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I see this debate come up a lot. It usually comes about when talking about the VW R32!

In 2004 Volkswagen made a VR6 AWD(all wheel drive) Golf. This car got the wheels moving with a 6sp manual transmission.To be honest, this is one of my favorite VW cars ever build. Then in 2008, Vw built another R32. This time, it was paired with an automatic transmission(DSG to be exact). The newest version of the “R” is now back to a 6sp manual transmission.

When the 2008 R32 came out, most people were complaining that the “needed” a manual transmission, and that it was a “sports car” so there was no place for an auto trans. I now see the opposite complaint. It goes “we want an automatic in the the ‘R’ “. I guess is almost impossible to please everyone. I do enjoy asking the question, Which one would you choose?

MANUAL
Back when I was a kid, people got manual transmissions for 4 reasons.

  1. Performance
  2. Fuel economy
  3. Cost
  4. Its what they prefer

Back then a manual trans would get much better fuel mileage. You could also count on huge savings on the purchase price. I remember about half of the cars we had where manual transmissions.

Today is a new day, the reasons that people use to buy a manual are not the same. The cost savings are almost nothing, and the fuel mileage can actually be worse. So it comes down to preference and performance. There are die hard manual trans fans. I would say that I fall in that category. I learned how to drive on a car with a manual. No one can take away someones love for driving a manual.

Then there is the performance side. For the average driver, a manual trans is just not as fast as an auto. The DSG is an automatic transmission. It shifts gears faster than you can. It is actually in the next gear before it shifts. So it you are driving in third gear, before the trans shifts out of third it has forth gear ready to go. Sorry, but we can’t shift that fast.

Automatic
The auto trans of today is highly computer controlled. The cars engine computer(ECM) and transmission computer(TCM) work very hard to optimize every part of a shift. This allows the vehicle to get great fuel mileage, and still be performance minded. The newer VWs have a “sport” mode that is pretty fun. The auto trans is definitely a “set it and forget it” way to drive.

My Passat is an automatic. While I prefer a manual, it is great on road trips and in traffic. The other nice thing is my wife and I can trade cars. She does not want to drive a manual. I have taught her how, she just doesn’t want to do it. So having 2 cars with automatics is nice. She lets me drive her truck from time to time. 😉

There are other forms of automatics, the CVT and the DSG. The CVT is just awful and I don’t want to talk about it. It is a gear-less transmission. The idea is it will always be in the right spot for power and fuel economy. I had one in a rental car one time. AWFUL! Audi has it in some cars, I just hope that it stays out of my brand. DSG on the other hand I LOVE! Super fast shifts, great fuel mileage, the option to shift yourself. Ahh love it! It does have some quirks, but I think they are largely due to perception. If you think of the DSG as an automatic trans, you might not be happy with the way it shifts, or the fact that it will roll a little on a hill. If you think of it as a automatically controlled manual trans, you will understand why it acts that way.

So that brings me to the big question of the day. Which do you prefer? Does banging though the gears and playing race car suit you? Or do you like to “shift” to “D” and just ride? I think that buying that Cabby has got my brain on my true love of driving. 2 post in the same week about driving~interesting 😀