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lou's garage

What is your opinion about these new car technologies, because I like to keep a car for 15 or 20 years:

1. CVTs,

2. Turbos,

3. Self-driving?

Tom, Edmonton

Continuously variable transmissions (CVT) have less moving parts than their traditional geared counterparts, making them generally cheaper to produce. In addition, they allow for noticeable improvements in fuel economy. Engineers can more accurately map torque and horsepower curves enabling them to keep their engines in their most fuel efficient power-bands for longer durations. The first generation CVT felt awkward, with the engine always feeling like it was over-revving, but technology advances permit the latest to offer a significantly improved driving experience.

Turbochargers have been featured in performance oriented cars for years. They can also be used in smaller displacement engines which generate additional power only when demanded by the driver. Mandated government fuel economy ratings have to be met by auto manufacturers, meaning turbocharging for the purposes of fuel conservation will continue to become more commonplace.

CVT’s and turbochargers have been around for a while, have been fined-tuned and offer significant fuel savings here and now. They are not going away any time soon. Self-driving cars are technologically within grasp, but still have years of product development to make them truly street-ready. And don’t forget about the legislative hurdles that still loom, which will undoubtedly take years to overcome.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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