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Why so few economy cars with manual tranny?

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Comments

  • lhansonlhanson Posts: 268
    The results for Echo are still published in Consumer Reports. They have been combined with the results for the Yaris.
  • mcmanusmcmanus Posts: 121
    I averaged 35 mpg with my 1989 Camry base 5M. Not the quickest car, but very smooth. Caught myself a number of times going 80 mph when I intended to stay at 70 (no cruise). The car cost $11k and felt very solid (not just tight like a good small car does today). Stupid me, I dumped it when it approached 120k miles and time for tune up, timing belt change, brakes, etc. The Camry's since have been too big (and too much like a Japanese Buick) for me taste. So when I looked for a replacement, the 2001 Corolla (generation 8?) only offered a 3 speed automatic, so I bought elsewhere.

    If you check acceleration times between automatic and manual transmissions you'll typically find significant differences. Designers have traded mpg for acceleration. Civic for instance (according to CR) 10% better mpg in automatic than manual on the highway (5A vs. 5M) but does 10% worse overall. The automatic does 0 - 60 in 10.1 seconds versus 8.6 in the manual (a quite noticable difference). More gears that allow for higher top gear final drive ratios have allowed better fuel economy but there's still no free lunch (automatics being less efficient overall).
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    I don't know, I think you'd hard pressed to beat the fuel economy of the auto with a manual in the Civic. Honda really did thier homework on that 5A. I'm a hardcore manual guy and I actually preferred the auto over the manual in the Civic, that's how nice it is.
  • I haven't read this whole thread so I don't know if this has come up. My main reason for buying a MT is theft deterrence. In my ~30 years of car ownership I've owned six manuals and two automatics. Both the autos were eventually stolen. We have a serious problem here in DC with teenagers stealing cars. Most of them don't know how to drive a stick.

    My first car, a '76 Chevy Nova was totaled when the thief ran from the police. It was a dog and I didn't miss it. My next automatic was a '85 SEI Accord (the first with fuel injection.) I really didn't want an auto, but my Honda mechanic said they didn't make the SEI with a stick. One day it just disappeared from in front of my house and was never recovered. It had "the club", but I couldn't find the receipt. It was 8 years old and I only had liability insurance. Years later I spotted one for sale with a stick. Extremely rare. The spousal unit was adamant that I shouldn't buy such an old car. I was grumpy for a week.

    Now I own an '88 Accord with 217K miles that I love, but the spousal unit says it's too low to the ground and smells funny, and an '06 base Matrix with the power package (I hate those body skirts.) Both are 5-speeds.

    Both cars have delivered 37MPG driving on two lane highways of the Maryland Easter Shore at 55-60MPH.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,779
    You can save an enormous amount of gasoline driving at 55 mph instead of 70 mph, and using cruise control on flat or gently rolling terrain. I can vary my mpg a full 30% depending solely on how I drive.

    MODERATOR

  • Corrections:

    Wife says the old Accord INTERIOR smells funny. And it didn't help when after I got the Matrix I loaned the Accord to a friend and he drove to the golf course smoking cigars in it.

    And, that's Maryland EASTERN shore, not Easter.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    And it didn't help when after I got the Matrix I loaned the Accord to a friend and he drove to the golf course smoking cigars in it

    Maybe you can return the favor by using his car to haul a load of manure for your garden this spring.

    I would NEVER, EVER smoke in someone else's vehicle, even if the owner was a chain smoker...just common courtesy....
  • dave594dave594 Posts: 218
    While finding a manual tranny in most econoboxes seem to be a problem as the dealers try to maximize profit, I was happy to find plenty of manual equipped car at the Scion dealer. I'll probably end up getting an xB with no options for about $15,400 including delivery. Since the Mazda dealer didn't want to deal for the Mazda 5, I'll end up saving $3k over what I would have paid for it. Only thing I'll miss is the 3rd row seats.
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    But then you would be accused of driving like a grandmother, or be described with some other expression of ageism. Thing about that is, though, Grandma always got to where she was going in one piece! Slow and sensible was best for her, smart girl!

    It's an interesting discussion. On the one hand, I think fuel consumption is about simple algebra with some physics mixed in. Higher speed is higher RPMs, and higher RPMs is higher fuel consumption. But, on the other hand, I wonder if going at 25mph doesn't burn even more fuel than going at 70mph because of the lower gearing needed to maintain such a low speed? In that case low speed is higher RPMs which is higher fuel consumption, so one could conclude that it's not speed but RPM that eats your fuel.

