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Old 07-11-2008, 06:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 5 speed standard vs Automatic

Is there any sigificant difference in gas milage between the 5 speed standard and the automatic ? Looking for something to replace my Chevy S-10 gas Hog .
I want something that will get me in and out of fields, up / down some steep hills and haul a light utility trailer a couple days a week ( in good weather as well as snow ) .
A friend has a 2006 forester and plans to buy a new one . I also plan to buy NEW .
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Consumer Reports got 2 mpg better....

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Originally Posted by fasteddie View Post
Is there any sigificant difference in gas milage between the 5 speed standard and the automatic ? Looking for something to replace my Chevy S-10 gas Hog .
I want something that will get me in and out of fields, up / down some steep hills and haul a light utility trailer a couple days a week ( in good weather as well as snow ) .
A friend has a 2006 forester and plans to buy a new one . I also plan to buy NEW .
Although the EPA ratings are the same, I bought a stick because I felt like driving a stick for a while, and was pretty certain that I might get a little more MPG. The August issue of CR has tests of the Forester XT and the X, and with the latter, they got an average mpg of 22 with an auto, and mention in the text that they got 2 mpg better with the stick. Of course it'll depend on how you drive it, but I believe the final drive ratios are very similar with both transmissions, and the stick is theoretically more efficient at cruise because it's not pumping fluid (discussed this in another recent thread).

I also prefer the AWD system with the stick--50/50 front/rear, with a limited slip diff between the front and rear, whereas the auto has 90/10 front/rear normally, with electronic controls to kick torque to the rear when it figures you need it.

Plus the stick is cheaper. But it may be harder to sell as a used car down the road.

George
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had breakfast with a friend from church last Sunday . He said he gets 28+ mpg with his 2006 forester stick shift and has gotten 32 mpg on a couple trips by driving at reasonable speeds .
I have been looking at the Subaru forester , Jeep Patriot , Ford Escape and the Toyota RAV4 . I was surprised to see that the 2009 forester has the most Ground Clearance (8.7" ) and is almost 2" shorter than the Rav4 .
I am also wondering if I would want to add a Skid Plate to the undercarriage .
There are only 3 Subaru Dealers in the Rochester area .
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fasteddie View Post
I had breakfast with a friend from church last Sunday . He said he gets 28+ mpg with his 2006 forester stick shift and has gotten 32 mpg on a couple trips by driving at reasonable speeds .
I have been looking at the Subaru forester , Jeep Patriot , Ford Escape and the Toyota RAV4 . I was surprised to see that the 2009 forester has the most Ground Clearance (8.7" ) and is almost 2" shorter than the Rav4 .
I am also wondering if I would want to add a Skid Plate to the undercarriage .
There are only 3 Subaru Dealers in the Rochester area .
My '09 seems to be able to get maybe 28 mpg on the road if I keep the speed at 70 or slightly under....which is hard for me to do. It might get 30+ at 60, but that'll be really hard for me to do.

I wouldn't trust a Patriot in the long haul (check the Consumer Reports scores and ratings). I came close to getting an Escape myself, but there are almost none out there with sticks, and you have to settle for the XLS model. With a 4 cyl and automatic, the 2WD Escape is OK, but the 4WD version is really a slug. They weigh more than the Forester and have 153 hp. The '09 Escape will get a larger 2.5 liter four and a 6-speed auto, so that will likely run somewhat better. But the Forester was just way more comfortable for me.

The RAV4 and CR-V are automatic transmission only, and they're both nice, but seem to be designed more for single mothers (this was actually the design target for the CR-V). I'm also amused by the flat four engine in the Foz, and as I said, the Forester is the most comfortable for me (and I have a bad back).

I'm not a serious off-roader so I don't feel I need a skidplate, but have a weekly event at a local park that involves driving a rutted, crappy hill. Just drove it again tonight and the Forester is a revelation...it's also going to be a killer vehicle for Michigan winters.

George
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think that so much would depend on the driver it would be hard to gauge. Even different drivers at Consumer Reports would probably get different numbers because everyone I know who drives a manual drives it differently (I would assume their numbers are an average of multiple tests..).
If you're not very comfortable with a stick and don't have the experience with one, you may not see the increase as someone else would who is a very experienced manual driver. The science I am sure is accurate, but the experience and style of the every day driver would skew those numbers in real world IMO.


also, if a stick tends to make you want to downshift to pass people.... haha. My husband can only pull 16 mpg out of his WRX with a 2.0 and can manage 22 in my auto XT (2.5). Its a mental thing.
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I would think that the manual would not get better mileage than the auto for most people, but if you get into the hypermiling thing that may be a different story. If you're off roading I would think that you wouldn't see any difference in mileage.

