Video Rant: 10 Speed Transmissions, et al

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The 2018 Honda Accord is just one of several new cars – family cars, ordinary everyday cars – that come with or offer a ten-speed transmission. Or something close (e.g., an eight or nine speed box).

Does it make sense?

And why is it being done?


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  1. My Jeep has one of those 9 speeds. It’s mostly because they’re still trying to sqeeze MPGs out of engines to meet the Obama mandates. It’s not necessarily a “bad’ transmission per-se, but that many shifts starts to feel a bit wierd sometimes. Especially since it won’t skip gears on the way up or down unless you floor it (so you’re on cruise control, and you hit a hill, and it drops a gear…and you still slow…and it drops a gear…and another…and finally you start re-accelerating after 4 gear drops).

    CVTs are better in some ways from a mechanical efficiency perspective (escept possibly for parasitic losses) but people absolutely hate how they peg the engine at a single RPM and leave it stuck there. Especially if that RPM is a high one, it’s major ear assult. And DCTs have proven too rough for people trying to drive with their phone in one hand and a latte in the other, and so we have 8, 9, and 10 speed automatics. The free market at work. 🙂

    • Hi NP,

      You hit the nail on the head. The problem is the government – its meddling, which has distorted the market. The transmissions you speak of – as well as the crop of small, highly turbocharged and high CR premium-fuel engines coming online – would not be on line were it not for these got-damned mandates.

      A regular fuel V6/five-speed makes much more functional and economic sense – in a family car – than a premium fuel-only turbo 1.5 liter paired with a ten speed….

      Which would you rather own ten years and 150,000 miles from now?

      • I’d personally prefer a wet clutch DCT, but I prefer driving sporty compacts. Automatics and CVTs are fine for most people but they need to work as much on reliability as on economy for these things. Especially the hyper complex automatics.

          • I loved the old close ratio Muncie’s even though they weren’t as durable as the rock crusher. I eventually found a rock crusher with aftermarket close ratio gears but it was still a one to one and I’ll take an OD any day over that.

            Purely as a bullshit topic, I nearly bought a Brown Lipe 3 speed gearbox from a friend that had been used in an early 60’s model one ton Ford winch truck. I was afraid it wouldn’t hold up to the torque of a diesel pickup and finally nixed the idea but it was tempting. I didn’t figure to need the 2 to 1 underdrive but wanted the .73:1 OD. that would have given me 3 shifters, just about right for a shifty guy like myself. It would have dropped my 4.10 gear down to 2.99 in OD which would probably only been good for a bare pickup and probably needed to set the boost control up a lb or two. That would probably be a good drop for a 12 V Cummins circa 1999. Of course you can get 2 speed Brown Lipe’s without the underdrive.


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