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How did it evolve that Americans drive automatics and Europeans manuals/stick shifts?

It is yet another common but untrue “Europe is superior” belief like ‘our cheese and beer are better’ - my wife and I both only ever owned manual transmission cars until 2017 and we have owned a lot of cars Manual transmission are cheaper and easier to build and for decades, Europe made smaller, cheaper cars, in smaller, older factories. Most didn’t even offer automatics. US automatic transmission are just better, yes even better than Eaton’s automatic transmissions. They were used in military tanks and dragsters. Even a 60’s turbo-hydromatic could withstand racing or use in police interceptors or city buses and still last for 100,000 miles (161,000 km) Asia still has a ways to go in making robust, reliable automatics and Europe’s best offering is now a German manual transmission with an automatic clutch and paddle shifters for 6 or 8 times higher cost. America is just much larger and much emptier place than Europe. Our car industry, for years, made big, metal prairie schooners to haul the family hundreds of miles across empty places. The reason I finally bought a vehicle with an automatic is, my daily commute started to include 2.5 hours of very slow traffic, over 20 miles. We would move 2 meters and stop, over and over again. The truck-strength, clutch spring on my German manual transmission was crippling in that situation and the clutch plates became worn all too quickly. My new automatic was much easier to use in that kind of traffic and was unperturbed by idling in gear.

Why do automatic transmissions suck?

There may be some bad automatic transmissions but most modern automatics are very good for their purpose - street driving. They are more confortable to drive and change gears quickly enough. Even for sportier models the shift paddles look nice and can be fun to drive. However, they cost more to produce and have more expensive parts. They are also a bit more noisier because of the torque converter, but that makes a nice sound IMO. After many miles (like 100k or more) they may require a rebuilt/remanufacture which can be a bit expensive. Things like the torque converter, solenoids, clutch discs can potentially fail. Less things to be worried about with a manual. Another problem is if you plan to upgrade an old car, it may not be able to handle the new torque. For a manual you can upgrade the clutch set and it will usually have no problem. If you are planning taking the car to a track, a normal automatic can also be ok, but you have more ways of control over it with a manual because you have the clutch. Also the way you shift can be fun in a manual, you may aloso want to experience the heel an'toe techique. Still using an automatic on manual mode makes it easier to drive fast, and it is still very fun to drive it. In motorsport most cars use sequential gearboxes. The basic sequentials change gears similarly to a manual but they operate more noisier and change harsher. They can change gears almost instantly and pressing the clutch is not required. Although you can upgrade them to shift using paddle shifters, and using them just like an automatic on manual mode, they connect the engine and the rear axle, directly, because they don't have a torque converter, and you can feel the car better than in an AT. Cars that can do less than 3s 0–60mph, become hard to drive fast using a manual H pattern. For these cars either a high performance automatic or a sequential is preferable. Paddle shifters will also help a great deal. That is because, for best performance on track, it is better to have more gears, at least 7, and you will need to shift between them very often. An F1 with 9 gears without paddle shifters would not be a good idea because you would need to keep one hand on the shifter almost all the time. In this case not only a H shifter would be slow, but not even having a sequential stick, and clutchless shifting is still not enough. But automatic mode shifting is out of the question on a racetrack.

What are the disadvantages of owning a Ferrari?

