What are some relatively cheap cars with semi-auto transmissions?


GlassBullet
11-21-2009, 02:50 PM
So I'm turning 16 in a few months and my parents are willing to buy me a car (yeah!). I wanted to get a manual, but my dad and his crazy reasons says I can't get one. He said I that could get a car with one of those semi-automatic transmissions that you can use (the ones where you just hit up (+) or down (-) to shift). So my question is: what are some cars to look in to that have this? We're mainly looking at mid-sized cars that are a few years old. And not some high end model. I found the Mitsubishi Galant has this feature on some of the years (i think starting in 07). Any other cars you know of? Thanks!

Shpuker
11-21-2009, 03:01 PM
Talk to your dad and get him to let you get a manual. flappy paddles FTL. The only good semi-auto trannys that I can think of are in high end cars.

GlassBullet
11-21-2009, 03:35 PM
I'll work on it :]. What kind of cars should I look into with manual transmission that are around the size/price of a used Galant? I'm not looking into power too much. And fuel economy is pretty important to me.

akboss
11-23-2009, 08:48 AM
Hi GlassBullet,

Most domestic and import base-model cars come with a stick as the base transmission. Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea how to use one and thus suffer the defeated, lazy lifestyle of a slushbox (aka automatic) transmission. For just about the first time I'll actually agree with Shpuker on this - don't get a paddle shifter unless you've got the coin to put it on a high-end car. Otherwise it's just a gimmick.

I know Chrysler products in the late 1990's and mid 2000's had a 4-speed auto with a 'tiptronic' so-to-speak. You have your normal gear lever as in any other auto, but there was a separate gate where you could move the shift lever over towards the driver. In this position if you move the lever 'up' it would increase a gear, down would decrease a gear. There is a similar system on many other cars, new Volkswagens probably have one of the better ones as it's a 6-speed auto. But these systems are really quite redundant - if you neglect to shift up or down, the transmission usually shifts for you anyways. And there are no performance gains over a traditional automatic, it's still heavy and has power loss through the torque converter. Manuals are cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, more efficient and more fun.

I'm guessing at 16 you want something sporty enough but sensible, easy on the wallet, stylish and drives well. Get a Mazda3 hatchback. 1) Good price point, 2) 30 mpg's, 3) Tons of room for girls, snowboards and subwoofers, and 4) Great handling/driving car. It even has the tiptronic gears, but again it's on the shifter, no paddles. They had two motor options depending on what you want for equipment. Our models in Canada were a little different than yours in the 'states, but I believe you had the choice of an 'i model' with the 2.0L motor, or the 's model' with the 2.3L motor. The power difference is minimal, mileage maybe a few mpg's difference. If you want the luxury details (sunroof, leather, bose sound) get the S, otherwise the I is a fine little car.

Other options to look at would be the Hyundai Elantra, Mitsubish Lancer (horrible on insurance), Subaru Impreza if you want AWD, or a Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe. Most have flappy-paddle gearboxes, none of them are good. Learn to drive stick!

GlassBullet
11-23-2009, 09:22 AM
That's funny cause when looking at cars the mazda3 hatchback was the first one i liked. It got ruled out for being "too small" so it "wouldn't have enough protection if I crash". But thanks for all the info! I'll check out some of those other cars.

akboss
11-23-2009, 09:53 AM
That's funny cause when looking at cars the mazda3 hatchback was the first one i liked. It got ruled out for being "too small" so it "wouldn't have enough protection if I crash". But thanks for all the info! I'll check out some of those other cars.

Don't buy the case on 'not enough protection', safety ratings are good on this car.

http://www.carmax.com/enus/safety-reliability-ratings/2004-Mazda-Mazda3-727.html

Furthermore, I always argue the point of passive safety vs. active safety. Passive safety is what SUV drivers buy into. If I hit something, I'll win because I'm bigger. That's completely false, but it's another story. Active safety is avoiding the accident in the first place. Because a Mazda3 has excellent handling characteristics and is available with both traction control and ABS, the chances of a good driver actually avoiding the problem in the first place are much higher. So, do you get a big boat of a car that has a mountain of metal in front of you but can't stop or turn if a deer runs onto the road, or are you safer behind the wheel of a car that can stop, turn and dart out of the way of the deer and avoid the whole thing to begin with?

