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MyFord Touch  (Source: egmcartech.com)
Ford and other automakers' newest technologies will be rated this Thursday when J.D. Power and Associates releases its annual initial-quality study, which is based on consumer opinions

When it comes to in-car communications and entertainment systems, it's no secret that MyFord Touch is the problematic one of the bunchConsumer Reports has said that the system is too complex and distracting due to its lack of tactile buttons and knobs as well as its voice recognition system. In addition, the fact that its screens are partially controlled by two steering-wheel-mounted five-way switches doesn't help its case either. 

Now, auto reviewers aren’t the only ones hating on MyFord Touch, and MyFord Touch isn't the only Ford technology being criticized. Consumers are now throwing in their two cents, and it's not looking favorable for some of Ford's newest technologies.

While not all consumers who have tested MyFord Touch dislike it, many have complained that the system reboots randomly and has trouble responding to voice commands. In addition, some of is features confuse consumers, even though Ford dealerships offer courses on how to use the system. The good news is that many revisions are in development and will be "phased in" over the next year. 

Aside from technical issues, safety advocates worry that the system will distract drivers too easily causing accidents. 

Others have also mentioned problems concerning Ford's PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission, which can be found on the 2011 Fiesta and the 2012 Focus. The PowerShift combines two manual transmissions where one clutch controls first, third and fifth gears while the second clutch controls second, fourth and sixth gears. The idea behind the system is to enable more efficient shifting in order to improve fuel economy. 

Despite its best intentions, the system isn't perfect. Consumers have noted that the system overall is "jerky" with unexpected shifts. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that "huge metallic noises" occurred when downshifting at low speeds, and "dangerous gear changes" made the vehicle surge and eventually stall. 

"The Focus is a little slow to find the right gear as you're slowing from 50 miles per hour," said David Champion, director of Consumer Reports' auto test center in East Haddam, Connecticut. 

But Ford spokesman Richard Truett assures that the PowerShift is just a "different type of transmission" that uses actuators and solenoids to change gears electronically, and that it just takes some getting used to. 

"Consumers will hear different sounds and experience different sensations," said Truett. "But that's normal. We chose the PowerShift because it helps deliver outstanding performance and best-in-class 40 miles per gallon fuel economy." 

Ford and other automakers' newest technologies will be rated this Thursday when J.D. Power and Associates releases its annual initial-quality study. The study is based on consumer judgment after 90 days of ownership, and consumers are to point out any problems they encounter.



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Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By cyberguyz on 6/21/2011 8:21:12 AM , Rating: 3
"that the PowerShift is just a "different type of transmission" that uses actuators and solenoids to change gears electronically, and that it just takes some getting used to."

I mean seriously, if consumers are saying they hate it I would think the boffins at Ford would listen to what they are saying.

Ford has been doing well the last few years since the big economy shakeup that bankrupted GM and Chrysler. it really looked like they were getting their act together. I just hope they are smart enough to take these cues from their customers and get back on track.

Combining two manual transmissions with a pair of automatic clutches may sound interesting, but to be honest I think a CVT would have been a lot simpler and cheaper to implement.




RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By inperfectdarkness on 6/21/2011 8:34:41 AM , Rating: 5
again, i think it's a bad implementation thing. evo's use a DCG and it's pure raptor-jesus win.

now i'll grant you that a CVT makes a bit more sense for low-powered vehicles like a festiva. the problem is, CVT's cannot handle more than anemic amounts of power without succumbing to power-transfer losses & premature wear. DCG's are one potential alternative to that problem, and are (thus far) one of the most promising.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Pessimism on 6/21/2011 9:45:47 AM , Rating: 3
Nissan Murano uses a CVT and it isn't that weak of a vehicle.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Samus on 6/21/2011 12:02:51 PM , Rating: 5
I still think a CVT is superior to a DSG for most ~100hp vehicles, but it has its limitations with high power applications. The Nisan Murano CVT isn't a true CVT, it works quite differently as it has idler gears. This has the benefit of handling more power and reducing noise, but honestly, doesn't help the fuel economy as it is only in constantly variable mode while accelerating then eventually settles on a gear to coast in. A traditional slushbox torque converter does a similar thing (albeit completely different technology) so the only advantage the CVT offers is consistant engine RPM while accelerating and no shifting (until it idles into a gear, there are 6 selectable gears in the Xtronic2.)

