Manual Transmissions: Do They Get Better MPG?
When it comes to cars, there’s a lot of “common knowledge” stuff that gets thrown around as indisputable fact. The problem with this, though, is that cars have changed drastically over time. Something that is high-tech one year, can be completely irrelevant a couple of years later. Yet, this “common knowledge” car advice still hangs around. One of the most famous bits of advice is that manual transmissions give better fuel economy than automatics. Is that true?
Do manual transmission vehicles really get better gas mileage than automatic ones?
Do Manual Transmission Vehicles Get Better MPG?
No, modern manual transmission vehicles do not get better fuel economy than automatic transmissions. New automatics have evolved and iterated a lot over the past decade. With additional gears and precise computer-controlled shifting came less reliance and stress on the torque converter. As a result, automatic transmissions have unequivocally surpassed the manual transmission in fuel economy and efficiency.
What About Older Manual Vehicles?
As recently as 2012, sites like Consumer Reports said that manual transmissions could still eek out a few more mpg than automatics. But even then, it was usually within 1-2 mpg. However, the farther back you go in model years, the better a manual transmission is when compared to an automatic. When it was a 5-speed manual versus a 5-speed automatic with little/no computer control, the manual was better in gas mileage, acceleration, and responsiveness.
Should I Get a Newer Manual Vehicle?
Despite getting lower gas mileage than their automatic counterparts, manual transmissions and their clutches have never been better! If you’re a stick-shift enthusiast, there are plenty of excellent options to choose from, such as the new Volkswagen Golf GTI, Hyundai Veloster N, and Jeep Gladiator.
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