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Monday, December 12, 2005

Caliber CVT Stupidity, Diesel Tease

I was reading over the Dodge Caliber press release, and playing with Chrysler's vehicle configurator, when I saw this, and had to stop myself from slapping my forehead:


Chrysler Group's CVT has been calibrated to delight customers with pleasing engine response, precise ratio control and an AutoStick├é® feature that allows
for manual control and the simulation of six stepped gears, said Ridenour.
The whole point of a CVT is to optimize engine performance, smooth out torque delivery, and save gas by removing discrete gear ratios.

If people really want to shift their own gears, they will buy the Caliber withavailablee manual transmission. Manu-matic type shifting makes a little bit of sense (not much) on a traditional geared automatic transmission, because you are just taking over the job of the ECU. On a CVT, it is just silly.

The Caliber Configurator seemed to be offering a 2.0L Turbodiesel engine option for the Caliber, at an eye-popping $5400 premium, but the press release makes it clear that this engine is only going to be offered (initially) outside of the U.S. Chrysler may have been fishing to see how many people would bite on the diesel option, and the large price may include the estimated cost of Tier II emissions control equipment.

At the moment, diesel fuel costs about 30% more than gasoline, so the economics of the diesel option for an American consumer would not work out. 229FT-LBs of torque does sound like it might be fun, though.

11 comments:

carscomblogger said...

yeah that doesn't make much sense and I'm not sure if it is actually accurate. I hit up dodge folks about why no press release to go along with new site. perhaps it is like the Ford Fusion site where the prices weren't real to see what people would pay for the car before real prices were announced. so far these prices are excellent. I thought it would be far more than a Neon starting at $15K for the base model.

Dublin Saab said...

I played around with it and came up with a AWD R/T running over $33,000. Umm, no thanks. If I got $33k to burn and am in the market for a Dodge I'll take the R/T with the word Charger in front and an extra bank of cyl under the hood.

Dorks.

Anonymous said...

On the CVT... My 2004 Audi A4 has the same sort of thing -- a CVT with "sport" mode and 6-speed "manumatic" shifting.

So it's not just Chrysler doing this...

jmhm2003 said...

They are also fishing with the Hybrid option. To see what interest there is in the initial market.

HoosierDaddy said...

Now what I've always wondered is why no one has built a CVT that would stand up to a diesel. Diesels love to run in a fairly small RPM range. A CVT could keep the engine purring near the Fuel efficiency peak (which at least on a big diesel is at/near the torque peak) without requiring auto drivers to learn to love the RoadRanger. With the several thousand an diesel adds to the price of a car why not spend a couple hundred more to help the average driver get the full benefit of the engine?

Geoff said...

The Mini Cooper CVT has the manumatic option and I find it useful especially when I want to keep the car in "low gear" during poor road conditions.

Dublin Saab said...

The CVT on my wife's Mini is a turd. It's hoppy and takes a week to "respond" to right foot input, and this after two "firmware" updates at the dealer. My '67 Wildcat had a more responsive transmission.

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Anonymous said...

If you were going down a mountain you might find it nice to use a lower ratio to help hold down the speed, or for fun.
Not too many US drivers are real "Drivers" with any skills. That is why most of our cars and even small trucks have "slush boxes" automatics in them. Great for talking on the cell phone, applying your makeup, but not for real driving...

Anonymous said...

The reason the CVT has programmed steps in it to mimic an old school automatic is because the average driver is clueless and will think the transmission is broken because it doesn't act like they think it should.

Be nice if the automakers, not just Chrysler, wouldn't bend us over on the price of a diesel engine option and it ain't emissions doing that, the diesel option has been a very expensive option from day one in the truck lineup.

Anonymous said...

The definition of CVT, is an infinite number of gear ratios that is controlled automatically by a computer.

Now if you can also specify shift points or your own ratios, either via multi mode automatic (4WD low, city, normal/CVT) or manual. The buyer can only benefit!