Auto or manual transmission, and why?

I’ve always chosen a manual because of the extra control given by a more direct engine to gearbox connection (particularly useful for engine braking where an auto tends to ‘run away’).

I’ve chuckled at new car ads for “smart autos” that can ‘sense’ your driving mood and adapt accordingly (isn’t my left arm & leg team better attuned to my varying driving moods?).
I’ve further commended myself on a good choice after my brother overheated his auto when towing a small van along a flat road (even after the addition of an aftermarket oil-cooler) whilst on the other hand, the temperature gauge didn’t even budge when my fully-loaded manual towed the same van up Macquarie Pass in the heat of summer and with the a/c running.
I’ve read, with great bewilderment, some years ago of an extensive project to convert a Troopy to auto (surely it would have been easier and cheaper to learn to drive the manual?).

But when I look at upgrading/replacing our 4WD, it’s difficult to find a good manual in the second-hand market (the choices are almost limited to ex-fleet vehicles - most of which have likely had a hard life). And in new-cars, shopping for a manual axes the 200-Series ‘Cruiser, the upper-spec Prados, Patrols & Pathfinders and a whole swag of other vehicles (probably the entire Rangie and Disco line up as well as the petrol-powered Jeeps).

So I find myself questioning why are so many other consumers opting for autos when this one wants a manual?
Is it my recollection of early autos that were clunky, almost resulting in neck whiplash at each gear change
or the experience of smaller autos that refused to change down ‘automatically’ unless you really stuck a spurred-boot in hard (somewhat akin to getting a horse going)
or perhaps the vague feeling autos where you squeeze the accelerator, hear the engine speed up but still never really know when the car will actually start moving (not so good for entering into busy traffic)
or is it that feeling that I’m wasting fuel (sometimes I feel like I’m not using the accelerator at all, just controlling the vehicle speed with the brake, especially during the first 5min/warm-up cycle)
or maybe I just have this perception that it’s somehow more masculine to do the cog swapping myself. :)

There is no disputing that auto technology has come a very long way (even in my short span of driving years) but I still find myself asking:
Why do there seem to be so many Forumites telling us that they're driving autos?
Why are so many people handing over extra $$$ to 'upgrade' to an auto?
Why is Toyota so confident that all consumers buying the 200-Series will want an auto?
Am I now in the minority for still wanting control over this part of the car?
Should I accept that the manual transmission is not more manly but rather an old, and perhaps crude, technology? :)
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 17:44

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 17:44
My 4wd's have in this order been,

Man
Man
Auto
Man

So I can give you a before and after perspective. (Note: I much prefer a manual on road). I have found that other than for steep downhill engine braking, an Auto wins hands down.

Cheers,

Jim.



AnswerID: 368572

Reply By: DIO - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 17:45

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 17:45
Most modern autos are just that - AUTO - and can change to suit driving conditions almost seamlessley. As for engine braking on hills, yes a manual does have some advantages however my philosophy has always been on the basis that brakes are cheaper to repair/maintain than a gearbox - especially is abused.
AnswerID: 368573

Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 16:35

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 16:35
Ok, so it depends whether you want a car you can drive, or you want a car that drives for you - might as well get a chaeffeur! :)

If the cost to repair/maintain a gearbox comes into the decision, it would seem a bit of a false economy. My 1995 Jackaroo has a manual gearbox in it which has lasted well over 350,000km without any work being done on it. The 1982 Jackaroo I had before that had at least the same mileage, again trouble-free. Given Madfisher's incidation of increased fuel usage in the auto, over 350,000km you could expect to burn an extra 3,500-7,000L of fuel. Then consider that you probably paid a $2,000 premium for the "auto upgrade" when you bought the car. Even factoring in change of clutch (~$1500) during that time, you've still got a few thousand bucks left over for some manual gearbox repairs (which are generally much cheaper than auto gearbox repairs).

