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wolfeman
07-02-2015, 08:34 PM
I hope that I'm not repeating a thread that was or is going on. I would like to hear your opinions regarding this new 9 speed automatic. I drove a red front wheel drive model on a test drive and the gear changes were very abrupt and rough. This was a concern for me when I bought my white AWD lounge model. My transmission is very smooth and after I take off from a stop I don't feel anything and look down and it's already in fourth gear. The only way I know it's changing gears is to watch the dash indicator which incidentally is a nice feature. I told the studio mechanic about the gear changes on the red model and he said that there was an update flash drive for that problem.

datasage
07-02-2015, 08:52 PM
I hope that I'm not repeating a thread that was or is going on. I would like to hear your opinions regarding this new 9 speed automatic. I drove a red front wheel drive model on a test drive and the gear changes were very abrupt and rough. This was a concern for me when I bought my white AWD lounge model. My transmission is very smooth and after I take off from a stop I don't feel anything and look down and it's already in fourth gear. The only way I know it's changing gears is to watch the dash indicator which incidentally is a nice feature. I told the studio mechanic about the gear changes on the red model and he said that there was an update flash drive for that problem.


I do believe that there was a software update that did delay the delivery of models back in may. Its possible those that were delivered early didn't have the update applied yet.

Michael S Carbone
07-03-2015, 02:03 PM
I test drove one the a week ago and the car shifted very smoothy. It was very nice. I am trying not to trade in my 2014 Abarth for one.

wolfeman
07-03-2015, 08:00 PM
Michael, I kept my 2014 Abarth automatic and traded my Mercedes for the X. The car demonstrates that a lot of work was put into it's design. I've owned four of the newer Fiats and this one is the best yet. The 2014 Abarth is second.

rustbucket
07-04-2015, 12:25 AM
The car demonstrates that a lot of work was put into it's design. I've owned four of the newer Fiats and this one is the best yet. The 2014 Abarth is second.
From what I understand the X is the first FIAT designed with the North American market in mind and it shows. Your Abarth and my Sport were designs for the European market and later adapted (quite well imho) for the NA market but as much as we may like them, they remain niche cars in this market. The X's powertrain benefited greatly from the work done on the Jeep Cherokee. In so many ways from its 9 speed ZF automatic, innovative AWD system, and Multiair valvetrain, the X is state of the art, especially considering its price. Long term I think the ZF 9 will prove to be a feather in FCA's cap after a delayed launch in the Cherokee due to software issues. As much as I, an old 3 pedal guy, hates to admit it, your 9 speed is the future and you're driving it now. The use of the ZF 9 spreading- the new Jeep Renegade and Chrysler 200 also use it as does Honda/Acura, Land Rover and a revised Dodge Dart gets it next year, all of which I think bodes well for this transmission's future. Don't think I'm allowed to link to them, but there are a couple of good pieces on TTAC that delve into the ZF 9 speed's design and operation and well worth a read imho ... I was surprised at the use of dog clutches.

Last but least- Congrats on the X!

500X_JML
09-08-2015, 10:48 AM
I have no complaints on how this transmission shifts in my AWD Trekking. It definitely feels different, but it also adds to the fun factor; overall, it's smooth and just needs a little getting used to. My question is have you ever reached 9th gear? I've driven a little over 500 miles and have only gone up to 8, so I'm curious to find out from other owners. I'm really liking this car, nice minor details and all.

mp4guy
09-08-2015, 11:09 AM
The problem with the 9 speed is that its designed for an EPA cycle, not real driving. Let's face it- most cars spend 90% of their roadgoing lives between 1 and 60 MPH.

Who the hell can divvy up 9 speeds in that band? It's absurd. I don't know if they've refined it, but some testers have complained that the tranny is always "hunting" for the next gear, and given the number of gears, its no surprise.

Fiat500USA
09-08-2015, 02:32 PM
The trans has been refined from its initial offering in the Cherokee. There is a adaptation period that the car goes through in its initial miles and learns how you drive. We have about 2,000 miles on our car and the trans is generally in the right gear most of the time, which has always been a challenge for an automatic. We've never bought a car with an auto trans before and I've been surprised that it works as well as it does. It does have a lot of gear ranges, but blame that on the EPA. It goes into 8th around 54 mph and 9th around 70 mph. Take what you read in the media with a grain of salt. While there are some with supreme automotive knowledge, experience and driving ability, others are not so well-versed and just base their story on an hour's worth of driving an abused, pre-production car.

Moonfiat
09-10-2015, 07:57 AM
We've just cleared 2k miles on the X-Lounge FWD and I've been very happy with the transmission. Indeed it does learn. When we first got it, I had to hit about 75-80mph before 9th gear would kick in but now it happily comes up at 71-72 and will hold on till about 66. Your foot will need to play along with the game but it is there to play with.

Sport mode in the 20-60mph range is great and also with quick launches/merging. Otherwise it hangs on 1st too long for the stop and go and I've yet to see it shift past 6th up to 90mph! I'd like to reprogram the sport setting or have a sport and sport-plus mode (Corsa?). Otherwise, if passing comes into play, I toggle to sport, do my thing and toggle back to normal to keep in spirit with the "Lounge". There is the manual shift feature but you'll be a busy driver shifting down three to four gears and shifting back, etc. Too many gears to deal with and with only 500rpm difference between the gears, one gear down isn't always that much more.

i certainly think the complaints of rough shifts comes from pre-production models used back in February reviews. If you read a review past May, you generally won't read that complaint and instead the smooth shifting is complimented. I concur with that. My 500x was the first U.S. batch built in FEB but wasn't released from the port until June and I bought in Manhattan in July. We tested two additional 500x and all shifted very smooth. The sister Renegade was held up for some time with transmission software issues before sale. I'm pretty sure there is a connection there.

