Originally Posted by Video
I've been concerned about this transmission as well.
On my first day of ownership, I drove around for a few miles to show off the vehicle and its high tech features to my sister-in-law. Everything was great and we cruised around without incident--until I tried backing up a 12-degree grade to park on my driveway. The vehicle was unable to travel about 35 feet up this grade and I received a message stating "Transmission Overheating - Wait 8 Minutes".
I was a little concerned (and slightly embarrassed) but as soon as I placed the car in drive, the message disappeared so I tried it again. This time, the same results, but the readout changed to "Transmission Overheating - Wait 9 Minutes". I decided it would be better not to back up the driveway that night.
After a few days of commuting to and from work, I eventually took it back to the dealer, who tried to recreate the problem without success. They suggested that they could keep it for a while longer and give me a loaner until they could get it to behave the same way. Or I could take it home and try to get it to reoccur. I had put around 250+ miles on it by now and when I returned home, the problem had gone away.
As I've driven it more frequently, I've discovered the transmission shudder issue that's been described here. I'm now up to around 750 miles and the reverse issue no longer seems to be a problem, but this transmission hesitation that I've been experiencing is very much like what's been described in the forum.
As for my driveway grade, I no longer bother with backing up, but instead I drive about halfway up to find that the car pauses slightly and then reengages about a second or so later, which allows me to drive the rest of the way. It's not a long driveway. Perhaps only three or four car lengths, but the hesitation has been happening each time for about a week and a half. A similar hesitation happens upon acceleration as I turn into traffic, and this is not a comfortable feeling at all. In fact, it seems very unsafe.
For the last ten years, I've driven a Prius with a CVT. Good acceleration, good performance, and a flawless transmission. When my hybrid battery finally failed, I chose the Focus. So far, my gas mileage has decreased from lifetime 42+ mpg over a lifetime of 188k miles, down to around 34 mpg. But overall, there are other, less tangible benefits.
For now, I'll take the advice of others and see if the transmission behavior improves. Based on the way the vehicle drives, I'm somewhat reluctant to show it off to anyone. Which is kind of a bummer. OTOH, if this condition doesn't improve significantly, it'll be a much bigger bummer.