Besides maintenance costs: on long descents, relying on the brakes is dangerous as they will heat up so much that they become ineffective.
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FollowupID: 636598

Reply By: Member - Terry W (ACT) - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:01

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:01
I tow a heavy van with a 4WD auto, and in quite hilly country. I don't necessarily buy the old "I have more control with a manual" argument, especially when considering a decent modern auto which can be locked in any gear to get good engine braking. In my experience, there are some situations where an auto can give you greater control than a manual, both on and off road. There was a time when the RAF banned monoplanes in the beilef that only biplanes were strong enough. Things change as technology improves. But in the end, with gear boxes it probably just comes down to personal preference.
AnswerID: 368575

Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 16:38

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 16:38
Ok, yes I note that autos now have a lock-up torque converter that makes the drive as direct as a manual transmission, but often these don't tend to lock in unless you are gently cruising or coasting, and tend to drop out if you need more power - that's what caused my brother's car to overheat. Did you have to fit additional oil-cooler(s) for your car or it's fine for towing straight from the factory?
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FollowupID: 636600

Follow Up By: Member - Terry W (ACT) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 17:08

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 17:08
I can only speak for my 10 year old Land Rover Discovery 2, but it locks and stays locked even on very steep hills like Brown Mountain and Clyde Mountain. I did not have to fit an additional oil cooler: the standard factory fit has proven quite adequate so far.
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FollowupID: 636603

Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 20:05

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 20:05
Ok, thanks Terry - obviously they have come a long way. The auto I was referring to was an older V6 Camry and it only seemed to lock the torque convertor in top gear when the car "relaxed" ie. cruising at speeds at 80km/h or above. Putting a van behind it (even just a 750kg van) seemed to work it hard enough that it never "relax" enough for the torque convertor to lock in, so it would eventually overheat even on flat roads...
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FollowupID: 636658

Follow Up By: Member - Terry W (ACT) - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 11:34

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 11:34
Hi Timbo,
The good ones have come a long way indeed. You have raised a point in your last email which is worth a follow up. When I was talking about locking up, I was referring to me pulling the box back into third, second or even first if necessary to lock it into the lower gear to give engine braking on steep hills. In your follow up you mention the torque converter not locking in normal forward driving. This is a different issue and I see your problem. Others may correct me but I believe that you are asking too much of your Camry's box if the torque converter won't lock in normal cruise. That will indeed lead to overheating and damage very quickly. You may find that you will have no further problem if you tow in third (if it is a 4 speed box). On my vehicle, and on many others, top is actually an overdrive, and the next gear down is usually the best for towing. Try it and you should notice the torque converter locking promptly once you reach cruising speed, and you will quickly get used to not using top when towing. Hope I have understood you correctly and that this helps.
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FollowupID: 636741

Reply By: get outmore - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:02

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:02
theres no doubt early autos would put you off of them. Up until the mid to late 80s autos were diabolical

3 speeds if you were lucky mated to powerplants like a 202 and then they sucked about 50% of what little power it was putting out. They changed into 3rd at about 20kph and refused to kick back unless you floored the accelaroter.

Driving around in top gear all day did nothing for economy.

I havnt driven an auto since the next gen ones with 4 speed and lock up converters in a syline and camry but im sure there quite good.

Australians have long had a love affair with autos that only the Americans match.

I dont know the stats but Im guessing in vehicles with auto/manual options at least 80% would be autos these days
AnswerID: 368576

Follow Up By: Member - Sigmund (VIC) - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:30

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:30
Yeah, looked at new Camrys a few years ago and the sales guy said 90% of them were coming out of the factory with autos.

After 10 years with an auto the current drive is a manual. I feel it gives better control all round and a more engaging drive but the diff ain't huge.
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FollowupID: 636145

Reply By: Member - Footloose - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:52

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 18:52
Autos are basically a "point and click" operation. Manuals...well you have to actually drive them, especially in traffic.
AnswerID: 368583

Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 19:23

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 19:23
Hi Timbo

You will get many arguements either way , both often right , because the whole picture is not considered.