"Hunting" is a broad term and goes back to days of three and four speed automatics when 3-2 or 4-3 were major shifts with drama, especially up hills. I suppose if a manufacturer would come out with a 3-sped auto, a reviewer today would say "It's always in the right gear." Of course with 3-gears, it's got a 33% chance of being right. A CVT droans like a motor boat and isn't game for quick launches. The 9-sped might be a bit overkill but it is A way to meet the means to an end. My dad just got a new Grand Cherokee with the 8spd auto and 6cyl. At 70 years old, his take on the transmission has been mixed but after a 1,200 mile road trip, the computer says he averaged 72mph (not a slow driver I assure you) and 26mph. He was ecstatic! "Highest mileage truck he's ever owned!" His previous quibbles about what wasn't broke didn't need fixing (5-spd auto) were now replaced with an understanding of what the tech is doing for him.

datasage
09-10-2015, 04:19 PM
I think the issue is less about the number of gears and more about making sure that the transitions between gears are smooth and not very noticeable. We probably will see more vehicles with 9 speed gearboxes as its one way of improving fuel economy.

rustbucket
09-13-2015, 12:22 AM
I think the issue is less about the number of gears and more about making sure that the transitions between gears are smooth and not very noticeable. We probably will see more vehicles with 9 speed gearboxes as its one way of improving fuel economy.
Went for a test drive today in a 500X Easy AWD and driven normally, "smooth and not very noticeable" was my reaction to the transmission ... for all I know it could have been a Powerglide it was that unobtrusive.

Curtisc83
09-13-2015, 09:38 AM
I think it learns too. I have over 2k miles on my 500x and I don't notice the 9 speed much at all. Sometimes when I'm turning into a street and gassing it it takes a millisecond too long to find the right gear. But that's my only complaint. When I first had it I felt it was having a hard time deciding on what gear to get in for all my driving but I guess it learned or something.

Terry
09-13-2015, 10:09 AM
We have a FWD X and the only time we really notice the shifts is in Sports mode when the shifts are very positive and fast...You can definitely feel when a gear change takes place in sport but this is a good thing...seat of the pants very bloody quick...Only 1300 miles on car at this point...

gincar96
09-14-2015, 12:46 PM
My concern is longevity. I know for a fact from working on this stuff for over 35 years that the more you make an auto shift the more wear and tear it must absorb. I'll see how it acts on vehicles when they get 100K or more in miles. So line up the guinea pigs.

FiatDood
09-19-2015, 12:56 PM
I think it learns too. I have over 2k miles on my 500x and I don't notice the 9 speed much at all. Sometimes when I'm turning into a street and gassing it it takes a millisecond too long to find the right gear. But that's my only complaint. When I first had it I felt it was having a hard time deciding on what gear to get in for all my driving but I guess it learned or something.

I've noticed this too. Can be pretty annoying at times. Doesn't happen in sport mode though.

datasage
09-25-2015, 10:47 AM
I have less issue gassing it, but if i am slowly moving from a stop, the gear change from 1-2 can be rather abrupt (it feels like a drop in power, maybe its in 1 too long). 2-3 is sometimes noticeable, but much less so.

If i start from a stop with more throttle power, then its usually fine.

Anything above 3 has never been an issue. But then I am only at 300 miles. Not sure how much learning it still needs to do.

MJAB
09-25-2015, 03:27 PM
...
Sport mode in the 20-60mph range is great and also with quick launches/merging. Otherwise it hangs on 1st too long for the stop and go and I've yet to see it shift past 6th up to 90mph! I'd like to reprogram the sport setting or have a sport and sport-plus mode (Corsa?). Otherwise, if passing comes into play, I toggle to sport, do my thing and toggle back to normal to keep in spirit with the "Lounge". There is the manual shift feature but you'll be a busy driver shifting down three to four gears and shifting back, etc. Too many gears to deal with and with only 500rpm difference between the gears, one gear down isn't always that much more.

i certainly think the complaints of rough shifts comes from pre-production models used back in February reviews. If you read a review past May, you generally won't read that complaint and instead the smooth shifting is complimented. I concur with that. My 500x was the first U.S. batch built in FEB but wasn't released from the port until June and I bought in Manhattan in July. We tested two additional 500x and all shifted very smooth. The sister Renegade was held up for some time with transmission software issues before sale. I'm pretty sure there is a connection there.
...


Some media wrote at th etime that Jeep Renegade was held up due to gearbox, but was not true. It was a problem with VIN numbers due to problems with software that generated the numbers for U.S.A. cars (in Europe VIN are different).
http://www.jeep.com/en/renegadeVIN/

Moonfiat
09-30-2015, 11:03 PM
Thanks! I forgot about that clarification in later reports and reminds me about a note that came with my 500x about the VIN issue. The latest Cherokee with the 9AT was the model that was held up for transmission software niggles and went through a number of updates to get it as right as possible.

500X_JML
10-08-2015, 08:07 PM
I have no complaints on how this transmission shifts in my AWD Trekking. It definitely feels different, but it also adds to the fun factor; overall, it's smooth and just needs a little getting used to. My question is have you ever reached 9th gear? I've driven a little over 500 miles and have only gone up to 8, so I'm curious to find out from other owners. I'm really liking this car, nice minor details and all.

