Last post on Mar 11, 2013 at 8:18 AM
You are in the Ford Focus
What is this discussion about?
Ford Focus, Ford Focus SVT, Fuel Efficiency (MPG)
#140 of 177 Re: End game [xwesx]
Aug 08, 2012 (11:51 am)
"At the end of the day, it doesn't sound like it came down to the FE by itself. Based on my experience with that automatic transmission, I think John's driving conditions are the worst scenario for it. I spent a few days in Morgantown, WV (lots of steep hills and stop/go traffic), with an automatic Fiesta a few months ago, and that car would have driven me crazy if I owned it and lived there. Were it manual, I'm sure my impression of its hilly city manners would have been far better.
It was lovely on the highway though, and returned a combined FE of nearly 42mpg in 25/75 driving (city/highway, respectively)."
LOL, I am from Pittsburgh!!!! Mogantown is about 75 miles south from me. Pgh is like Morgantown on steroids and lots of them. Plus we have those tunnels, etc....
It's funny to me the statement you made because i kept on saying that where I live this car NEEDS to be a real manual transmission, not this automatically controlled stick !!!! I never said anything because I thought people wouldn't understand and think I was crazy or stupid!!!!!
#141 of 177 Re: End game [johnplisap]
Aug 08, 2012 (12:55 pm)
Hilarious! Nope; I don't think you're crazy at all. The MT would have been a better fit for the conditions. Even if your Corolla doesn't get better FE, I suspect that its transmission, even though it is viewed as old-fashioned, will perform much better in that environment.
I flew into Pittsburgh (my first time there, even though my wife is from Meadville), and drove to Morgantown and back. I specifically requested the Fiesta because I'm considering it to buy and thought this would work out as an extended test drive (though I wouldn't consider buying an automatic, regardless of type).
I was surprised at how hilly the area was. Even on the interstate, there were some pretty decent grades. The problem with the transmission is that it operates like a manual, but it cannot anticipate conditions like a driver can - it only reacts. I swear I would have ended up with whiplash had I driven through many more dimly-lit parking garages at 5mph. Also, it certainly didn't seem overly responsive off an initial start, at least from my perspective having driven "slushbox" automatics at various times in the past. Once you started it moving, though, it would get up and go pretty well. I generally let off the brake, let the car engage some forward momentum for a second, then get into it.
Aside from the transmission, the car was really fantastic. It was quiet, well-planted, peppy-ish (much more so with the MT), good visibility, and great fuel economy.
I'm looking at the Focus now, too, though, since they now offer it throughout the trim levels with a MT. And, it is only rated a couple MPG lower on FE than the Fiesta, but with quite a bit more cargo volume.
#142 of 177 Re: End game [kam327]
Aug 08, 2012 (3:00 pm)
I read with interest what you said below and I always thought if the dealer you bought from did not help another dealer would even be less help. Do people actually go to other dealers if the bought from does not help? I would like to think you could but just never thought thought it was possible.
"Well I sympathize with you on that. It usually is tough to work fighting with a dealer into a busy schedule. Sounds like you got a bad dealer though. Might've been worth it to try another."
#143 of 177 Re: End game [al63017]
Aug 08, 2012 (3:17 pm)
Sure you can. I get my cars serviced at the nearest Ford dealer even though I've never bought a car from them. They still get paid by Ford for warranty work so they're happy to work on your car regardless of where you bought it from.
#144 of 177 Re: End game [kam327]
Aug 08, 2012 (3:30 pm)
Same here. I always try to buy my cars locally, but the local dealers apparently have their inventory plated with gold before the paint goes on. So, I usually end up buying in Seattle and flying down to bring it home, but warranty work is still done at the local dealer.
#145 of 177 Re: End game [xwesx]
Aug 08, 2012 (3:48 pm)
"The problem with the transmission is that it operates like a manual, but it cannot anticipate conditions like a driver can - it only reacts. "
Spoken like a true lifelong manual driver. You just described every slushbox in 95% of cars sold, like, ever.
Now I understand the dual clutch transmission is not at its best in some circumstances, particularly bumper to bumper traffic. But hilly terrain? You guys do realize most Focuses (except for the basic stripped down models) come with Select Shift, or manual shifting mode? So that you, the driver can anticipate upcoming hills and downshift as appropriate? Seems like that would've solved the problem of the hilly terrain.
#146 of 177 Re: End game [kam327]
Aug 08, 2012 (5:23 pm)
I don't know about the select shift. I'm not sure the Fiesta I used had it and, if it did, I didn't notice it during that short time.
The dual clutch is a bit different than many other automatics, including CVTs, in that it has an "engage" vs. "disengage" aspect. That's the primary problem with transitioning from a stop or going at extremely slow speeds. When starting, it has a delay in engagement from the moment of input, and at very slow speeds, it quickly does an engage/disengage cycling that can be noticeably felt. It isn't harsh, per se, but I sure found it annoying. I guess the best way to describe both issues is that the car doesn't feather the clutch.
Like I said, it worked well for me overall, and it didn't have any problems traversing hilly terrain. The hilly terrain in a city environment just made the start/stop traits more pronounced. My opinion is that the DCT automatic is the worst transmission choice for John's driving conditions.
#147 of 177 Re: End game [xwesx]
Aug 09, 2012 (5:39 am)
Correct, there is no torque converter in this transmission like there would be in a conventional automatic so there's no fluid damping of the connection / disconnection of the engine / transmission. It's just like any other manual transmission, the clutch is engaged, disengaged, or slipping a little which I understand the DCT is designed to minimize because it's hard on the clutch.
The main benefit is fuel economy and feeling more connected to the engine. Look at the new Dart with its similar 160hp 2L engine BUT conventional 6-speed automatic - it's only rated at 24/27/34 mpg versus the Focus's 28/31/38.
Ford's Select Shift is standard on most Focus trim levels / option packages. I imagine it would be perfect for hilly terrain where you'd want to downshift before you get to the uphill grade.
#148 of 177 Re: End game [kam327]
Aug 09, 2012 (10:11 am)
I agree that it has a noticeable impact on fuel economy. Just the fact that the automatic is rated higher than the manual in EPA testing is evidence enough of that. Often, too, do CVT automatics that don't experience the loss of efficiency through a torque converter. Real world reports don't necessarily mirror EPA results in that regard, but at least if you're paying more for the transmission, you aren't taking a FE hit to go along with it.
Paddle shifters are nice for allowing additional driver input into the selected ratio.
#149 of 177 Re: End game [xwesx]
Aug 09, 2012 (10:56 am)
Yep, the CVT is how the new Altima gets the same EPA ratings as the Focus despite being larger, heavier and more powerful. And looks like Honda's going the CVT route. Too bad they're so unpleasant to drive!