You need to carefully make a "Total vehicle desicion".

For example , many people still try and quote that diesels have lots of torque
whereas even a simple glance at most , but not all, engine power curves show that many diesels have moved to become peaky little things with a severe loss of go once they get off turbo below maybe 1600 rpm.

When you have an engine like this then it needs to be matched with an auto to keep in in its torque band , and this maintains credible pulling power even though auto's continue to remain less efficent than manuals,

So in my case I brought a manual for all the good reasons of simplicity , efficentcy, better control,seviceability and braking but knowing that the engine driving it had a wide flat torque curve which makes an autos advantages re-dundant.

If I was to by a Prado 3lt diesel I would buy the auto , because its engine needs it.
Robin Miller

Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 368590

Reply By: Member - Shane D (QLD) - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 19:33

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 19:33
Hi Timbo,
My personnal prefence is manual.
I havent driven the latest offering from Toyota or Nissan or any other car manufactor, but I have driven some of the lastest SELF shifting truck gearbox's on offer, I say self shifting because thats what they are, primarily a manual gearbox that still has a clutch (but no clutch petal) and solid gears.
I am impressed with the way it works, it does a brilliant job, but I still prefer manual in a truck, proper gearstick, gears that grind if you stuff it up, so that I've got something to do, as for selfshifter/auto's, JJJEEZZZUUSSS they're boring to drive, all you have to do is aim. . . and stay awake. . . even if you are not tired.
Here is a Volvo truck,

Goes for around 9 mins but the first60 - 90 secs isn't much


Shane
AnswerID: 368595

Reply By: Madfisher - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 20:34

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 20:34
I have a manual jack, Mrs fisher has an auto. The man is 1 to 2 l/100 more efficent then the auto. But to me the bigest advantage of a man is I can floor it with out the engine dropping back to 2nd and reving its head off. This is great when towing the boat as it will climb the bulk of hills in 4th and at a 10 to 15 k speed advantage. I will admit the latest 5 and 6 speed autos are much better provided you have an engine with grunt.
An the other advantage is down hill engine braking off road,though the auto climbs easier.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 368617

Reply By: Patrol22 - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 20:45

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 20:45
Timbo - my personal preference has always been manual until recently. The modern turbo diesel engine and the modern auto gearboxes are IMHO a match made in heaven - even my wife now happily drives in off road situations.
AnswerID: 368622

Reply By: _gmd_pps - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 22:27

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 22:27
You obviously have never driven a decent auto otherwise you would have answered your questions yourself.

A decent automatic transmission has a tow mode which does use engine brake and supports exhaust brakes by shifting down automatically.

It has a learn cycle which can be reprogrammed depending on your driving habits and engine tune.

It has full manual control for each gear via an electronic control box and you can shift it manually (via a push button) or let it do its job.

In tow mode it will also avoid lower gear ratios below 1:1 (for example a 6th gear)

It allows slow crawl in low 4wd without stalling the engine and it is miles ahead in acceleration over any manual transmission.

Selectable torque converters to suit driving style and application or diff gear ratios.

After market upgrade kits for heavy duty clutch packs to take more power
when vehicle is tuned or turbos upgraded.

Ever seen such a gearbox ? probably not because it is not available in the jap cr@p or pommy truck for that matter.

You are making assumptions on half knowledge. If you would know you would not have asked the question, because such a transmission is worth every penny.

good luck
gmd

AnswerID: 368644

Reply By: Russ n Sue - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 22:48

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 22:48
I can remember using a shovel to get manual fourbies out of deep sand. Poor things would run out of legs and no matter how quick you tried to change gears, the instant the clutch was depressed, you stopped. Period. Out came the shovel.

Now I drive an auto ( my second one) and I'll never go back. You can't bog the buggers. I've only needed the shovel once in the last 6 years (and that was my fault because I was too lazy to let the tyres down in treacherous "silver loam" in coastal WA)

My auto pulls my 3.5 tonne Kedron van with ease, always selecting the gear to keep the engine right in the torque-band. I don't have to put it in "tow" mode or anything else. Both the engine and transmission have control units that keep them both cool and happy. And no, they aren't just "more things to go wrong". They don't break.