Finally hit D9 driving on the Interstate yesterday:clap: going above 75 mph on flat terrain, but cruising not accelerating. I was going fast often without noticing if not for the speed warning chime which was currently set to 85, but reaching 90 was way easy. I love driving this car :smile:

Moonfiat
10-09-2015, 01:28 AM
I agree with you. 75mph is a good number but after a while I noticed 72, 69 (sexy! How Italian) was attainable. I'm just a geek that pays that much attention. Perhaps frustrating to some, I do notice the cruise control will hold that 9th gear to about 68 and 8th happens (doesn't KICK in...but happens) and that can be frustrating to many in that the auto "hunts" around for power and won't hold a solid 73mph club. I grew up learning to drive in Belgium as my dad was military and fuel was hyper expensive. You shifted 1-2-3-4 as quick as can be and I'm currently driven in large Euro vans and buses (high flying but low paid flight attendant) with Audi/Mercedes like DCTs, so multiple shifts and the like are normal to me. Even the SMART car rental in Brooklyn from place to place annoys the other half (no auto creep with the DCT) but seems normal to me as long as you understand what's going on underneath.

Still, one would think with the complexity of the 9AT and 2.4L, it would be on par with the 1.8?CVT of the Honda, the 1.6T and 6AT of the Countryman Mini and others. However, in true fashion, Donatella (yes I the car) doesn't care!

Terry
10-09-2015, 12:43 PM
This may seem silly, but why not just switch to manual mode and shift into 9th whenever you want on the highway. (Used to upshift manually in my old 500c and this would improve MPG dramatically--short shifting through the gears with 2nd gear starts...


I agree with you. 75mph is a good number but after a while I noticed 72, 69 (sexy! How Italian) was attainable. I'm just a geek that pays that much attention. Perhaps frustrating to some, I do notice the cruise control will hold that 9th gear to about 68 and 8th happens (doesn't KICK in...but happens) and that can be frustrating to many in that the auto "hunts" around for power and won't hold a solid 73mph club. I grew up learning to drive in Belgium as my dad was military and fuel was hyper expensive. You shifted 1-2-3-4 as quick as can be and I'm currently driven in large Euro vans and buses (high flying but low paid flight attendant) with Audi/Mercedes like DCTs, so multiple shifts and the like are normal to me. Even the SMART car rental in Brooklyn from place to place annoys the other half (no auto creep with the DCT) but seems normal to me as long as you understand what's going on underneath.

Still, one would think with the complexity of the 9AT and 2.4L, it would be on par with the 1.8?CVT of the Honda, the 1.6T and 6AT of the Countryman Mini and others. However, in true fashion, Donatella (yes I the car) doesn't care!

Fiat500USA
10-09-2015, 04:38 PM
On the 500 and 500L I've driven, I could get better mileage by shifting the car myself. On the 500X, because there are so many gears, I generally don't shift the car manually for normal driving, especially where there is a lot of speed variations. The trans surprisingly good at being in the right gear. On the highway or more steady state driving I will occasionally pop it in manual and override the auto mode when I think the trans is going to shift to soon /late.

500X_JML
10-09-2015, 05:43 PM
Manual upshifts to 9 don't always work. The transmission is an automatic; so certain variables have to be in place before a manual input, or lack thereof, is accepted.

Moonfiat
10-17-2015, 07:11 PM
I took the 500x into the dealer for an early oil change. Service manager was almost in a panic thinking the "change oil light" was on but I assured him I'm just old school and I like early oil changes on new engines. As I told him, "I don't intend for the 'change oil light' to ever come on during my ownership." Regardless, I also ended up with a 9AT software update and what a difference! I didn't even know they did it as I was in a hurry to get out and just a few blocks down I could feel the difference.

On the service receipt it is listed as:

PERFORM RRT 15-067
RECALL PROCEDURE COMPLETED
PERFOREM RRT

My 500x is an April2015 build and I didn't really have any complaints as earlier build models (tested by media mind you) have had. I assure you the difference is felt and so much more refined. If anyone has any information on this update, please share.

Moonfiat
10-17-2015, 07:15 PM
I've had success outguessing the computer in 4-6spd automatics before and a couple times went the manual route with the 9AT just trying it out. I found myself way too busy with the shifting and less so with the driving. It's a lot of gears to push and pull up and down when to be honest, the computer does a nice job. I like Sport mode but not at big hwy speeds or stop-and-go. The lack of Sport allowing anything above 6th gear and holding onto 1st too long is my complaint. However, in city hwy speeds, Sport works really well. I've never driven a big rig but I imagine it to be like manually selecting gears with the 9AT.

datasage
10-17-2015, 07:16 PM
I do remember something about a transmission flash holding up initial deliveries, or it could have been issues with the VIN or both. I do wish they would make these software updates more public. Can't really find any information on them.

Moonfiat
10-17-2015, 07:34 PM
Member MJAB noted here: http://www.jeep.com/en/renegadeVIN/ that indeed the Renegade/500X, though rumored to be held up by trans software issues, that was not the case as it was a VIN issue. The Cherokee 9AT was held up for sale due to software issues with the trans but that was a while ago. I agree it would be nice if we were notified about such service/recall bulletins but I can see how little things are a nice way of updating your vehicle without having to buy next year's model. This "hush" policy does no favors for the DIY or private garage person. Especially with FIAT having a slim dealer network, not having easy access (that I can tell) to incremental updates can lead to owner challenges.

