New Ford 6 speed automatic bumps Escape mileage 4-6 percent
The top gear has the same ratio as the old transmission but first gear is lower. Combined with a numerically lower final drive ratio, off the line acceleration capability is retained while the engine speed while cruising is reduced. The increased number of ratios also allow for smaller steps between gears so that the engine doesn't have to rev as high in each gear. This helps to reduce both noise and fuel consumption. Combined with various internal design improvements, the new transmission helps achieve a 4-6 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
In addition to CUVs, the new transmissions will also be used in two other cars early next year, likely to be the refreshed Fusion and Milan sedans which use the same engines as the Escape. Ford plans to shift almost all of their automatic transmissions to new six speeds over the next few years. By the end of 2009, they intend to build over 1.4 million vehicles with six speed automatics, double the current amount. By 2012, 98 percent of their North American transmissions will be six speeds. The new 6F35 is also referred to as the 6F mid-range and although Ford officials wouldn't comment on future products, queries about a 6F low-range for the Focus and Fiesta were met with a smile.