Anybody drive one of the new Subaru CVT transmissions yet?
Weird! So strange not to feel the gears shift at all.
But what's really crazy is how absoluletly everything is now tied into the computer.
Drove a 2011 Outback today (dealer gave my wife a brand new loaner as they messed up some of her warranty work). The friggen parking brake is now essentially a little push/pull button on the dash. You click it, and you can hear a set of servo motors go to work and the brake engages. The rear hatch release is now a small little computer controlled button release too.
I swear, not one thing on cars is going to be manual mechanical in a few years. Like it or not, the car of the future is one big computer. Now the question is ... when will the first virus appear?
Also of note are the paddle shifters on the wheel. The CVT has two modes - M & D. D is fully automatic. M allows you to manually paddle shift through a set of predefined locales on the CVT that are supposed to give you the sensation of shifting through gears. Of course, it's all just smoke and mirrors, as there are not such things as gears in a CVT and if you switch to M but don't use the paddles in a way the computer accepts, it overrides and still behaves like an automatic .. it doesn't actually hold "gear". Not for very long at least.
Of course the advantage of the CVT .. and the reason everyone is headed that way .. is the awesome highway gas mileage they produce. Subaru's 2012 Impreza is slated to get 36 mpg highway (though still only 23 city). Still, that's a major increase over conventional numbers (up from 27 in the current model year .. up from 20 city). BUt I cannot imagine a CVT in a Tacoma .. not in the least.