Purgatory
10-19-2015, 12:55 AM
I am not a liker or lover of any automatic, I have always preferred stick shifts, however, I test drove a 500X Lounge AWD with the 2.4 L engine and the 9 speed, and was most impressed. If I wasn't so happy with my 2014 Abarth, I would be trading away for an X like I drove. I thought the shifting was almost seamless, like a turbine, and couldn't hardly tell when it was up or down shifting. I too, believe this is the future. Have read of other mfr. working on both 10 and 12 speed automatics. I remember when a three speed auto was a big deal, and when 4 speed autos came out, that was cutting edge, let alone a 9 speed.

Matlock
10-29-2015, 10:56 AM
I have less issue gassing it, but if i am slowly moving from a stop, the gear change from 1-2 can be rather abrupt (it feels like a drop in power, maybe its in 1 too long). 2-3 is sometimes noticeable, but much less so.

If i start from a stop with more throttle power, then its usually fine.

Anything above 3 has never been an issue. But then I am only at 300 miles. Not sure how much learning it still needs to do.

My AWD X does exactly this. Do you have any of the updates from the blog post almost 2 weeks back?

http://www.fiat500usa.com/2015/10/fiat-500x-updates-and-enhancements.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Fiat500USA+%28Fiat+500+USA%29

I'm optimistic the TCM update fixes this, some people are commenting that it does improve things in the thread. I'm just curious since what you describe is exactly what mine does as well.

500X_JML
11-02-2015, 09:55 AM
I had the software updates done at the dealership last week. A few days after I noticed when in All-Weather mode (Traction +), from a dead stop, the upshift from D1 to D2 happens at 4000 RPM at least. So I wanted to ask if any of you experience the same thing, before or after having the updates done. It doesn't seem (or sound) normal because of the unusually high engine rev; past D2 though the upshifts seem normal. I don't remember the upshift behavior being the same in this mode before getting the updates, but then I usually switched to Traction + on-the-fly when the transmission was already at D4 at least; so I'm not really sure at this point. I appreciate your responses. Thanks.

datasage
11-02-2015, 11:31 AM
My AWD X does exactly this. Do you have any of the updates from the blog post almost 2 weeks back?

http://www.fiat500usa.com/2015/10/fiat-500x-updates-and-enhancements.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Fiat500USA+%28Fiat+500+USA%29

I'm optimistic the TCM update fixes this, some people are commenting that it does improve things in the thread. I'm just curious since what you describe is exactly what mine does as well.

I do now. The issue with shifting from 1-2 is now gone. it behaves much more smoothly.

Moonfiat
11-03-2015, 01:41 AM
I think you'll need to revisit the dealer. That doesn't sound right at all. My traction mode starts in 2nd and I use it in heavy stop-and-go traffic as the throttle mapping and all is epically smooth for that bizarre use of a low traction mode.

500X_JML
11-03-2015, 12:36 PM
I think you'll need to revisit the dealer. That doesn't sound right at all. My traction mode starts in 2nd and I use it in heavy stop-and-go traffic as the throttle mapping and all is epically smooth for that bizarre use of a low traction mode.

I have an appointment tomorrow. I was on the phone with the service manager just a few minutes ago. He said he test drove 2 vehicles and both exhibited the same high rpm behavior shifting from D1 to D2 in Traction + mode. He invited me to try it tomorrow, so I will.

You said yours starts in D2 by default from a dead stop in this mode? If it does then, yeah, that would eliminate the high rpm behavior because it only happens when starting from D1. But how does yours initially start from D2? Anyway, thanks for you response. I'll see what happens tomorrow and let you know.

datasage
11-03-2015, 12:43 PM
Shouldn't Traction mode spend more time in lower gears? If you are driving on a slippery surface, you do generally want to downshift to get more torque.

500X_JML
11-03-2015, 01:24 PM
Shouldn't Traction mode spend more time in lower gears? If you are driving on a slippery surface, you do generally want to downshift to get more torque.

Would you mind testing it and letting me know at what RPM the upshift from D1 happens in this mode? or even if yours initially starts at D2 as Moonfiat described above. Thanks, I appreciate it.

datasage
11-03-2015, 08:47 PM
I did a quick test, it does stay in 1 up until something like 4000-5000 RPM. I think it may depend on throttle position a bit too.

I suspect, if you are in traction mode from a stop, its assuming that you want the torque.

500X_JML
11-03-2015, 10:54 PM
I did a quick test, it does stay in 1 up until something like 4000-5000 RPM. I think it may depend on throttle position a bit too.

I suspect, if you are in traction mode from a stop, its assuming that you want the torque.

Thanks so much for doing this. It seemed odd to me that this mode held on longer to D1 than Sport mode, something I didn't expect not to mention the significantly louder rev. I guess I was initially thinking Traction+ mode meant AWD all the time, which is obviously not the case based on the EVIC Drive Mode Selector graphic; and that it was usable the way Sport mode was. So unless you manually start from 2 or switch on-the-fly from another mode, you can't really use this for everyday driving. From a stop it would be useful for situations where you're stuck or in a slippery situation such as snow or ice.

datasage
11-03-2015, 11:23 PM
From what I understand, AWD can activate in any mode. If you accelerate quickly enough, it will activate AWD to improve launch performance and avoid wheel spin.

When cruising on a freeway, it disconnects to provide better fuel efficiency.

