Today, Motorautority were fortunate enough to be one of the first to demo the DDCT equipped Dodge Dart and they came away quite impressed. The Dual Dry Clutch Transmission will be available later this fall on the Aero trim and as an option on vehicles equipped with the 1.4L Turbo. First impression of the transmission were that it didn't sound, react, or behave much if any differently than a standard automatic transmission, which is actually a good thing. Smoothness was the focus and according to Roy Nassar, chief engineer for DDCT, it was a mission accomplished. The decision to make the DDCT a smooth expereince came from the backlash that Ford experienced a year or two after introducing its Powershift dual-clutch transmission in the Fiesta and then the Focus.
Complaints regarding the Fiesta’s DCT in particular revolved around jerky, overly throttle-sensitive behavior at low speeds, although Ford seems to have fixed those issues through revised calibration. Early reviews also expressed frustration over how Ford didn’t allow full manual control over shifts when wanted by the driver.
Not only was smoothness a goal they were going after but they also wanted the tranny to be fast. Chrysler’s DDCT shifted faster than the DCT dual-clutch gearbox in MotorAuthority's Six Month Road Test Hyundai Veloster. They go on to say that "it feels softer and more like an automatic transmission compared to the snappy DSG in Volkswagen and Audi products." If that is not good enough for you, how does it sound if you won't need a clutch replacement (or any major service) during a lifetime of 200,000 to 250,000 miles? We agree, it's pretty awesome. Clutch-pad replacement is expected only for aggressive conditions - drive your car hard and the obvious will happen, more wear and tear. There's no way around that. There is also a special heat-warning system in the DDCT that safeguards it by smoothing and slowing shifts when the unit overheats.
Enthusiasts aka agressive drivers looking for an edge, you will not be left out. Nassar suggested that a ‘chipped’ version might at some point be offered through Mopar performance channels. He goes on to say:
The DDCT looks to be quite an achievement for the Chrysler Group, and the consumer will enjoy the fruits of their labor."With all the struggles in DCT acceptance across the industry, the focus with DDCT was to make it as smooth as possible, make it like an automatic, and then maybe down the road if we wanted to please the enthusiasts we could investigate a package that has a unique calibration that gives it a little more bite.”