That being said I just bought a manual because I think I'll get a couple extra mpg. Or maybe it's just that the manual will be more fun for me to drive than the auto XT.
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Old 07-11-2008, 10:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by YoGeorge View Post
Although the EPA ratings are the same, I bought a stick because I felt like driving a stick for a while, and was pretty certain that I might get a little more MPG. The August issue of CR has tests of the Forester XT and the X, and with the latter, they got an average mpg of 22 with an auto, and mention in the text that they got 2 mpg better with the stick. Of course it'll depend on how you drive it, but I believe the final drive ratios are very similar with both transmissions, and the stick is theoretically more efficient at cruise because it's not pumping fluid (discussed this in another recent thread).

I also prefer the AWD system with the stick--50/50 front/rear, with a limited slip diff between the front and rear, whereas the auto has 90/10 front/rear normally, with electronic controls to kick torque to the rear when it figures you need it.

Plus the stick is cheaper. But it may be harder to sell as a used car down the road.

George
Yo George-
About the only advantage for the proposed use, of sticks over autos, is downhill engine braking.
As to your assertion about the AWD, it's only partly true...when the 4EAT is locked in first or second, the fore/aft balance is locked at 50/50, just like the 5MT...there is no advantage for the proposed use, to having 50/50 in the top gears (rallyists maybe)...and for the proposed use (better gas mileage), the 4EAT using a 90/10 fore/aft balance has the advantage with traction at speed.

The rest is pretty much personal choice...
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Old 07-12-2008, 02:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The rest is pretty much personal choice...
-Quick
Pretty much. If you are really trying for good mileage I think you can do better with auto. I use only enough gas to get the auto to shift at 2000 rpm. With manual you have to press and release the gas a number of times. And I think that wastes gas. Yes I realize that there is some slippage in auto.

In suburban driving with my auto 2008 I got 28.2 mpg. That's only one tank but I am consistently in the 27+ mpg average. And on the highway I get 30+.

Oh yea//I'm 62 and have been driving manuals for 45 years...it gets old shifting millions of times.
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Old 07-12-2008, 03:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by YoGeorge View Post
... the stick is theoretically more efficient at cruise because it's not pumping fluid (discussed this in another recent thread)...
I think this was said but not discussed. Does not the automatic transmission go into a solid or locked up connection at a certain speed? I have a PDF file describing the 4EAT which mentions lock up frequently:
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"It features a lock-up torque converter which locks up in all forward gears except 1st... Vehicle speed sensor #1 is mounted to the transmission and is basically electrical governor pressure. It is used to detect vehicle speed and it effects shift points, lock-up, and line pressure... If duty solenoid “B” fails, the torque converter lock-up will not occur... "
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Old 07-12-2008, 05:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think this was said but not discussed. Does not the automatic transmission go into a solid or locked up connection at a certain speed? I have a PDF file describing the 4EAT which mentions lock up frequently:
Essentially every auto trans locks up completely at cruise. That lockup is accomplished using fluid pressure, which is developed by a pump in the transmission, which takes power to operate. Likewise, there are valves and solenoids in the auto trans which are activated at all times to keep the transmission in gear, to keep clutches tight, etc. These take either fluid pressure or electricity to operate, and that fluid pressure or electricity uses engine power to generate. The stick has a clutch pressure plate which is locked up via spring pressure, not hydraulic power, so you are down to gear friction only... The "little man" making the automatic transmission shift and holding it in gear needs to be fed...are you with me there?

Quick edit--note also that an auto trans will have a trans cooler in the radiator, and maybe an external cooler as well. The fact that this cooler is there means that heat is being generated via additional friction from additional moving parts, including the pump. And this extra heat energy is dissipated into the atmosphere....so automatic transmissions contribute to the global warming problem more than manuals too

CVT's are theoretically very efficient as well, but as a real world example, the Nissan Versa was available with both a CVT and a 4-speed traditional automatic transmission. The EPA mileage was better with the CVT, but in real world magazine tests, the 4-speed auto generally achieved better mileage because the CVT requires a whole bunch of fluid pressure to keep the belt/chain tight in the cones. CVT gearing is SUPER efficient, but the operation of the CVT takes a whole bunch of fluid pressure.

An automatic can be programmed to "shift for mileage" so if the shift patterns offset some of the inefficiency of the basic operation, it *could* get better mileage than a stick in dynamic driving situations. But if we confine the example to a 60 mph freeway cruise in top gear, with equal gear ratios, the stick will always be better than the automatic--even your little quotes talk about solenoids and pressure--these suck power. Difference may be small, but there is a difference. Again, as I said in the earlier thread, manufacturers are moving to electric power steering instead of hydraulic for the same reason. When you are not turning the steering wheel, the hydraulic PS is still using power to pressurize fluid, just like the auto trans.