Traction+ mode is really for situations where you need more torque. This is very situational. I don't drive off-road, but I do live in Minnesota.

Most of my driving is switching between Auto and Sport on freeways and city streets.

Fiat500USA
11-04-2015, 12:31 AM
The system even uses the wipers in addition to other sensors to tell it what's going on outside.

Moonfiat
11-04-2015, 03:05 PM
My apologies in advance if this article has been posted already (I haven't seen it) but a nice read from a ZF perspective over the 9AT. The second page is more forthcoming of the software challenges ZF faces with U.S. driving needs vs. Euro conditions.

http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1099037_jeep-chrysler-acura-9-speed-automatics-supplier-zf-offers-tips#disqus_thread

Moonfiat
11-04-2015, 03:09 PM
I have an appointment tomorrow. I was on the phone with the service manager just a few minutes ago. He said he test drove 2 vehicles and both exhibited the same high rpm behavior shifting from D1 to D2 in Traction + mode. He invited me to try it tomorrow, so I will.

You said yours starts in D2 by default from a dead stop in this mode? If it does then, yeah, that would eliminate the high rpm behavior because it only happens when starting from D1. But how does yours initially start from D2? Anyway, thanks for you response. I'll see what happens tomorrow and let you know.

This was my first time using traction mode since the recent transmission update and noticed the second gear start. I'm in a jet all week but have a small road trip planned this coming weekend so I'll test out all the theories.

Fiat500USA
11-04-2015, 05:37 PM
It makes sense to start off in D2 in low traction conditions. It limits the toque going to the wheels to keep them from spinning. Haven't tried it in my car yet.

500X_JML
11-04-2015, 08:43 PM
It makes sense to start off in D2 in low traction conditions. It limits the toque going to the wheels to keep them from spinning. Haven't tried it in my car yet.

I understand; but how do you force "D2" in Traction+, or any of the Drive modes for that matter, as opposed to forcing "2" using AutoStick?

datasage
11-04-2015, 08:46 PM
The traction + behavior may be different between AWD and FWD. From what I can piece together:

AWD: Stays in D1 up to 4-5000 RPM.
FWD: Starts in D2 to avoid too much torque since all power is in the front wheels.

davevoss
11-05-2015, 02:53 PM
The traction + behavior may be different between AWD and FWD. From what I can piece together:

AWD: Stays in D1 up to 4-5000 RPM.
FWD: Starts in D2 to avoid too much torque since all power is in the front wheels.

My AWD starts in D2 from a full stop when in Traction+ mode, I tried it a few days ago when it was raining here. Anyone think the car is smart enough to select D1 or D2 to start based on whether or not it's raining (and therefore the pavement is wet) to further ensure traction? Automotive sensors and electronics are getting more sophisticated all the time, so maybe.

Having driven about 1200 miles now, I can say that I really like the 9-speed Auto. Some have commented that there are too many gears to manually shift through, but I disagree. If you consider the ratios, it seems obvious that 7, 8, 9 are just extra progressively lower overdrives to help with fuel economy. Cruising on the freeway in 6th gear really doesn't result in engine RPMs that are very high, and so one could just not use the upper gears when choosing to shift manually, which is what I have done a few times. The car does out-think the driver and ignore requests for an unacceptable gear selections, but that's normal for most modern cars.

500X_JML
11-06-2015, 09:33 AM
My AWD starts in D2 from a full stop when in Traction+ mode, I tried it a few days ago when it was raining here. Anyone think the car is smart enough to select D1 or D2 to start based on whether or not it's raining (and therefore the pavement is wet) to further ensure traction? Automotive sensors and electronics are getting more sophisticated all the time, so maybe.

That sounds almost too good to be true. Have you verified starting in D1 when it's not raining? Let's see what Moonfiat says after this weekend.

Moonfiat
11-06-2015, 12:26 PM
After the school run to Manhattan this morning, the dog and I ran the tests home via the traction+ mode with our FWD 500x Lounge 9AT (just to clarify any differences between models). I believe I have the latest transmission update as was noted on the service record after my oil change two weeks ago.

I can sit at the stop light all day and switch between auto and traction and watch the gear indicator in the center of the dash change from gear 1 to 2 and back. In traction mode, 3/4 throttle keeps to the 2nd gear start (no chance of a full throttle today). Traffic travel certainly showed easy up shifts to include a direct 2-4 shift after quick acceleration. Managed 7th through the Battery Tunnel. The throttle mapping is certainly lazy but that along with the 2nd gear start is very smooth. Perhaps I'll call it the Chauffer setting as the passengers, dog and coffee are more at ease with the more subdued driving characteristics.

At no time did the transmission want to hold on gears or start in 1st while in the traction setting.

davevoss
11-06-2015, 02:49 PM
That sounds almost too good to be true. Have you verified starting in D1 when it's not raining? Let's see what Moonfiat says after this weekend.

I tried Traction+ mode yesterday afternoon, in dry sunny warm conditions, and it started in D2 each time, so perhaps the latest transmission software eliminated Traction+ mode D1 starts. My build date is 7/2015, and I'm not sure whether or not the dealer made any updates prior to me taking delivery with only 12 miles on the odometer.

500X_JML
11-06-2015, 05:26 PM
Thanks both for your input. So yeah it appears, at least on the AWD model, a software update would change the starting gear in that mode; perhaps my dealer didn't have the most current version. But now I'm thinking do I really want D1 eliminated? There are good uses for it, and as explained by my dealership's service manager--mostly situations where you're stuck well. Plus there's always the option of switching on-the-fly from another mode when you're already past D1.