At least test drive an auto, preferably on sand, and you'll see that the so-called "control" that you have with a manual is just a myth. Besides, modern autos have "Tiptronic" control that allows you to select the gear that the transmission is using - if you want to overide a system that is smarter than you are. (And by that, I don't mean you personally, I mean the driver of the vehicle.)

Cheers

Russ
AnswerID: 368653

Follow Up By: Member - Scoof (SA) - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 13:46

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 13:46
I would have to agree I'll stick to auto never looked back.

Regards Scoof . :-)
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FollowupID: 636215

Reply By: Flywest - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 23:39

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 23:39
I prefer Manuals - but got an auto because the manual transmission option F truck wasn't available in Oz in the dually 4 door 4wd F truck.

Let me tell you theres heaps wrong with auto's, plain "they suck" is the right description.

Usually they can't stay cool enough to operate properly in our Oz conditions.

They are OK for the short distance city driver which most of our populace are these days.



Your transmission oil is the lifeblood of your auto trans & Australia gets damn hot on the road, The torque converter slip can add to heat soak buildup and short trans fluid life, and hence premature transmission failure.



This table shows why they aren't really suited to MOST Australian offroad conditions. (with cold location exceptions like Tassie and the Snowys etc).



This is where all the wet clutch wear crap ends up in your trans pan.



This is the type of in pan filter the auto transmissions come standard with - but MOST mechanocs don't have an inch pounds tprque wrench to be able to re do the pan bolts so never bother to replace them at service time.

One of the big problems, is when the torque converter lets go and shards of metal get pumped all thru the alloy valve bodies of the transmission scoring everything and destroying it.

IF the manufacturers had even half a clue they would put a filter in line between the transmission and the oil cooler to trap any blown up torque converter trash and keep it outta the valve bodies / gear change part of the box (the expensive part to fix / replace) but typically they don't.

The vehicles service manuals only suggest dropping / changing the trans oil via the trans pan sump at servoce - thus some 4 or 6 liters of old contaminated and burnt trans oil gets left in the system at service time - trapped within the torque converter and in the cooling lines and oil cooler itself.

That hardly "fixes" all the contaminants bye getting rid of it all!

Were they instead to drop the return line from the cooler into a bucket and connect the suction side on the trans which is under vacuum oil pump pressure from the trans, to a clear pipe inserted into a new drum of trans fluid and run the engine in drive with the hand brake on and wheels chocked at idle, - with the suction side in a new drum of trans fluid and the outlet into the waste bucket - they could "exchange the entire fluid amount" by just watching until the old dark burnt and contaminated oil is expelled into the waste bucket and that line starts to run with clear fresh red new oil and then stop, re - connect the line and top off the box thru the dipstick until it reads full on the dipstick.

THAT way at least you get ALL NEW trans oil and get rid of the contaminants build up that destroys boxes just as bad as excess heat does.

A NEW box fitted to the F truck is over $20 grand yet a manual would probably last 20 years with maybe a new clutch every once in a while.

Autos CAN be made suitable for Australia but largely they arent.

To tow with mine I made these modifications:-

Deep alloy transmission pan with cast alloy cooling fins





It holds an extra 3 quarts of trans fluid - to allow the aftermarket trans oil cooler I added, time to cool the oil properly.



Transmission Oil Temp Gauge so I can monitor it against that temp chart and keep it within low wear limits.





2 x 100 liter stainless steel water tanks connected via a 12 V marine deckwash pump to garden mister sprayers behind the grill that cool the after market trans oil cooler down on hills etc when the trans oil temps climb, operated from a switch on the dash.



1 x inline trans oil filter to catch any debris before it goes to the cooler and blocks it up and to stop any torque converter debris in the event of a failure from being pumped thru all the delicate alloy valve bodies in the transmission leading to huge repair bills.

