In a mileage-crazy nation such as ours, fuel efficiency can make or break a deal. Also, with new diesel cars swarming the market every year and sky-rocketing natural gas prices, finding an alternative may not be a bad thing.
With globalisation, car companies are increasingly make an effort to cater to a wider market with country-specific models that cater to a whole new market of steady incomes and necessity for personal transport. In India, we are spoilt for choice, with a host of international and domestic models to choose from. A list would make your selection process infinitely simpler. For some it may be speed, for others, power, style, or even exclusivity.
Sure, car magazines from your adolescent years and the debates over which is cooler, Jaguar or BMW, may have given you a solid base; however, we suggest brushing up on your basics. As you probably know, a transmission’s primary job is to provide alternate speeds to the car’s pre-existing ones by the use of gears. Without a transmission, a car would limit itself to a one-gear ratio, resulting in zero to no acceleration when starting out and resulting in a useless engine.
What’s your power threshold?
Your car’s engine efficiently emits the most amount of power with a manual transmission instead of an automatic. While some modern automatic transmissions have a substantial difference between their zero-to-60 (seconds) during acceleration, 99 per cent of manual transmission cars see better performance and emission of power, as opposed to a smoother pick-up in an automatic. If power is not your first priority yet you still want the best of both worlds, you may want to consider semi-automatic transmission. With different names for the semi-automatic floating around the car market, remember that they’re usually in a brand’s sport model. They run on automatic transmission, with the option to go manual. If you go into manual mode, you get a plus-and-minus option instead of the common five-gear shift change.
With gas prices deregulated, filling a tank has become more of an odious task than ever before. Determine whether that will be a factor for you. For better fuel economy, going with a manual transmission is a diligent choice; however, not your only one. Many newer automatic-transmission cars have an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rating of only 0.4 or 0.8kmpl less than the manual-transmission, diesel engine versions of the same cars. Here you’ll have to further bifurcate, since some vehicles get better mileage (10.6kmpl or more) as an automatic, compared with the manual versions, as seen in the Toyota RAV4 and the PT Cruiser.
Maintaining your car
Not only do you have to refuel your car, you also have to know how much you are willing to invest when the bumps and grinds of life take place. Even though automatic transmissions have become refined, most of them still need to be serviced far more often than manual transmissions. Manual transmissions are usually more economical to fix when something mechanical goes wrong. However, the clutch, which is the most common mechanism that requires replacement in a manual, is expensive to replace, costing thousands.
Your needs matter
Honestly, sit down and ask yourself if you’re ready to shift from a manual. If you choose to drive automatic, consider that manual transmissions come with their own unique gear shifts. Also, some are geared for fuel economy, others for sport driving and then, for a slightly steeper price, some models can offer you the best of both worlds. If you prefer to have both hands on the wheel at all times, then you’ll definitely prefer an automatic transmission.
There you have it! These basics should help you streamline your choice when deciding on what type to go for next.
Written By : Srijeeta Mitra