TheGonz
11-17-2015, 03:06 AM
This may seem silly, but why not just switch to manual mode and shift into 9th whenever you want on the highway. (Used to upshift manually in my old 500c and this would improve MPG dramatically--short shifting through the gears with 2nd gear starts...

I tried that today; didn't work. I guess even in "manual" mode, the transmission won't let you do anything that it doesn't like.

I've only had my X since Saturday, and have a paltry 103 miles on it, but am yet to see ninth gear. I had it up to 75 briefly (which is about as fast as I dare drive on freeways in the suburbs of St. Louis where the speed limits are 55-60 and the cops have little else to keep them entertained but traffic stops) but still no nine.

Maybe a trip to Wyoming, where interstate speeds of 85 are common, is in order?

Fiat500USA
11-17-2015, 09:25 AM
Traction+ is just used in slippery to extreme conditions . Starting off in 2nd limits the amount of torque going to the wheels to keep them from spinning like crazy. Traction + slows the throttle opening to also help keep the wheels from over spinning. Starting off in 2nd gear is the secret to keep from getting stuck on most cars.

datasage
11-17-2015, 12:40 PM
I tried that today; didn't work. I guess even in "manual" mode, the transmission won't let you do anything that it doesn't like.

I've only had my X since Saturday, and have a paltry 103 miles on it, but am yet to see ninth gear. I had it up to 75 briefly (which is about as fast as I dare drive on freeways in the suburbs of St. Louis where the speed limits are 55-60 and the cops have little else to keep them entertained but traffic stops) but still no nine.

Maybe a trip to Wyoming, where interstate speeds of 85 are common, is in order?

I get to 9 around 70 mph. Sort of depends on the road a bit though, if its going uphill or is windy, it will drop to 8 to get a bit more power.

rnddude
11-17-2015, 01:08 PM
In my opinion, having more than 7-8 speeds in a automatic starts to beg the question...why not just use a CVT instead? Likely a CVT is lighter and certainly uses less parts. I suppose from a marketing perspective "9 SPEEDS" sounds more attractive than "NO GEARS" of a CVT. In reality, it is all driven by CAFE regulations, and to a lesser extent, emission requirements, because the narrower the RPM band you can have the engine operate in, the better you can tune the fuel injection for MPG and also more effectively scrub exhaust gasses.

davevoss
11-17-2015, 08:55 PM
In my opinion, having more than 7-8 speeds in a automatic starts to beg the question...why not just use a CVT instead?

Some manufacturers have had issues with long-term CVT reliability, and the cost to replace them can be quite high, so buyers reading reviews and recommendations can get scared away, and I think the manufacturers are aware of this. I agree that a CVT makes more sense in some applications, personally I don't like the feel (vague) or sound (drone) of the CVTs that I've driven in the past, but perhaps they are better these days. I've read that some CVTs have a mode that uses fixed ratios to simulate traditional gear selections, for times when spirited driving is preferred. Perhaps today's 9-speed automatics are trying to achieve the same thing from the opposite direction?

500X_JML
03-09-2016, 12:43 PM
I finally got around to having my software updates done again today. So, afterwards I noticed Traction+ mode now starts in D2 which got rid of the previous high RPMs issue shifting from D1. It's a bit surprising how, in just four months or so, quite a number of components had to be updated again. The car does run and respond better. The larger photo is for the updates done last October.

datasage
03-09-2016, 01:06 PM
I finally got around to having my software updates done again today. So, afterwards I noticed Traction+ mode now starts in D2 which got rid of the previous high RPMs issue shifting from D1. It's a bit surprising how, in just four months or so, quite a number of components had to be updated again. The car does run and respond better. The larger photo is for the updates done last October.

I am going to have to make my way over to the dealer, mine still does the high RPM in traction + mode.

Moonfiat
03-13-2016, 01:23 AM
In my opinion, having more than 7-8 speeds in a automatic starts to beg the question...why not just use a CVT instead? Likely a CVT is lighter and certainly uses less parts. I suppose from a marketing perspective "9 SPEEDS" sounds more attractive than "NO GEARS" of a CVT. In reality, it is all driven by CAFE regulations, and to a lesser extent, emission requirements, because the narrower the RPM band you can have the engine operate in, the better you can tune the fuel injection for MPG and also more effectively scrub exhaust gasses.

Your answer is here at about 7:30 in the very informative video:


http://youtu.be/Z7EMGnjEhmE

grosa_2002
03-25-2016, 10:14 PM
New here with not one but two new Fiat 500X, one for the misses and well you get the picture. Traded the 500L after DDCT issue and then traded the Abarth 5 days later. Both X's are Lounge's, mine with a sunroof and 18" Trekking Plus wheels.

