GM's New 10-Speed Transmission Expands to More Vehicles | Edmunds

GM's New 10-Speed Transmission Expands to More Vehicles

General Motors' 10-speed automatic transmission, co-developed with Ford, will be appearing in more models throughout GM's portfolio. This transmission is now only available in the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and several truck-based SUVs: the Tahoe RST and Suburban RST, the Yukon Denali and the Cadillac Escalade. But GM is planning on expanding the use of the 10-speed to four more vehicles in 2018.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe

So far this transmisison has appeared only in conjunction with high-horsepower engines, such as the 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 in the large SUVs in which it's used. However, thanks to some clever engineering, this transmission hasn't gained bulk with its extra gears, and it will fit in the same envelope as GM's six- and eight-speed units. It is designed for rear-wheel-drive-based applications, so we're unlikely to see it in smaller SUVs (which are making wider use of GM's new nine-speed, also developed with Ford) or many cars. But other trucks, upcoming Cadillac sedans, and performance vehicles such as the Corvette or lower-spec Camaro models could all play host to the 10-speed unit.

Overall, we think this transmission will be a benefit for buyers. We were impressed with the 10-speed's capability in the Camaro ZL1, and it has made the transition to large SUV duty nicely. We recently had the chance to sample it in the Yukon Denali, where it was a welcome change from the old six-speed transmission, providing quick, smooth shifts and proving an upgrade in its road manners.

It will be interesting to see if the extra gears create much of an improvement in fuel efficiency; its current applications don't allow for any direct comparisons.

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