George

Last edited by YoGeorge; 07-12-2008 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 07-12-2008, 05:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Yo George-
About the only advantage for the proposed use, of sticks over autos, is downhill engine braking.
As to your assertion about the AWD, it's only partly true...when the 4EAT is locked in first or second, the fore/aft balance is locked at 50/50, just like the 5MT...there is no advantage for the proposed use, to having 50/50 in the top gears (rallyists maybe)...and for the proposed use (better gas mileage), the 4EAT using a 90/10 fore/aft balance has the advantage with traction at speed.

The rest is pretty much personal choice...
-Quick
I prefer the idea of a simple limited slip center diff in the 5-speed with a fixed 50/50 distribution to having more electronic stuff governing the center diff as in the auto. Not a big deal, and yes, it's personal choice...

One other factor is that I tend to keep cars for 100k miles or more. If I keep the Foz to 200k, I might be paying for one clutch replacement, and in my experience with automatic transmissions, I'd be looking at a 50% or better chance of needing a trans rebuild. The former will cost maybe $500-800(?), the latter could run thousands...and I saved a grand up front on the stick, so the clutch replacement is already paid for...

George

Last edited by YoGeorge; 07-12-2008 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 07-12-2008, 05:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Pretty much. If you are really trying for good mileage I think you can do better with auto. I use only enough gas to get the auto to shift at 2000 rpm. With manual you have to press and release the gas a number of times. And I think that wastes gas. Yes I realize that there is some slippage in auto.

In suburban driving with my auto 2008 I got 28.2 mpg. That's only one tank but I am consistently in the 27+ mpg average. And on the highway I get 30+.

Oh yea//I'm 62 and have been driving manuals for 45 years...it gets old shifting millions of times.
As I said in an earlier post, Consumer Reports got 24 mpg in their tests with a stick, 22 mpg with an automatic. I don't know their test processes, but you could always write them a letter and tell them they didn't get better mileage with a stick

Pushing the gas would waste much more fuel in the old days when we had carbs with accelerator pumps...now we have EFI...

Compared to you, I'm just a kid at 56, have had about 40 cars, and probably have driven a half million miles in sticks (first car was a '65 Sunbeam Alpine) and another half million in automatics over the last 39 years. When I was commuting in painful stop and go driving a few years ago, I chose an automatic because shifting was getting a bit old....

But, my situation has changed, and I have to admit that I still prefer the connection between the driver and car with a stick. We've got four vehicles right now--my wife's '07 Civic with an automatic (she likes a stick but has a stop and go commute, so she chose the auto), my '91 BMW 318is which I've had since 1994 and that could *only* be a stick, our '02 Ford E150 van--which was not available with a stick, and my '09 Foz, with a stick...

Oh, and my 20-year-old son has a '97 BMW 318ti and is a manual trans purist as well, an oddity for his generation.

George

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Old 07-12-2008, 06:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Oh, and my 20-year-old son has a '97 BMW 318ti and is a manual trans purist as well, an oddity for his generation.

George
like father like son. most of my friends who drive a stick had a parent who made them. i was raised with autos until i started working for the welding supply company i'm with now. they have a couple of trucks with a manual, so i decided my next car would be too. no regrets so far. you are right though, it is an oddity for our generation. especially in the time of touch screens, dvd players and cell phones. many kids want to have an extra hand free to operate all these things. quite sad really.
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Old 07-12-2008, 06:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Oh yea//I'm 62 and have been driving manuals for 45 years...it gets old shifting millions of times.

Now your left leg muscle will atrophy...LOL!
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Old 07-12-2008, 06:19 AM   #15 (permalink)
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like father like son. most of my friends who drive a stick had a parent who made them. i was raised with autos until i started working for the welding supply company i'm with now. they have a couple of trucks with a manual, so i decided my next car would be too. no regrets so far. you are right though, it is an oddity for our generation. especially in the time of touch screens, dvd players and cell phones. many kids want to have an extra hand free to operate all these things. quite sad really.
I sure didn't "make him"...he's a mechanical geek (bicycle racer, been playing with computer driving sims since forever, and an engineering student in college) and when he started driving, he wanted nothing more than to learn to drive a stick in my old BMW.

When it was time to get him a car to drive to school, I got him his own BMW, which had only 136k miles on it...his ti now has 171k miles on it--he does his own work on it, and will probably push it up to a quarter million miles.
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