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Old 06-01-2014, 10:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do 2006-2011 Civics get better MPG with Auto Trannys?

I am wondering if the automatic versions of the 2006-2011 Honda Civics really get better mileage than the manual versions. I notices auto rated at 36 highway vs manual at 34. I know automatics have come a long way, but are they really more efficient even for a good high mpg driver?

My last three cars where a tercel, a corolla and a civic, all manual. With those I could crush the ratings, often by 8-10 mpg, without granny driving. Would I still be able to do that in a newer model manual? What about a newer automatic?

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Old 06-01-2014, 10:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Those are based off of the EPA test cycle. Some may consider their system of testing a standard to be spirited. A manual offers several other benefits over an automatic, that it just doesn't compare. EOC, anyone?
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This has been discussed several times before. With most modern cars, the manual tranny has lower gearing than the automatics. This makes for a sportier feel and reduces the need for downshifting on the freeway (because people are dumb and would complain about the low power). So basically more efficient automatics and better gear ratios in them are the reason. However, most hypermilers should be able to easily exceed the automatic ratings using a manual.
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Old 06-02-2014, 06:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisp View Post
Would I still be able to do that in a newer model manual?
Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisp View Post
What about a newer automatic?
No, the manual still rules with a skilled driver. CVT's & DSG's are a huge improvement over conventional automatics, but still can't beat a manual.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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In the U.S. EPA test, the manual is handicapped by the test procedure which dictates non-eco shift points and prohibits coasting when decelerating.

As a result, even though a manual may be rated worse than the automatic, in the real world it can return better results with just basic ecodriving techniques.

See: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ing-27416.html

I ran a brief test of a CVT (rated 40 mpg US combined) against a manual (rated 37 combined) Mitsubishi Mirage, and the manual won out in urban driving.

See: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...age-27384.html

Similarly, the 2015 Nissan Micra (new to Canada) has nearly identical ratings for the manual and automatic, yet in real world ecodriving, the manual beat the automatic (4 speed slushbox) by 10%:

See: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ing-28897.html

The only time a higher-rated automatic may make more sense is on the highway if the gearing is so much taller and you do the majority of your driving on the freeway.

Best advice: test both yourself in the same conditions on the same route!
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
The only time a higher-rated automatic may make more sense is on the highway if the gearing is so much taller and you do the majority of your driving on the freeway.
Even then, it would have to be a particular highway with high average speeds and almost no opportunity for hypermiling. There's lots of elevation change in New England, even in the southern end.

If you've got an SG UG, check what your actual average speed is: it's probably a lot lower than you think. "I spend all my time on the highway cruising at 70" probably looks a lot different when you get real numbers to look at.

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Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 06-02-2014, 02:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow, thanks for all the useful informaiton. This forum is great!

So is there a way, for any given car, to tell if the automatic is geared taller or not?
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can either search for the transmission ratios online (remember, you need the gear and final drive ratios) and compare them or drive each and see what the RPMs are at the same speed on the freeway (higher speed like 75mph would be best, as it makes the difference bigger and easier to see).
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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So a smaller ratio would mean a taller gear, right?

Why would they make the automatic with smaller high gear ratios than the standard?
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes: numerically smaller = taller gearing.

Because...

1) The vast majority (94%) of people buy automatics instead of manuals, and they want to increase their fleet average MPG.

2) Manuals can be marketed as "sporty", which unfortunately means high RPM for best engine response/power in top gear

3) In the 80's & 90's, fuel economy used to be a "byproduct" of relatively simple, light, moderate or low-powered economy cars with manual transmissions. Now fuel economy has become a "feature", and to get the "feature" you have to pay more for the automatic.

4) Marketers/product planners think people are incapable of downshifting their manual transmission for power/passing/climbing once they've shifted into top gear.

5) Many auto journalists will complain about "too tall" gearing (see Ford Fiesta 1.0L turbo)

6) etc...

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