Its POSSIBLE to run a auto trans in Oz towing etc in our heat but don't expect longevity in the format that manufacturers supply them to us - unless you make special adaptations designed to overcome the designer / manufacturer shortcoomings you can expect transmission woes at some time in auto 4wd ownership.

Me - I'd far prefer a manaual but maufacturers in their wsdon don't give us those choices - then they wonder why they GM, the workds largest coprporation is filing chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings despite a multi trillion $ govt bailout?

Simple - when you stop listening to your customers and don't give them the choice they want - then your days are numbered.

Toyota launched the 200 series with only auto trans - and this is the first ever year they have posted multi billion losses.

Doesn't take Einstein to work it out, does it?

Cheers
AnswerID: 368660

Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 09:24

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 09:24
Manuals were available in the 4 door dual cabs - i used to drive one for work - but gee wizz it had one hell of a tough clutch
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FollowupID: 636203

Follow Up By: _gmd_pps - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 11:52

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 11:52
rofl..
transmission temp gauage is standard, additional oil filter in output line to cooler
is standard, extra larger oil cooler for heavy duty tow pack, etc etc .. with a decent auto

you paid the price for driving a Ford and the F350 did not even come with
decent trim or long bed in Australia. Just don't generalise about autos, you can
only talk about Ford autos can you ?

good luck
gmd
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FollowupID: 636211

Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 15:15

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 15:15
should also add the manuals werent without issues - When I first started there it was in the shop for weeks somthing to do with clutchlines burning through as they ran against the turbo
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FollowupID: 636224

Follow Up By: Rolly - Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 at 13:21

Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 at 13:21
"Toyota launched the 200 series with only auto trans - and this is the first ever year they have posted multi billion losses.

Doesn't take Einstein to work it out, does it?"

Haven't you been listening to the news for the last couple of years?

I doubt that the global recession has much to do with the gearbox in a 'Yota.

Sounds more like: "My mind's made up. Please don't confuse me with reality".
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FollowupID: 636321

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 09:12

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 09:12
I have had manual trans in everything I drove till I got this Toyota diesel / auto (with overdrive) combination, I've towed a camper trailer since 1996 with it with-out hassles.
It does not have any extra cooling fitted, but I do have the trans oil & filters changed every few years, it gets looked after better than the engine does in that way.

I had the original AsianWarner auto trans replaced many years ago with a reconditioned Borgwarner auto by a Auto trans builder in Perth.
The tips of the torque converter fins have been 'curved' to give much better 'performance' which is very noticeable as it now grabs solid as it is put into 'gear' and tends to creep away if not braked, even at idle, something it never did previously.

The replacement auto is very different to drive than the original auto as it is more predictable and gears can be changed as required, it makes it more 'drivable' and more like a manual, just with-out the clutch.

I will definitely get another auto again - if it had the same 'drive-ability' and 'feel' as I enjoy now.

Maîneÿ . . .
AnswerID: 368676

Reply By: GQTrav - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 10:26

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 10:26
It also depends on what you want to do with the car. I have an 08 auto Turbo diesel Hilux for a work ute and for what it get used for it's great. Stop start traffic, cruising along the Hwy and also getting around the muddy job site, it does it all easily, however i find it boring to drive. I also have an 04 4.2 Turbo diesel GU manual as a trip car and the only time i wish it was an auto is getting out of town in the stop start traffic. Once we get out of town, i much prefer the manual, I feel like i have more control over the vehicle and it actually feels like I'm driving, not just pushing stop/go pedals. I also know that if something went wrong with the transmission in a remote area, i would have more luck doing a temp fix to a manual to get me out of trouble than an auto. So my choice for a trip/touring 4wd is a manual, however as an around town/work 4wd I'll stick with the auto's.
AnswerID: 368683

Reply By: Rolly - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 14:48

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 14:48
Funny stories, especially the mods needed to keep the Ford rolling. (FORD = Fix Or Repair Daily ;D )

I've just had the Auto on my 1985 FJ62 serviced by a very reputable mob at 220,000Km.- Comment "come back at 300,000Km, this one's good".

