General Motors is set to introduce a nine-speed automatic transmission, the days of the standard six-speed transmission may be numbered. In a partnership with rival Ford, GM is preparing to equip 2017 and 2018 front-drive Chevrolet vehicles with the new transmission. Why is this good news for consumers?
Nine-Speed Automatic Transmission
Per Motor Trend, the “nine-speed comes nicely packaged with all its gears in line with the crankshaft.” A “selectable one-way clutch” will replace two-clutch system of old. This keeps the gearbox small and light. For those of us who aren’t mechanics (me), the improvements translate to a two percent increase in fuel economy. You also get better acceleration and smaller engine vibrations. When can you expect the new transmission?
For buyers, the transmission is already available in the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu. The technology will first show up in in the 2017 Cruze compacts with diesel engines, and the 2018 Equinox. From there, we can expect the nine-speed to replace the six in a wide range of Ford and GM vehicles (10 by the end of 2017).
Bringing Up the Rear
Meanwhile, Ford has focused on a 10-speed automatic transmission for rear-wheel drive vehicles. Car and Driver notes that the tighter ratios between gears “keep the engine closer to peak power during full-throttle acceleration.” These features are important for rear-drive vehicles demanding high performance. That’s why the 10-speed has begun rolling out in the 2017 Ford F-150, Raptor, and the Chevrolet Camaro Z-L1.
Win-Win for Consumers
When rival automakers partner to make vehicles perform better while consuming less fuel, no one loses.