I’ve put about 10,000 miles on a 458 and a modern Ferrari (2010 or later) is actually quite practical. So first I’ll start off by debunking a couple no longer valid criticisms and then dive into the couple of annoyances. Debunking Criticism Unreliable - Ferrari long had a reputation for being unreliable, but that was ages ago. The 355 was the last truly questionably reliable car and if you didn’t get the F1 paddle box it was actually quite decent. From the 360 onwards reliability has great improved. High Maintenance - Everyone has heard of the regular yearly maintenance on a Ferrari where they have to drop the engine and that routine service costs $10k, this is no longer the case. With the Ferrari 458 you actually get a 3 year unlimited mileage service and warranty package where your out of pocket expenses are $0. You can also extend this for two years for $10k which makes yearly ownership only $2k a year, which isn’t any more than you would pay maintaining a McLaren. Difficult to Drive - Again this isn’t the case as new Ferraris have so many different driving modes and intelligent computers that the cars are quite agile on the street and give you plenty of different settings for the track as well. It’s actually quite easy to drive and though I’m not a fan of paddle shifters I actually love it on the 458. Downshifting and upshifting is extremely enjoyable and because you have the amazing sound of a Ferrari NA V8 engine it’s fun driving anywhere. Storage - I think the Ferrari has ample storage space when compared to other two seater coupes. I’m able to fit quite a fair amount of luggage in the front and you have space behind the seats as well. You can’t take a lot of big bags, but if you break it up into smaller bags you certainly have great trunk space. Daily Driver - If you daily drive it the car will depreciate, but it will depreciate like any other car and I believe it is too good to not drive. So outside of depreciation the car is actually a fantastic daily driver. I find that the suspension isn’t very rough and the ground clearance is quite good even for the horrible roads of NYC. By comparison a McLaren 570s has a stiffer suspension and less ground clearance and it’s actually not enjoyable in NYC because you are always worried about hitting something with the bottom of the car. It has a big gas tank and in 6th and 7th gear on the highway you get great gas mileage so you can also do longer journeys. It has great trunk space for grocery shopping as well. Disadvantages Parking - Yes parking is a bit annoying because you are constantly worried someone will ding the car, so you kind of have to go out of your way to find a nice parking spot, but it’s not the end of the world. Insurance - This is a bit annoying as regular insurers often don’t insure cars over $150k or over $200k, but again you can easily get this done, it’s just annoying Turn Signals - The turn signals are on the steering wheel, make very little noise when activated, and where the signals come up on the dashboard I can’t see them because my steering wheel position blocks it. This is really the most annoying part of the 458 and every modern Ferrari. I rather they just have them on the stalk like regular cars, it’s so much more convenient. Sound System - It’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s just ok. Also the 458 had bluetooth for phone calls but not streaming. Navigation - Eh, it also shows up in the dashboard behind the steering wheel so it’s not a lot of information and feels like it’s from the early 2000s, but these days I use my iPhone in every car for navigation anyway. Overall Verdict With all of that in mind I think that the reputation that Ferrari has as being unreliable or not a suitable daily driver ended with the 355. From there the 360, 430, and the 458 have progressed to such an extent that it is an easy and fun car to drive daily. You have great gas mileage for long trips and ergonomics which are great as well. The car is reliable and you don’t pay an arm and a leg for service any more. I actually think the opposite. The 458, in particular, is the last mid engine NA V8 that Ferrari will ever produce. At some point in the not so distant future all cars will be electric. I think now is the perfect time to buy and drive a 458. It is the pinnacle of Ferrari’s work for the last 70 years. The engine, the note it makes, the response, and the transmission, it simply stirs the soul. I drive the McLaren 570s which is a better car in every way, but it doesn’t move me. I drive the Ferrari and I have a smile on my face like a 5 year old that just got an ice cream. I think these cars should be enjoyed thoroughly. They are works of art that you get to experience, rather than something to just look at and admire. So as long as you get a modern Ferrari you won’t have too many inconveniences and you will have the best ride of your life from a subjective feeling perspective.

When a car has paddle shifters does it still have a manual clutch?

No, the clutch is automated if you have paddle shifters. However the way those paddle shifters work (and the type of transmission they control) can differ widely. The best use of paddle shifters is with a modern “dual clutch” automated manual transmissions, because in most applications it provides instant shifting, and faster than a human could do it with a clutch/shifter combo. However these days manufacturers are pairing paddle shifters with all sorts of transmissions such as regular torque converter automatics, and the worst….CVT’s. (which don’t even have gears to shift)

We are planning to buy New Honda City 2017, ZX CVT Variant, is that a good idea to spend this much on city or to buy other type car with this budget?

