Fuel Economy is Automatic

By Ford Social Member

Fuel prices continue to rise, and Ford continues to raise the bar on fuel efficiencies. One surprising example of the company’s fuel efficient technology is the PowerShift transmission.

The PowerShift unit available in Ford Fiesta and Focus models is one of the most advanced transmissions available for subcompact and compact cars. Dual-clutch transmissions, like PowerShift, were born at the racetrack and saw their application for production road cars in ultra-expensive exotics, such as the $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron and $200,000 Ferrari California.

Among competitor vehicles in the Focus segment – Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Sentra – none offers drivers more horsepower, faster acceleration and higher fuel economy with an automatic transmission. Plus, no other car in the Fiesta segment offers a six-speed automatic of any type.

PowerShift is part of a suite of advanced fuel-saving technologies available immediately on the Ford Fiesta and the all-new Focus, enabling both cars to deliver as much as 40 mpg on the highway.

How it Works

Unlike regular hydraulically operated automatic transmissions, which use power-sapping torque converters, wet clutches and pumps, the new dual-clutch Ford PowerShift automatic consists of two manual transmissions (in the same case) working in parallel. Each has its own independent clutch unit controlled by computers and fast-acting electromechanical actuators that shift the gears.

One clutch carries the odd gears, 1, 3 and 5, while the other carries the even gears, 2, 4 and 6, and reverse. PowerShift is an automatic because the gear changes are coordinated by a computer that directs the clutches to engage and disengage in a way that provides seamless delivery of torque to the wheels, even during gear changes.

As a result, the driver benefits from a 10 percent fuel economy gain along with the direct and sporty power-to-the-wheels feel and crisp acceleration normally associated with a manual gearbox, but in a transmission that shifts automatically.

Ford PowerShift advanced features include:
  • Torque Hole Fill: A Ford-developed and patented innovation that eliminates the slight hesitation drivers feel during acceleration when the transmission upshifts into a higher gear. PowerShift sends a smooth, seamless stream of torque to the wheels for uninterrupted acceleration

  • Hill Start Assist: If sensors detect the Fiesta or Focus on a slope of 5 degrees or more, Hill Start Assist automatically prevents the car from rolling backward in the instant when the driver moves his or her foot from the brake to the accelerator. The PowerShift computer controls the brake pressure and engine to hold the car in place

  • Neutral idle: This feature helps improve fuel economy by eliminating the drag a traditional hydraulic transmission puts on the engine when a vehicle is idling

  • Reduced weight: PowerShift weighs nearly 30 pounds less than the four-speed automatic transmission in the 2011 Focus. Less weight helps improve fuel economy

Ford engineers began developing the dual-clutch technology when advances in the speed of processors, memory and the mechanical actuators that shift the gears progressed to the point that a manual transmission could be made to perform as smoothly as an automatic.

More than 95 percent of new-car buyers purchase their vehicles with automatic transmissions, even though many prefer the crisper acceleration, sportier performance and higher fuel economy traditionally offered by manual transmissions. The Ford PowerShift dual dry-clutch transmission delivers the convenience of an automatic with the fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive sporty feel of a manual gearbox.

PowerShift is part of the Ford commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment in which the company competes. Ford offers six-speed transmissions in nearly its entire North American lineup of Ford and Lincoln brand luxury vehicles. Ford is the only automaker to offer North American vehicle buyers 12 sales segment fuel economy leaders, with four vehicles EPA-certified at 40 mpg or higher.

You can learn more about the Ford Fiesta and the Ford Focus at ford.com.
Scott Ericson 04/04/2012
I purchased a focus with the powershift automatic, the first automatic I've ever owned, I have mixed feelings about it, for highway driving it is excellent providing good performance and passing acceleration but around town it seems a little tentative in the gear selection. The transmission attempts to shift into higher gears a little too quickly.
Brad Krekelberg 05/16/2011
I guess I'm a bit late commenting here, but the Powershift is cool technology and a great replacement for the conventional automatic but please don't take away our manuals! Initially, I was optimistic about DSGs thinking maybe it would be easy to put a manual clutch on them, making it cheaper to offer manuals in more cars. Is that an option?
Anthony Choi 04/13/2011
This Focus should offer a proper 6 speed manual transmission with clutch. Leave the automatics to the minivans.
Drew 03/29/2011
Wow. Hate automatic gearboxes. You have failled Ford.
Tom smith 03/21/2011
I LOVE FORD BUT.....I'll be honest about Ford focus, Or just Ford cars. Is it me or the cars look like plain jane. Or maybe a bubble car with the great BIG grid. I think Ford needs to make cars with some more aesthetic looks.
Jeffrey Amos 03/18/2011
i've never had very good luck with a ford car, the trucks are the best out there, but seems like the front wheel drive cars are good for about 50,000 miles then they'll dollar you to death. i have'nt own one in many years. toyota makes great long lasting cars.
Jeff 03/17/2011
I agree not everyone wants the auto or floppy-pedals for 1000 price increase and less fun to drive. I'll take the manual thanks
Ron Ager 03/16/2011
I agree with the folks indicating a preference for shifting yourself. I was really disappointed when I followed the link for fuel economy and all I saw was the transmission information. I was in England last year and rented a turbo diesel 6 speed manual Focus.. what an amazing car. Ford makes it yet we can't buy it, it's a shame, a huge shame. There would be two in our driveway if it was available here.
Thomas Artman 03/16/2011
Efficiency is the future, and we've already seen from Ford and other automakers that automatic transmissions are becoming more efficient than manual versions of the same vehicle. Except for maybe the sub-compact, the muscle car and a small truck, manual transmissions are going away.