We both love the cars. Tranny has a lot of ranges, if you feather the throttle in the lower gears it is a little harsh. 6-7-8 and 9 are all overdrive gears so the output shaft is turning faster than the engine hence a little smoother in those gears. The car moves to 5th quickly for fuel efficiency and then 6-7-8 and 9 according to speed and load. I see 9th a lot more if I drive instead of cruise/controlling it usually around 70 mph. Mine has 1200 miles after this weeks trips. Service Adviser said he would check for available updates, of course he never got back to me about it.

http://www.fiat500usa.com/2014/11/2016-fiat-500x-full-specifications.html

TRANSMISSION: 948TE NINE-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Availability: 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark engine (FWD or AWD)
Description: Planetary gear train, transverse layout
Ratio Spread: 9.81
Gear Ratios:
1st 4.71
2nd 2.84
3rd 1.91
4th 1.38
5th 1.00
6th 0.81
7th 0.70
8th 0.58
9th 0.48
Reverse: 3.83

Axle Ratios
2.4-liter 3.734

ophidia31
04-03-2016, 09:27 PM
Having had a loaner for a few days, I think I can give my opinion on the transmission in the 500x. Terrible. This is a 2016 Trekking AWD and the transmisson is basically how I felt about the one in the 2014 500L loaner I had when I had to get a transmission replaced in my abarth. Taking off from a stop is only good when you actually put your foot down like you want to get going quicker than usual. Other wise, it seems to take forever to get moving. So in that regard its not very responsive and when it does shift, you know it by a slight wave feeling. Kind of like a manual transmission, but you kind of expect that sometimes in a manual and not an automatic which should be smooth through the shifts. The only fiat automatic I seemed to find acceptable is the one in the 500. Havent tried the abarth automatic. Other than the transmission, the 500x is leaps and bounds better than the 500L in every way. Quieter, comfier, more attractive. The only bad thing is the same problem I had with the 500L is the arm rests on the doors are way too low. They need to be higher up like in the normal 500 when you want to rest your left arm and still have a hand on the wheel. But having driven every model in the fiat stable, I would still choose the original 500 chassis and drivetrain options as my personal choice. Well, until the 124 comes out but thats not really fair. lol

Abarthboy
04-03-2016, 10:38 PM
I agree with you about the lag, but have gotten used to it. That being said, I'm planning to install a go pedal to get around that issue. I find the transmission to be fine, otherwise.

Fiat500USA
04-03-2016, 11:33 PM
Two thoughts come to mind. There have been multiple trans software updates that have been issued over the past few months. Most loaner cars don't get stuff like that done to them in my experience until the car is eventually sold or someone complains. The update makes a big difference. The other is did you try sport mode? If sporty response is desired, that may make the difference.

Abarthboy
04-04-2016, 06:16 AM
Interesting point, as most people seem to be generally happy with the transmission since the latest updates. I could certainly be fine with it without the Go Pedal, but just want that extra bit of up front push, especially coming from an Abarth.

5port
04-04-2016, 07:25 AM
ophidia31 said:

"Taking off from a stop is only good when you actually put your foot down like you want to get going quicker than usual. Other wise, it seems to take forever to get moving. So in that regard its not very responsive and when it does shift,"


This more a function of the drive by wire than the transmission and is completely gone when using the Go Pedal. Agreed about the armrest being way too low on the drivers door.

ronbo10
04-04-2016, 09:30 AM
When I drive our 500L, I frequently use manual mode to downshift for a corner, mostly just because I can, and it's more engaging to drive the car that way- though not necessary. In my brief test drives of the 500X, I tried doing the same a few times and found the transmission to be less amenable to driving the car in this way, or at least less enjoyable- one time lurching badly- in that one instance I was probably too impatient as I waited for the transmission to respond, and ended up downshifting a gear or two more than I wanted to. From what I understand (and this is unique to the ZF 9-speed transmissions) the downshifts from 5th to 4th (and likewise from 8th to 7th) use dog clutches for that action, which would delay the response a bit as the transmission first shifts into neutral, then aligns the dog teeth, and then engages that lower gear (similar behavior happens during upshifts, but that extra time required is most noticeable during these two downshifts). The rest of the upshifts and downshifts are reported to behave like a traditional automatic.

Even with this shift behavior notwithstanding, I wonder if with so many ratios to choose from, it might be more difficult to keep track of where you are in the shift sequence.

My guess is that as you owners come to understand your X's behavior in all the various possible circumstances, you might find it best to leave the transmission in full auto mode, though I'd be curious to see if any of you find rowing your own to be something worthwhile. For example, I could imagine possibly going manual mode to short shift your upshifts when, say, in the "Sport" mode, where you don't want to delay the upshift (I gather that in "Sport" mode the upshift points are higher up the rpm range) but don't want to change modes either.

ophidia31
04-04-2016, 10:48 AM
Two thoughts come to mind. There have been multiple trans software updates that have been issued over the past few months. Most loaner cars don't get stuff like that done to them in my experience until the car is eventually sold or someone complains. The update makes a big difference. The other is did you try sport mode? If sporty response is desired, that may make the difference.

Tried it with sport mode as well. Put this car through a gamut of feature testing if it were going to be my vehicle and test driving. While the sport mode did add sensitivity to the pedal, the way it acted afterwards wasn't to my liking. Its like the auto mode needs to be a combination of both sport and auto in terms of sport pedal response and auto mode shift habits. In sport, first gear hangs on too long if you were to have it in that mode for a better pedal and normal driving. I've found myself telling the car "would you shift already dammit". Sure there is the ability to shift it yourself if you want to do so and that'd take care of the forgetful 1st gear, but its an automatic and unless I'm using the car for a jaunt through the back roads, I'm never going to use the shift feature. But I just went out and checked it has a build date of 4/15. Even though it might be in need of those updates, you would figure with the lessons from the 500L 6 speed that they'd kind of have an idea where to program the transmissions out of the box for better performance.

