A better transmission can help reduce fuel use by improving the efficiency of the transfer of energy from the movement of the engine to the wheels. Whether in dual clutch or continuously variable forms, improved transmissions are one way engineers are bumping up vehicles' MPG numbers. Ford has been adding more six-speed trannies to its lineup, and the company's UK versions of the Focus and C-MAX will soon get a new automatic transmission that Ford claims is as efficient as a manual. This "PowerShift" lightweight tranny eliminates a lot of the traditional subsystems and is electronically-controlled (see here for more details about the PowerShift in Volvo vehicles). Ford claims PowerShift is also more fun to drive, as the transitions between gears happens faster than a human can do with a manual system. Be that as it may, check out these numbers: all Ford Focuses with PowerShift get just over 40mpg (U.S.) while the similarly-equipped C-MAX vehicles get just under 40. More details after the jump.
FORD'S NEW HI-TECH GEARBOX BLENDS THE BEST OF AUTO AND MANUAL
* Efficiency of a six-speed manual with the convenience of an auto
* As light and sporty as a manual gearbox
* Available on Focus and C-MAX
* On-the-road prices from £18,195
BRENTWOOD, Essex, 23 June, 2008 – Ford Motor Company has added a high-tech new automatic transmission to its line-up, one which achieves the fuel economy of a manual gearbox but with the comfort and convenience of a normal auto.
Called "PowerShift", the new lightweight transmission uses the latest electronically-controlled twin-clutch technology to change gear, and therefore does not need the complex and weighty sub-systems such as torque converter or planetary gears of regular auto boxes.
Not only efficient, the new six-speed PowerShift is simple to use and yet with a sporty personality. Both up and down-shifts are executed faster than normal auto gearboxes, and faster than drivers can achieve with a manual.
PowerShift is available on either the Ford Focus or C-MAX ranges and with the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine. Two states of tune are available, 136PS or 110PS. Regardless of power rating, body style or series, all Focus models equipped with PowerShift offer a combined fuel economy of 48.6mpg, with average CO2 emissions of just 154 g/km while C-MAX delivers 47.9mpg and 159g/km.
Driving with the Ford PowerShift transmission is as simple and easy as a conventional automatic transmission. The system uses a standard automatic gear lever in the centre console with the usual P, R, N and D settings. The gear lever can also be moved laterally to a parallel gate should the driver choose a sportier style and the option of shifting manually.
Focus with Powershift starts from £18,195 for the 3 dr Zetec, 110 PS 2.0l TDCi.
C-MAX with Powershift starts from £19,895 for the 5r Zetec, 110 PS 2.0l TDCi.