First used in large-scale vehicle production by Dutch automaker DAF (which was later absorbed by Volvo), the Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) has been implemented by some automakers over the past 10 years, particularly in small vehicles. And soon, you may be able to count on Ford for joining the CVT fray.
“We’ve had some experience with CVTs and it wasn’t all good,” said Ford’s global product development chief Raj Nair, referring to Ford’s 2007 foray with the Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans, and Ford Freestyle. “[CVTs] are getting better. And we are taking another look, particularly in the low torque applications. There may be some [potential] there,” added Nair.
Ford’s fuel economy-oriented Fiesta SFE is currently offered with a 1.0L three-cylinder, but only with a manual transmission. With a CVT unit, the Fiesta could offer drivers “a smoother ride by continuously increasing its gear ratio as the vehicle increases acceleration,” rather than going from gear to gear, according to Automotive News.
If it ends up going the Continuously Variable route, a Ford CVT could be developed in-house or sourced from a supplier. We’d rather see Ford use its crisp, quick, and efficient PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission instead of a CVT unit.