why won't Ford gear the tranny's better

2049 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  pegair
I have a 1999 SVT Contour. Background: the Fusion is the "next generation" of the Contours / Mystiques in a sense. I have a 5 speed and a Duratec V6 and apparently one of my biggest complaints from the Contour days is still true in the Fusion/Milan.

The Fusion is one of a few cars that I would consider buying soon. But it's got one big strike against it.

I see that Ford has still not done anything about the gearing in these cars. In a time when fuel economy is important, it does not make any sense for the TOP gear to be so short in these cars. I feel this way for both the manual and the automatic. 75 miles per hour should be putting the engine around 2500 rpms or so.

They don't even need an extra gear, if they would just move the top one UP. This would not affect performance/acceleration one bit, as 4th gear in the manuals, and 5th in the automatics, would still be there for strong passing power on the highway.

It is ridiculous for a four cylinder manual tranny car to get 31-32 mpg on the highway. A 3.5L with a 4 speed automatic accomplishes that same rating in the Chevy Impala, thanks to a much taller final gear. Bigger engine, bigger/heavier car, less gears, and yet equal fuel economy on the highway. I am not praising GM. But it goes to show you how important the top gear ratio is.

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However, gear alone doesn't equal better fuel economy. The Duratec seems to need more RPM's to be efficent. For example. We got rid of a 2000 Taurus 3.0L Duratec to get our Fusion. It would get better fuel economy driving at 80 MPH than it did at 60 MPH. One vacation we went from Iowa through Minnesota and across south Dakota. All interstate driving, but Iowa was 65MPH, Minnesotta 70 and South Dakota was 75. I stopped and filled at each boarder and found I gained 1-2 MPG each time we went faster. I was quite suprised so I did it on the way home also and found that I lost MPG each time we slowed down for the lower speed limit. I wish Fusion had a way to run 5th instead of 6th to see if our mileage would improve on our 55 MPH driving.

Also don't go by ratings to determine fuel economy since many manufacturers (particularly Toyota) tend to cheat on the test and their real world mileage is lower than other makers rated as the same (or worse) than they are. The Impala highway mileage is true however, but low RPM's do greatly help the old pushrod motors like the Impala uses.
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