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EPA Mileage

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EPA Mileage

Springer2011
The EPA automatic transmission mileage is 3 to 4 mpg less than the manual transmission version even though the manual is 5 speed and the automatic is 6 speed. I reviewed the EPA stats for other cars and the latest technology automatics are within 1 mpg of the manual trans version and some are 1 mpg more. The biggest spread I saw was 2 mpg where the manual trans was a five speed and the automatic was a 4 speed, note the automatic is 1 less gear here but 1 more gear in the US Fiat 500. The European current version is within 1 mpg when both transmissions are six speeds. This does not make sense to me. If these specs are true it appears that the US automatic is very inefficient for some reason which is not the industry norm now. If this is the case why didn't they use a dualogic type automatic?
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Re: EPA Mileage

sjmst
Springer2011 wrote
The EPA automatic transmission mileage is 3 to 4 mpg less than the manual transmission version even though the manual is 5 speed and the automatic is 6 speed. I reviewed the EPA stats for other cars and the latest technology automatics are within 1 mpg of the manual trans version and some are 1 mpg more. The biggest spread I saw was 2 mpg where the manual trans was a five speed and the automatic was a 4 speed, note the automatic is 1 less gear here but 1 more gear in the US Fiat 500. The European current version is within 1 mpg when both transmissions are six speeds. This does not make sense to me. If these specs are true it appears that the US automatic is very inefficient for some reason which is not the industry norm now. If this is the case why didn't they use a dualogic type automatic?
A dualogic transmission? That's semiautomatic, right? Fiat dismissed that idea. Reason? They want the cars to sell. That is a non-starter for Americans.
Sam

Prima #499... Rossa.
Original Owner, 81 Fiat Spider.

Past Italians:

1991 Alfa 164b
1991 Alfa 164L
1994 Alfa 164LS
1995 Alfa 164LS
1991 Alfa Spider
1982 Ferrari Mondial
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Re: EPA Mileage

Springer2011
The dualogics have a fully automatic mode as well as a manual mode. The manual modes though are overiden by the computer so they are not truly fully manual modes. You are correct that for the US market they wanted an automatic version not using dual clutch technology. They feel sales will be higher.

The question in the posting though is the mileage data. I hope the final version solves the 3-4 mpg difference between manual and automatic transmissions. This is where I hope to get more detailed info.

If you study the EPA data for most other vehicles (2011/2010) the manual and automatic transmission EPA ratings are within about 1 mpg. Some of the high technology automatics with clutch paks or higher number of gears have slightly better EPA mileage than the manual transmissions. Still a rare case though but getting there.

Currently I have a new VW diesel with a 6 speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). These are rated at equal MPG to the manual trans. They are fantastic tranmissions shifting within about 100 milliseconds and very efficient. The efficiency is thru the use of a smaller hydraulic pump taking up much less energy than a torque converter and internal clutch packs. Also the dual clutch packs are similar in efficiency to a manual transmission clutch when engaged. I am giving this to a friend and buying the Fiat 500.
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Re: EPA Mileage

CaliberSRT4
The reason for the drop in fuel economy is the transmission. It is an Aisin 6-speed compact unit. In Europe the Fiat 500 is only sold with a manual. In order to fit the automatic, Fiat had to source the most compact and lightweight unit available, which was the Aisin. Apparently, the trade-off for the compact size is less efficiency.

For a comparison, the 2010 MINI Cooper also loses 3 mpg city and 4 mpg highway with the automatic transmission. However, the 2011 model loses the conventional 1 mpg with the automatic.

Looking at Aisin's website, it appears there are a couple of compact 6-speed automatics. I'm guessing that the Fiat 500 and 2010 MINI Cooper have the same compact 6-speed. The 2011 Cooper might have the brand new compact 6-speed auto listed on Aisin's website which claims excellent fuel economy.

I think Fiat simply had to source a new automatic that satisfied their requirements and was readily available so they could get the car to market quickly and at a low price point. Therefore, the efficiency of the automatic had to take a back seat.

They will likely wait until a major refresh before changing the automatic transmission. It will probably receive a new 8-speed or 9-speed unit with great fuel economy.
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Re: EPA Mileage

Springer2011
The information about the Aisin transmission is correct. The 2011 Mini Cooper with Aisin 6 speed automatic gets an EPA rating of Cty/Hwy/Comb of 28/36/31 vs the manual at 29/37/32. Both transmissions are 6 speeds.

The 2011 VW's also use the Aisin 6 speed automatic and the 2.5L Jetta EPA ratings are Automatic 24/31/27 vs 5 speed manual of 23/33/26. Note the automatic gets better City and Combined mileage. Also this is the 2.5L engine but the message is the automatic is not 3/4 mpg less than the manual.