    A new kind of transmission, then, could best help cars be more efficient, rather than either driving habits or structural changes. In the meantime, however, I'd say just drive in the highest gear possible, regardless of speed.

    I hope you don't mind I commented on your comment. I just wanted to make an observation. Thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,779
    Yes you're right, slower is not always better--it depends a great deal on gearing, throttle opening and aerodynamics.

    MODERATOR

  • Driven correctly, the manual transmission will always come out ahead when comparing "average" MPG in the same car.(Given they both have a similar final drive ratio). It all boils down to knowing how to manipulate the engine to minimize pumping losses.(Shift as close to 2000 RPMs as possible with aggressive acceleration).

    Heres 1 example: When driving up a steep hill do you:

    A- Downshift for more power

    or

    B- Keep in the highest gear possible, with a heavy foot on the accelerator(But not lugging the engine)

    Answer B

    If you drive this way, you will average 8-10 more MPG than a similarly equipped automatic. This can be verified in "MOTOR TREND" magazine. The article is titled "TEN TIPS FOR FUEL TEMPERENCE". I have been using this technique in my 05 Corolla and "average" 40 MPG in the summer, with a mix of city and highway driving.(Even driving on steep mountain roads) Sure many cars get excellent "highway" mileage, but most people aren't on the highway all the time. Increasing your city/average mileage is what matters most!!
  • podredpodred Posts: 127
    Toyota is a very smart company. They are also very conservative and want to appeal to the majority of the market. That's why they produce very few cars with a manual gearbox. The demand is extremely low. If it was higher, Toyota would ship more cars with the manual. They are not perceived by the auto enthusiasts as a performance car company, therefore the demand for a stick vs auto at a Toyota dealer is very low. I can assure you they are not doing it to up sell the customer an automatic for the money" as the profit to the dealer is only about $180 on the auto trans. Also the automatics retain far more resale value than a stick, so you will get the extra money you paid for it back when you sell the car.

    Don't get me wrong I have a manual on order as that is my transmission of choice for one single reason... fun to drive.

    Every other argument is a myth from the past. The manual transmission is no more long lasting than the automatic. I know, I'm a long time Toyota dealer mechanic and racer. Toyota's (and every other auto mfg) automatics only suffer from driver/owner abuse, in not changing the oil. If maintained they do very well. My wifes 10 year old Corolla which is now reserved for around town, has 248,000 miles on the original auto trans and it's as good as new.

    She got a new Camry because she deserved a new car. Not because the corolla quit. The gas mileage argument between a manual and auto is also minimized to less than two miles per gallon because today's automatics from Toyota are very efficient and do not require the hp they used to.

    So feel free to buy either the auto or the manual as they are both excellent, and if 2mpg is going to break your bank, then get the manual. Most people do not drive perfectly enough to even experience a mileage difference.
  • I do too!! You don't have to drive like a hyper miler to average 8-10 more MPG's. Desperate times are here for a lot of drivers trying to squeeze out every mile from a $4.00 plus gallon of gas. Suggesting ways of driving more efficiently are probably more welcomed than ever. I had a 2002 Corolla with the 4 speed auto and the best "average" MPG was low 30's. The heavier 2005 that I now own with the same engine and a 5-speed manual is "averaging" 40-41 MPG with 50/50 mixed driving. Sure, most people aren't aware what is possible with some minor changes in their driving habits. Many people are always in a hurry, and need to be re-taught how to drive!! Driving "smarter"; not faster is where it's at today for the educated driver. And driving "smarter" is not necessarily "boring". I am certain that this interpretation of the "myth" theories is not shared by all. The manual transmission is the most desirable choice of drivers who want the maximum possible control of their car. If you have any other kind of transmission, this is not possible.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I do too! :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Because lower RPM always = higher MPG. Downshifting, even temporarily, means higher RPM and lower MPG. Interesting algebra!

    The manu-matics the newer cars have could probably do something similar, though.
  • cpu8900cpu8900 Posts: 53
    :) A retired automotive engineer explained to me that the average person can't consistently shift a manual as efficiently as an automatic can. The Corolla brochure even lists the Auto. at 27 MPG in the city vs 26 for the stick.....but once out on the highway their both at 35.
  • cpu8900cpu8900 Posts: 53
    I sure was surprised when I went to my local Autozone and tried to purchase a non-existant oil filter.
    The surprise continued when I talked to the car dealer parts dept. and was told it's a "kit" costing about $5. Forget about a spin on cartridge....it's been replaced by a canister, "O" ring and filter assembly......I'm know I'm old ( well, I was only 17) when I say it reminds me of my 1964 Volvo PV-544 which had the same type of system.
    I have the oil and kit now and will report back on how easy it went.
  • cpu8900cpu8900 Posts: 53
    I've had the car about 2 months with 2500 carefree miles.

