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Old 14 September 2014, 09:05   #1
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Automatics Vs manuals

Which is better for towing?

Will be looking at getting a diesel estate soon but wondering wether an automatic or manual would be best?

Launched and recovered my 17ft fletcher a few times with a manual 2.0d vauxhall zafira & that does fine but can struggle if on the steeper side of the slipway (swanage)

Would an automatic help out any better? Less wear and tear?
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:19   #2
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Are you only interested in better on the slipway? Fuel consumption on autos used to be poor (not looked for years) so taking with auto = need for own oil refinery? ?
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:27   #3
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Auto better for towing. Smoother and more progressive. Modern autos can be as economical as manuals. Bmw. Mazda. Audi VERY econ autos.
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:29   #4
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Cheers! So the main thing would be fuel economy?
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:31   #5
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Just compared two vauxhall astra estate sri's, 1.9tdi. Auto-40mpg manual-50mpg
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:35   #6
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You cant compare the above luke with a German gearbox..if you want fuel econ in a auto. Needs be german or now Jap in the later made cars.
Of course budget is something ive overlooked.of course the latest auto cars are more this and more that..

But much easier to tow luke. Plus. Get a good gearbox and they become as fun when ranting as a manual. Manual boxes are soooo the last decade!
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:36   #7
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Autos are defiantly cheaper to buy also! Will have to have a think
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Old 14 September 2014, 09:44   #8
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and its easier to eat a sandwich while driving an auto
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Old 14 September 2014, 10:16   #9
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Luke, it all depends which flavour of estate and budget.

If you have the cash for a super clever 8sp auto Kraut autobahn stormer, then the difference between an auto and a manual maybe minimal. Back on Earth, an Auto will burn more fuel, how much depends on what you buy.

As for autos for recovery? No huge gain IMHO as long as the vehicle is up to the job. I prefer the control that a manual gives, especially with a 4x4.

When the torque converter spools up and begins to turn the wheels, there is little or no additional control. When used in super slippery conditions, this is not helpful. I know this from driving my Auto Disco and manual L200 on ice/snow.

In short, if you're towing a trailer/boat which is well within your car's towing capacity and doing so with a bit of care and consideration, the wear and tear on the car ain't worth worrying about IMV.
Whereas, the reduced MPG of an auto is with you for every mile that the car travels towing or not.

However, if you fancy an auto, get it bought.
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Old 14 September 2014, 11:31   #10
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Got both. For what it's worth the auto is fantastic for towing, easy and eats the miles stress free but lacks the fine control of a manual when launching or on the beach even with having the low range.
I tend not to fret about the mpg but it may be more of a consideration if you use it a lot !
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:12   #11
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Got both. For what it's worth the auto is fantastic for towing, easy and eats the miles stress free but lacks the fine control of a manual when launching or on the beach even with having the low range.
I tend not to fret about the mpg but it may be more of a consideration if you use it a lot !
Utter nonsense. Towed boats & caravans on single & twin axles with both over the last 40 odd years & the autobox - currently in my case a 1986 RRC which I've owned for 20 years & now towing a 4 wheel trailer - is vastly superior esp in awkward manouevering. No mucking about with bite point & clutch slip issues.
You'll find that many who compete seriously offroad prefer the autobox precisely for fine control balancing the box against the brakes.
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:21   #12
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You'll find that many who compete seriously offroad prefer the autobox .
...and many more who prefer manual.

I've been towing 3500kg regularly for 20 odd years. I've never known clutch slip.

This is really all about opinion and personal preference, no need to rubbish another guy's opinion.
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:29   #13
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Indeed. Bowlers come in either. Autos easier when fiddling through tight course gates - one less pedal & stall risk to worry about. And the 'creep' in gear of an auto can be very useful for very tight spaces. I often use low box in mine on those occasions & very useful it is too.
Much is down to personal experience. Although I've yet to see an auto burn a clutch out recovering on a steep slip - something I can't say for a manual.

ETA. Or rather it attempted to recover on a steep slip. Ended up with the car having to be pulled up the slip & then the boat on its trailer.
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:32   #14
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I've yet to see an auto burn a clutch out recovering on a steep slip - something I can't say for a manual.
Only if the clutch is already on it's last legs or the vehicle totally unsuitable.
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:34   #15
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Only if the clutch is already on it's last legs or the vehicle totally unsuitable.
Or the driver isn't the cleverest.
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:35   #16
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Or the driver isn't the cleverest.
Yep.
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:36   #17
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True
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:43   #18
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Cheers for that paintman, just come in from 3 hours driving my defender shooting rabbits in low box 2nd gear. Something I've been doing as a job for the last 40 years, used Toyotas, Subarus,everything Landrover have produced, Mercedes etc etc. When you really work them most autos do start to play up at constant low speeds, I'm not talking about your 5 minutes a week launching your boat once a month............
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Old 14 September 2014, 17:22   #19
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I've competed on a national level off-road/winch challenges - I (as do most the competitors) run autos

My daily hack ( ford ranger ) auto

Weekend play thing M3, 420hp auto / DCT

All by choice

Most modern manuals run dual mass flywheels which are expensive to replace and can be troublesome, I'd personally always have a auto box over a stick
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Old 14 September 2014, 23:20   #20
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My current car is A5 Quattro 3.0l diesel auto. This is my first auto and I will never go back to a manual. My nearest coast is 125 miles away and it is so much nicer to tow than my previous A6 2.0l manual diesel. When it comes to recovery there is no need to use the brakes with the hill start and no need to find the clutch bite. Pure effortless and it has been on some steep slippery slips pulling my RC585. It is obviously not designed to be a towing car but with the hard suspension it takes out all the momentum bounces from the trailer back to the car and you forget there is a boat on the back.


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