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Old 12-17-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
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Automatics changing my view.

I just did a car review on the Chevy Malibu LT, the Solstice is out getting repaired and I had to get a rental while the door is being repaired. The Malibu has the same engine as the Solstice, the Ecotec 2.4 and it's the got the new 5 speed auto with paddle shift. So of course the first thing I want to do is test the Chevy claims of a 30 MPG car. So far with city combined heavy traffic and 50% highway I'm getting 28.8. It's currently beating the Solstice at 26-27.

The star of the car is the 5 speed transmission, this thing shifts at 2200 to 2500 RPM, I switched to manual mode and shifted at 3000 and managed to get 27 mpg. Here is a case of an automatic transmission beating a stick shift. I drive allot of city and have been considering an automatic and this car has really pushed me over. I shift into neutral at lights, feather the gas at start, and draft on the highway. So far so good with the only mod being driving style.
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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id rather have a failproof normal manual tranny, why did automakers pretty much stop making them?

i will agree that the malibus are nice, my cousin has a malibu max and i like the looks ride and what its got.

bet if you did 100% highway the car would be way over 30
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:05 PM   #3
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Manual vs. Auto.

I know I would prefer a manual, but like the Grand AM, Grand Prix, Malibu, Alero, they dont offer a stick, plus with the days spent sometimes 8 hours in downtown D.C. traffic, my clutch and brake foot are exhausted. Especially the Grand Am GT and the Grand Prix GT, doesn't GT generaly mean a stick is an option if not the standard? So sticking to my number one choce of cost and durability, GM is my first brand choice, I have to deal with the fact they don't offer manual.
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Old 12-18-2008, 03:32 AM   #4
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id rather have a failproof normal manual tranny, why did automakers pretty much stop making them?
You know the answer to this one...there's not enough demand. If more people wanted them, they'd be in more models.
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:35 AM   #5
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I don't get what you mean by manufacturers not making manual transmission cars. Are you talking about the used or new market? The new market has plenty of choices, the used market, however, is mostly automatics because nobody buys the standard cars.

New cars available with manual transmissions:
Pontiac G5/G8/Vibe
Chevrolet Aveo/Cobalt/Corvette
Dodge Caliber/Viper
Ford Focus/Fusion/Mustang
Mazda 3/6/RX-8/Speed3
Honda Accord/Civic/Fit/S2000
Toyota Camry/Corolla/Matrix/Yaris
Hyundai Accent/Elantra/Sonata
VW EOS/GTI/Jetta/New Beetle/Rabbit
Nissan 350z/Altima/Sentra/Versa
Mitsubishi Eclipse/Lancer
Subaru Impreza/Legacy
Scion tC/xB/xD
Saturn Astra/SKY
Audi A3/A4/S4/S5/TT
Acura TSX
Volvo C30/C70/S40/V50
Mercedes SLK300/SLK350
and pretty much everything from BMW.

**EDIT** oh yeah, since I've been driving this Mazda 5 I've grown to like automatics a little more. It has that adaptive throttle-by-wire system and it's learned my driving habits very well!
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:22 AM   #6
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It depends on dealers as well. My father had to special order his jeep with a manual.
Personally, I don't like a lot of automation. I'm afraid of robot overlords, and I refuse to buy anything new because they all have computers.
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:37 AM   #7
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I'm afraid of robot overlords
I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

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Old 12-18-2008, 09:14 PM   #8
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Day 2, loving the Malibu.

Well today I spent the entire day driving around Baltimore and managed to get my MPG down to 26 from 28.8. Tomarrow I have to go to D.C., so the MPG should pick up a bit. There is something I noticed after driving stick everyday for 2 years. The throttle blipping you have to do, timing your clutch release, lugging, or mildly overrevving is eliminated. I sat in neutral at each light, accelerated lightly, but not moving like a cement truck, I kept the car moving in one smooth non jerky motion and I noticed allot of the waste and inertia loss of a stick surging between gears was lost. This I believe gives the auto the advantage of better city mileage than the stick.

Now on the open highway, the lock up torque converter engages at 50 and I should be at the same rpm as the stick without slippage and the mileage loss of the automatics of old.

I mean this is a luxurious car, spacious, big and economical, I almost feel Im trapsing about in a Mercedes diesel. Luxury and MPG, who'd a thunk it.
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:37 AM   #9
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I kept the car moving in one smooth non jerky motion and I noticed allot of the waste and inertia loss of a stick surging between gears was lost. This I believe gives the auto the advantage of better city mileage than the stick.
With good manual control and obedience from the automatic, or good FE programming, it could certainly be possible to beat the manual's city FE.

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Now on the open highway, the lock up torque converter engages at 50 and I should be at the same rpm as the stick without slippage and the mileage loss of the automatics of old.
It is probably far less than the RPM of a stick if it were available in that car. My unscientific observations have been that most cars have a much lower "high gear" in their manual transmission than their automatic. Automatics can get away with taller gears because of the torque converter, and because a lazy driver doesn't have to be annoyed by the need to downshift on the highway.
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:00 AM   #10
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I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.


DUDE, RUN!!
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