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Thread: So we test-drove a 500L

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    FCA never said anything about the transmission. That is Kelly's assumption that the DDCT was under rated for the car, but again, that is an incorrect statement and assumption, because the DDCT had the highest torque capacity of any DDCT of its type when it was introduced (260 lbs.ft). It is also the same transmission used in the Alfa Romeo 4C.

    In fact, when I talked to a Fiat executive who keeps track of these things back in 2015, I asked about the DDCT and they told me in the vast majority of cases, the transmissions they got back had nothing wrong with them. It just seems that a DDCT is not suited for our market place and what people expect. Put another way, many people just can't figure out how to drive with one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post
    Put another way, many people just can't figure out how to drive with one.
    Sounds familiar to this owner of a CVT. Autojournalist types as so-called car guys love to hate on the CVT, but most don't understand how they work or how to derive the most enjoyable driving experience out of them. Couple that with a lackadaisical attitude about preventive maintenance, and it's easy to see how they earned somewhat of a poor reputation in their early years on the American market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by banger View Post
    Sounds familiar to this owner of a CVT. Autojournalist types as so-called car guys love to hate on the CVT, but most don't understand how they work or how to derive the most enjoyable driving experience out of them. Couple that with a lackadaisical attitude about preventive maintenance, and it's easy to see how they earned somewhat of a poor reputation in their early years on the American market.

    True. There are techniques for everything. If I were to drive a manual transmission and try to start off in third gear, I shouldn't be surprised that the car balks, vibrates or drives horribly. That's my fault for expecting the car to do something unrealistic. On the other hand, Fiat should have done a better job educating owners on the DDCT and how it worked. Now if the owners would have paid attention is another subject. To be fair, the first 500Ls had a DDCT controller recall, plus there were the usual software upgrades searching for the best driveability, so that didn't help.

    Interestingly, when the 500 was first brought to the US for evaluations, they had the Dualogic automated manual gearbox that is popular in Europe, however, when Laura Soave, the then head of Fiat USA drove the car, she vetoed the transmission as not suited for the market and US expectations. It is too bad the Aisin gearbox was delayed on the 500L as that would have eliminated a lot of complaints.

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