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What Car Transmission is Best for You?

The transmission of a vehicle is what transfers power from the engine to the wheels. Car technology has advanced from the earliest days of transmissions until you have a variety of options to choose from. A car shopper in this day and age can pit manual transmission vs automatic transmission options against each other, or even explore variations like the automated manual, the continuously variable transmission (CVT), or even more exotic transmission options.  Keep reading to learn more about these options.

Read More: Powertrain and Seven-Speed Transmission on the 2017 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

Manual Transmission vs Automatic Transmission

Two of the most common types of automotive transmission are manual and automatic models, and both are available in the extensive used inventory here at Certified Autoplex. Manual (also called “standard’) is the older option. With this transmission, drivers have to semi-constantly shift the car through the available gears to keep the engine in the optimal running range. They also have to use a clutch to change those gears. The clutch (for anyone who may not have seen one in the wild) is controlled by another pedal next to the brake pedal.

While a manual transmission offers an extremely hands-on driving experience and can offer more fuel-efficiency in older model-year vehicles, it can also require a lot of driver effort. Luxury and performance vehicles like an elite BMW or sporty Chevy Camaro convertible may come with manual transmissions because they can offer the most visceral driver experience.

sketch of the transmission of the 2016 Cadillac CT6
nine-speed automatic transmission from Ford available in the 2017 Ford F-150

On the other hand, an automatic transmission offers easy driving. Drivers only need to shift into drive, and then the vehicle can automatically adjust the gear it is driving in to provide optimal efficiency. Automatic transmissions can be heavier and less fuel-efficient than manual transmissions (though that gap is being closed in recent years). They are also more complex, and therefore more likely to break down. However, manuals require a lot less skill and energy to use and are ideal for the driver who wants a vehicle to get them from point A to point B with a minimum of hassle.

The CVT and Other Transmission Options

Modern vehicles are coming out with even more transmission options. The Continuously Variable Transmission automatically adjusts a vehicle not just between gears, but between even more precise gear ratios. Other transmission options exist. For example, hybrid vehicles often come with their own transmission systems that don’t fit neatly into the manual and automatic continuum.

Do you have more questions about manual vs automatic transmissions? Let us know in the comments.

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