In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Is both Mustang and Camaro going to 10-speed transmissions?
- Polo player compares Cherokee, Evoque, or the Discovery Sport!
- Is modern technology reliable?
Q: Hi guys – can you please help me out?
Love watching your shows! I think I’m going nuts.
First I see that Chevrolet is building a 10 speed automatic transmission and now I see Ford is building one too. Can you tell me why both companies are building seemingly the same thing at the same time? Am I missing something, or is it beyond a coincidence?
Thanks Lisa B Kw
A: Hi Lisa!
You’re not nuts, they are both building a 10-speed transmission in a joint venture. Both automakers are building 10-speed transmissions for their rear-drive cars (Mustang and Camaro) and for their 1/2-ton pickup trucks (F-150 and Silverado/Sierra). This is not the first time GM and Ford have worked on a transmission together; a six-speed transmission was co-developed for front-drive-biased crossovers and cars a few years back.
Working together reduces costs and development time.
The transmissions will have their own, unique control software and will be tuned to work a specific way with a specific vehicle. Both automakers maintain that they have many unique components in these new transmissions, making them their own. I should add that Ford and General Motors are also working on co-developing a nine speed transmission to replace the aforementioned, co-developed six-speed for front-drive-biased vehicles.
I hope that helps and thanks for the email!
This next question is from a polo player who needs a new ride.
Q: Dear Nathan,
I am in the market for a new car. I am a single guy living in the city, but often travel to the country (I am a member of a polo club). I don’t need to tow a horse trailer or anything like that, but the drive to the club can be difficult for my old college car. I like the Cherokee a lot, especially in the Overland 4×4 trim level. I also love Landys, and I’m wondering which cross-shops better with the Cherokee, the Evoque 5-door, or the Disco Sport? As a side note, have you guys heard any news about the 2018 Jeep Wagoneer?
A: Howdy Jonathan!
The main difference between the Discover Sport and the Evoque is seating. The Discovery Sport has an option for a third row and it can hold more. Both vehicles are great drivers with great abilities on moderately difficult trails. The Jeep Cherokee is much better in the rough if you get the Trailhawk version. Otherwise, it looks like you’re looking for something to make a statement when you attend your polo matches. If that’s the case, the Range Rover Evoque may be the right ride.
Best of luck!
The last question comes from a fan who is concerned about the durability and longevity of new automobiles.
Short question: How much should I be concerned about the complexity and computerization of modern cars in terms of reliability and long term maintenance cost?
Background: I’ve had a 1999 Ford Ranger 2.5L 5 speed for 10 years. It was about as rock-solid and indestructible as could be, but I decided to move to (or should I say my kids pushed me towards) a newer, nicer car. So I bought an 18-month-old 2013 VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI 6 speed manual. It’s a very nice car, but given the diesel scandal, and the choice between making a few grand on the buyback, or losing a few and having huge uncertainty if I keep it, I’m probably taking the buy back.
Honestly, for me a car is transportation. I’ve owned a couple Miatas, and even autocrossed them. I’ve had minivans, sedans, etc. But in the end, at my point in life, a car is transportation, and the only option/feature/etc that is a requirement to me is A/C – and that’s because I live in Phoenix. The rest? Honestly, it’s not a big deal. An FM radio is nice, and I wouldn’t mind cruise control (Ranger didn’t have that), but the rest? To me, it’s just stuff to break.
Mind you, I’m not a technophobe. I retired two years ago after working for 35 years as an IT manufacturing automation engineer for a major semiconductor manufacturer. So, I’m not inherently afraid of technology, but I’m also aware that it isn’t free, or free of potential issues.
So, should I worry about all the complexity, or just go with the flow?
A: Hi Rick, thanks for the great question.
I recommend going with the flow. Even Roman was worried about modern tech (I think newfangled electric razors worried him), but he’s pretty comfortable with high tech now. Why? He’s witnessed the overwhelming improvements in build quality, safety and ruggedness in modern vehicles, both in construction and execution.
Simply put: cars are built to a higher standard with better oversight and quality control.
We’re now at a point where vehicles can last much longer periods of time, despite being packed with high-tech components. The testing and refinement of these components can rival NASA’s testing while bugs and glitches are progressively weeded out. Cars and trucks are built better than ever.
Hope that helps!
Here’s the next video episode of “Ask Nathan!”
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: email@example.com