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Old 06-05-2011, 02:55 PM   #8
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What I Drive: 2012 Focus SE Hatch Tuxedo Black

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Originally Posted by mmmoose View Post
The low-speed "shuddering" is normal for any dual clutch transmission. The same effect can be felt on a GTI or R32 with VW's DSG transmission. A lot customers simply don't understand that a dual clutch transmission is basically an automated manual transmission, and that manual transmissions by nature have a very notchy feel to it.

Traditional automatics use a torque converter to help synchronize gear changes and make shifting smoother. It also unfortunately delays the process of shifting itself and saps power from the engine in the process. And CVT equipped cars don't have any physical gears to speak of, so they're even smoother. So any regular customer who goes from driving one of those to a dual clutch transmission car will probably think that something is wrong when they feel the transmission jerking.

Ford could definitely solve the problem by making the lower gears taller, or by inducing some type of artificial delay in the shifting process. However your fuel economy will suffer and the transmission won't feel nearly as responsive. Essentially you're taking away the two major benefits of even using this transmission technology to begin with.

The bottom line is if some people can't handle the way this transmission works, they should look into getting a car with a regular automatic or CVT instead. There's no reason Ford should have to resort to castrating the PowerShift transmission for the sake of smoothness. I'm sure in the future they'll find ways to make it shift smoother without compromising anything. But for now this is what it is.
Sorry Moose but I have to disagree. No auto. transmission should shudder at any speed. I drove the VW dsg transmission only once, but I did not feel any low speed shudder as I am feeling (sometimes) in my new Focus. Hopefully, the problem will correct itself with more miles. The problem wouldn't be solved with taller gears; that might only make things worse. A delay in the shifts (there's already some delay or at least "softness"--the shifts are softer than VW's dsg) wouldn't help the shudder either.

As for manual transmissions (I have own in my current car and have owned several cars with them), if they are driven properly, they are very smooth.

I like firmer shifts and the response, weight savings and hopefully fuel savings you can get from a dual clutch transmission, but Ford has to get it right. The Powershift is the only auto. transmission offered in what is supposed to be a high volume car. I'm sure that most of these cars will be equipped with the Powershift. Shuddering and jerky shifts (I'm getting those when the car is cold) will turn buyers off. I can live with these relatively minor issues, even if they are not resolved, but I'm not sure that everyone would want to.

It might help if the Ford salespeople explained to the potential customers that the transmission is not like a typical auto. trans. and will act a little differently in some respects. However, I'm not sure that they have the requisite knowledge to be able to do that and/or that they want to. My salesman said nothing about the dual-clutch Powershift.

Having said all that, I do like the Focus a lot and if it proves to be reliable, will enjoy driving it for years.
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