Hi I recently bought a Honda city (VX) CVT and I'm seriously impressed by the performance even though it's a CVT which everyone refers to a boring gear box I had been driving a manual car all my life so even I was confused weather to choose the CVT or manual (MT). My dad wanted the CVT as we live in Bangalore AKA the traffic city . So I test drove the CVT and was really impressed although there is a minor rubber band effect but once u get used to the car u will know to overcome (delete) the rubber band effect . And mind you there is no lag in the low end. Many think CVT has low end lag similar to diesel cars ….its not true. It gives u instant power like any other manual petrol car . There are two driving modes. (D mode) and (sportmode) D mode is best for city traffic . There is continuous acceleration without jerks which is very comfortable in city traffic . There is this extra feature known as Econ mode which is used to achieve better better fuel efficiency. It decreases the torque and adjusts the ac accordingly . So Econ mode can be used in traffic where u don't care about sudden acceleration . Then there is sport mode when in sport mode u have to shift gears using paddle shifters . The car just takes off in sport mode and gives a very premium feel when using the paddle shifters (they are very responsive You can watch reviews on YouTube to check out other features but this is my review mainly about the cvt gearbox in the Honda city 2017 Also the Variants I recommend in V or VX if don't want features like sunroof, led headlamps ,leather seats ,bigger wheels ,autodimming mirrors you can go for V Or if u want them then go for VX. I personally wont recommend ZX as the changes from VX to ZX is minor for the price difference So overall the Honda city CVT is a good buy . As we all know automatic is the future in India and car with a smooth acceleration and paddle shifters (when you want to have fun ) is the perfect petrol sedan . The service cost is same for manual and CVT. The service cost of Honda city is higher than Suzuki but way lesser than VW/Skoda and Honda cars the most reliable in this segment

I want to test drive a Ferrari. What are good ways to convince the dealer to allow me to drive one?

About 2.5 years ago i was looking to get a Ferrari and set up a test drive with boardwalk Ferrari in Dallas without much trouble. The dealer saleslady had to ride with me and we went around a block. During the test drive she kept fussing at me because I would back off the gas when using the paddle shifters to change gears. I finally got the hang of it. It was my first time ever to drive a car with a dual clutch so shifting gears at 7,000 RPM was not natural. I bought a new Ferrari California later that day and satisfied my 50 years of desire to own a Ferrari.:) Still love it and now have over 16,000 miles on her. This past summer we vacationed in Italy and I had made arrangements ahead of time with one of the dozens of companies that rent Ferraris and all the other supercars in Europe. That was a fantastic experience to spend the day driving in the Alps like the car was made for it. I loved my day in a 458 Speciale but really love my California for driving locally. Actually you may not want to test drive it until you know you are in the market to get one. You will REALLY get spoiled. There is nothing like it. If you are not in the market for the foreseeable future, then wait until you are or use this event to motivate you to get in the market. While all Ferraris are custom ordered and Ferrari does not make a Ferrari to sit on a show room floor and wait on someone to come and buy it, there is a rare situation where someone will buy the car and order it and spec it out and then for some reason decide not to take it when it arrives - serious situations like - they die or get a divorce and the wife gets all their money or the judge has it all frozen. Then it gets put on the showroom floor and is part of what the dealer told me was a “Walk-In” program. The dealer is not allowed to advertise it or even tell you on the phone about it - you have to walk in, see it, and buy it. That way you avoid the normal 12–15 month wait. I do not know how many times a year this might happen but it did and I was able to avoid a 3 year wait to get it. Since I did not already own a Ferrari I would have to wait 2 years to get my chance to spec it out and then wait another year while it was made. By the way - the factory puts the first 100 km on the car in Maranello. You will not get one with 0 miles. While I was in Maranello for the factory tour I got to see several La Ferrari’s rocket out on to the regular highway and get driven around town. Since getting my Ferrari I have learned that not all dealerships operate the same way and some may not have a long of list of established customers and you might get to order much quicker that I would have gotten to in Dallas. There is nothing like owning a Ferrari though. It takes some time of getting used to people wanting photos of it everywhere you go - even while you are driving it. IT is the best marketing tool EVER. But it is a lot more fun to drive than it is to sit and look at in a garage.