The problem with DSG's is unproven technology. Before you rate me down, let me defend myself. The technology hasn't been mainstream until just 6 years ago, prior to that was VW's Mechatronic used since the 80's but absolutely not known for its reliability. Control modules alone cost $7000. A manual transmission is still more efficient. The only advantage the DSG has is it shifts for you, and not very well. I've been in dozens of cars, a VW R32, Audi A4's, CC's, EVO X's, Fiesta's, etc. They are all incredably jerky, don't know what to do going up or down hill, take forever to downshift more than one gear (overstepping) and do not produce any better fuel economy than a slushbox...because nobody takes advantage of the technology properly. There are currently no STOP START vehicles on the road. Not one. The only reason to have a DSG is for technology like this. DSG's are not high performance like people think, either. Infact VW recalled 14,000 vehicles (all A6's, S-series, and some diesels) because the DSG clutch packs were inadequate for the engine torque output. VW didn't even upgrade the clutchpacks and just messed with the firmware to have it shift different (ie, much slower, almost destroying the car performance according to many people.) My friend has had to replace the clutchpack in his EvoX after 20,000 miles. It cost $6000 and was NOT under warranty. Infact not one manufacturer warranties the clutch on a DSG, but all manufactures warranty every component on an automatic transmission for some length of time/milage. People are being suckered.

I can't believe Ford bet on DSG technology over CVT, especially in their two lowest-powered, lightest weight cars where CVT implementation is ridiculously easy, reliable, and inexpensive.


By superstition on 6/21/2011 3:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
No Stop/Start vehicles in the USA, you mean, eh? Here are just a few examples of UK vehicles with it:

SEAT Ibiza ST 1.2 CR TDI 75PS Ecomotive Man. 5-speed, start-stop, Coupe, 5 door 67.5 MPG US

FORD Focus 1.6 Duratorq TDCi 109PS 5dr Saloon ECO Start-Stop Man. 5-speed: 61.6 MPG US

AUDI A3 1.6 TDI 105PS start-stop Man. 5-speed 61.6 MPG US


By e36Jeff on 6/21/2011 4:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
In terms of start/stop in the US, aside from every hybrid on the market, there is also the BMW M3; M-B CL63, CLS63, and S63; Porsche Cayenne and Panamera. The total list, when you include the hybrids, has 34 vehicles.

And I can't speak for other manufacters, but BMW does cover clutches in both DSG's and manual transmissions. Albeit, its under the clause of 'normal wear and tear,' but from what i've heard they will usualy give you one clutch if you are above 30k-40k miles.


By Adul on 6/21/2011 8:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
Subaru Outback has a CVT with a 170HP engine.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By avxo on 6/22/2011 1:00:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They are all incredably jerky, don't know what to do going up or down hill, take forever to downshift more than one gear (overstepping) and do not produce any better fuel economy than a slushbox...

I have an Audi TT with with the DSG transmission. It's smooth as butter on the highway and just as smooth in town (it's only ever jerky when forcing a downshift from 2nd to 1st). I test-drove a TT-S with 265 hp and it's just as smooth.

quote:
There are currently no STOP START vehicles on the road. Not one.

That's a blatant lie.

quote:
DSG's are not high performance like people think, either. Infact VW recalled 14,000 vehicles (all A6's, S-series, and some diesels) because the DSG clutch packs were inadequate for the engine torque output.


My TT has 211 hp between 4300 and 6000 RPM. It cranks cranks 258 lb-ft of torque between 1600 and 4200 rpm. And gets from 0 to 60 in just over 5 seconds.

Granted that's not super-car like performance, but it's pretty high performance.

It's true that higher-performance models, like the TT-RS and the R8 don't come with a DSG, but clearly such gearboxes are capable of coupling a lot of power. Yet.


By Alexvrb on 6/22/2011 6:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
Your 0-60 time isn't because you have a really powerful engine. It is because the car is sleek and small, relatively light, has lots of gears and reasonably aggressive gearing, with decent power. Strap a DSG to a bigger, heavier model with a nasty engine and watch it break too early and not be covered under warranty and/or maybe they'll release a FREE software update to make it shift gently and reduce your acceleration times.

DSGs have advantages, but I'm just not sure they're appropriate for all vehicles. Conventional MTs and ATs with 6+ gears seem to be pretty good competition, in many cases. I do agree that a lot of it comes down to implementation.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By NullSubroutine on 6/21/2011 11:46:51 AM , Rating: 2
What the hell is a DCG?


