Does shifting to 2nd seems too arbitrary when coasting away from a light? Maybe it is.
Drive the new Ford F-150 Raptor, the one with the 10-speed automatic transmission, and you’ll notice a curious thing happening if you’re paying attention to the digital readout displaying which gear the Baja racer is in. Starting from a stoplight, the sophisticated gearbox will jump from 1st gear to 3rd and then 3rd to 5th, reserving 2nd and 4th for full throttle accelerations when the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6is clawing for every ounce of torque. But you don’t need a fancy gearbox to pull off those nifty gear skips.
In fact, an old school manual transmission, pretty much anything other than a sequential gearbox, does the job. However, just as important as it is for a car to give the driver freedom to swap gears however they please is responsibility on the driver’s part.
Not like the automaker cares if you grenade the gearbox (more money you get to fork over to them for parts), but why put yourself through the trouble? That’s why it’s a good thing to know where the outer limits of your gearbox lie, which is possible now that Engineering Explained’s Jason Fenske has decided to break it down for us. As the more experienced among us probably expected, skipping gears upon downshift or upshift isn’t a terrible thing to do provided that you know the engine’s rev range, clutch engagement point, and the spread of the ratios in the gearbox. All these things are learned through careful experience. And of course, by having a manual to begin with.