What burns more gas, accelerating as fast as possible to 60 mph (e.g. 10 seconds) or accelerating slowly (e.g. 30 seconds)?

In addition to the many rightful answers saying that the best fuel economy is attained by accelerating at high engine load (near full throttle), but at low revs in order to be able to up-shift to higher gears as soon as possible, here are some graphs showing it. The above one is for a Toyota Yaris II D4D. The red lines show the way to obtain maximum acceleration, such as in racing or to clock the lowest possible time up to a given speed. The aim is to keep the engine as near as possible to its max power revs. Launch from rest is done at engine max torque by slipping the clutch — or the wheels if possible, but unlikely with this Yaris — up to about 16 km/h. Upshifts are performed around 4500 rpm — from 1st to 2nd at 40 km/h, 2nd to 3th at 74 km/h, etc. The green lines show how to accelerate frankly but in an fuel economical way, between 2/3 engine load and full engine load, aka 2/3 to full throttle. Up-shift to 2nd is done as soon as possible at about 16 km/h, and the engine is somewhat accelerated simultaneously along the vehicle throughout the gearshifts. (This is more important to save fuel on a loaded heavy truck with 12 or 16 gears because you don’t want to waste energy in letting the crankgear and flywheel slow down and re-accelerate it too much several times). Below is the BSFC map of a Mercedes 350 CGI. You want to stay in the green areas for the lowest specific fuel consumption and the sweet spot for this specific but typical gasoline engine is 235 g/kW.h between 1900 rpm and 2700 rpm at 75% load. If we accelerate slowly at very low engine load, the fuel consumption is in the red areas at more than 320 g/kW.h. And below is the BSFC map of a VW Golf VI 2.0 TDI. The hyperbolas of various colors are the iso-power lines. For example, if 40 hp (light blue line) are requested, they’ll be obtained with the best fuel efficiency between 1300 rpm and 1800 rpm at about 215 g/kW.h. Great fuel efficiency, but it might be somewhat altered now after the reprogramming due to the emissions scandal! Moe Incanto and Peter David Hill have posted the nice BSFC map for a 1.9 liter Saturn, also with iso-power hyperbolas. UPDATE: automatic transmissions The above is mostly for manual transmissions and I forgot to write about automatics. With them, accelerating frankly in “D” somewhere around 2/3 engine load until the desired speed is attained should provide a good fuel economy, with upshifts at reasonably low revs. They are programmed with an hysteresis delaying upshifts (and downshifts too) to avoid ceaseless up and down shifts when the conditions remain borderline. With older 3 and 4-ratios automatics, it was possible to elude that hysteresis by slightly releasing the accelerator to force an upshift and then pressing the throttle more again as soon as the upshift had been done. But with 6 or more ratios it becomes difficult because the transmission will then immediately downshift 1 or 2 ratios when the throttle is depressed a little more again. In principle, an automatic transmission should shift at the most appropriate time so that the consumption is minimal for the requested power. But in order to avoid incessant shifts when the vehicle speed and the engine load are close to the ideal point for this shift, hysteresis is essential. That is, the shifts are delayed from the optimal to obtain a crossover range. For example, in the above graph, if the vehicle is traveling at 90 km/h in 6th with 30% engine load (in the area under the bold purple line), a downshift from 6th to 5th will only occur if the throttle is depressed until the engine is loaded at least 80%. If its load exceeds 94%, a downshift in 4th will even take place. For a shift back to 6th, the load will have to be reduced below 43%. Note: ,Avoid the “S” (for “Sport”) program. It keeps the engine at higher revs and provides no advantages, only the drawbacks of increased fuel consumption and noise. If we need engine braking or if we want to drive very fast on a winding road, it’s better to shift manually using the paddle shifters or main shifter.