By SanLC504 on 6/21/2011 12:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think he means Dual-Clutch Gearbox, but usually they are called DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox, Volkswagen) or DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission).


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By InfinityzeN on 6/21/2011 8:53:17 AM , Rating: 2
Dual clutch transmissions are not exactly new. They are also not an automatic transmission (which uses planetary gears and torque converters), but an automated manual. It will feel like a manual transmission instead of an automatic when driving, because it is a manual transmission.

I do agree that a CVT would be a better choice. Dual Clutch Transmisisons are the realm of high performance vehicles like the GT-R, Ferrari, BMW M3, etc.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By chiadog on 6/21/2011 9:07:42 AM , Rating: 2
It isn't exactly an automated manual. BMW's SMG and Ferrari's F1 shifter are automated manual boxes. DCG are DCGs, with all its faults and unnecessary complex parts. I do not agree that DCG are for high performance cars, as it doesn't handle power quite as well as a real deal manual box, and adds unnecessary weight and points of failure. Sport compacts seems like a more fitting home for these boxes.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By omnicronx on 6/21/2011 9:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I do not agree that DCG are for high performance cars
I would tend to agree..

-Faster shifting
-Can be more fuel efficient
-Less power transfer loss (result of getting away from torque converter/planetar gear sets)

Whats not to like? #2/3 on the list are exactly what you care about in a smaller car..


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By mcnabney on 6/21/2011 10:34:01 AM , Rating: 2
Why would anyone ever buy an automatic tranmission unless they had some form of disability?

Standard transmissions are not hard to use and save tons of money on the purchase as well as maintenance and repairs.


By DanNeely on 6/21/2011 11:25:13 AM , Rating: 3
Why would anyone ever buy a <labor saving device> unless they had some form of disability?

<Less-automated models> are not hard to use and save tons of money on the purchase as well as maintenance and repairs.


By Hieyeck on 6/21/2011 11:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
Welcome to the USA.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By wolrah on 6/21/2011 12:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would anyone ever buy an automatic tranmission unless they had some form of disability?


Because it's faster? Perfect shifts in either direction, performed faster than any human ever with a standard.

When well implemented (as apparently the Ford was NOT, but let's use a VW GTI as an example) the only objective downsides to a DCT are cost and complexity.

Now, subjectively I won't deny that it's just enjoyable to row your own gears, but look at any example ever of a vehicle offered with both DCT and standard, DCT is faster.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By omnicronx on 6/21/2011 1:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When well implemented (as apparently the Ford was NOT, but let's use a VW GTI as an example) the only objective downsides to a DCT are cost and complexity.
Depends on what you consider implemented correctly. VW (and pretty much everyone else) utilizes a wet clutch system while Ford utilizes a dry clutch system.

Its not suppose to perform on par with a wet clutching system, it is suppose to bring a DCT in price to the levels where it can be used in small and midsized vehicles. Unlike the expensive wet clutch systems that are usually used in torque heavy situations.

They are also usually less complex than wet clutch systems and do not require special transmission lubricants and higher priced synthetic oil to keep them running.

That said, this also kind of ruins your rule of always being faster ;) With a professional driver the 5 speed manual Focus goes from 0-60 in around 7.6, while the 6 speed auto DCT tuned in over 8. Great performance compared to a conventional automatic, but still not yet on par with a manual.

If you were to compare an 8 speed BMW DCT to a manual on the same vehicle, you would probably be correct ;)


By Johnmcl7 on 6/21/2011 8:47:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Depends on what you consider implemented correctly. VW (and pretty much everyone else) utilizes a wet clutch system while Ford utilizes a dry clutch system.


VW use both, the six speed DSG uses wet clutches but the seven-speed uses dry clutches.

John


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 1:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Standard transmissions are not hard to use and save tons of money on the purchase as well as maintenance and repairs.

I've had zero problems with my auto after 270K miles, only fluid changes. I would have been on my 2nd clutch with a stick by now, if not a third. And even when clutches hold up sometimes the throwout bearing goes bad, high labor costs for a small replacement part.

Lockup torque converters level the playing field for mileage at highway speeds.

Stick shifts make no sense if you do a lot of stop and go driving.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By omnicronx on 6/21/2011 1:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
You also spent money upfront to get that automatic..

You are also kidding yourself if you don't think these very same 'high labour costs for a small replacement part' issues don't exist for automatics too, if not more..


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 1:45:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sure they exist, but I didn't have any.

