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Need to transition to automatic

On my third car, I opted for a standard (1983 Toyota Camry Hatchback) and never looked back. Living in a land of inclement weather, I appreciate the extra control that shifting allows me.

Unfortunately, just such weather undid me this year and I’m now recovering from a broken hip. (I slipped on black ice, nothing to do w driving.) When I ask when I can start driving again, my Doc and my PT both ask if I’m willing to buy an automatic.

So I started reading about semi-automatics that seem to give drivers some of the control of a manual, without having to put a foot on the clutch. Anyone out there made this transition? Recommendations?

Many thanks…

I like my TL. It’s got the auto with the kinda-sorta manumatic transmission. My other 2 are standard transmissions, but since this is a daily driver and road trip car, not a fun car, I opted for the automatic because the standard is only available on the Type-S which is faster and therefore more to insure. It hasn’t sucked as much as I thought it would. That said, the “manual” option is a joke. I occasionally use it for engine braking or to force the transmission to stay in a given gear for quicker acceleration when needed, but as far as feeling like a stick shift? Yeah, right. The half second delay between the shift command and the actual shift wipes any of that illusion away right quick.

As for recommending a car, it’d help to know your budget. Automatics run the gamut from cheapie Kias to Bentley. The higher end cars offer clutchless manuals that are much more fun than the dorky fake manual automatics in most cars, but I’m not sure if your budget would include such cars.

There are a couple of automatic transmissions that are standard transmissions with an “automatic” clutch mechanism. We are talking Porsche and BMW’s so the price could be too high for you, certainly out of my range.

Many cars have automatic transmissions with a + and - gate on the shifter. These allow the driver to select the gear, but there are computer overrides and results vary based on how the manufacturer sets up the transmission. You hit + to shift up a gear and - for a downshift. This may help but I doubt you’ll get the feel you want from these, as they are otherwise just normal automatic transmissions.

Perhaps you can afford a long term rental for a month or so until you get more strength in your left leg and can shift again. Enterprise has long term rentals and you can get a quote from “Rent a Wreck”.

I had a feeling my answers would be: It may say it gives you the feel of a manual, but…

I would need a lower end car, preferably 15k or less, and assume I will buy used, since I hadn’t budgeted for this and have been out of work a while while recuperating…
Many thx…

Thanks for the quick reply. It is useful to get a description of how these semi-automatics work. And you are right, I can’t afford the high end cars.

I hadn’t considered a long term rental. Good idea!
Many thx…

As the others have said, lots of manumatics now out there, of two main types: regular automatics with either shift paddles or a separate slot for the floor shift allowing up down control of the gear selection; or automated manual transmission (‘DSG’ is one acronym) and besides BMW and Porsche they’re in some VWs, Audis, and (surprisingly) the new Ford Fiesta. They have yet to demonstrate the reliability of regular automatics.

You may (to your horror) find it extremely easy to transition to an automatic, they are quite good now, I went from 25 years of manuals (a VW GTI the last 12) to automatics, and I haven’t looked back. Many say that they get a manumatic, then just leave it in drive.

Yeah, forget a decent clutchless manual anywhere near that price range. Get a used automatic Accord or similar and then sell it when you’ve recovered enough to drive stick again.

First off, I’m gonna say, that with a broken hip, looking for a vehicle that’s easy to get in and out of could make a whole lot of difference, especially during recovery. A small SUV, like the Ford Escape, would fit the bill.

I like driving cars with manual transmissions too, but in your case, I think you should just get a normal automatic or a car with a CVT transmission. I think what you are considering is basically an automatic with manual override, and for the sake of cost and reliability, I would just get something with a solidly built automatic.

You probably need to either rent a car or purchase a car with an automatic while you recuperate. So that you don’t lose the knack of shifting, go to WalMart. First go to the hardware and plumbing department and pick up a plumber’s plunger. Then visit the automotive department and purchase a gearshift knob. Attach the gearshift knob to the end of the plunger opposite the suction cup and then affix the plunger to the floor of the car. You can then shift gears along with the automatic transmission and can keep up your skills.

You won’t be disappointed in a modern auto of nearly any make unless you are a die hard control freak. Shifting a trans mission accurately is best done by a computer. Some of the better ones even downshift when needed. You will not be ready for a cvt, which take a little getting use to. Though I feel they are the transmission of the future for internal combustion motors, it might be too large a leap for you. Otherwise, your good to go in any make of your choice.

Regular automatics with “gear suggestion gate” do not offer the feel of a manual. Step on the loud pedal, the engine revs before the car catches up. From my experience, automated manual with a non-slipping clutch offers the manual feel. For a $15k budget, there’s the Smart Fortwo (small, jerky, but easy to get in and out of) and the Ford Fiesta (6 speed dual clutch automated manual).

If you really want a manual, take a look at the Toyota Yaris. From what I remember, the clutch pedal is made of plastic. They can’t do that with a heavy clutch pedal.

I’ve Got Both Manual And Automatic Transmission Cars. I Have Plenty Of Inclement Weather.
I Prefer An Automtic Transmission For Driving In Inclement Weather Because I Appreciate The Extra Control It Affords.

I opted for my first automatic several decades ago and I’ve never looked back. Maybe there was something funky with your first two cars.