Chevrolet’s very first nine-speed transmission is finally rolling out, first debuting on the 2017 Malibu and then the 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox.
The new transmission is available with the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder 2017 Chevrolet Malibu and is said to be 3 percent more fuel efficient compared to the current six-speed automatic, netting a highway rating of 33 mpg. The new transmission also works with stop/start to increase fuel economy even more by shutting down the engine in stop-and-go traffic.
Chevrolet promises its nine-speed transmission, called the Hydra-Matic 9T50, will be refined and balanced, however, other automakers have experienced problems with their nine-speed units, mainly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brands like Jeep. The nine-speed automatic is generally becoming more mainstream, as it was once reserved for luxury cars like Mercedes-Benzes and Land Rovers.
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Chevy’s transmission has a wider 7.6:1 overall ratio than the current transmission, which translates into a meaty first gear for brisk off-the-line acceleration and a tall final gear for low-rpm highway cruising.
“The smaller steps between the gears, compared to the six-speed, enable smooth, almost imperceptible upshifts, for excellent refinement,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president, Global Propulsion Systems. “No matter the engine torque or vehicle speed, the 9T50 is always in the perfect gear.”
Nicholson added that the new transmission will be available on four Chevrolet models and 10 GM products by the end of next year.