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Thread: Manual vs Automatic in SUVs and 4X4

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    Default Manual vs Automatic in SUVs and 4X4

    Dear members
    We know that cars with automatic transmission are a big relief in heavy metropolitan traffic, although slightly more fuel consuming. However my question is about the performance of automatic prado/LC/pajero. How does automatic gear perform when going in sand or snow filled slopes. Some people say manual is best in this situation as no power is lost. I want to ask enlightened members wether should i buy a manual or automatic 4x4, keeping in mind that i have to negotiate tough terrain.

    Thanks
    Akbar Khan

    Attitude is a liitle thing which makes a big difference

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    This is an interesting question. Someone please enlighten us on whether an auto or a manual geared, 4 wheel drive would be better in an offroad situation. Thanks.

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    Obviously Manual is much more efficient but modern day Autos are good as well...You can always switch to L or 2 in tough areas.

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    Another option is triptronic shifter like we have in Hyundai Santa Fe or Tuscon and Terracan SUVs. Mostly SUV are driven in city conditions , therefore auto tx is great.
    Drive safe, life is precious

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    I have driven both manual and automatic 4x4 and my experience is that automatic is far better than manual in big vehicles.

    I have experienced power loss in manual mode when my vehicle was about to climb on a very rough terraian, it was obviously "H" mode but changing it to "L" did the job. Interesting driving with "H" mode and full accelerator could not move my prado for afeet but changing to "L" suddenly started vehicle climbing without even pressing accelerator.

    Fuel consumption is definitely more in auto mode but the real thing is comfort. A 4x4 driven on a hilly side with manual transmission will make you very tired (it made me).

    Tip function is great when you come back from Murree, using this mode will help to prevent brakes worn out quickly.
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

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    But Manual is more fun as you are more involved.

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    Auto all the way
    Proud to be Pakistani

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    i like being involved,, so when is next trip to murree?
    ,,, unless you know the track, you're not good enough to sit behind the wheel." K T

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    @Akbar
    Performance of any kind of transmission depends on driver’s skills of driving specially manual Trans. Automatic Trans gives a bit of releif in managing gears. But driver is also required to engage proper auto options while climing up hills, decending or on slippery or Snow-bound areas. You can have an idea of both by going through the advanteges/disadnavteges of both transmission and decide which one will suite you according to offroding area or routes.

    I personally like auto transmission when I am travelling with family but if I am without family I prefer manual trans for my serious offroading adventures. Since I have bought the Toyota Surf 1996 SSR-G I have loved this offroader becouse of it’s performance even in Auto-Trans. It has given me all the pleasure of Power, Performance, Reliability, Off-roading and Driving Pleasure specially SSR-G with Intercooler model. It has an option of Electronic Controal Transmission, Electrnic Control Shock Observers (Hard Shock Option) for serious off-roading. Thoug it is Auto trans but with the option of ECT U can get an extra acceleration within the same auto gear.

    As you mentioned about your rough terrain I myself have taken my Surf to such a rough terrains where there are no roads and none of the Vehicles were there before. And ma surf was just saying “take me where you want to”.

    I will recommend you Toyoa Surf SSR-G with intercooler the new import from 1996 to 2000 model. Unless you choose some other SUV, choice is yours.

    FYI, here are is the comparison (Adventages/disadventages) between Manual Trans & Auto Trans.

    Manual transmissions are typically more efficient than automatic transmissions. This is because manuals generally involve a clutch instead of a torque converter, which can cause significant power losses and because an automatic transmission introduces parasitic losses through the high pressure hydraulic pumps it requires. This results in both better acceleration and fuel economy.
    Manual transmissions generally require less maintenance than automatic transmissions.
    Manual transmissions normally do not require active cooling, because not much power is dissipated as heat through the transmission.

    The heat issue can be important in certain situations, like climbing long hills in hot weather, particularly if pulling a load. Unless the automatic's torque converter is locked up (which typically only happens in an overdrive gear that would not be engaged when going up a hill) the transmission can overheat. A manual transmission's clutch only generates heat when it slips, which does not happen unless the driver is riding the clutch pedal.

    An example: the driver, anticipating a turn, can downshift to the appropriate gear while the steering is still straight, and stay in gear through the turn. This is the correct, safe way to execute a turn.

    Another example: when starting, the driver can control how much torque goes to the tires, which is useful for starting on slippery surfaces such as ice, snow or mud.
    Another example when the driver is attempting to pass a slower moving vehicle by making use of a lane with opposite traffic, he can select a lower gear for more power at exactly the right moment when conditions are right to begin the manoeuver. Automatics have a delayed reaction time, because the driver can only indicate his intent by pressing the throttle.

    Many people prefer driving a car with a manual transmission because it provides a more direct interaction in the driving experience
    Many people feel that driving a manual forces the driver to pay more attention to the road and to other cars, making it more difficult to become distracted.


    Disadvantages of Manual Transmission:

    Manual transmissions require more driver interaction than automatic transmissions.
    A driver may inadvertently shift into the wrong gear with a manual transmission, potentially causing damage to the engine and transmission as well as compromising safety.

    Manual transmissions are more difficult to learn to drive as one needs to develop a feel for properly engaging the clutch.
    The smooth and quick shifts of an automatic transmission are not guaranteed when
    operating a manual transmission.

    Manual transmissions are slightly harder to start when stopped upward on a hill, but this is overcome with a little experience.

    Many people feel that driving a manual forces the driver to pay more attention to the road and to other cars, making it more difficult to become distracted.
    It would "go places where tankers quit and birds would go back exhausted." *****Willys MB*****

  10. #10
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    Good question, well my experiences are limted to very soft sand dunes and rough rocky terrain. Auto is the preferred choice of tranny as it does select the best gearing for the speed without loosing momentum. In Sand you need to shift quickly and precisly oryou will get stuck in sand in no time.

    I do not want to go in deep since it has been already explained better by @Voyager and Whatcarman. But as time passes autos are getting faster and faster. Ferrari F430 semi auto paddle shifter shifts gears in .186secs so think about it.
    "The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred." Soichiro Honda

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    I'm no expert on this topic but I would say that if you can afford an automatic then go for it because it is a one time expense and then the car does all the work for you. So why not?
    Speed Thrills but Kills

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    @sasif
    I am sure ppl can afford it coz then can afford the car and a few thousand more gets you an auto.
    "The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred." Soichiro Honda

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    Thanks everybody for discussion especially voyager and whatcarman. The decision still needs more elaboration because of following reasons:
    1. From the experience with my 4.6L V8 Grand Marquis car, i understand that automatic is much more easy and comfortable while city driving, or gradient/ slopes with roads. Also that this car is gasoline.

    2. On the contrary i have reservations in an auto with diesel engine, as already pointed out by voyager regarding lag in response. I have no idea how much lag is there in diesel auto tx when overtaking in tight situations?

    3. An example of "offroad" in my case could be climbing babusar pass from kaghan valley side and going to chilas. Hope this might explain the "demand on vehicle"

    4. Finally i would request voyager to shed more light on Prado vs Surf SSR-G both in terms of performance and cost.

    Thanks
    Akbar
    Attitude is a liitle thing which makes a big difference

  14. #14
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    @Akbar,

    I will get back to question little later or may be tomorrow.
    It would "go places where tankers quit and birds would go back exhausted." *****Willys MB*****

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