By on July 8, 2019

ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to supply Fiat Chrysler with its second-largest order to date. While top honors belong to BMW, FCA will be using the same eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced for the Bavarian-based applications. “Optimized for electrification” as per ZF’s press announcement, the gearboxes are designed for longitudinally mounted engines ⁠— including those utilizing hybrid systems.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2019

As per its $11 billion investment in electrification, Ford intends to have 40 electrified vehicles — 16 of which will be battery-only — on sale by 2022. That includes the widespread hybridization of trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. As towing has not historically been a great strength of hybrids, the automaker is developing a new transmission system it calls “modular hybrid technology.”

The system, which debuts on the 2020 Explorer, is said to incorporate an electric motor, clutch and torque converter to help vehicles deliver superior fuel economy without sabotaging a vehicle’s ability to haul ass or whatever customers choose to hitch up behind the tailgate.  (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2019

GM

GMC’s new-for-2019 Sierra 1500 took a less controversial styling route than its Chevy Silverado sibling while retaining the numerous upgrades foisted upon the next-generation pickup twins. For 2020, GMC tweaked the light-duty Sierra’s offerings just a bit, hoping to lure more finicky buyers into the model.

For starters, GM’s 10-speed automatic transmission has a new engine to mate with, hopefully boosting fuel economy ratings that fell for the 2019 model year. (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2019

A class-action lawsuit filed against Ford Motor company in 2017 is close to bearing fruit for nearly two million current or former owners, but Ford could find itself on the hook for far more than the $35 million reached in an earlier settlement.

The automaker is awaiting the results of an appeal by nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, which felt the 1.9 million Ford Focus and Fiesta buyers whose lives were disrupted by wonky PowerShift transmissions would only end up getting shafted, once again. (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2019

2018 Accent

For the 2020 model year, Hyundai’s subcompact Accent and compact Elantra ditch their six-speed automatics in favor of a continuously variable unit — a move that’s not likely to elicit too many cries of protest.

Honestly, given the models’ modest torque figures, a traditional slushbox hardly amounts to motoring bliss, and drivers stand to gain faster manual shifts with a CVT. They also stand to gain a significant bump in fuel economy. (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2019

2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The passing of the Toyota Yaris hatchback into history doesn’t just spell the end of a forgettable subcompact car, it also leaves the red-blooded Dodge brand sitting in a class of one. What might that special group be, you ask? Some of you already know.

With the Yaris hatch’s discontinuation, the still strong-selling Dodge Journey becomes the only passenger vehicle offered with a four-speed automatic in the United States. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2018

Image: General Motors

General Motors, inventor of the modern automatic transmission, is only just recently warming up to the idea of shiftless driving. There’s a continuously variable transmission on offer with the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, which our own Chris Tonn spent some time flogging last week (in mildly sporty RS guise).

Despite the availability of eight- and nine-speed automatics for transverse GM front-driers, a VIN decoder document and even EPA fuel economy ratings pointed to the existence of a CVT-equipped Cruze for 2019, despite a lack of flouting on the part of GM. Turns out, you’ll have trouble getting your hands on one. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2018

Hydra-Matic 9T50 General Motors

Way back in 2013, General Motors and the Ford Motor Co. signed an agreement to collaborate on transmissions. The deal stipulated that GM would get access to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, intended for rear-drive applications, if the Blue Oval could have the Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed under development by The General for front-drive models — and everyone would save some money.

However, things didn’t play out as intended. Ford is now saying the nine-speed auto doesn’t provide enough of a fuel economy improvement to justify the added cost and weight of an extra gear. It won’t be using it, at least not in its current form. Instead, Ford engineers have decided to use a trio of transmissions with fewer gears for front-wheel-drive units. (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2018

2018 Subaru WRX STI, Image: Subaru

For some reason, today is all about manual transmissions. Some going, some staying… but most just going.

That’s the world we live in, where consideration must be given to high-tech safety aids, while multi-cog automatics and infinitely cogged CVTs have stripped the stick shift of its secondary attribute: fuel economy.

For Subaru, the Lineartronic continuously variable automatic will soon become the brand’s only choice of gearbox, with one notable — and likely temporary — exception. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2018

Genesis G70

The two models share a platform and a pair of engines, but the upcoming Genesis G70 sport sedan gains something its Kia Stinger cousin lacks: a manual transmission.

Given that we’re talking about a rear-drive Korean sedan sold under a fledgling marque in a market that couldn’t love SUVs more if the damn things dispensed free cash from the dash vents, we’re expecting big, big demand for the stick-shift variant. (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2018

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA, Image: Subaru of America

Is Subaru, a scrappy-but-approaching-the-mainstream automaker, about to ditch the manual transmission? That’s what some are gleaning from comments made by Subaru UK managing director Chris Graham on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show this week.

Speaking to Auto Express, Graham mused about the brand’s EyeSight driver-assist technology and Subaru’s desire to include the suite of safety aids on all of its cars. The trouble is, EyeSight isn’t available on Subarus equipped with manual transmissions. If you’re looking for goodies like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings, a Lineartronic CVT had best be on your wish list, too.

Graham’s comments point to a Subaru that’s prepared to weaken the bond between driver and car in the name of increased computerized control. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2018

Christmas get-togethers across North America were ruined when we reported, last December, that the manual transmission would soon leave the Chevrolet Cruze stable. That sad bit of information came by way of VIN decoder documents submitted to the NHTSA by General Motors for the 2019 model year.

For now, the stick shift lives, both in gasoline- and diesel-powered Cruzes. However, an update to the 2018 VIN document suggests an early arrival for the continuously variable transmission. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback LT Interior, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

After a year of good news (McDonald’s all-day breakfast came to Canada), it seems only fitting that 2017 will end in tears.

The Chevrolet Cruze, one of a shrinking number of models in which one can easily find a manual transmission, appears set to lose that option after the 2018 model year. As the owner of a manual-shift Cruze, no words can ease the pain. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2017

Acura has a tough job ahead of it. As the brand tries to grow volume and retain some of the clout it lost in past years, it finds itself with too many cars and two few SUVs in a market that demands more of the latter, not the former. Meanwhile, the impressive reborn NSX, now a hybrid, hasn’t captured the imagination of sports car fans in the same way as its long-lived predecessor.

Keeping up with — and in some cases, getting in front of — technological trends is part of Acura’s comeback plan. Naturally, in the interest of technological advancement and environmental appeasement, it was necessary to bring a multi-cog automatic transmission on board. However, a series of manufacturer service bulletin point to two potential weak points in the company’s nine-speed. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2017

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S paddle shifter - Image: Mercedes-BenzMany new automatic transmissions are capable of shifting with a level of enthusiasm foreign to owners of cars that are only moderately old. Like, say, from 2009.

Many new automatic transmissions also shift faster and more intelligently and more consistently than you or I could ever hope to with a manual transmission.

And with manual transmissions dropping like flies, the quality of a these intelligent, consistent, rapid-fire automatic transmissions’ shifts should theoretically matter more than ever. Yet automakers are increasingly turning to paddle shifters as a means of giving control back to the driver. According to Edmunds, 186-percent more new vehicles feature paddle shifters in 2017 than in 2007.

Despite the fact that drivers don’t want the control. (Read More…)

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