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Old 15th September 2013, 10:18   #1
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Default Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

Whenever I'm doing long highway trips (8 to 12 hours drive time), I've noticed that I start off the drive on a "josh machine" - if the car slows down (for road humps or if I'm stuck behind a truck), I accelerate quickly by changing gears and revving the engine.

But as I get closer to the destination, I become a "lazy driver" in the sense that - even when the car speed falls to 60 kmph in the 5th gear, I step on the accelerator pedal and let the speed slowly rise, rather than bother to change gears. This is also true when I approach my usual "break time" (lunch break, evening snacks break etc), and the appropriate road-side restaurant has not arrived yet.

Anybody else experience this?

I wonder if changing to a car with automatic transmission will help my case. The gearbox never gets "tired" with time, and nor does it get "lazy" over a period of time. Just step on the accelerator and go!

Anybody here who has shifted to an AT car from a manual car, seen any significant differences in their average speeds on long highway trips?
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Old 15th September 2013, 10:42   #2
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I have changed from a honda civic to a diesel hyundai elantra auto and have definitely seen an increase in top speed and average speed due to the ease of acceleration.
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Old 15th September 2013, 11:29   #3
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

For almost 2 years I had a M/T & an A/T with me. I didn't notice a quicker arrival to my destination in an AT, it takes the same amount of time and many times you do get slightly irritated waiting for the AT to kick down and for the car to pick up speed. Specially bugging on a 2 way highway when you want quick accelaration to go past that irritatingly slow moving truck.
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Old 15th September 2013, 11:36   #4
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

My experience in a bus tells me that an AT helps you reach faster.

I am comparing my journeys in the Volvo B7R Auto and a B9R manual on the same sector viz. Trichy-Chennai.

The B7R hold the record of the better timing despite getting into a major town midway.

I associate this with the quicker gear shifts and thus hitting top speed faster
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Old 15th September 2013, 11:37   #5
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

A lot also depends on how responsive the AT car is in terms of you getting stuck behind trucks and want to zip pass it for overtaking. I own an A/T and have experienced more of comfort driving on highway (no doubt in city as well thats why i bought it) as i am saved from constant braking and changing gears of the way people drive on Highway.
To get a decent average on an Automatic a lot depends how you driving, if you have cruise control then it can help you a lot in maintaining the right rpm and the same speed to get a great mileage. however if you keep pushing your car to the limit now and then the average will not be as what you expect as it shifts to lower gear and uses most of the fuel to thrust power.

For overtaking what i generally do is ,, i press hard on the accelerator forcing the car to move into a lower gear, RPM shoots up and then zooms past to overtake.
To the point
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Old 15th September 2013, 11:48   #6
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

Unless the 'city stretch' is very significant, I don't think the AT can help reach you faster. Yes it is less stressful and results in less fatigue.

One irritating thing I felt when I was using my Honda City AT on highway was, it would hunt for gears/downshift unnecessarily when you try to accelerate (even when you intend to stay in higher gears).

Other aspect of an AT is that your right foot is working over time compared to when you drive a manual.

In my case my Forester (MT) is bale to cut short the 8 hours journey by almost 1 hour compared to city AT, but this also could be due to the fact that Forester allows you to maintain better average speed even on bad roads.
But whenever I have enters the city after long drive and get in to a crawling traffic, i always wish if my car could turn in to an automatic . (not because of the issues related to speed but purely because of having to operate the clutch so frequently)
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Old 15th September 2013, 12:39   #7
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Smartcat, of you are opting for an AT to increase your average speed, it isn't going to help you. Convenience, comfort, reduced stress to left leg, there are good reasons! But as someone who has shifted to an AT the years ago having driven manuals for 17 years before that, my speed hasn't increased in this period. If anything slush boxes favor a light footed driving approach better. In fact the situation you have described of slowing down to overtake a vehicle on a highway then speeding up is infinitely better served with an MT vehicle.
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Old 15th September 2013, 12:50   #8
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.prashanth View Post
I have changed from a honda civic to a diesel hyundai elantra auto and have definitely seen an increase in top speed and average speed due to the ease of acceleration.
To each his own,give me a Manual Civic,and i wont let an Elantra come close.
How did you come to this conclusion about increase in average speed?
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Old 15th September 2013, 13:19   #9
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Read the first post. You start feeling lazy to change gears with journey progression resulting in less average speeds. With a auto it is accelerate only. We are not discussing ones prowess in driving or ability of the car in handling and acceleration but the ease of driving between a auto and manual transmission.
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Old 15th September 2013, 13:22   #10
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guna View Post
Unless the 'city stretch' is very significant, I don't think the AT can help reach you faster. Yes it is less stressful and results in less fatigue.
In my case, I've noticed that I lose speed mostly because of road humps, bad roads, toll booths and during overtaking of slow moving traffic - rather than city stretches. Most cities have bypasses and small town stretches have smooth flow of traffic, albeit at slight slower speeds (say 70 kmph)

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Smartcat, of you are opting for an AT to increase your average speed, it isn't going to help you. Convenience, comfort, reduced stress to left leg, there are good reasons!
I was under the impression that the things you pointed out - convenience, comfort, reduced overall stress - should help me increase the average speed. Logic being, if I'm less tired & less stressed, I'll be more alert/fresh even towards end of my 8 - 12 hour journey.