I enjoyed driving my former compact with the manual transmission, but the lack of that option isn't going to deter me. If I were in the market, Ford's powershift is the way to go.
Rick Peroni 03/16/2011
I have owned the paddle shifter dual cutch automatic. It is not the same as a regular manual trasmission.
Ethan Spilker 03/16/2011
I'll stick to moving the cogs around myself, thank you very much. Computers are just more mumbo jumbo to make it harder for us normal people to work on our own vehicles.
Collin 03/16/2011
If I buy another sub-compact, it WILL have a manual trans in it. I disagree with Ford on this; manumatics are not as fun to drive. An automatic is an automatic no mater how efficient you make it.
Georgy Berezin 03/15/2011
Focus ST will have 6-speed manual transmission, just wait. Also 1.6 ecoboost will be available soon on redesigned escape
Darryl Henry 03/15/2011
and furthermore the new focus wont have paddle shifters it has a stupid rocker switch on the side but even that switch is only available on certain trims/option packages.
Darryl Henry 03/15/2011
@eric - exactly.
@ frank - computers can and will over ride your "paddle inputs" if it so chooses and according to inside line, keeping the powershift in manual mode wont hold gears, it will still upshift near redline... which means its not a manual. in my stick shift i can bang off of the rev limiter for as long as my heart desires or downshift to squeeze every ounce of power out of the engine... comes in handy when you want to power out of a corner in an autocross track :)
Eric Michael Beaudoin 03/15/2011
@Frank- No offense, but paddle shifters are NOT a manual. The car will shift by itself if I hit the revs around 6500 or so. Paddle shifters are no substitute for a clutch and a stick.
Raul Albor 03/15/2011
The mustang needs paddle shifters!!!
Kevin Meier 03/15/2011
maby you should make one run on hopes and dreams like gm and chrystler products and their companys lol
Don Riddle 03/15/2011
Ok, But I still like the Expedition. What kind of mileage does a new model Expedition expect? Thinking about getting a new one.
Frank Farinacci 03/15/2011
its going to have paddle shifters
Darryl Henry 03/15/2011
if i were to buy a new focus, it would be the SE model because it can be had with the manual transmission.
Reid Maxwell 03/15/2011
Kevin Harper 03/15/2011
Has anyone noticed that most of the comments are about how manuals are preferred. Take a hint Ford.
Eric Michael Beaudoin 03/15/2011
I will not own an automatic Focus. Believe it or not, Ford, there are still PLENTY of people like me who will not settle for the car shifting itself.
Kevin Harper 03/15/2011
God I hope this garbage doesn't kill off the manual transmission.
Lance Holmes 03/15/2011
Now make an AWD version for North America. If the car gets 40mpg in FWD, it should still get over 30 with AWD.
Dave Evans 03/15/2011
Leading with innovation!
Frank Farinacci 03/15/2011
one of the greatest inventions in the automatic transmission
Michael Regan Jr 03/15/2011
Not in my F 150
Chris Byrd 03/15/2011
yes! i agreee
Jay Marking 03/15/2011
I like my stick as well. Don't drop them! I'm still upset you guys are still dropping the Rangers. :-(
Edward Hessell 03/15/2011
Another Ford First! But VW has been using the same technology gearbox supplied by Borg Warner since 2005 and you can use paddle shift in the VW. Hopefully Ford gets it right and gives us turbo engine Fiesta and Focus with paddle shift options!!!
Robert R Pokorny Jr. 03/15/2011
Great, but I still want a 5 or 6 speed stick!
Emil Stefan 03/15/2011
Driving pleasure is manual.
Fuel Economy is Automatic
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