I was leaning towards the FWD version with the side air bags, I don't
see much need for AWD even in the winter. The FWD costs less and gets
better gas mileage. I've driven my Escort through a foot of snow or
more, in the Northeast that's not unheard of, so pretty comfortable
Thanks for the input!
I have a Honda Civic Hybrid with CVT and a 2005 Escape Hybrid with CVT.
The CVT has been around for quite a while, but usually on low powered cars.
Look in the EPA guide for "AV". Several available in the US, more in
Europe. The new Fords are the most powerful.
I love it in the Honda. It makes the car smoother and better accelerating
in normal driving. It doesn't sound like a four cylinder automatic.
In the Escape, the engine RPM goes up too quickly, and the engine is quite
a bit noisier than the Honda. I think it is a good thing, and with a trend
toward six-speed automatics, which is the alternative to the CVT in the
Ford 500, CVT will probably show up in more cars, as it is probably cheaper
than a six speed.
A six speed might be nearly the same as a CVT, but the CVT is so sweet. No
shifting, no straining engine at low RPM, not much overrevving engine at
high demand loads. Reliability? Dunno. My Honda is at 40K+.
The Escape is still problem free at 4,000 ;-)
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5
Yes, the reliability question comes to mind. I can get an employer
discount and wondering if I should wait until next year for the factory
incentives as well. That would also allow for some more time to see
how they fair out in the real world.
Get a good extended warranty with rental coverage if you want peace of
mind in any car... From what I've heard CVTs 'overall' aren't any less
reliable than your typical undersized/overworked modern automatic...
I'm pretty sure its about optimal for the engine and the rest of the
drivetrain since theres no 'whiplash' from shifting and the engine
should not ever get 'lugged'...
Plus I hear they're really simple/cheap to overhaul... I have no actual
proof of this.
Looks like I am wrong (at least for the moment). When my
Father bought his Freestyle there was a Factory to Dealer
incentive of $1500. The dealer was quick to drop the price
after I mentioned it to them (we were using the Supplier
Discount too). The dealers in my area are still advertising
large discounts on 500's and Freestyles. I just looked at
Edmunds, and don't see any general rebates or the Factory to
Dealer incentives listed. I assume they all expired. There
were a bunch of special category rebates listed, but you
probably don't qualify. Sorry. Maybe sales have picked up
for the Freestyle. The one my Father purchased was the first
one his salesman had sold.
My own take is to leave the first year production alone to allow for any
teething pains. This is Fords first foray into production line CVTs and
pre-production testing can only go so far. While most customers are
generally pleased with a first year purchase, the gamble is a little high ..
especially with new vehicle pricing, these days.
The CVT concept has been around since the mid eighties but I'm not sure that
consumers were quite ready for it back then. The driving experience is
certainly unique but I'm not sure I'd want to try towing with one of
Good luck, whatever your choice.
My Father recently bought a Freestyle AWD with the CVT. I am
very impressed with the vehicle. I persoanlly own a Saturn
Vue with GMs attempt at a CVT. I have always found the Vue
CVT to be quirky but lovabale. In other words, it works
well, but takes some getting used to. The Freestyle was a
revelation. Unless you really looked for the missing shift
points, you'd never know it was a CVT. The CVT in my
Father's is very smooth and seems will matched to the 3.0L
V-6. I've seen people in this newsgroup berate the Freestyle
and 500 becasue they only have a 3.0L V-6. After driving my
Father's Freestyle, I believe this is utter nonsense
perpetuated by people who have not actually driven one of
the cars. The accelration is very good. You aren't going to
out run any hemi powered Chrysler 300's, but I'll bet you
can easily keep up with a Pacifica or a V-6 powered 300.
As for first year problems - I don't know. My Father has had
his Freestyle for about a month and there have been no
problems. The CVT is based on a Volvo design, so it is not
really "new." The engine is a know quantity. The suspension
and body structure are new but also based on Volvo designs.
So far my Father's seems solid.
FWIW, Subaru offered a ECVT in its old Justy. They were not known for their
reliability. I think the transmission has benefits in theory, but to my
knowledge, no one has produced a truly reliable one. Hopefully that's
changed with more modern technology, but time will have to be the judge.
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