For example: I've noticed that I will decide to overtake a car doing 80 - 90 kmph at the beginning of the journey. But if I get a car doing the same speeds towards the end of the journey, I'd rather follow it all the way to the destination, rather than bother overtaking it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
To each his own,give me a Manual Civic,and i wont let an Elantra come close.
How did you come to this conclusion about increase in average speed?
You might not let some diesel Elantra auto come close, but what if it is YOU driving the Elantra? Will you still clock faster times in a manual Civic on a 12 hour journey, mostly single lane, with bad roads & lots of truck traffic?
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Old 15th September 2013, 13:26   #11
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
You might not let some diesel Elantra auto come close, but what if it is YOU driving the Elantra? Will you still clock faster times in a manual Civic on a 12 hour journey, mostly single lane, with bad roads & lots of truck traffic?
Its a never ending debate,Manual is all about how you time your gear shifts.
If its a DSG with Paddle shifters then its a different case,but here, its elantra auto and civic,so i know who is going to be faster.
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Old 15th September 2013, 14:16   #12
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Saying again faster is not the debate. Consistent average speed and less fatigue is the discussion. Anyways our roads are not meant to test the drivers ability.
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Old 15th September 2013, 16:05   #13
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Ah, the human component at the fulcrum of the drivetrain?

I totally used to feel the same way about manuals. But once I drove a dual clutch changed opinions.
Undoubtedly dual-clutch gearboxes are quite staggeringly brilliant at what they do. And even when it comes to the subjective argument, I just I don't feel &lsquo;manual is best&rsquo; .For starters, the pro-manual argument falls apart if the manual in question is anything other than a good gear box

You can have oodles of fun and get just as much connection&rsquo; out of a good DSG. Dual-clutch gearboxes are, in their way, every bit as involving as manuals.

Last edited by abishek2222 : 15th September 2013 at 16:07.
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Old 15th September 2013, 17:39   #14
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

It depends on a lot of factors and I don't think there is an unconditional answer to this.
  • Butter smooth highway - Manual would be quicker
  • Bad potholed roads, with lot of humps - AT could be quicker if driver is lazy to shift quickly.
  • Old school 4 speed ATs with poor gear ratios - MT definitely quicker
  • Modern Dual clutch kind of ATs - The AT may well be quicker. Several dual clutch AT cars post better 0-100 times than their MT counterparts as no driver can beat the lightening quick shift action of these modern ATs and all the AT driver has to do is floor the pedal.

With AT's its more about convenience. If its fatigue and laziness that's slowing you down, then maybe you are better off with an AT.

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 15th September 2013 at 17:40.
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Old 15th September 2013, 18:44   #15
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Default re: Will an AT Car help me reach my Destination faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Whenever I'm doing long highway trips (8 to 12 hours drive time), I've noticed that I start off the drive on a "josh machine" - if the car slows down (for road humps or if I'm stuck behind a truck), I accelerate quickly by changing gears and revving the engine.

But as I get closer to the destination, I become a "lazy driver" in the sense that - even when the car speed falls to 60 kmph in the 5th gear, I step on the accelerator pedal and let the speed slowly rise, rather than bother to change gears. This is also true when I approach my usual "break time" (lunch break, evening snacks break etc), and the appropriate road-side restaurant has not arrived yet.
What you have described here, is more related to human laziness than the car. Let me explain:

- I do the mumbai - ahmedabad stretch pretty frequently, and I have done this stretch on a manual and A/T car.
- Both cars are amongst the more powerful one's available in the market.
- I have been driving both these cars since 3 years and hence know them at the back of my hand.

- You think that with the A/T you just have to mash the pedal and go? This is a wrong concept. Every A/T car has certain characteristics which you have to learn; like how fast does the gearbox respond to your pedal inputs, what is the powerband of the engine, how much pedal do I have to mash so that the car downshifts to that perfect gear along with it remaining in the powerband of the engine.. and so on.
- As you can see that if you are not changing gears in the A/T car, you are still thinking about all the other things I mentioned above.
- You may ask then, that all of those things can be somewhat negated by the flappy paddles or tip-tronics etc. Well, you are still thinking about pressing the paddles, how many presses, how much accelerator input in necessary etc.
- In most standard A/T boxes there is some sort of disconnect felt very easily by a keen driver. The box will behave as per its program and not how you wish to. This has been somewhat negated by the flappy paddles and DSG's, but during your normal highway drives, I can assure you, you are not going to use the paddles for 8-12 hr. drives. It's ok to use those during spirited drives and while on the ghats.. Not so during normal highway journeys.

So in a manual you are of course thinking about your pedal inputs and gear changes etc. You do manual shifting of gears in addition to the thinking. So you do THINKING + LABOUR in a manual.
In an A/T, for all practical purposes you are only doing the THINKING part.

To me it has never made much of a difference whether I take a manual or A/T car since the manual one is geared in such a way that it remains in the engine's powerband with minimal gearshifts from my side. I prefer the M/T if my visits are to ghats or single lane highways. I prefer the A/T on the dual carriageways. It is a personal preference here; I can assure you the combo of paddle shifters and DSG is actually much better on the single lane highways and ghats, but it's just that I like driving the manuals on those roads sooooo much..

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
I wonder if changing to a car with automatic transmission will help my case. The gearbox never gets "tired" with time, and nor does it get "lazy" over a period of time. Just step on the accelerator and go!

Anybody here who has shifted to an AT car from a manual car, seen any significant differences in their average speeds on long highway trips?
The gearbox doesn't get lazy even in the manual, it is the human who is

You will like to follow the same car even if you were in the A/T since you would be just tired to think of the pedal inputs and gearbox behaviour at the end of the day. In a lot of engines, if you just mash your foot down, all it does is shift some 2- 3 gears down....increase the noise...shift one up...then increase the speed.
You really have to learn to push the accelerator just so much so that the downshift goes into the engine's powerband. That is the key here.

I drive both the manual and DSG & torque converter boxes. My average times have had no effect. Fatigue has got more relation to the car's ergonomics and suspension setup than just the gearbox.

Thanks,
Simple_car
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