2012 Focus to have double-clutch PowerShift transmission option

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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When the auto industry struggled through the most recent economic recession, it became clear to those involved that drastic change was the only way forward, in fact the only way to survive. Fortunately most survived, but then again some have thrived.

It wasn't too many years ago that Ford Motor Company was considered to be several steps behind the Japanese. Now, the Dearborn-based automaker has an impressive new vehicle lineup that in some ways is miles ahead of its Asian counterparts, and cars like the recently released 2011 Fiesta and upcoming 2012 Focus are good examples of its forward thinking.

Both make avialable Ford's new PowerShift automatic transmission that the automaker says is one of the most advanced transmissions in the subcompact and compact car segments.

"The Ford PowerShift transmission is a technological leap over the competition," said PowerShift engineering manager Piero Aversa. "Now that it's available in the new Focus as well as Fiesta, PowerShift gives us two great small cars that not only lead in fuel economy, but are more fun to drive as well."

Weighing nearly 14 kilograms (30 lbs) less than the old four-speed automatic used in the predecessors to these models, the revised PowerShift transmission is a dual-clutch unit with six-speeds.

Since Ford launched it in the Fiesta, the automaker's engineers have continued to develop and refine the PowerShift for performance and efficiency. For example, the PowerShift transmission used in the upcoming Focus features several new upgrades such as a more compliant clutch damper spring designed to reduce noise. In a press release, Aversa adds that the shift programming in the new Focus has been optimized for a wider torque band delivered by its 160-horsepower direct-injected 2.0-litre engine.

SelectShift is also a new feature for the Focus. It allows a driver to swap gears up or down manually simply by pressing a shift handle-mounted button. Push the plus sign and the gearbox up-shifts. Then push the minus sign to downshift. 2012 Focus drivers will also be able to choose a Sport Mode option that changes shift timing for quicker takeoff.

As previously mentioned, the PowerShift is a dual-clutch transmission. This means there are two clutch units in the transmission which are controlled by computers. One clutch handles shifts for gears one, three, and five, while the other clutch handles shifts for gears two, four, and six and reverse. The computer chooses when the gear changes should take place and Ford says the system is good for a ten-percent increase in fuel economy. The PowerShift automatic also features Ford's Torque Hole Fill technology, which is said to eliminate hesitations from the powertrain while up-shifting during acceleration. Hill Start Assist prevents the vehicle from rolling backward on a hill if the driver removes his or her foot from either the brake pedal or accelerator.

Ford says that more than 95-percent of new-car buyers will opt for the automatic transmission. Among the automatic-equipped competition from Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen, Ford claims that none of their compact cars offers better fuel economy, as much horsepower, or faster acceleration than a PowerShift equipped Focus.

"We believe there isn't a more efficient automatic transmission available anywhere," added Aversa.

The PowerShift auto is part of a group of fuel-saving technologies that Ford employs into the new Fiesta and Focus. Those fuel saving measures are said to improve the highway fuel economy of both cars to over 5.88 litres per kilometre of fuel.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Sedan, Ford, 2012, Focus, $10,000 - $19,999, Compact,

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