Car buyers have more transmission and engine choices than ever before. Even entry-level vehicles often have a dizzying range of options in engine-transmission configurations. An all-wheel-drive car model may offer just a V6 engine, instead of a four-cylinder and an automatic transmission as the only option. However, when there are options, it’s best to choose based upon your own driving needs, habits, and lifestyle.
Choosing wisely can make your driving experience much more enjoyable, as well as more economical. For instance, it probably isn’t wise to buy a high-power V8 with an automatic transmission just to tow a boat once a year. It is best to look at your day-to-day needs when choosing which type of engine and transmission is best for you.
While some vehicle models make the choice for you, in terms of the packages available in your price range, with other cars you’ll have achievable options. Making the right selection can seem overwhelming, but we’re hoping the information in this article will help you to navigate what’s out there, and to find the perfect fit for you.
Are you a commuter or road tripper?
Highway driving can lead to higher gas usage and noise levels; however, a manual transmission can help you to save substantially on fuel costs. The final drive gear ratio will differ between manual and automatic transmissions. This difference can be over 500 engine rpms in some cases, even at average highway speeds. If you don’t need the horsepower, avoid the large engines such as large-displacement V8s.
What are your towing needs?
If you will be doing a lot of towing, that large V8 will likely be the ideal choice for you. However, these vehicles in most cases will only be available in automatic transmissions. The exception is pickup trucks; however, manual shift vehicles in this category tend to have lower towing ratings than those with automatic transmissions. It’s up to you to decide what tradeoff you can live with in terms of gas efficiency versus towing capacity.
Do you carpool or have a large family?
The number of passengers and the frequency with which you’ll have a carload of people in your vehicle is another key consideration. Crossover vehicles and smaller cars can perform very differently when they are full of passengers, versus just the driver. The best way to get a sense of how the car will feel and perform in your normal driving conditions is to test drive it with a full load of passengers. If possible, bring your family along while car shopping to verify that the car will handle optimally for your needs. If the tach is at above 3,000 rpm when at full speed on the highway with a manual transmission, you might want to opt for the automatic. Consider factors like noise level of the car at various speeds as well. (unless you’re sure the sounds of your kids talking and laughing will drown it out!)
There are clearly pros and cons to different engine types and transmissions; however, there is an ideal configuration and combination out there for your lifestyle. If you still have questions, give us a call – and trust My Transmission Experts for all your transmission repair needs!