    Likes:
    - 40 mpg avg. with a/c on.
    - Smooth ride and handles well.
    - Roomy trunk and comfortable seats

    Dislike:

    - The electric steering sometimes feels vague at 65 mph....and it's harder to keep the car centered in the lane compared to my Mailbu.
    - The need to push through all the items on the computer to check either time, avg. mpg, etc.
  • Good thing he is retired; because he is wrong!! The EPA ratings apply to the "average" driver; not to the skilled driver who can manipulate a manual on pure instinct.(More so in the city) Many drivers with a manual are always in race mode. I hear them all the time riding around in low gear with their aftermarket performance exhaust systems. They don't give a rat's a_ _ about fuel economy. That is the type of driver your retired mechanic is speaking of. A manual can be a lot better than an automatic; at the same time it can be a lot worse. From my observations, about 75% of the drivers on the road are average or below average.(Especially here in DC)
  • kneisl1kneisl1 Posts: 1,690
    Yes thats the "green" suposedly oil filter that the Saturn Ion also had. What a JOKE! Its a royal PITA and not "green" at all. Be very carefull you insect it for leaks when you change the oil and also check it for leaks like a week later. If it leaks there goes your engine.
  • cpu8900cpu8900 Posts: 53
    Yeah, I think I'll give my service manager a call to see
    if this new filter system has any torque specs. for the
    canister since it uses an O ring so the proper compression is critical to prevent leaks.....as an old
    auxiliaryman aboard nuclear subs I can relate to how
    these seals work.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    The converse is that most of your in-town driving occurs with the torque converter slipping in an automatic, while a clutch is never slipping unless it's defective. So there is no power bleed-off, turned to heat in the TC.

    I have actually owned 2 cars of the same model with the same engine, one was a manual, the other was an automatic (long story). Despite being rated only one point better, the manual averages 4-5 points better than my automatic did, with my driving. Same driving pattern, living in the same area, commuting to the same job. The manual will always do notably better for anyone who doesn't have the racer mentality hoopitup describes, and especially for folks who are concentrating on saving gas.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • I always keep in the highest gear with heavy foot going uphill...so I was interested in the article that would prove this is a correct method. However, there is no mention of this in the "TEN TIPS FOR FUEL TEMPERENCE". I have included the link. Maybe it was a different article...or maybe I missed it...

    http://www.motortrend.com/features/consumer/112_0609_ten_tips_for_fuel_temperanc- - e/index.html

    I just bought an 09 Corolla and drove an extra 260 miles to get the stick. I believe autos are getting better, but I like the contol of a manual...and what I percieve as better mpg.
  • cpu8900cpu8900 Posts: 53
    You can buy the SST (special service tool) needed to remove the oil filter from the dealer for the princely sum of $40. It's nothing more than a 10 sided oil filter wrench that fits over the end of the filter cannister. In the center it has a 1/2" drive ratchet attachment for turning.

    There is a torque spec. for reassembly that's printed on the SST.......I think it says 5 ft. lbs.

    The filter element costs about $6.95 and is available only from the dealer since none of the auto parts stores have it yet.
  • It's right there in B&W. Look at #6

    6. Floor It to Save Gas
    Cracking the throttle wide open reduces pumping losses and improves efficiency, but only at low revs (2000 and below), which means this works only on manual-transmission cars or manumatics that won't downshift. It also won't work on turbocharged or supercharged engines. But for all the others, using full throttle and shifting early (so you're not accelerating any harder) is the smart bet.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,779
    That's also a great (but controversial) way to break in a new engine...low RPM flooring of the throttle. I did that on my manual Scion xA and it was one peppy little engine after 5,000 miles. It's an old motorcycle trick.

    MODERATOR

  • OK I get it now. I was looking more for something about "uphill" but now I see the implication. Good to know since I have a hill I drive up everyday that is exactly in this scenario. There's a stoplight at the bottom, so I can't build speed and plenty of hill left when I reach 5th gear, but a 40mph speed limit.

    I'll keep giving it the gas in 5th gear at 40mph.
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