The original owner had used it for gem/fossil hunting towing a small but heavy caravan, so it has not had a pampered life in that respect, but I suspect that he drove to suit the conditions.

Yes they do use a bit more fuel but this is more than compensated for by the greater life of the other transmission components as a consequence of not being subject to the 'jarring' loads frequently occurring in foot operated clutches.

Compare also the juddering of a manual transmission in sand, deep dust and/or mud and you might appreciate my point.

In traffic, of course, the Auto wins every time.

AnswerID: 368707

Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 17:13

Saturday, Jun 06, 2009 at 17:13
Towed a very heavy tent trailer behind a manual five speed box and petrol motor for years. It didn't take me long to work out the correct procedure. Have the missus watch way, way ahead for any incline and when detected go straight back to fourth and flatten it. Gees it was hard work driving that thing, very tiring.

When I decided to go diesel number two son also convinced me to go auto and I'm so glad he did.

Better driverbility, does not bog down on hills and certainly gives all the engine braking I could want, Mount Ously has given it a real good work out as well as the Blue Mountains Victoria Pass.

I would never go back to a manual

Ian
AnswerID: 368725

Reply By: Outbackswine - Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 at 10:02

Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 at 10:02
The reason we see mainly auto's in 4wd's these days for anything other than fleet or mining trucks is because the things like 100s TD, Prado GXL, Land/Range Rover, Patrol etc etc are mainly the urban mum's taxi and they either don't know how to drive a manual, or don't want to be pumping that clutch through the suburban traffic all day.

I recently was looking to purchase a newer 4wd, and for about 3 months was looking for a 05+ Prado GXL petrol in manual - didn't want the old 3.0l TD and couldn't afford a new D4D without financing.

I also considered the 100s TD but again wanted manual.

In my 3 months of searching, I couldn't find a manual in either the 100s or the Prado that was suitable. Either they had a squillion km on them, were ex-fleet poverty pack or mining trucks, and the sellers wanted far more than what the market said they were worth.

I ended up with an 18 month old Di-D Pajero MANUAL with 29km on it for $30K, and I think I did very very well.


Gone are the days when buying an auto used would cost more, people no longer see it as a premium purchase as almost all of the new cars sold are sold as auto, mind you dealers still charge a premium for buying an auto new, but it seems that sellers of near new used 4wd can command a premium from the few remaining die hard manual buyers who will accept no auto.

One might think that the sellers of manuals can't ask for this premium because it would seem logical that there are potentially fewer buyers for their manuals, and thus they would have a hard time selling them, but in reality, there are always a few looking high and low for a good manual and willing to deal asap to get one. I am one of them.

I have a mate who back in early Feb this year went looking for a brand new manual D4D Prado, none in stock at about 15 dealers throughout QLD. He ended up ordering one, and it is due for delivery June 27th, almost a 5 month wait
AnswerID: 368801

Reply By: Outbackswine - Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 at 10:04

Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 at 10:04
The reason we see mainly auto's in 4wd's these days for anything other than fleet or mining trucks is because the things like 100s TD, Prado GXL, Land/Range Rover, Patrol etc etc are mainly the urban mum's taxi or grey nomad van tug and they either don't know how to drive a manual, or don't want to be pumping that clutch through the suburban traffic all day or in the case of grey nomads too old.

I recently was looking to purchase a newer 4wd, and for about 3 months was looking for a 05+ Prado GXL petrol in manual - didn't want the old 3.0l TD and couldn't afford a new D4D without financing.

I also considered the 100s TD but again wanted manual.

In my 3 months of searching, I couldn't find a manual in either the 100s or the Prado that was suitable. Either they had a squillion km on them, were ex-fleet poverty pack or mining trucks, and the sellers wanted far more than what the market said they were worth.

