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Old 03-20-2004, 06:34 AM   #1
Folkus
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Love my new PZEV ATX! But...

I'm loving my new '04 PZEV SE Wagon ATX. This car is a serious stealth bomber! I had been worried that I'd miss my MTX too much (got the ATX for practical reasons), but the PZEV is so fluid and powerful that the ATX is generally a lot of fun.

I have 500 miles on it and am beginning to check out its full-throttle reactions (only occasionally at this point).

I get tremendous power if I floor it from, say, 0 to 29 mph. But.... from 30 upward to about 50, I don't always feel like I'm getting a powerful "kickdown" when I floor it.

Don't get me wrong, it accelerates pretty darn quickly from 30 to 50, but there's no clear (or "dramatic") kickdown even when I punch it hard. It just accelerates smoothly -- quickly, but smoothly and quietly.

Is this normal? If so, why? Thank you owners and experts for any advice, personal impressions of kickdown reaction on the ATX PZEV at different speeds. I don't have a tach, so I can't report the actual RPM's, sorry.

I tried manually shifting to 2nd gear, and defeating overdrive, but that doesn't give me the revving and sudden jolt ahead that I'm used to in other ATX transmissions on strong engines when I push all the way pedal.

Even if this is normal, I l-o-v-e this car! Love it! I feel like I got the deal of the century. I considered (and extensively auditioned) the '03-'-04 Forester, Impreza WRX, Jetta, Golf GTI, Honda Accord V6, Corolla, and others. NONE of them is as desirable IMO as the PZEV Wagon. In other words, even if they were all the same price, I would rather own the PZEV wagon when I consider all the ergonomic, convenience, and performance factors.

Needless to say, they're not the same price! :)


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Old 03-20-2004, 12:31 PM   #2
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I have a PZEV ATX sedan, I find turning off OD(button) and stomping it works pretty well, better than the "manual" shift to 2nd.
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Old 03-20-2004, 12:44 PM   #3
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I drove the ZX3 version with auto and was impressed as well! WAY smoother than the Zetec I had in my old Contour. Sounds like an electric engine compared to my Civic! A compact bargain compared to the competition.
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Old 03-20-2004, 12:52 PM   #4
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Your car isnt downshifting. That is why you dont feel it "jolt" and "kickdown". This is normal. You are simply going too fast for first gear. I have found that the car doesn't want to go to first gear from second if you are right at the top edge of the RPM band for first. I, too, enjoy the ATX and find it very quick.
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Old 03-20-2004, 01:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by guerro

Your car isnt downshifting. That is why you dont feel it "jolt" and "kickdown". This is normal. You are simply going too fast for first gear. I have found that the car doesn't want to go to first gear from second if you are right at the top edge of the RPM band for first. I, too, enjoy the ATX and find it very quick.
Guerro, thanks. I'm not sure this clarifies it for me, though.

Excuse my non-mechanical perspective on this....But... isn't this a 4-speed auto tranny? And if so, shouldn't it downshift automatically from 2nd to 1st at low speeds, from 3rd to 2nd at moderate speeds, and from 4th to 3rd at highway speeds?

A BRIEF transitional area (around the "top edge of the RPM band" you refer to) makes sense to me, but that's not what I'm experiencing. I'm experiencing no downshifting whatsoever from around 30 mph to 40mph (a fairly important -- and wide -- range in which a lot of highway passing and merging happens) and unreliable downshifting above the (40-50 or 60 mph)? What's up with that? We're talking about a full 30 MPH range with no consistent downshifting. That's no RPM band edge.

I stomp on it from 30 MPH to 40 MPH to pass on the highway, and nothing powerful happens.

Again, to avoid any casual reader misinterpreting this as a negative assessment of the PZEV ATX -- I love the car and would live happily with this tranny over a Subaru, VW, Toyota, or Honda ATX, no question at all! I've never loved a car this much, and I've owned a Mustang 5.0 convertible, Miata, Saab 900, Contour Zetec, Volvo wagon, and more. And this is the most enjoyable automatic transmission I've ever owned.

I just can't help wishing for more consistent kickdown across the speed range. Especially knowing how much power is hiding in there!

If it's normal, any work-arounds?

Thanks...
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:36 PM   #6
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It's an auto wagon... there is power, you just have the ATX..
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:42 PM   #7
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the tansmision is shifted by the computer, based on many inputs to the computer... HAL doesn't want it to shift down at that speed :) Your probly getting the best performance the way it is. If it did shift down, it might make a lot of noise and not go anywhere faster
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Old 03-20-2004, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Folkus
...Excuse my non-mechanical perspective on this....But... isn't this a 4-speed auto tranny? And if so, shouldn't it downshift automatically from 2nd to 1st at low speeds, from 3rd to 2nd at moderate speeds, and from 4th to 3rd at highway speeds? ...
Yes, it's a 4-speed, and yes, your assessment of downshifting is right on the money; generally speaking, that is. In fact, most auto's I've driven (not Foci, I'm talking different cars, rentals on business trips, that sort of thing) will kick down from 4th to SECOND if you really mash it and the computer calculates it's not going to over-rev. My boss's Marauder is a decent example of that. It's programmed to hit OD as fast as possible if your right foot's not in it, for fuel economy reasons. Give it even a half-hearted goose and it drops straight to 2nd. Happens routinely every time I drive it, almost to the point of annoyance. My F-250 is similar; I have learned to pop it out of OD and therefore grab third manually, because relying on the auto kick-down gets me second more often than I'd like. (Yeah, yeah, I know these are big V8's, not even close to a Focus... but shift strategy on a small engine is usually even more aggressive since they typically rev even higher)

Okay, ATX Focus folk - give Folkus some help here! He says he can mash it at 30-40mph and get no downshift at all. IS THIS NORMAL?? Doesn't sound normal to me. Somebody please go out and try it, and post results.
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:24 PM   #9
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i'll try it tonight and let u know, i never noticed anything like that,
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Old 03-20-2004, 08:35 PM   #10
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Thanks, guys. I do appreciate it. Soffiler, that's exactly what I'm talking about -- on my other automatics if you pushed medium-hard it would downshift to third from fourth, if you pushed very hard it would downshift into second (if it wasn't at the top of fourth's range). My focus seems tuned for economy through the 30-50 range and I wish there were some way to change that. Maybe it downshifts one gear, but it's not enough to give you a zoom-zoom experience. The contrast with the VERY POWERFUL downshift from 15 to 30 MPH is really stark. It's just so serene from 30-50 mph.

90 percent of the time, it's just fine to accelerate smoothly at those speeds. But for passing on 2-lane roads, I really do miss being able to floor it hard and feel the engine give me a lot more back....

Are there any aftermarket computer tweaks that would add a more aggressive downshift in this range, but not void warranty?

Yikes, can't believe I'm asking that! What's happening to me? I'm gettin' the bug!

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