Shpuker
11-23-2009, 05:44 PM
I'm really not a fan of the paddle shifters on any vehicles. The semi-auto knob shifter deals can be amazing (like on the x3) or they can compleatly suck. Never driven a Chrysler with a semi auto though, so that's a no comment :D

and holy crap another agreement!!!

GlassBullet
11-23-2009, 06:24 PM
Don't buy the case on 'not enough protection', safety ratings are good on this car.

http://www.carmax.com/enus/safety-reliability-ratings/2004-Mazda-Mazda3-727.html

Furthermore, I always argue the point of passive safety vs. active safety. Passive safety is what SUV drivers buy into. If I hit something, I'll win because I'm bigger. That's completely false, but it's another story. Active safety is avoiding the accident in the first place. Because a Mazda3 has excellent handling characteristics and is available with both traction control and ABS, the chances of a good driver actually avoiding the problem in the first place are much higher. So, do you get a big boat of a car that has a mountain of metal in front of you but can't stop or turn if a deer runs onto the road, or are you safer behind the wheel of a car that can stop, turn and dart out of the way of the deer and avoid the whole thing to begin with?
That's a good point :]. And it's not a deal breaker in the car, but do you know if the automatic model as the manumatic transmissions, too?

maryjain
11-24-2009, 04:09 AM
Hi GlassBullet (http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/member.php?u=623845),
In order to get ufuel efficiency cars always look out for low CC engine cars, less the cc will result inless consumption of fuel , means more mileage .
Remember this is technical skill to know the fuel efficiency cars. And these cars are always cheap in price.

Happy to help for any of your querries.
Regards,
Mary Jain

akboss
11-24-2009, 08:25 AM
That's a good point :]. And it's not a deal breaker in the car, but do you know if the automatic model as the manumatic transmissions, too?

Yep, all automatic versions of the Mazda3 had a manual shift feature, but no paddles, it's on the shift lever. In 2004 the auto was a 4-speed, revised in 2006 on the 2.3L models was a 5-speed auto. Fuel consumption was about +2-3 mpg's for the bigger motor. The one to get is a 2007 or newer, as that year Mazda added side and curtain airbags that were previously not available even as an option.

See pic of Mazda3 tranny:
http://www.auto123.com/ArtImages/99059/2008.5-Mazda-3-GS-i03.jpg

Shpuker
11-24-2009, 02:41 PM
Interior of the Mazda is kinda bland :P

any way, that type of semi auto ^ can be good.

akboss
11-24-2009, 03:34 PM
Interior of the Mazda is kinda bland :P

any way, that type of semi auto ^ can be good.

You're bland (ha ha). :screwy:

GlassBullet
11-24-2009, 05:46 PM
Yep, all automatic versions of the Mazda3 had a manual shift feature, but no paddles, it's on the shift lever. In 2004 the auto was a 4-speed, revised in 2006 on the 2.3L models was a 5-speed auto. Fuel consumption was about +2-3 mpg's for the bigger motor. The one to get is a 2007 or newer, as that year Mazda added side and curtain airbags that were previously not available even as an option.

See pic of Mazda3 tranny:
http://www.auto123.com/ArtImages/99059/2008.5-Mazda-3-GS-i03.jpg
Awesome. I'll talk more about it

Interior of the Mazda is kinda bland :P

any way, that type of semi auto ^ can be good.
That's the kind of semi auto i'm looking for :]

maryjain
11-25-2009, 04:11 AM
Hi GassBullet,
How about having this one. http://www.automotivecraze.com/the-new-lexus-2010-models-will-see-a-spur-in-prices/

The new Lexus. I guess this will surely make you feel pride.

akboss
11-25-2009, 07:00 AM
Best of luck bud! Happy motoring.

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