When it launches here in 2015, the all-new 2016 Chevy Cruze will be the only vehicle in its class to offer a seven-speed dual-clutch (automated-manual) transmission (DCT). What’s more, the D2XX-based Cruze will be one of only a handful of vehicles in its class to offer a dual-clutch gearbox to begin with.
Only Ford (Focus), Mazda (3), and Dodge (Dart) currently offer dual-clutch transmissions in their compact vehicles in North America. However, all three of those contenders have six speeds, rather than the seven in GM’s new DCT.
|2016 CHEVROLET CRUZE
|2015 FORD FOCUS
|2015 DODGE DART
|2015 MAZDA 3
|2015 TOYOTA COROLLA
|2015 HONDA CIVIC
|2015 VW GOLF
|2015 VW GOLF GTI
|AMOUNT OF SPEEDS:
The all-new seven-speed DCG is the result of a joint development project between General Motors and Chinese joint venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). The new transmission will be driven by a range of new four-cylinder Ecotec engines with direct injection and turbo-charging, delivering “best-in-class fuel economy, ride comfort, emissions, and quiet performance”, according to The General. And combined with a diminished curb weight, the all-new Cruze will also deliver a fuel economy improvement between 14 and 21 percent compared to the first-generation model. And that’s what we call a competitive advantage. We just hope the new DCT gets a cool name when it launches in North America.
- The 7-speed DCT will either be an option, or standard on high-end models of the 2016 Cruze. However, the vehicles and respective transmissions seen in the table above represent the high-end/optional transmission option or the transmission available on the high-end trim level of the respective model.
- As always, the competitive environment could change by the time the new Cruze rolls around, and the competition can introduce new product with new transmissions. As such, our data is accurate as of September 15th, 2014.
- Speaking of competitors, here’s some context about them:
- Ford Focus: 6-speed PowerShift Automatic with SelectShift Manual Control (included in the SE Appearance package and standard on range-topping Titanium trim). Lesser models get a 5-speed manual.
- Dodge Dart: offers a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission only on the top-end trim level or as an option on lesser trim levels.
- Mazda 3: the 6-speed SkyActiv transmission is optional, and is a very interesting unit. Much like GM’s new 7-speed DCT, it is all-new and was engineered with efficiency plus shift speed and precision in mind. But it was also engineered to counteract the effects of a traditional dual-clutch gearbox, which sometimes have a displeasing effect on their drivers, such as when the driver lifts their foot off the brake and gas pedals, expecting a “creep forward” effect, but the vehicle starts to roll backward since the clutch packs are disengaged. It will be interesting to see if GM’s unit accounts for a similar behavior.
- Toyota Corolla: offers a 4-speed automatic in the base model, a 5-speed manual, and the power-sapping CVT as an option on mid- and high-end trim levels.
- Honda Civic: the Honda Earth Dreams continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on all Civics. It might be fuel-efficient, but that’s all the power-sapping unit is good for.
- Volkswagen Golf/Jetta and Golf GTI/Jetta GLI: while a 5-speed automatic is standard on the all-new 2015 Golf and Jetta, the 6-speed automatic transmission is offered on some mid- and high-end models. The high-performance Golf GTI/Jetta GLI offer a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment; the 6-speed dual-clutch DSG is an option. And, as Joe’l pointed out in the comments, the $27,000+ Jetta Hybrid does ship with a 7-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission.. but but at that price point and in that extremely low-volume model, it might as well not count.