Comparison: Manual v/s Automatic Transmission


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350Z

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One of the most common confusion for a new car buyer is regarding making a choice between an automatic or manual transmission. This confusion raises several questions. Such as: Which is most suitable for my requirements? Which is most convenient to operate? Which will be lighter on the pocket? Which is more fuel efficient? Etc. Therefore, The Automotive India brings a concise comparison between Automatic & Manual Transmission to answer some of the frequently asked questions.

First of all, what is a transmission? In simple words, a transmission is a mechanism that transfers the vehicle’s power from engine to the drive shaft in order to get the wheels moving. Gears present inside the transmission change the drive wheel speed and torque in relation to the engine speed (RPM) pulling power (Torque). Thus, lower ratios help an engine to build up sufficient power so that the vehicle can accelerate from a halt.

The Manual Transmission



The name itself indicates, a manual transmission enables a driver to shift gears manual as per the driving requirements. Manual clutch is pressed while shifting gears from one to another. There’s no doubt that a manual gearbox adds to the driving fun as far as we talk about clean and empty roads but at the same time, the manual gearbox becomes a chore to operate in traffic conditions.

Convenience:
Particularly speaking about the person who is new to driving, he may find manual somewhat difficult and confusing but in actual, it isn’t.

Fuel Efficiency: Those concerned about mileage will find manual cars an ideal choice over automatic. However, the rapid development in technology is gradually bridging that gap.

Maintenance: Manual cars cost quite cheaper than the automatic counterpart and so is their maintenance. Vehicles equipped with a manual gearbox prove to be much lighter on the pocket when it comes to maintenance just because of their not-so-complex functioning.


Positives:

  • Fuel Efficient
  • Adds “Fun” to drive
  • Low on Maintenance

Negatives:

  • Not User Friendly
  • Lacks Smoothness to Drive
  • Require Frequent Movement of Hand

Indian Cars with Manual Gearbox:
If I start writing, there will be an un-ending list of Indian cars, as most of them are available in manual transmission only. Below is a list of popular Indian cars fitted with a Manual Gearbox in each segment:

Hatchbacks
- Tata Nano – 4 Speed Manual
- Maruti Alto – 5 Speed Manual
- Fiat Grande Punto – 5 Speed Manual

Entry Level Sedans
- Maruti Swift dZire – 5 Speed Manual
- Tata Indigo Manza – 5 Speed Manual
- Renault Logan – 5 Speed Manual

Luxury Sedans
- Honda Civic – 5 Speed Manual
- Skoda Laura – 5 Speed Manual
- Chevrolet Cruze – 5 Speed Manual

Sports Utility Vehicles
- Mahindra Scorpio – 5 Speed Manual
- Nissan X-Trial – 6 Speed Manual
- Honda CR-V – 6 Speed Manual

About Automatic Transmission



You must have got the basic idea on how a Manual Transmission works; just opposite to it is the Automatic Transmission. Yes, as it says “Automatic”, this transmission works independently without a frequent interruption, resulting in the convenience of driver. The Automatic Transmission performs the job automatically depending upon the speed and here a hydraulic torque converter takes the place of clutch plate mechanism saving you from the hassle of pressing a clutch. The Automatic Gearbox has mostly the pre-defined gear ratios which are as follows:

  • Park (P)
  • Reverse (R)
  • Neutral (N)
  • Drive (D)
  • Second (S or 2)
Easiness:
Auto Gearbox is one of the easiest to operate and user friendly but a first timer would at least require having basic knowledge (such as pre-defined ratios mentioned above) before trying to lay the hands on it.

Fuel Efficiency:
In this fuel conscious world, Auto Gearbox won’t to be your best friend, because of their complex mechanism, Automatic Transmissions consume more fuel than the Manual counterparts and the cars available with auto box are expensive too. Perhaps, this is the reasons why they are not yet easily accepted or much popular on lower car segment, in India.

Maintenance:
Like the buying cost of Automatic cars, these transmissions are not so light to maintain, quite simply because of the mechanism which goes down into them to work. On the concluding part, An Automatic Gearbox is definitely friendly with user but with the wallet? Certainly not.

Positives:

  • Offer Convenience
  • User Friendly
  • Easy to Operate

Negatives:

  • Not-so-wallet Friendly
  • Helps the car drink more
  • It has restricted gear ratios


Indian Cars with Automatic Gearbox:
Though there is not so wide range of automatic cars available in small segment but lately, the popularity of Automatic Transmission cars has started increasing among public in India, therefore few of the manufacturers are considering to introduce auto-box cars on our land.

Hatchbacks
- Hyundai i10 – 4 Speed Automatic
- Hyundai i20 – 4 Speed Automatic

Sedans
- Maruti SX4 – 4 Speed Automatic
- Honda City – 5 Speed Automatic
- Honda Civic – 5 Speed Automatic
- Skoda Laura – 6 Speed Automatic
- Mercedes E- Class – 7 Speed Automatic

Sports Utility Vehicles
- Mahindra Scorpio – 6 Speed Automatic
- Maruti Grand Vitara – 4 Speed Automatic
- Audi Q5 – 7 Speed Automatic

Key Question: Which Should I Purchase?

If you are a back seat driver and prefer luxury when on move or you have a daily schedule of 9 to 6, facing the difficulty of traffic jams in this stressful life, Look no further than an Automatic Transmission but make sure your wallet has no objection. However, If you are one of those who loves to enjoy each bit of drive and as being a typical Indian, support the “save fuel” saying too, then needless to say, What else suits best than a Manual Gearbox?


Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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good comparo 350Z!
i like both for the reasons you have stated!
manual for speed and auto for bumper to bumper traffic
but nowadays even Auto gearboxes have superb performance, take the DSG for example!
 
Thread Starter #4

350Z

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good comparo 350Z!
i like both for the reasons you have stated!
manual for speed and auto for bumper to bumper traffic
but nowadays even Auto gearboxes have superb performance, take the DSG for example!
That is correct but in India A/Ts are not so common yet, Also, They come at a price.

Great thread 350Z.
So, do we have gears also in Auto transmission vehicles?
Thanks and Yes, It does.

Drive Safe,
350Z
 

raj_5004

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i prefer a manual over an automatic. i feel the fun of driving is in changing gears, its makes you feel you are in complete control over the car unlike the auto which, though convenient, is too boring for me.
 
Thread Starter #7

350Z

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I’d equally prefer both the transmissions on their parts and Yes, if one literally wants to enjoy and know what the “driving” means, the Manual wins hands down. I’ll pick it any day if the car is filled with torque and horses and most importantly if I won’t be driving in congested roads otherwise considering the current situation, Autobox is much suitable for me.

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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Hey great thread 350Z!! Good comparison!! I also go with Rajeev!! The fun of driving is lost in A/T. Whereas in manual we can feel the power of the vehicle with sequential gear shifts!! Though in heavy traffic manual can be a bit of a strain , i still prefer it! And you missed the Verna AT , i think its the cheapest diesel AT sedan around!

Two questions:
1. Can you explain the purpose of each gear in AT and also the sequence in which it shifts or works??
2. Can the drifts , donuts and burnouts be performed in an AT??
 
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I will disagree here!

I have driven many kinds of AT & MT.

Manual Transmission is pure fun but when it comes to bumper to bumper traffic, you need another free leg & hand!

But the latest Tiptronic & DSG boxes are just awesome!

Take any car with paddle shifts, you will just feel heaven within the wheels anytime anywhere!
 
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Two questions:
1. Can you explain the purpose of each gear in AT and also the sequence in which it shifts or works??
2. Can the drifts , donuts and burnouts be performed in an AT??
1)I dint quite get your first question.

But you meant how does the car shift into next gear at certain RPM then it all depends on the
a) throttle position & b) engine load.

Now taking this both into consideration the car automatically up shifts or down shifts.If you are pressing the accelerator hard,the car checks the throttle position-engine load & holds on every gear till red line & then shifts into the next gear.Similar is the case in traffic when you press the accelerator a little the throttle position-engine load is checked & the car up shifts at 2000,3000 RPM depending on the engine load.

2) Yes the Auto tranny cars can perform all kind of stunts but the clutch really suffers more when compared to Manual trannys.
 
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Thread Starter #11

350Z

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Two questions:
1. Can you explain the purpose of each gear in AT and also the sequence in which it shifts or works??
Hello cooldhaya, There is no shifting sequence as such in Auto Gearbox since they don't have "1,", "2", "3"...etc gears like in Manual. All the pre-defined gears are only the important ones which are used and forward gears are combined into a single mode. Below is explanation about their meanings:

Park (P): As name itself says “Park”. This Mode is used when the car is left for parking, generally in M/T same is done by engaging gearbox into a random gear first or second for example, this could work as an alternative to handbrake but only on non sloppy areas because the non-driven wheels of your car can still move!

Reverse (R): I don’t think there is need to explain about reverse gear function. It is simply used to reverse your car.

Neutral (N): Same goes with Neutral, It is frees the transmission from engaging in any gear, Just like it is done in M/T by leaving the gear stick in center.

Drive (D): This is one of the main part of an auto transmission, Slotting the gear stick on to the “D” mode lets the driver to use any of the forward gear without the hassle of moving forward gear by hand like in M/T, Once slotted onto “D” the forward gears automatically engages depending upon the speed of your car.

Second (S): This mode simply locks the gears in first and second, It proves to be helpful when driving in heavy traffic conditions where you have to stop and go every next second and the speed maintains below 10-15kph.

2. Can the drifts , donuts and burnouts be performed in an AT??
Never Tried and I suggest you same. :biggrin:

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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I will disagree here!

I have driven many kinds of AT & MT.

Manual Transmission is pure fun but when it comes to bumper to bumper traffic, you need another free leg & hand!

But the latest Tiptronic & DSG boxes are just awesome!

Take any car with paddle shifts, you will just feel heaven within the wheels anytime anywhere!
:agree:

The fuel efficiency issues may be in entry level segment. Latest as said by zinam , with triptronics and dual clutch systems makes AT too to be fuel efficient , no lag in driving part. Though manual is always fun.


Each and every member here in TAI will love manual over automatic in a normal cars.

Paddle shifts are rest apart. They help in fun. But costly toys.


And automatics do come in maruti too. Its in 800 itself on order.
 
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There are different type of automatics.The ones which come in maruti,i10,i20 are no where comparable to the ones which come in with lauras,accords & superbs.

The automatics in i10,maruti,etc are no fun to drive for enthusiasts.
 
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Yes. Neil

The ATs which comes with Maruti's Wagon R, SX4 & Hyundai's i10, i20, Verna is no way comparable to Skoda's Laura, Superb or Honda's Accord or Mitsubishi's Outlander !!

Completely different & shouldn't be compared.
 
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