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Speakers Corner


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Cars automatic v manual


paddyjack
Resolved

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My brother State side has just got himself a new motor. He then posed this question to me, how come the majority of cars sold in America are automatics, while in Europe the majority are manual?

Anybody got any thoughts on the subject?

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Strawballs

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When all your roads are straight there is no fun in driving so they just have what is practable.

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oresome

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When I first started driving, it was in a Ford Thames van that managed with a three speed column shift gearbox.

I believe many vehicles now have six speeds. It seems one of the few areas of motoring where more effort is required as time has gone on.

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Bingalau

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I have a smallish motorhome, a two berth Fiat Trigano and it has six gears as well as reverse of course. making a total of seven. I learned to drive with only three forward gears many years ago. I prefer to change my gears according to how I see the conditions and not how the engine sees them when it is probably too late (such as the steep hill looming in front.)

Oh yes I also have Cruise Control and find that a Godsend on motorways, but I haven't gone in the back yet to make a cuppa, like one American lady apparently did. She later sued and won her case I believe. Because there were no instructions telling her it was not possible to do so. Silly woman thought the vehicle would follow the road on its own... Even sillier judgement by the sound of it.

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interzone55

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oresome

I'm not sure what you mean by "It seems one of the few areas of motoring where more effort is required as time has gone on."

Today's manual gearboxes are infinitely easier to use than ones from just 20 years ago.

My first car was a 1980 Mini 998cc with a 4-speed box. To change gear you first had to catch the gear-lever, then struggle to weave the leaver through the gate.

Nowadays the 5-speed 'box on my Skoda Fabia is as easy as pie to swap cogs.

So even if you have to change gear more often, each shift is much easier, plus, you can now make sure your car is in the optimum gear for the road conditions...

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Woolwell

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Autoboxes have also moved with the times. The latest Honda Jazz CVT has comparable mpg figures to the manual version and in some cases better fuel figures and its CO2 emissions are marginally less.

In the USA the roads tend to be straight and you really do not change gear that often. An automatic there seems to make sense. Last time that I was over the pond for some time I do not remember coming across many manual gearbox cars at all - if any.

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Chegs ®™

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I've owned an automatic & manual version of the same car.The auto was actually better on fuel when running round town as a taxi than the manual,but as soon as they ventured out onto motorways(airport runs)the manual produced much better results to the auto.I also have no idea why americans prefer automatics.

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D@ve

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I prefer manuals simply because I feel that an automatic takes a lot of the goodness out of driving.

Of course when I'm stuck in traffic jams, those words often come back to bite me!

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bremner

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Modern auto gearboxes, like VW's DSG, offer acceleration as fast as a manual almost identical top speeds and fuel consumption only slightly down on that for the manual.

Driving in London or any big city, in a manual, can be tiring and stressful whilst an auto is much more relaxing.

I have a pretty new BMW 2.0D auto, my wife drove to Hertfordshire and back on Monday, just short of 400 miles and averaged 53mpg and she is no slouch behind the wheel.

Give me an auto any day.

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BT

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alan14

My first car was a 1980 Mini 998cc with a 4-speed box

Mine was a 1964 Mini which cost me £100 s/h. The gear lever was about 3 foot long and disappeared under the dash. You had no synchromesh on 1st gear and had to search for it, with a certain amount of crunching involved. On a good day it would do about 50mph flat out. The heater rarely managed to keep you from freezing.

My current car - Nissan Note - has cruise control, speed limiter, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, etc. like many modern cars.

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Forum Editor

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I have had automatic cars for years - I would never revert to a manual gearbox in the London traffic. Too tiring.

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