Originally Posted by gambit293
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here. Are torque converters much less efficient than dry DCMs? Even if that may be true in principle, I hardly think the Focus's DCM mileage performance is superior enough that we could thumb our noses at traditional automatics. Perhaps future DCMs will mop the floor with ordinary autos, but right now the Focus holds its own but that's about it.
I too have wondered about the true economic benefit of the DCT. I laughed that Ford's own marketing materials touted the increased efficiency of the DCT compared to a 4-speed
conventional automatic. Well of course the 6-speed DCT is going to be more fuel efficient than a 4-speed for obvious reasons.
If you look at user data on fuelly.com, the Focus is no more fuel efficient than the rest of the class, some of which have 4- or 5- speed conventional autos. But we have to admit that the Focus has the most horsepower of the class and seems to get on average the best acceleration. So maybe the tradeoff is that you get slightly better performance for the same mileage.
Then you have the Dodge Dart which has the most comparable engine to the Focus's in the class - a 2.0L 160hp unit. But with its conventional 6-speed tranny it gets only 24/27/34 EPA ratings compared to the Focus's 27/31/38. But the Dart is also significantly heavier.
Bottom line in the real world it's hard to find an apples to apples comparison to see if the DCT has a real performance/economy benefit. For now we just have to take Ford's marketing materials for what they're worth.
In any case, clearly the modern CVT results in a more fuel efficient car. Just look at the new Altima and Accord.