But let's be clear, as it stands, they do suck.
As a means of slightly boosting efficiency while simultaneously sucking nearly all of the fun out of driving a car, the continuously variable transmission is nearly unrivaled. But Ford is now taking another look at them in an effort to boost the efficiency of their more efficiency-oriented vehicles like the Fiesta. This is especially important in this case because the 1.0-liter EcoBoost is still without any kind of automatic transmission option.
The lack of an automatic transmission is hardly a boon to sales in North America, and a CVT is seen as a good way to bring in those who are afraid of a third pedal without scaring off the efficiency minded. Ford currently only uses CVTs in hybrids, but there was a time when you could buy a Five Hundred with one in it. These cars were not well received, and Ford is unwilling to commit again unless they have changed. But there is good news in that department, according to what Ford’s Global Product Development Chief, Raj Nair, told Automotive News. The technology has apparently advanced a lot, and it might now be feasible.