Notices
Off Topic A place to boldly go off topic. Just about anything goes.

Car transmissions go hi-tech

Old 09-18-2006, 11:13 PM
  #1  
Super Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,503
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default Car transmissions go hi-tech




Car transmissions go hi-tech


Some of the most advanced engineering in today's cars isn't under the hood.
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Do you know how many gears your car's transmission has? If you're like most people, you'll probably guess "four." And you'll probably be right.

But, with gas getting more expensive and engineering getting more advanced, that number is rising.

We're also seeing some cars with "continuously variable" transmissions that, instead of having set "gears" change gear ratios in a smooth, linear fashion.

If you prefer to handle shifting gears yourself, you can have it all, more or less, with automatic transmissions that let you take over.

This is important stuff: We're all aware of how a car's engine - its size, its power, its fuel consumption - can effect your car's performance.

The transmission can have just as big an effect on performance as the engine.


Manual transmissions
From a practical standpoint, there's not much to recommend a manual transmission anymore. Automatic transmissions have become so advanced and efficient that the fuel economy benefit is, at best, negligible. In terms of driving in snow, electronic traction control is easier. Some Porsche sports cars are actually just a bit faster, going from zero to sixty miles per hour, with the company's advanced automatic transmissions than with a stick.

But for sheer fun and total control, nothing beats a stick. The fleet-footed driver can precisely control every aspect of the transmission's activity. Upshifts, downshifts, engine speed, it's all up to you.

Driving a stickshift car is a rapidly vanishing skill, however. One benefit to that is that fewer people can steal (or ask to borrow) your car. The downside is that, other than in sports cars, having a manual transmission can significantly reduce a car's resale value. There are simply fewer people who could buy it.

Hi-tech automatics
Basically, more gears equals more performance, smoother gear shifts and better fuel economy. That's why car companies keep packing more gears into their automatic transmissions.

Even relatively cheap cars like the Ford's midsized Fusion sedan are getting six-speed automatics. General Motors' new large SUV's have six-speed automatics as well.

While six-speed transmissions currently account for less than five percent of transmissions built in North America, that's expected to increase to 40 percent by 2012, according to a report by auto industry forecaster CSM Automotive.

Newer cars and SUVs from DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz, such as the S-class sedan and R-class crossover SUV, use that company's seven-speed transmission.

Soon, Toyota will begin selling the Lexus LS460 luxury sedan, with its eight-speed transmission.

Paradoxically, adding gears can reduce complexity and weight in a transmission, said Casey Selecman, manager of North American Powertrain Forecasts for CSM.

Because of clever engineering, a modern six-speed transmission actually uses fewer parts than a four speed, he said.

Continuously variable
The more gears a car has, the better it can stay within its most efficient speed range even as the car itself keeps going faster. With fewer gears, the engine would have to rev higher before shifting to the next gear.

The most efficient transmission, at least theoretically, would have an infinite number of gears. That's the idea behind continuously variable transmissions like the one used in the Nissan Versa and Dodge Caliber. (Although the cars are entirely unrelated, both use the same transmission.)

These sorts of transmissions can feel peculiar to drivers because the speed of the engine can remain constant while the car accelerates. Instead of the usual "vrroom... vrrrrroom..." that you hear as most cars get up to speed, in a car with a CVT you get
__________________
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11 is offline  
Old 09-18-2006, 11:31 PM
  #2  
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location:
Posts: 4,057
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Car transmissions go hi-tech

I'm sorry but those people have no idea what the heck they are talking about on some of these things. CVTs are not better in the fuel economy department. The CVT version of the FWD Five Hundred gets no better fuel mileage than the four-speed Taurus did. CVTs are also less reliable. I know someone who has a Hybrid Escape that uses the CVT and they have had transmission failures before 35,000 miles.

The Corvette now has both a 6-speed auto and a 6-speed manual and the manual still gets 1/1 mpg better city/highway. The 5-speed manual Mustang gets 0/2 mpg better city/highway than the 5-speed automatic. In the economy cars its even a bigger difference.
__________________
"To Debate and Moderate" since 2006

College Graduate:
B.S. in Marketing
A.A. in nothing

The first 426 Dual Quad member.
The first to 2000 posts

RLSH700 is offline  
Old 09-18-2006, 11:40 PM
  #3  
Super Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,503
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Car transmissions go hi-tech

Agreed, but they do talk about the different technologies.

Regarding your comments on MPG on transmissions, since I was in high school automatics have always gotten worse MPG than manuals and of course they are always heavier. So between the weight and engineering losses they have inherent disadvantages. But on the advantage side, they are easier to drive while on the phone, reading email, eating a cheeseburger, and brushing your teeth.

Sorry, it is getting late and I am starting to lose it.
__________________
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11 is offline  
Old 09-18-2006, 11:45 PM
  #4  
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location:
Posts: 4,057
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Car transmissions go hi-tech

That is true automatics make it easier. I never said that they haven't improved, I was just saying that they aren't better like they try to make it sound in fuel economy. I was also pointing out that they were wrong about the CVTs as well. If they can't do better than a AX4S/AX4N in fuel economy, then they are gas hog transmissions.

The truth is overall manuals are still faster overall, but autos are improving. Make no mistake Jeremiah, I appreciate your contribution, I just wanted to point out that their argument has holes in it.
__________________
"To Debate and Moderate" since 2006

College Graduate:
B.S. in Marketing
A.A. in nothing

The first 426 Dual Quad member.
The first to 2000 posts

RLSH700 is offline  
Old 09-18-2006, 11:51 PM
  #5  
Super Moderator
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,503
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Car transmissions go hi-tech

We both agree. I drive an automatic as a daily driver but that doesn't make it better just more convenient in traffic.

My Challenger will be a manual. OoooooooHHHHHHHH Yeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh! Bom, Bom, Chica, Chicaaaaa, Said like in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
__________________
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11 is offline  
Old 09-18-2006, 11:55 PM
  #6  
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location:
Posts: 4,057
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: Car transmissions go hi-tech


ORIGINAL: Jeremiah 29:11

We both agree. I drive an automatic as a daily driver but that doesn't make it better just more convenient in traffic.

My Challenger will be a manual. OoooooooHHHHHHHH Yeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh! Bom, Bom, Chica, Chicaaaaa, Said like in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
LOL!!! Very good one Jeremiah, glad to see your batteries are recharged (I could use a recharge before long myself). My Intrepid is of course an automatic but I really wanted a manual. I was originally looking at a manual Avenger, but all of them had abuse owners previously.
__________________
"To Debate and Moderate" since 2006

College Graduate:
B.S. in Marketing
A.A. in nothing

The first 426 Dual Quad member.
The first to 2000 posts

RLSH700 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Jeremiah 29:11
Off Topic
7
03-25-2008 10:04 AM
tdub2112
Off Topic
0
09-06-2007 07:13 PM
Jeremiah 29:11
Suspension, Brakes, Tires & Wheels
6
04-27-2007 06:15 AM
RLSH700
Off Topic
6
09-29-2006 10:25 PM
RLSH700
Off Topic
2
03-30-2006 11:21 PM


Quick Reply: Car transmissions go hi-tech


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: