NOS2006

Automatic Transmissions

How many speeds should they limit autos at?  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. How many?

    • 5
      0
    • 6
      2
    • 7
      0
    • 8
      4
    • 9
      0
    • 10
      0
    • 11-12
      0
    • 13-15
      1
    • CVT
      3
    • Seriously, who the hell drives an auto?
      5


22 posts in this topic

I've thought about this a lot of times. They keep adding gears to these cars, but I'm not sure I'm much of a fan. I think six speeds is where it should be limited, maybe 8. My mom has a new Vue XR and it's the first 6 speed auto I've driven. It's a real smooth transmission, but it just seems like it shifts way too much, even if it's hardly noticeable. Yes, technology is getting better in these cars and soon you won't even know when the vehicle shifts at all, especially with dual clutches and all that good stuff. Maybe I'm old school though because I like to feel that upshift or occasional downshift to go WOT.

Thoughts on this?

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Apparently Chrysler's developing a 9-speed for FWD cars (and the 8-speed for RWDs will be out next year I believe)...

The dealers also got news about plans for a nine-speed automatic transmission for front-drive vehicles, which would follow an eight-speed automatic transmission for rear-drive vehicles due out in 2012.

Both will be adaptable to all-wheel-drive and hybrid applications, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told dealers in an hour-long address Tuesday. He did not say when the nine-speed automatic would arrive.

Source: http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/autosblogpost.aspx?post=1805206&_blg=1,1805206

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I really like most of the 6 speed autos I've sampled. Sometimes I feel, like with the malibu, they gear them too wide apart to stretch fuel economy in an engine without a lot of torque. In cases like this i couuld see adding a 7 or 8 speed with a final drive ratio like the 6 speed but with gears closer together so if the car isn't powerful enough for wide spacing the extra cogs will help. For a performance car with a lot of torque I'd think to many gear could be an issue becuase the auto would loose speed shifting so often.

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I'm not really sure how much I agree with that. With the new dual clutches and all that, they're getting automatics to shift way faster than any human can shift a manual. Yeah, these perfected transmissions aren't in your Chevy or Ford yet, but the high-tech things always get passed down and soon they will be. I'm really interested in seeing how one of those 8-speed dual clutch Chargers will feel when they come out.

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Well I know 4 is too little. I think 6 is ideal but I've never driven a car with more than 6 gears. However the more gears a car has the better the transmission can keep the engine in the powerband, and the better the fuel economy vs fewer gears.

NOS, the Fiesta's option transmission is a Dual Clutch.

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The new focus will be dual clutch 6 speed also. I kno autos can out shift t all but the best manual drivers these days. I'm just saying that I think more gears could be benificial to less powerful drivetrains, ie. base 4 cylinder midsize cars and more powerful cars (I'm talking v8 or forced induction with lots of torque) may be so busy shifting they can't take advantage of their broad power bands.)

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> Automatics have been shifting faster than manuals, in general, since... I dunno, the 1960s. You can't control the shift points as well, obviously, but the speed of the shifts is beyond question.

> People have long been conditioned to the perceivable shift- at the point that autos get so smooth one cannot discern the shift, you may well encounter a degree of backlash. I've heard that said of CVTs...

> More gears assumedly allows better spacing of ratios, and an increased ratio range, but many just add multiple OD gears and don't move the overall ratios much. Case in point:

M-B 7-spd auto~ 1: 4.38, 2: 2.85, 3: 1.92, 4: 1.36, 5: 1.00, 6: .82, 7: .72

GM 6-spd auto ~ 1: 4.48, 2: 2.87, 3: 1.84, 4: 1.41, 5: 1.00, 6: .74

GM HM 6-spd (this is the 6T70) has a steeper 1st gear, very compatible 2-5th gears, and an identical top OD gear- mercedes only give you an intermediate, 2nd OD gear and in fact; a worse ratio range.

It's really a 5-spd with double overdrive (and the HM is a 5-spd with OD). IMO, esp considering the amount of time one would spend in M-B's 6th gear vs. the complexity & cost, the 6T70 is in fact a better transmission from the consumer's standpoint.

There's more to the story than just the total number of gears.

> More gears benefit a more 'peaky' power band, because it keep the RPMs in the 'sweet spot' better. Today's engines in general have amazingly flat power bands- so that's no longer a real concern.

Now the 'sweet spot' concern is MPG/emissions, not performance... yet the association with performance lingers.

I would agree that 6-spds are likely the ideal- anything more than that is primarily a marketing gimmick.

And it doesn't matter that M-B already stated they don't believe consumers would "accept" a 10-spd auto, I guarantee you it's being designed. It's marketing.

These mega-gear trans must weigh a couple hundred lbs EASY.

Edited by balthazar

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I voted for 13-15. Too bad there isn't a 16+ category, I want 21 speeds, all driver selectable :)

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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There is no point in more than 6 gears unless the transmission is also going to start skip shifting.

If you have a decent enough amount of torque, you really don't need that many gears.

The Audi TDI 2.0 I just had was a 6-speed manual. It was entirely civilized to drive 1-3-6 in normal driving and never even touch 2-4-5.

The Buick Regal 2.0T has similar torque numbers to the Jetta TDI.... I assume it would be possible to drive 1-3-6 in that was well.

The only time you really need a bunch of gears is when the engine isn't good at putting out peak torque over a wide range....That only seems to happen lately on the very small displacement engines... which should really be hooked up to a CVT in that case anyway.

6 is enough.

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Bathy

"People have long been conditioned to the perceivable shift- at the point that autos get so smooth one cannot discern the shift, you may well encounter a degree of backlash. I've heard that said of CVTs..."

I can attest to the CVT's at least in year 1&2 Caliber they were used for company cars and so many inspectors hated them. Year 1 cars worked as they should by science, year 2 they were reprogrammed to have more pronounced "shifts" and were liked much better. Some inspectors would swap keys out for the newer car. Myself knowing what was going on I was fine and kinda liked the older car but it was eerie. Though the older cars had an odd detente in the throttle at WOT it felt mechanical and caused a downshift(electronically). I haven't drove any other CVT was wanting to try the Saturn Vue but they were trash so I didn't bother. Was Nissan's Murano very good,...anybody?

Voted CVT :2cents:

Edited by 67impss

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I voted for 13-15. Too bad there isn't a 16+ category, I want 21 speeds, all driver selectable :)

You want a bicycle then, Moltie.

I voted 8, simply because that's the highest number of gears currently out. Pretty sure it won't just disappear overnight.

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I just love how people were particularly hard on Chrysler for not having enough gears, so now that they'll offer more we need something new complain about. :P

Dodge

I wasn't complaining I offered my experience with a given product if you reread my post(finger OFF trigger please) you will find I actually liked the tranny but felt weird about the lack of shifts. Those cars were quite quick though they didn't leave the line well. I'd like to drive a new one to see how they have progressed. Also would like to drive an ugly Marano to see how they (CVT) act with a 3.5l V6 or if they use electronic set shift point locations

Anyone have CVT experiences to share I'd like to hear you out :yes:

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The new focus will be dual clutch 6 speed also. I kno autos can out shift t all but the best manual drivers these days. I'm just saying that I think more gears could be benificial to less powerful drivetrains, ie. base 4 cylinder midsize cars and more powerful cars (I'm talking v8 or forced induction with lots of torque) may be so busy shifting they can't take advantage of their broad power bands.)

pretty much nail on the head. multigear autos in smaller cars with quicker shifting will keep mpg and performance up.

die hards still like the sticks, and that's fine, but unless the engine's torque curve is tuned so an average shifter can bolt from a dead stop up to traffic speed in order to avoid oncoming traffic, there is no reason really to have a stick other than just to say you enjoy it.

my new cobalt is a stick, its ok, it would be a lot more fun if it had a decent clutch, and a decent shifter.

i would not call it bad, but it certainly is not good. to get the most out of driving a stick, the engine needs to be a willing partner, because the days of buying a stick for the mpg reason are over.

my taurus x and 500 both had 6 speed autos. the 500 absolutely needed it, the taurus x it allows better highway mpg.

i got done testing the subaru legacy again today with CVT. i used to want that car with a stick, but after a couple test drives each way, the cvt is a far better choice for 90% of my driving. That doesn't mean I still wouldn't consider the stick for the 10% fun part, its just that the engine kicks down better with the cvt than i can get it to with the stick and it can run at a lot less rpm at highway than with the stick.

i think CVT's in ten years will probably have a market penetration of 50%...when you consider all the research invenstment that has been put into step gear trannies and the comparatively little in CVT's i think CVT responsiveness will advance rapidly and be the perfect mate for a lot of non turbo 4 cylinders on smaller cars because they will allow really wide ratios. Once a tranny gets past 6 or 8 speeds you should consider variable ratio trannies for pedestrian vehicles.

Japan and Nissan in particular really seems to have a leg up on the CVT. The Nissan Altimas CVT is good now and the Subaru one is decent also. Too bad the subies is mated to a boxer engine. Even the Jeep Patriot i test drove today, the CVT was better than i expected.

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I really like most of the 6 speed autos I've sampled. Sometimes I feel, like with the malibu, they gear them too wide apart to stretch fuel economy in an engine without a lot of torque. In cases like this i couuld see adding a 7 or 8 speed with a final drive ratio like the 6 speed but with gears closer together so if the car isn't powerful enough for wide spacing the extra cogs will help. For a performance car with a lot of torque I'd think to many gear could be an issue becuase the auto would loose speed shifting so often.

yeah a lot of the econocars, even with a 6 speed auto or manual, the 6th gear still is making for a buzzy motor because there is a lack of power to keep it in its prime.

an 8 speed manual would be comical, an 8 speed auto could help a torqueless car, but really once it reaches that point where the tranny is working so hard with so many gears perhaps its best to pour R&D into CVT's for a lot of the driving population.

it should be interesting to see cars like the Cruze and the public response. The Cruze has a flatter torque band and i think if the 6 speed is tuned well with it maybe we don't need more than 6 speeds other than an extra one or two tall top gears exclusively for mindless interstate runs at 80 mph.

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Dodge

I wasn't complaining I offered my experience with a given product if you reread my post(finger OFF trigger please) you will find I actually liked the tranny but felt weird about the lack of shifts. Those cars were quite quick though they didn't leave the line well. I'd like to drive a new one to see how they have progressed. Also would like to drive an ugly Marano to see how they (CVT) act with a 3.5l V6 or if they use electronic set shift point locations

Anyone have CVT experiences to share I'd like to hear you out :yes:

Not singling anyone here out, just a general trend that you'll find on any of the automotive sites.

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Dodge

I wasn't complaining I offered my experience with a given product if you reread my post(finger OFF trigger please) you will find I actually liked the tranny but felt weird about the lack of shifts. Those cars were quite quick though they didn't leave the line well. I'd like to drive a new one to see how they have progressed. Also would like to drive an ugly Marano to see how they (CVT) act with a 3.5l V6 or if they use electronic set shift point locations

Anyone have CVT experiences to share I'd like to hear you out :yes:

my recent CVT experiences this year.

1000 mile +/- rental on the Altima cylinder 2010. Very impressed, outpulls my fatherin laws 3800v6 grand prix and a lot better to drive. Good performance all around. Wanted better mpg but it was picked up with 200 miles on it so it wasn't broken in. Most buyers will have no issue with the tranny. It's very 'grippy'. Didn't have that slippy feel some CVT's had.

A few test drives now in the new Subarus with the CVT. Very good as well, and it really drops the revs at highway speed. Manual mode is pretty good too. Not as aggressive as the Altima / Nissan. Decently responsive in traffic and hardly too much slippy feeling. I could live with one, and its a better option for those cars than a stepped automatic IMO. It's smoother. People with Legacys report being able to get high 30's on the highway with mpg. The Altima i had only got 27 mpg on flat interstate.

Mitsubishi Outlander 4 cyl. THis one needs work, at higher speeds and rpm its a lot snappier. From stoplight to stoplight and at lower speeds its rubber bandy and has delay, plus an engine that needs more power down low to begin with.

Jeep Patriot, today, 2.4 front drive CVT. I expected it to suck ass, but the engine had grunt and the CVT was grippy. It's good enough for in town and freeway use but does feel a bit slippy and less responsive than the Subaru and Nissan. But the difference is not too bad. The groan and vibration of the powertrain is the larger issue that and the rest of the vehicle sucking in general. If Chrysler can fix the NVH issues (because they can't fix the really bad packaging flaws) then it might be a nice driving vehicle. But the CVT on the Patriot is 'serviceable".

Edited by regfootball

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One thing I hope is that the 6-speeds in the FWD bias cars become the new base transmissions, finally eliminating the 4-speeds.

As far as CVTs go, Nissan does the best with them. Though I still prefer traditional stepped gearing.

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one thought, perhaps manufacturers should only put manuals in select models, BUT

make sure the clutch and shifters are sublime, make sure the engine is a willing partner, and make sure the gearing is well done.

at a time when manuals are bound for extinction, I think it means they should raise the bar and make each one a performing instrument.

Let me give you an example. Honda Fit. Decent car for what it is. The shifter is good, clutch was ok, but in order to really make it FUN it needs 20-30 more horsies.

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I give up on auto's, so it's a non-issue for me. I don't plan on buying another automatic until my left foot falls off.

hahah. I completely agree with this statement.

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