Larger cars don't come with sticks, economies of scale level the cost playing field.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By omnicronx on 6/21/2011 1:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure they exist, but I didn't have any.
I'm sure you could find many manual drivers that would claim the same thing.
quote:
Larger cars don't come with sticks, economies of scale level the cost playing field.
Sure they do, in fact they are kind of making a comeback in recent years with many now equipped with 6 speed manuals. (now of course they are the minority, but they do exist)

Then there are vehicles like Jeeps that buying an automatic would be considered sacrilege and those things last forever!


By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 7:43:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sure they do, in fact they are kind of making a comeback in recent years with many now equipped with 6 speed manuals. (now of course they are the minority, but they do exist)

And on the Acura TL the only way to get a stick is to buy it fully loaded, meaning bigger engine and AWD. Kind of a turnaround from the old days.
quote:
Then there are vehicles like Jeeps...

Let's not address products from Chrysler.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2011 2:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Stick shifts make no sense if you do a lot of stop and go driving.


I don't care if it doesn't "make sense", I'm driving a stick.

quote:
I would have been on my 2nd clutch with a stick by now, if not a third.


Unless you "launch" first gear constantly, I call BS on this. There are more people with 270k manuals out there than your automatic, I assure you.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 4:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Unless you "launch" first gear constantly, I call BS on this. There are more people with 270k manuals out there than your automatic, I assure you.

In your neck of the woods sure, but that isn't everything. You go to some city where an hour of repetitive engagements of the clutch, hundreds, to travel a few blocks, are not going to be rewarded with vast lifespans.

Translation - things outside your viewpoint don't necessarily constitute BS.

As usual no middle of the road exists for some people.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2011 6:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
How the hell do you know where I live? Just because I'm Conservative I live in the "woods"? Wtf is this.

I drive in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina all the time. Maybe you've heard of it?

quote:
Translation - things outside your viewpoint don't necessarily constitute BS.


Hypocrite much? Just because YOU have an automatic with 270k on it and supposedly no maintenance doesn't mean your viewpoint is correct.


By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 6:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
Your neck of the woods means not a big city. You had already mentioned you were from NC in the past.

The rest of your assumption came from you, not me. It is just a common expression, "your neck of the woods."

Are you ever not an extremist? Nothing here suggests that. You scream when ad hominem attacks are used on you, but after Moto you do the exacty same thing almost as often. Not my viewpoint, but all actual posts, with little if any digging required.

Ready to flame at a moment's notice.


By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 7:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and supposedly no maintenance

Here's yet another example of your emotions being out of control. I clearly stated I did fluid changes, about 8 of them altogether as a matter of fact. So where did you come up with "no maintenance?"

And so my while probably not much lower labor costs than a clutch replacement at least the costs have been spread out over time.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Samus on 6/21/2011 12:17:20 PM , Rating: 1
I guess you haven't heard practically everybody who beats on their GT-R has destroyed their transmission. Watch youtube, there's a viral video of a virtually new GT-R transmission exploding at a dragrace.

The only car that got it right was the Veyron, probably because the transmission costs $123,200 dollars, is made almost completely out of titanium, and has dual 12" carbon ceramic clutches, simply gigantic. Most DSG transmission CASES aren't even 12" in diameter.

EVO's have the same problem. So do Audi's (who just recalled a shitload of 'performance' vehicles equiped with DSG's only to mess up their firmwares by limiting sharp high RPM shifting.


By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2011 1:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only car that got it right was the Veyron, probably because the transmission costs $123,200 dollars, is made almost completely out of titanium, and has dual 12" carbon ceramic clutches, simply gigantic. Most DSG transmission CASES aren't even 12" in diameter.


Umm you know most cars don't have over a thousand wheel horsepower right? There's no need to build transmissions to Veyron standards.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By InfinityzeN on 6/21/2011 9:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
Dual Clutch Manuals, twin-clutch gearbox, double clutch transmission, etc etc etc. All different names for the same thing.

What I ment when I said they are far high performance cars is that they were designed for F1, trickled down to Ferrari, then trickled down to other high performance cars. It is only recently that they have started showing up in non-high performance cars.