atjm38
06-21-2016, 12:50 PM
I have a AWD Lounge with about 17500 miles on it. The transmission is awful. I have had all the software updates and it seems even worse than before. Hard shifts, lag out of 1st and second with high RPMs, I almost got hit twice when making left turns. You hit the gas and the transmission lags in 1st/2nd gear. It seems worse it the heat now that the temps are in the 100's here in Phoenix. Any thoughts? Dealer just writes it off as a know bad 9 speed.

randY49
06-21-2016, 01:44 PM
I have a AWD Lounge with about 17500 miles on it. The transmission is awful. I have had all the software updates and it seems even worse than before. Hard shifts, lag out of 1st and second with high RPMs, I almost got hit twice when making left turns. You hit the gas and the transmission lags in 1st/2nd gear. It seems worse it the heat now that the temps are in the 100's here in Phoenix. Any thoughts? Dealer just writes it off as a know bad 9 speed.
One question, when you say it "lags" are you referring to throttle response or shift times?

I've not experienced 1st/2nd lag (I also have an AWD Lounge), but two suggestions come to mind; one that costs money, one that doesn't.

1) Depending on what is lagging, look into a GoPedal ($300) or AutoFlash ($600), both from 500Madness; GoPedal is a throttle response modifier while the AutoFlash will also increase shift speeds.
http://shop.500madness.com/fiat-500x-cid451/performance-products-cid480/electronics-cid481/fiat-500x-autoflash-pid4126

2) Put the drive mode in Sport and/or use manual shifting mode (free). See if this helps at all before spending the money.

Good luck!

pkgmsu2000
06-21-2016, 04:04 PM
FCA's 9-speed transmission... :grumpy:

I travel for work monthly and have rented a number of 200's and Cherokee's with the 9-speed transmission. IMHO, the 9-speed is a disaster. I realize though that rental car companies dont stay on top of TSB's and flashes like they should, but hopefully the 9-speed for you guys has been a more positive experience overall than mine in rental cars.

Abarthboy
06-22-2016, 12:40 PM
FCA's 9-speed transmission... :grumpy:

I travel for work monthly and have rented a number of 200's and Cherokee's with the 9-speed transmission. IMHO, the 9-speed is a disaster. I realize though that rental car companies dont stay on top of TSB's and flashes like they should, but hopefully the 9-speed for you guys has been a more positive experience overall than mine in rental cars.

9 speed with Go Pedal set to Eco plus 1. My only complaint about the transmission regards lag time during high speed acceleration and I understand the reason for this as per one of the articles posted here. Driving around town and suburbs is fine. I actually have no major problems with the 9 speed.

fiatdenco
06-24-2016, 11:36 PM
Thank you all for this informative post. My wife's 2 week old 500x has this same issue of gears changing roughly. Made a service appointment Monday in the hopes that an update will resolve it fingersx

Fiat500USA
06-25-2016, 12:04 AM
I wouldn't call it a huge disaster, and I also wouldn't go by rental cars. They see all sorts of abuses and there is no way to tell what kind of updates -if any- where performed. The trans also adapts to how it is driven and with multiple drivers, and unknown maintenance procedures that leaves big questions. This is a sophisticated transmission manufactured by ZF Friedrichshafen with nine gears and some of those use dog-clutches, meaning that there may be a difference in shift feel in certain gear changes. It is not the end of the world to feel shifts.

Remember, the transmission adapts the more miles that are put on it, so the shift feel may very well change the more miles that are put on the car. Just get the updates when you can if something is annoying (we're still on the original software from May 2015 and the trans works fine, and shift quality has improved since day one) as there have been some software tweaks and improvements. http://www.fiat500usa.com/2015/12/fiat-500x-transmission-software-update.html

Here is a little on what happens with a new reflash or when the car is new.

The 948TE automatic transmission uses a shift algorithm that includes learned information so that the shift quality remains even as the transmission wears. This learned information is referred to as “adaptation”. This has to be relearned when the control module is reflashed, Until the adaptation has been learned/relearned, the transmission shift quality may not meet expectations. Adaptation will continue to update as the vehicle is driven providing improved shifts as the vehicle mileage increases.

source: FCA

zvez
06-28-2016, 05:15 PM
not impressed with the 9sp tranny. Had same one in my Evoque and it was just as awful even with TSB updates and such.

grosa_2002
07-30-2016, 07:11 AM
Recent dealer oil change and PCM/TCM updates make shifting even better smoother power delivery. 9th comes in at under 70 mph now, it never did before and remains until around 62 mph. I like it, and find it very versatile adapting to the driving conditions quickly. Using the ice/rain setting when it's raining out makes the car seem more stable and sure footed. No complaints.

Regards,
George

Moonfiat
08-09-2016, 01:35 AM
Grosa, when did you last have an oil change or transmission update? The update around March offered a mixed bag of results that was similarly less satisfying than previous updates.

grosa_2002
08-10-2016, 08:44 PM
Grosa, when did you last have an oil change or transmission update? The update around March offered a mixed bag of results that was similarly less satisfying than previous updates.
I just had the oil changed about a month ago where multiple updates were applied to PCM, TCM, Audio Amplifier and ECS (air conditioning) modules. Vehicle had 7500 miles when the change oil indicator came on. Sinc these updates are VIN and specific vehicle related, its really hard to determine what was done. I think the learing curve has changed somewhat where I see 9th a lot earlier now and will remain down around 64 mph. I have no complaints, Im concious of what gear Im in and I like to use the rain-snow setting when it rains hard. It makes the car seem better planted and sure footed.

George