I ended up with an 18 month old Di-D Pajero MANUAL with 29km on it for $30K, and I think I did very very well.


Gone are the days when buying an auto used would cost more, people no longer see it as a premium purchase as almost all of the new cars sold are sold as auto, mind you dealers still charge a premium for buying an auto new, but it seems that sellers of near new used 4wd can command a premium from the few remaining die hard manual buyers who will accept no auto.

One might think that the sellers of manuals can't ask for this premium because it would seem logical that there are potentially fewer buyers for their manuals, and thus they would have a hard time selling them, but in reality, there are always a few looking high and low for a good manual and willing to deal asap to get one. I am one of them.

I have a mate who back in early Feb this year went looking for a brand new manual D4D Prado, none in stock at about 15 dealers throughout QLD. He ended up ordering one, and it is due for delivery June 27th, almost a 5 month wait
AnswerID: 368803

Reply By: Member - Flynnie (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 22:58

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2009 at 22:58
Many informed replies above about the mechanical merits of both manual and auto. However if you step back a bit I wonder if there is really a choice to be made at all.

Some questions that pin this down a bit.

Is the chosen vehicle available with both manual and auto transmission options? If not then just get it with whatever it comes with. In my case that meant a manual, no choice.

If there is a choice.

Can all the drivers using the vehicle drive a manual? If no get an auto.

Do any drivers have arthritis or other joint problems? If yes get an auto.

If a manual or auto is still a choice than go with personal preference. Now they are pretty well all OK when driven within their limits. But there are a few vehicles that only give their best as an auto.

A little off topic but each day going to work I go down a big descent and am appalled at how many drivers both in manuals and autos ride the brakes all the way down the hills. They never change down a gear. It is a tribute to modern brakes that they seem to survive the abuse and an indictment of drivers who seem to have no feel or sensitivity for their vehicles. Fortunately some of the new auto gearboxes now change down automatically.
AnswerID: 369235

Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 11:19

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 11:19
Yes, good points. Another plus for the new 75-Series is that if I am buying 2nd hand, there is no risk of having to buy an auto (unlike the Prados for example)!

I know what you mean about long descents - most drivers are simply taught to drive in the city and therefore aren't taught to change down on long descents, unless you upgrade your licence to drive a heavy vehicle. I was driving in quite hilly terrain at one stage and one of my passengers (who had recently got their licence) suddenly asked "Why is this car so noisy going down hills?" I also rode a pushbike up the Clyde Mountain (NSW South Coast) a few years back and I'd say that at least half the cars coming down smelled very strongly of overheated brakes. The Clyde Mtn is particularly bad because it's a series of quite long steep straights each with a 15 or 25km/h hairpin at the end of it.
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FollowupID: 636737

Reply By: chisel - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 13:19

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 13:19
Toyota probably only do an auto in the 200 because most (nearly all?) 100 series owners (V8 and TD anyway) opted for the auto. The 5-sp auto in the 100 is a gem and the 200's 6-speed is probably better.

Most modern 4wds have some sort of downhill assist control anyway. Negating the slight advantage a manual has in that scenario.

Auto's are easier.
AnswerID: 369308

Reply By: Stu-k - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 14:37

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 14:37
Auto all the way....why? Brisbane traffic!
AnswerID: 369315

Reply By: Nargun51 - Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 15:13

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009 at 15:13
34 years of driving; 15 manuals and 1 auto. I will recognize the advantages of an auto in some situations…Peak hour traffic, reversing vans uphill into a narrow carport, inching along a slippery track

Somehow though, an auto does not match the experience of driving an Alfa (or its ilk) through along a windy road, dropping down a gear and accelerating through the apex of the corner as the revs head towards the amber and control is maintained through delicate massaging of the throttle

My daughter has had her licence for 2 years and of her friends she is the only female who drives a manual, which gave her more choice when purchasing her car. It also gives her a HUGE amount of street cred as she disdainfully sneers at the males who drive their automatic Commodores
AnswerID: 369323

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