Jeep Cherokee Won't Be The Only 9-Speed Soft Roader

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
jeep cherokee wont be the only 9 speed soft roader

ZF’s 9-speed transmission seems to be gaining popularity wit h storied off-road name plates that are now marketing unibody vehicles better meant for the urban jungle. The Range Rover Evoque is the next recipient of the ZF 9-speed, which should help squeeze some more efficiency out of the Evoque’s boosted four-cylinder engine.

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  • Niky Niky on Feb 28, 2013

    There are still some real-world durability issues with CVTs. Nissan seems to have gotten things mostly right with their chain-drive CVTs, but that's a lot of flexible, moving stuff that might go bad over time. Honda on the other hand, have great firsthand experience with how sh*tty CVTs can get over time. With proper care, a traditional automatic may likely be less trouble than a CVT or a dual clutch transmission, with most of the fuel economy benefits of the other two.

    • Luke42 Luke42 on Mar 01, 2013

      The power-split CVT in my Prius is doing just fine, thank you. After 8 years and 150k miles, the rest of the car is picking up some wear and tear. But the HSD (including its CVT) is doing just fine. The biggest problem with the Prius CVT is that my wife's first thought is that cars with regular 4-speed automatics are malfunctioning when she hears the abrupt RPM changes. I was a manual guy, and I still don't love the 4-speed automatic. But my wife and I can agree on CVTs - her, because she doesn't like change and me because I think it's smooth and getting the power to the wheels with minimal wasted RPMs.

  • Mykl Mykl on Mar 01, 2013

    After watching James May's review of the Evoque on Top Gear..... if this is considered a "soft roader" you can sign me up. I can't imagine I'll ever want any more off-road capability than it offers.

  • Corntrollio Corntrollio on Mar 01, 2013

    I doubt a lot of the commenters here who are saying 7, 8, and 9 speeds are stupid/useless have even driven one. Even the 6-speed I've occasionally driven is loads better than that 4-speed autos of yore. It is far more often in the right gear, and I suspect the 7s, 8s, and 9s would even be more likely in the right gear. It might be "busy" because it shifts more often, but it also shifts much smoother than the autos of yore too. I still prefer my 6-speed manual, but the new autos aren't that bad. Is 9-speed the max with 4 planetary gear sets?

  • CelticPete CelticPete on Mar 02, 2013

    Everytime this topic comes up - you always get people going on about 'why not just CVT'.. Because CVTs are not some super miracle transmission. People seem to imagine that CVTs.. A) Can pick ANY gear. B) Can switch to ANY gear instantly. Neither of these ideas capture what a CVT can do AT ALL. The problem is while the transmission is continuously variable it can choose a gear IN BETWEEN a certain (somewhat narrow) range. The second problem is it can SLOWLY change between those ranges. Yes it might be changing continously but its not INSTANT change. In fact Nissans newest CVT incorporates BOTH torque converters and planetary gears! These conventional automatic transmissions help give the CVT better drivability. Nissan refers to the 'sub transmission' to give the transmission more gear spread. That's the planetary gears. CVTs are all about cost saving.. If you think about how a convential automatic works - you will understand that it can switch between a very WIDE range in gear ratios fairly quickly. This makes for better drivability. However if the gear ratios are too spread out - its not as smooth a performance. Hence more ratios can add both to the gear range and the smoothness. A convential auto can have you cruising in 9th and in 200 millisecond have you down into 2nd gear. The CVT doesn't have that kind of ability..