Are multiple-gear transmission more effective?


Posted by: Chris Odogwu

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Car experts believe that cars with multiple transmission gears have a greater ratio spread for optimal performance. Is it always true to our vehicles? Check inside!

In an attempt to improve performance and usability, car manufacturers are creating more gears in their transmissions. This new development has left car lovers asking if cars with more gears are better than their counterparts. will clarify concerns regarding the number of gear transmissions in this post.

Car experts are of the opinion that, with more gears, transmissions have a greater ratio spread for optimal performance. These spreading of both ratios and transmissions increases the first-drive ratio and decreases the over-drive gear ratio at the same time.

a yellow Aston Martin

Aston Martin automatic transmission vantage cars

The importance of the multiple gears is noticeable during acceleration as it delivers peak power. The additional ratios can set the engine in a good spot. When the engine isn’t producing much pressure, the transmission enters a higher gear.

Tracing back the auto history, the number of gears in cars has changed over time. Back in the 1990s, cars moved on three to five-speed automatics. In the 2000s, the transmissions moved from five- to six-speed. The reputed German automaker Mercedes-Benz ushered in the first seven-speed gearbox in 2003. Meanwhile, seven and eight-speed transmissions were found only with luxury cars for a period of time.

Officials of FCA claim that the organization democratized car transmissions, with the invention of cars with eight-speed transmissions in the mainstream market. Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers were among the first set of cars to have eight-speed automatic transmissions.

Are automatic transmissions better than CVTs?

Fuel consumption is a major concern for car users, leading to the birth of continuous variable transmission which contradicts FCA’s extra gear method. The infinite gears of the units use two cones that are joined together with a belt.

Automatic transmission

Low gear with automatic transmisson

Speaking of their merits, CVTs are in their best form in engines with smaller displacements. They were used by FCA in the production of their older vehicles such as Patriot and Jeep Compass. However, engines that produce high horsepower exceed the CVT capacity, that's why they haven't dominated the market.

Why not a dual clutch transmission?

Quick-shifting dual clutch transmission (DCT) makes a strong statement in automatic transmission. Although mainly used for performance vehicles, DCTs are gradually making their way to the mainstream.

Introduced in 2011, the dual clutch transmission in Ford’s Fiesta and Focus was heavily criticized by users, and this led to the issuing of a “technical service bulletin malfunctions” while driving. In the meantime, Honda had its own fair share of dual clutch transmissions. The 2015 Acura ushered in an eight-speed dual clutch. This was built with a torque converter to resolve arising concerns about manual DCTs.

In 2014, the first nine-speed transmission made its debut with the Jeep Cherokee. And there were displeasures about its refinement. Automaker FCA swung into action to fix the problem. Vehicles it produced afterwards are known for their smoother transmissions.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S cabin

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S with 7-speed dog-leg manual transmission

What’s next in transmissions?

While the world is still warning up to nine-speed transmissions, automakers are already working on ten-speed transmissions. Lexus is a frontrunner of this movement with plans of bringing the LS and LC 500 ten-speed automatic transmissions. Besides, Ford and GM have already made a commitment to bring ten-speed transmission cars to the mainstream.

Several hi-tech applications have made transmissions even more advanced. No doubt, manual sticks are more economical, but automatic transmissions offer more values. However, a proper transmission inspection is truly important during purchase.

Is having a transmission with more gears really better? The verdict

It depends. If you want speed and performance vehicles, dual clutch transmission is the way to go. If you want to save some fuel, enjoy bigger displacement engines and high torque, multiple number automatic transmissions seal the deal.

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Chris Odogwu
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Chris Odogwu

Chris Odogwu

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Chris Odogwu is a Content Writer and Journalist. He holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from University of Jos and a master's degree in Mass Communication from University of Lagos. His works have been published in top local and international publications including Forbes, HuffPost, ThriveGlobal, TheNextScoop and Nigeria360 among others. A member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the thrill he gets from writing about exotic cars feels almost the same as riding in them.

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