How to Decide Between a Car With an Automatic or Manual Gearbox


I do enjoy the feel of a walnut knob in my hand as my feet perform the three-pedal ballet Henry Ford intended every driver to master. But in stop-and-go traffic during Friday rush hour, I won’t deny I’d give my kingdom for horsepower connected to an automatic tranny.

For the average driver who wants only to get from Point A to Point B with the least amount of angst, an auto trans is the way to go. Today’s automatic features a lockup clutch, which eliminates transmission slippage and offers better fuel economy. Plus, it’s more environmentally friendly.

But if you want the feel of a manual minus the complications, try a dual-clutch gearbox, like those found in Fiats and VWs. With its second clutch, it’s ever ready to shift up or down without the slightest hesitation, so it’s faster and smoother than any conventional manual or automatic

John Dinkel is an auto engineer, lifelong racer, and a columnist for Men’s Fitness. Follow him on Twitter.

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