The 2011 Honda Civic 1.8L gets an EPA rating with 5 speed automatic of 25/36/29 vs a 5 speed manual of 26/34/29. Note the automatic gets more highway mileage here.

Aisin already has two 6 speed front wheel drive automatics available and I would hope that Fiat did not substantially change the specs of Aisin's existing designs. The Fiat probably uses the TF-60SN model which should have a low inertial torque converter with good fuel efficiency.

The Fiat 500 EPA ratings of 30/38/33 manual vs 27/34/30. The manual is 5 speed the automatic is 6 speed.

It is interesting that the automatic Fiat 500 is 3/4/3 mpg lower than the manual even though the manual is 5 speed and the automatic is 6 speed vs 6 speeds for both Mini transmissions.

I am still going to order a Fiat 500 this coming week but it is a little disheartening that the mileage numbers appear to be lower than what they may be able to be.

The Sport model does have an Eco button to change the engine/transmission settings and the EPA rating would be the worst case scenario so time will tell how well you can actually do.

Seems like an action item for the factory is to tweak the transmission shift program or torque converter lockup programs a little here.
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Re: EPA Mileage

Springer2011
In reply to this post by CaliberSRT4
I was hoping to get a state of the art 2012 transmission design instead of a 2 year old design from the 2010 Mini Cooper so we get a 3-4 mpg hit. Even the current European dualogic is within 1 mpg automatic vs manual and this is over a year old.

Since 1972 I have bought 18 new vehicles and it just seems like the US always gets old or lower technology products than Europe. Some of the causes are government related but you get the point. Just talking about the automatic transmission here everything else is a home run hit out of the park. Just disappointing why the automatic takes a hit.
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Re: EPA Mileage

CaliberSRT4
It is a bit disappointing. I prefer a stick, but I feel your pain. Slushbox users shouldn't be punished to such an extent. ;)

I feel like this transmission was used because there just weren't many good options on the table (probably had to be locked down very early, considering the extensive testing done on the US spec 500). They are basically just waiting until the ZF 9 speed automatic arrives (which will be a big leap in efficiency). The successor to the Caliber, based on Alfa Romeo architecture, is supposed to be available with the 9 speed transmission. That transmission will be produced in 2012.
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Re: EPA Mileage

Springer2011
The 2010 Mini automatic appears to be used in the 2008-2009 version also. I was just hoping that since Fiat used an efficient automatic for the European version the dualogic and decided this would not sell as well as a regular automatic here in the States that they would have opted for a latest technology automatic that is more efficient, some even beating the manual transmission depending on gearing etc. I do not think with all the high tech automatic designs out there that settling for an older design was the best idea. They spent a lot of time upgrading the car and making it better but seem to have slipped a little here.

I also saw in the specs that it looks like the automatic final drive ratio is not as high an overdrive ratio as the manual. The automatic first gear is lower geared and the sixth speed is higher geared but the final drive ration ends up to be lower for the automatic version overall.

It would appear that this would be an action item for Fiat, maybe some gearing changes in the trans/differential would give better results for the auto.
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Re: EPA Mileage

ciddyguy
I had done some research into this transmission when we first got wind that Fiat was going to go with Aisin for the automatic and I was more interested in whether the transmission in question was using a conventional torque converter or not, but looks like it does.

That said, I had read earlier last year that Fiat was looking at possibly bringing over a DDC based automatic here and whether it would be 6 or 7 Spds. However, at the time, they weren't far enough along to bring it to market to replace the older Dualogic model and I know they had a larger sized model of the DDC ready for I think the Mito, I might've been the Giulliano(?) but the one necessary for the 500 was not ready for prime time at that time.

I have driven the Ford Fiesta with the DDC based automatic and found it quite nice even if I could not shift it myself and yes, the US Fiesta too.

If all goes well, I'll be buying a new car, either gently used or brand spanking new and if new, the 500 is so far still on my very short list and yes, I'm going with the manual but there again, I have yet to see/feel/drive the little car so nothing is final, and I have to have my finances enough improved to be able to float the car payments first before I can do ANYTHING to begin with.

Springer2011 wrote
The 2010 Mini automatic appears to be used in the 2008-2009 version also. I was just hoping that since Fiat used an efficient automatic for the European version the dualogic and decided this would not sell as well as a regular automatic here in the States that they would have opted for a latest technology automatic that is more efficient, some even beating the manual transmission depending on gearing etc. I do not think with all the high tech automatic designs out there that settling for an older design was the best idea. They spent a lot of time upgrading the car and making it better but seem to have slipped a little here.

I also saw in the specs that it looks like the automatic final drive ratio is not as high an overdrive ratio as the manual. The automatic first gear is lower geared and the sixth speed is higher geared but the final drive ration ends up to be lower for the automatic version overall.

It would appear that this would be an action item for Fiat, maybe some gearing changes in the trans/differential would give better results for the auto.
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