• Colin Mathews Posted: 10/21/2008 2:36am PDT

    Ed - go out promptly and drive an Audi, VW, or Porsche with a twin-clutch automated manual (aka DSG). Audi/VW call it DSG, Porsche calls it PDK (PorscheDoppelKuplung, I believe, 'scuse my German). BMW's twin-clutch box is in development and should come to market soon, and Chrysler/Getrag just got in a huge fight, lawsuits and countersuits pending, so no Chrysler DSGs for the foreseeable future. You have to drive a DSG to believe it - simply fantastic. Far more refined than BMW's outgoing SMG, a very similar concept but with only one clutch. I loved SMG because I love manuals, but automatic drivers hated because it lurched and was very obvious in its operation. I thought I wouldn't like DSG because - yawn - automatics, but I came away grinning. Best of both worlds.

  • Ed Posted: 10/15/2008 1:43pm PDT

    There are SOME models by a few makers where the Automatics are tuned for economy and have better MPG than the manuals, which focus more on performance.
    Two such examples is the current Civic, and some BMW 3-series models, and they way they do it is with the gear ratios, esp. the one for the 5th and 6th(if any) gear.
    I am not familiar with the DSGs. I drove stickshifts all my life until I bought the used 7 series in 05 (no 7 series has been offered with a manual since 95, I believe, while they still offer them in Europe)

  • Colin Mathews Posted: 10/14/2008 8:13pm PDT

    Hey Ed - how long 'til Honda/Toyota offer a DSG gearbox, do you think? All of the convenience of an automatic, all of the economy of a manual. Not to mention lightning-quick gear changes. I was against DSG boxes in concept, being a fan of a true stickshift. And then I drove Audi/VW's DSG...wow. FYI, Chrysler and Getrag are involved in a big lawsuit at present, they were going in together on a DSG plant but it got scuttled by financing details. Then again, would a DSG really make the Dodge Stratus suddenly competitive? I think not :-(

  • Reece Posted: 10/14/2008 6:49pm PDT

    At least Honda have the forethought to have designs that can be adjusted to meet changes in the market rather than Detroit's all or nothing (usualy piece of crap) stupidity.

  • Ed Posted: 10/14/2008 3:58pm PDT

    as i TRIED to explain here, a modern 4 cyl Accord with 160 HP and a 5 or 6 speed MANUAL Transmission involves LITTLE, IF ANY, Sacrifice than a V6 Accord with an AUTO transmission.
    I KNOW that 90%-05% of lil' old ladies and lazy bums and assorted auto illiterates in the US prefer Automatics, BUT $4 gas will change this, just like far lower gas prices (but still much higher than previously) made millions buy EFFICIENT and AGILE Stickshifts in the early 80s.
    MEanwhile, the Detroit one time big 3 and losers of home games to the imports 30 years in a row, do not even offer sticks as an OPTION on most of their pathetic offerings.

  • Colin Mathews Posted: 10/14/2008 11:50am PDT

    Trading down from Honda's silky smooth, barnstorming V-6 does represent a sacrifice...but one that I think many cash-strapped Americans would be more than happy to make right now. And due to the wonders of variable valve timing, the torque curve of the 2.4-liter Honda four doesn't strain or struggle moving the increasing curb weights of Accords, CR-Vs, and Elements. Nonetheless, I hope we see two things from Honda in the near future: direct injection for better power and efficiency, and a program such as Mazda is undertaking to aggressively reduce curb weight across its lineup. With these two strategies, four cylinders might represent even less of a sacrifice for the typical American driver. I personally miss my 1988 CRX, which occasionally edged close to 40mpg on the highway despite its old-tech single port fuel injection (one injector shooting mist into the throttle body).

  • Matt Posted: 10/14/2008 10:12am PDT

    No Sacrifice Ed? While I don't disagree that the 4cyl is an adequate powerplant for the vehicle, the 4cyl can not match the NVH characteristics of the V6, nor the torque or HP output. The car needs that added output from the 4cyl since the car has gained about 400lbs since 1990. An accord 4cyl makes very adequate transportation and with a manual trans can even be considered a little fun. It would be on my short list if I needed a competent family vehicle.

  • Ed Posted: 10/14/2008 9:16am PDT

    The move makes a whole lot of sense, and it is NO Sacrifice for anybody.
    Today's Honda 4s make 160ish HP and Torque, and are only a couple hundred lbs heavier than my 125 2.2 lt 4 5-speed 1990 LX coupe I recently donated to charity.
    With the 5 or 6 speed manual, the 4 has the best of both worlds, decent acceleration AND great fuel economy for such a (now EPA classed LARGE) car!