By chiadog on 6/21/2011 11:50:52 AM , Rating: 2
You may be confused by the semi-auto operations. DCG and automated manuals/semiautomatic operate the same to the driver, but uses different technology underneath. DCGs was introduced in consumer space on the VW then Audis. The Supercars came later since the earliest consumer box can't handle much power. R35 GT-R's DCG box is a joke compared to the old manual Getrag boxes R32-R34 had.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By omnicronx on 6/21/2011 9:33:29 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I mean seriously, if consumers are saying they hate it I would think the boffins at Ford would listen to what they are saying.
Where have consumers been saying this? I would love for an actual source of more than one person complaining, as I own one of these cars and while I have a manual, the automatic DCT was a great drive, and I had absolutely no problems in the 5-6 extended test drives I took when trying to choose between the two. (and I definitely did not hold back while testing) The only thing I truly did not like is the silly shiftronic setup (or whatever you want to call it), as its just two up and down buttons.

This is also hardly groundbreaking, this is merely a DCT such as what high end Mercedes have in their SUV's. DCT like transmissions are the future (yes I said it, give it 15 years and the torque converter will go the way of the dodo) , and are actually quite cost effective when you consider how much a torque converted based automatic can cost.

Truly if you want consumer backlash, switch everything to a CVT as you state. Feels like riding a large lawnmower..

and FYI: It was also kind of known that the Fiesta DCT's had a little trouble out of the gate, as the Focus does not seem to have some of the same kinks as the very first revision.


By Iaiken on 6/21/2011 10:21:18 AM , Rating: 2
Not just that, but a lot of the jerkiness can be taken out via updates to the engine computer. A computer-controlled throttle body, when coupled with a DCG, allows the computer to blip the throttle at the right moment during a downshift to momentarily bring the RPM's up to match the new gear before it it engaged. This allows for butter-smooth shifting at all RPM ranges and when combined with limitations on when the computer can shift it prevents dangerous surges.

Ford is on the right track, but they still have some work to do.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2011 10:37:32 AM , Rating: 2
Did you read the article? This isn't "one person" randomly saying it.

quote:
Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that "huge metallic noises" occurred when downshifting at low speeds, and "dangerous gear changes" made the vehicle surge and eventually stall.


NHTSA, you know, the people who TEST cars for a living? I think that's a little more legitimate than your subjective "extended test drives", don't you think? You don't even own one, you went for the manual. Smart move, by the way.


By omnicronx on 6/21/2011 1:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
As stated, I heard absolutely nothing like what they describe on the focus in particular.

Its well known that the Fiesta (especially the early ones) had transmission issues, and we don't even know for sure what car they were even testing.

I test drive with the windows down and the radio off, just so I can hear these types of things, and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed loud grinding noises.

Just saying...

P.S The manual is a great little car ;) Mine is even the SEL which they don't sell in the US as a manual ;) The result is my car is basically equipped like a full fledged Titanium, aside for the 18" rims. (i.e Ford MyTouch w/ 8 in panel etc)..

As for MyFord Touch, i would tend to agree with most peoples complaints. If it were responsive and worked as it was suppose to 100% of the time, it would be great, unfortunately there are clearly still some issues.

Do note MyFord Touch is not made by MS, but by Ford, and apparently they've recently dumped the developers in charge of the project because of ongoing issues.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By JediJeb on 6/21/2011 12:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing Ford is good at is making Ranger's and F-150's for uninformed rednecks. Notice they didn't put this trans setup in THOSE.


Funny. Those uninformed rednecks probably buy older trucks so they can actually work on them at home resulting is massive savings in maintenance over the 10+ years they will own them. The really uninformed people out there are the ones that will buy the shiny new thing on the market then spend a fortune keeping it working until they can "upgrade" in a couple years, all the while being stuck in a constant cycle of making perpetual payments and taking a loss on each upgrade.


RE: Easy for a Ford executive to say...
By YashBudini on 6/21/2011 7:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those uninformed rednecks probably buy older trucks so they can actually work on them at home resulting is massive savings in maintenance over the 10+ years they will own them.

So you're saying the old phrase "necessity is the mother of invention" doesn't exist in your world?


By JediJeb on 6/22/2011 11:32:52 AM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, most people I know invent their own ways to keep older vehicles going out of the necessity of not being able to afford the new ones being sold today.


By FaaR on 6/21/2011 7:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
"Consumers" may hate it (bit overexaggerated term, don't you think?), but that doesn't mean they know what the hell they're talking about. People in general are about as intelligent as a bag of rocks.

Maybe they "hate" it for no other, more rational reason than because the dual clutch transmission doesn't feel all slushy and diffuse like a standard automatic, like they're used to - the article doesn't say!

Who are these "consumers" btw? What percentage out of what selection of the total customer base expressed negative opinions? Such details can widely skew results!


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke














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