Why do US drivers prefer car automatic transmissions over manual transmissions, when manual shifting and playing with the clutch pedal is part of the fun of driving?

I’m not in the US - I’m that rare beast, a Brit who drives an automatic. My choice was rather made for me when I met my wife; she passed her test in an auto, and as such isn’t permitted by law to drive with a manual gearbox. We only need one car between us, and so it’s an auto. When we first met, she was tootling around in a Chevrolet Matiz (99% of Matizes ever made were this colour - hers was no different) It had a one litre engine, with a three speed automatic box. It was dire, especially if you wanted to go faster than 50mph. At the time, we had a car each. My manual car suffered an accident while it was parked up, and it just so happened that I knew someone who had a Volvo S80 for sale, for not very much money. It was ancient, but nice. I bought it because it was a lovely, lovely car, and thought that I’d just tolerate the fact that it had an automatic box. The S80 was the car that really convinced me, a die-hard manual driver, that automatics weren’t so bad. The five-speed auto box just suited the way the car was - leisurely to drive, comfortable. The car felt like it looked after you as a driver, and the automatic was just part of the experience. Time moved on. My ancient Volvo died, and the Matiz carried on being as horrible as it ever was. We needed a car that suited both of us, and so we ended up with a Fiat Grande Punto. Now, Fiat at the time (perhaps they still do this) had an unconventional style of automatic gearbox. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say it was nasty, unreliable, and we didn’t have that car for long before getting something else. Step forward, our first Mini. This was the first time that I really had ,fun, in an auto. A six speed automatic box, with paddle shifters. I was soon going up and down twisty country roads in it, enjoying the drive and enjoying nearly as much control as I had when I was driving manual vehicles. We had that car a few years, and felt the itch to upgrade. But to what? The Mini John Cooper Works. This is a car that, day on day, thrills me. Just to look at the picture above excites me, and if I could be bothered to get up off the sofa and look out of the window, I’d be excited to see my own parked on the drive. Special edition models aside, the John Cooper Works is the most powerful, fastest Mini that you’ll get from the factory. Surely this, if anything, is the car where I’d want a manual box? No. We ordered, yet again, an automatic. And in all honesty, if my wife’s need to drive an auto wasn’t a concern, I’d have still ticked the box for the automatic transmission. OK, so yet again I’ve got the paddle shifters. If you put it into full-manual mode, the only time it’ll change for you is if you’re either going to stall or you’re pushing the car so hard you’ll do damage if you don’t change gear. Other than that, there’s none of the hand-holding that our old Mini did, it’ll never do the thing where it thinks it knows best and changes for you. Of course, it’s perfectly drivable as a full auto too, in either sport or normal mode - and that’s how I drive it the vast majority of the time. Even on open country roads where I’m really enjoying every last bend and straight I’ll leave it in its automatic mode. Yes there are times where I want to push it a bit and start making my own gear choices, but that’s out of choice rather than necessity. The simple fact is, modern autos have got to the point where the feeling of not being fully in control over what the car’s doing doesn’t even concern me. Every auto I’ve driven in recent years (Fiats aside) has had a pretty damn good idea as to what gear it should be in, and when it’s needed to change has done so an awful lot faster than I ever could. Rather than leaving me with less control than I had before, I feel that I’m more in control in a modern automatic. I’ve got one less thing that’s dividing my attention up. I don’t have to worry about finding the right second to change gear when I’m driving a tricky road because I know the car will do it at the right moment, in the blink of an eye. I’ve got both hands on the wheel nearly all the time. If I’m in stop-start traffic, I’m not constantly changing gears or using the clutch. Of course, this is all subjective - and is largely down to my own personal feelings. I will sign off with the stats that Mini produce for my car. As a manual, my car will apparently do 0–60mph in 6.3 seconds, and can get 44.8 miles per gallon. As an auto, it’s 6.1 seconds and 49.6mpg. I’ve not verified those figures myself, but it’s clear that Mini think their auto box is better than a human driver.

