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


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


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…)

By on April 13, 2015

Ford 11-Speed Transmission Schematic

Ten-speed transmissions not enough? Ford is turning it up to 11 with an 11-speed automatic waiting in the wings.

(Read More…)

By on May 30, 2014

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-002

Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May 5 will need theirs readjusted.

(Read More…)

By on March 21, 2014

Steve Kiefer

General Motors head of global powertrain and former Delphi senior vice president of powertrain systems Steve Kiefer aims to steer engine development toward a brighter future, one influenced by his love for diesels, quietness and refinement.

(Read More…)

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