Ford to revisit CVTs?

  • Image Credit: Copyright 2014 Brandon Turkus / AOL
Today, Ford wishes its first experience with non-hybrid continuously variable transmissions was far behind it. The Blue Oval was awash in complaints and a couple of class-action lawsuits over the CVTs used in its 2005-2007 Ford Freestyle, Five Hundred and Mercury Montego models, which were a manufactured in Batavia, Ohio as part of a joint venture with ZF. The company gave up on the CVT after just two years, but with fuel economy standards pressing automakers to conjure new tricks, Ford's global product development head, Raj Nair, is now saying the transmissions might make a return, " particularly in the low torque applications," says Automotive News.

An obvious candidate for CVT consideration is the 1.0-liter Fiesta that can presently only be had with a five-speed manual. Beyond that, the company's 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines might fit the bill. Ford hasn't given any indication as to what vehicles it might use to reintroduce the CVT to the US market, or hints about timeline or who would develop it, however .

Some CVT trivia: The 1990 Subaru Justy II was the first US passenger car offered with a continuously variable transmission - Subaru called it the ECVT. It handled gearing duties for a 1.2-liter, inline three-cylinder engine that got all of 70 horsepower. A contemporary blurb about the car begins with "Goodness, gracious, great gobs of gimmickry," and goes on to say that "We can't imagine where you would take this car for repairs, but we are certain that the one mechanic in the world who can fix it lives in a very expensive house." The transmission didn't win any fans, but the ECVT and the car have been largely forgotten, while Subaru played the long game and now you'll find its vastly improved Lineartronic CVT on six of the eight models it sells.

Ford Information


Share This Photo X