What car do you drive and why is it your first choice?

2014 Dodge Charger R/T With all the performance options (Road & Track package, Super Trak package, paddle shifters). Why’d I choose this car? The time had come to part with my Mustang and get a roomy full-size vehicle with four doors to transport my wife and kids. But I didn’t want to go some SUV route… I wanted it to be just as sporty and fun to drive as the car I was replacing. Basically something that would be a big quiet family hauler when I’m cruising from point A to B, but also some kind of sport sedan or muscle car when I’m enjoying the drive. I have a preference for rear-wheel drive and V8 engines, which narrows things quite a bit. A budget of $40k also ruled out the cars that met the goals, but at an extravagant price (Audi A8, Mercedes E-class AMG, etc.) With the closest other options being the Hyundai Genesis, Ford Taurus SHO, and Chevrolet SS, it quickly became apparent that some kind of Hemi Charger would best fit the stated requirements. I test drove a bright yellow Super Bee, but that quickly received a wife veto. An SRT-8 would have been awesome (and I still sometimes wish I had gone for it) but I would have had to go used to stay in budget, and as I planned to be driving this car for a long time, starting off new seemed to be the way to go. I got a great deal ($4k under dealer invoice, fair price on the trade in, paid no interest) and stayed well within my budget. It’s been an excellent car, and I really enjoy driving it.

I am planning to buy an automatic car around a budget of 10-10.2 Lakhs. I am confused between Baleno Zeta IVT, i20 Sports IVT and Amaze CVT. What can you suggest apart from these as well, if any?

I would, not recommend, you the, Baleno, solely because of its ,low Crash safety rating,. When you are spending 10+L on a hatchback, the least you can expect is good NCAP rating. Nothing can replace a life, so Baleno at ,only 2-stars rating, is disappointing. Another reason is its lethargic CVT transmission. Its good in city traffic, but when accelerating hard for overtakes on open road, it suffers from considerable delay due rubber band effect. Also, its now a dated car. The new, 2020 i20, is a fantastic car based on its design, quality and equipment levels. But there is no two way that its, expensive, whether its the base or higher variants. The competition comes with equally good cars at more competitive price. The ,Sports iVT, coming at ,10L, on road ,does not come, with, Auto AC,, ,Push Button Start, cruise control ,or even, Alloy Wheels!!,, and this in my view is just not acceptable at this price point. Also, the CVT with 1.2 NA petrol is not that exciting to drive. The, Honda Amaze VX CVT, comes out to be the ,best car here,. Its got, 4-star Crash safety rating, from Global NCAP Its got a spacious cabin with ample knee room, big boot space of 420L, premium looking and comfortable interiors. Being ,top end variant,, it comes with push button start, Cruise control, Android multimedia system, Auto AC and alloy wheels, etc. The most important aspect is its drivetrain. Its the ,only car, here to come ,with Paddle Shifters, for its CVT. Its very convenient to use and is the best setup here with ,very minimal lag,. Being a Honda, long term reliability is a given. So, this is my recommendation. But, if you wish for a more unique proposition, I would suggest you to ,have a look at ,the ,VW Polo TSi Highline Plus AT,. It not only is the most powerful with a modern ,TSI Turbo Petrol engine,, it now comes with a, 6-speed Torque Converter, autobox. This combination makes it more reliable than DCTs while being equally exhilarating. The interiors are classy and the ,build quality, is renowned. For this package, its a very ,value for money, car, for a perspective, the ,i20 Asta, Turbo DCT comes at ,Rs 2L more!! It has all the features a top variant should have, but does lack push button start and a rear view camera. But in my view its a reasonable compromise for getting such a powerful engine and AT combo. You can get the camera fitted aftermarket. It comes with 4 year warranty with roadside support. I know that Polo doesn’t sell in huge numbers and the service cost is a little costly. But when you are spending 10+ lakhs, I would suggest you to give it a try as its a excellent product. With festive season offers I hope you can get it for around 10.3L on road.

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