury conventional wisdom, the big get bigger and Ford’s hybrids only go so far … after the break!

(Read More…)

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