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Engineering optimization not always obvious

Rick DeMeis
10/11/2010 04:15 PM EDT

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anon9303122
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Freelancer
re: Engineering optimization not always obvious
anon9303122   10/13/2010 6:31:16 PM
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At 2,350 pounds this thing's a pig. The 100 HP is nice but my 1975 Rabbit weighed about 1,800 pounds. And it had a four speed manual transmission. I have no interest in a mush box in my cars. Too complicated, too many things to break. Yeah, I'm a luddite, but sometimes feature creep isn't in our best interest. I much prefer the robust simplicity of a manual tranny. Four speed is fine for a mush box. Any more than that and we're just fooling ourselves.

Duane Benson
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re: Engineering optimization not always obvious
Duane Benson   10/13/2010 6:14:03 PM
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I don't think we should fault Mazda for making a cost-based decision. Every design decision does at some point consider cost, as well as schedule and performance. It would be a wonderful world if everything could be engineered for performance first and every other consideration later. It would be wonderful to look at, but out of reach to just about everyone due to the cost of such things. Affordability is dreadfully important in the entry level market position. Yes, they could have added a more elaborate transmission - and more expensive sensors, electronics and lighter weight exotic materials. But then it would be priced out of their intended market. It's all a big set of trade offs. It always is and it has to be.

markogts
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re: Engineering optimization not always obvious
markogts   10/13/2010 10:56:29 AM
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I think this is an elaborate excuse from Mazda for a cost-driven decision. If they really wanted to save weight, improve efficiency and sporty driving, they should have installed a twin clutch gearbox, where six or four gears really is not an issue (the VW Polo DSG has *seven* gears). I still have to see a car where a converter wastes less energy than a clutch.

henkmol
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re: Engineering optimization not always obvious
henkmol   10/13/2010 7:42:35 AM
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There is a strong cultural influence on the way a car is working. US Centered comments will focus on how to make better automatics. That is not the point however. Clearly, in Europe the automatic transmissions are much less sold than manual. An overdrive (5th gear at least) is what you have in all manual transmissions and which is used, both in petrol as well as in diesels (which make up at least a third of our car fleet). There is a good reason for the overdrive, and certainly not only on long distance highway driving. The speed limits around cities tend to promote constant 80 - 90 km/h speed and signs along the road ask drivers to run in fifth gear. This is really leading to significant improvement of exhaust emission and noise and vibration harshness, as was measured in several cities in the Netherlands. Consequence: the EU laws on the emission loading of the environment close to emission sources like the city highway / freeway can permit development of industrial, public and housing real estate closer to the highway. This is a lot of real estate value being re-created. Btw low constant speed driving around cities tend to cause less wear on the tires - also leading to less fine dust. One must remember the fact that fine particles are at least for 50% from tires, so outlawing the diesels won't improve more than a factor of 2 in this problem. On the contrary, taking the diesels away would additionally increase total fuel demand with at least 5% due to lower efficiency of the otto motor. Using automatic transmissions, the consumption will even increase furter. BR Henk

Haldor
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re: Engineering optimization not always obvious
Haldor   10/12/2010 8:05:24 PM
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I would think this car would be a good application for a CVT transmission. I understand CVT transmissions typically have a size and weight penalty compared to other options, but the Nissan 2nd generation CVT for example claims to be significantly lighter in weight and also has a wider range of gearings (which would get the most from a low power engine).

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