Transmission

Ford Just Found The Only Way To Make Everyone Hate Manuals

Please stop faking performance.

Driving is an experience that requires all of the senses to work together and gather information in order to make decisions on the fly. While a driver’s line of sight is taken up by the road in front, the ears help determine how fast the engine is spinning and when a shift is required. The problem is, most of today's downsized and turbocharged gas-saving engines don’t sound as loud as larger engines, so drivers have a hard time determining when to shift. Higher revs are the result as drivers strain to hear when they need to shift.

This negates the fuel savings that come from a small and turbocharged engine because the engine is consistently sucking gas in higher RPMs. In an effort to make racy drivers shift sooner and save gas, Ford has patented a gimmick that everyone is sure to hate. It takes the already despised speaker systems that pipe in fake engine notes into the cabin and fools the driver by making the engine sound like it has more cylinders than it does. This means that an engine like Ford’s 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost found in the Fiesta will sound like it has the V6 or V8 of a Mustang. A fooled driver will then shift a lot sooner and save Ford from hearing complaints about fuel economy.

It seems like Ford also wants to help drivers get real world fuel economy numbers that match the advertised ones. Given that the main buyer of manuals are enthusiasts or people who generally like to have more fun while driving, Ford’s system seems aimed at the types of people who willingly rev their engines and not those who don't know how to shift correctly. Even though a smaller engine does take some getting used to, a good driver can use acceleration feel to know when to shift. Whether or not the fake replacement for displacement works to save fuel is unclear, but this is exactly the type of technology that makes us hate the future. Of course, we’d prefer to have a car that features a shouty exhaust, but at least we still have the Mustang for that.

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