Post by R D S Post by R D S
I've never owned an automatic and never wanted one but I test drove one
yesterday and while i'm not going to be buying that particular one having
driven it i'm wondering if i'd actually prefer an auto.
Got it and loving it. It probably helps that it has a fair bit of grunt
but it's a joy to drive. I'm a convert.
I feel i'm always on the brakes though, doesn't seem to slow down nearly
as much as a manual when you come off the gas.
I presume they are clever enough to use the engine/gearbox during braking?
Or do they chew through pads?
And what do folk tend to do at traffic lights? I'd normally neutral and
handbrake but that's less intuitive in this.
I'm guessing this is why i've been sick of staring at other's brake lights
for years, i've probably been behind autos.
I've never owned an automatic. The few times I've driven one as a hire car
when going on business journeys, I've found that I have to fight them. Mind
you, the last time I drove an automatic (Ford Focus) was about 20 years ago,
and technology has changed.
With that caveat about old technology, I found it difficult to accelerate
smoothly through a roundabout. In a manual I would change into the correct
gear (eg 3rd) as I had finished braking and as I was about to enter the
roundabout, and then I would *stay* in that gear as I accelerated round and
out of the roundabout, changing up to a higher gear when I'd finished the
Automatics tend to change down as I increase the power, so I get a sudden,
unexpected surge of power. I never mastered the trick of being able to get
just the right amount of accelerator pressure so I accelerated in the
*correct* gear (dropping into 2nd is usually not the right gear!). I either
got too little acceleration in one gear or else too much in the next gear
At traffic lights, and when doing a hill start, I would *always* use the
handbrake to hold the car. And in traffic lights, I'd go into neutral so the
car would not creep forwards: I will not hold a car on the footbrake because
this dazzles the car behind (especially at night) with my brake lights. My
instructor (ex police Class 1 instructor) drummed into me "footbrake for
stopping the car; handbrake for *staying* stopped". If I stop in a queue of
traffic, I go into neutral with handbrake if I anticipate that I will not be
setting off again for more than about 10 seconds.
Oh, and in an automatic I *always* use my right foot for braking, as in a
manual, because my left foot has too much muscle-memory of big clutch
movements rather than small, precise footbrake/accelerator movements. The
only exception is for manoeuvring inch-by-inch, when accelerator alone
doesn't give enough control (the car tends to move in surges) and where in a
manual I'd keep constant engine speed (maybe foot-off idling) and control
the speed by letting the clutch up to the bite point and then lowering it
again once the car is moving.
Even in out manual Honda CRV which has hill-start assist, I do not use this
feature because I do not trust it: I've had the car roll backwards a foot or
so, so I always use the handbrake - that's that it's there for.
I'd be interested to try a DSB (automated manual gearbox) where I could
control *when* the car changed gear but the gearbox took the hassle out of
*how* the gearchange was achieved, giving a smoother up- or down- change. I
wonder how good DSGs are at doing block-changes - eg brake into a hazard
while remaining in 6th, and then change directly into the correct gear for
accelerating out of it, without the need to change sequentially down through
the gears (like I was taught for my normal test in 1980, before that test
adopted the IAM technique of block changes as I did for my 1990 IAM test).
My ideal car would be a DSG with a manual clutch pedal that was only used
when setting off from rest, and where an automatic clutch or torque
converter can engage a bit jerkily.