Take a Closer Look at Kia’s All-New Eight-Speed Transmission
When Kia announced its all-new eight-speed transmission, it didn’t really delve into the details. This is mostly because this new transmission was debuted in the redesigned 2017 Cadenza sedan, which obviously took precedence. Now, the South Korean car-maker has decided to reveal more details on the eight-speed, and we have to say—we’re impressed.
This new transmission, which will replace last year’s Cadenza’s six-speed transmission, is made entirely in-house. While this might not seem like a big deal on the surface, it is when you consider the fact that the majority of manufacturers use eight-speed (and higher) transmissions that are produced by the likes of ZF and Aisin.
Kia has outfitted the new transmission with an additional clutch and a fourth planetary gearset, which is similar to the number of gearsets often seen in the ZF nine-speed automatic. The eight-speed fits in almost exactly the same space as the six-speed it’s replacing, while also being 7.7 pounds lighter. Compared to the six-speed, this new transmission has a 34%-broader ratio spread between first and top gear, while also using the smallest oil pump in its production-transmission class. This means fuel economy is better because it decreases the parasitic losses on the engine.
All of this results in an eight-speed transmission that will allow for quicker shifts and a better link to the engine, which means the 2017 Cadenza—and any other Kia model that ends up with the eight-speed—will have an even better ride. Kia hasn’t said whether this transmission can support all-wheel-drive models, but we do know that it will show up in a variety of mid-sized and larger front-wheel models in the future.