Automakers are continually adding gears into their automatic transmissions for the sake of fuel economy, and that obviously includes General Motors.
The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu will be their first model equipped with a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The latter will be matched to the turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that, up until now, was managed by an eight-speed automatic. The manufacturer says the switch will improve fuel economy by three percent.
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This new transmission, named 9T50, will include a wider ratio spread in order to provide improved acceleration in first gear, and lower engine speeds on the highway, which should reduce both noise and fuel consumption. In addition, it’s compatible with automatic start/stop systems.
The 9T50 gearbox was designed for use with transversely mounted engines, which usually means small-displacement, four-cylinder units. Despite the number of gears, the transmission’s size is comparable to that of a six-speed automatic.
Aside from the 2017 Malibu, Chevrolet will install this new transmission in its 2017 Cruze Diesel as well as in the totally redesigned 2018 Equinox. It should also be available as an option in about 10 GM models by the end of 2017.