The transmission has been criticized for being slow to respond in city driving and for displaying a lethargy that suggested the engine would stall. Fortunately, it behaves better at highway speeds. “It is quite a challenge to deliver something that is very, very fuel efficient and yet feels just like a conventional automatic, and there are some balances and some tradeoffs that we make,” said Greg Burgess, a Ford engineer. In a technical service bulletin dated Sept. 13, the automaker informed dealers that some 2012 Focuses “may exhibit various automatic transmission and engine driveability concerns.” It went on to instruct the dealers how to reprogram the power train control module for smoother accelerations, reduced hesitation, better low-speed driveability and improved shift scheduling. That bulletin addressed models built before 12 Aug 11. Richard Truett, a Ford spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that Ford had made the change to all new Focus models starting on that date, and that the alterations would not change the car’s Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings.
Another bulletin dated 2 Sept 11 advised dealers to reprogram the module on the 2011 Fiesta if consumers complained about hesitation when accelerating from a low speed after coast down, harsh or late D1 to D2 upshift. These problems are not unique to Ford. Volkswagen’s 7 speed dry clutch DSG faces similar issues. From VAGSG forum, it appeared that Volkswagen Centre Singapore has found a permanent solution to the harsh D1-D2 upshift problem. Let’s hope it works.