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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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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.


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