Automatic or manual, your thoughts please

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Coolbeanz, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Coolbeanz

    Coolbeanz Funster

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    We are still actively seeking a replacement motorhome and a few nice looking ones we have immediately dismissed on discovering they are automatic. The main reason being that automatics tend to be more fuel hungry and motorhomes are juicy enough already. Am I right? Or is there not a great difference. Would some of you give me your mpg and whether your are automatic or manual? We are looking at 3.5 to 4T vehicles. I would hate to think we are dismissing perfectly good candidates for the wrong reason :Rofl1:
     
  2. old-mo

    old-mo Funster Extra Special Life Member

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    We have a 4.80 ton UW... tag with one of those 6 speed Auto or Manual boxes..

    They are superb and smooth... Manual is just flicking the gear lever forwards and back to change gear... and is just like driving a manual without the clutch pedal..

    I tend to use the manual most of the time as I think the Auto changes to quick on hills...

    Only use Auto in built up area`s..

    Loaded with approx 1 ton and car on a trailer we return about 23 - 24.. which I am well impressed with.... solo we have had 27 mpg... Our maximum payload on the vehicle is 1.2 ton, so run under, with "Stamped" in the log book a maximum towing capacity of 2 ton,,, which I am well under.. :Smile:

    But I am light footed on the accelerator..
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  3. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    As far as fuel consumption is concerned you should find no difference between automatic (robotised manual) and a manual. The comfortmatic is just a manual gearbox and clutch with automated changes on it.

    The only gearboxes that may make a small difference are the proper torque converter autos like gtronic in newer Mercs (not the sprintshift).

    In cars many of the autos are now more economical as they often have one more gear ratio than the manual and so run the engine at the optimum range more readily.

    Martin
     
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  4. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    There are two sorts of autobox found on motorhomes. In general a Mercedes based vehicle will have a traditional automatic, which has a torque converter. These generally give lower mpg. Fiat and related vans of recent manufacture have what is in effect a standard manual transmission but which is operated by servos or hydraulic rams. Effectively it is like a robot changing gear for you. These generally give virtually the same mpg as a manual and are quite common these days on commercial trucks.

    Our 3 litre Fiat has one of these automated transmissions and we have averaged 28 mpg so far.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  5. Bellini

    Bellini Funster

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    Most modern automatics aren't any more fuel-hungry than their manual counterparts these days. Many are auto-adaptive in that they 'learn' your driving style and adapt their shift points to suit.

    Plus they're easier to drive and more relaxing, but also have a manual overide in case you ever feel the need for more control, such as engaging 2nd to start up a slippery hill for instance.

    I can't think of a single reason why you'd not enjoy having one.
     
  6. Larrynwin

    Larrynwin Funster

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    If you are lucky enough to afford the luxury of buying and running a motorhome then an extra couple of mpg shouldn't hurt.
    When stuck in traffic or in stop go situations an auto makes life so much more enjoyable :thumb:
     
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  7. Coolbeanz

    Coolbeanz Funster

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    Maybe not if you're popping off to France on a 2 week holiday but we will be long terming so fuel consumption could have big implications on our budget. A few mpg difference will add up to a lot of money over time. :Wink:
     
  8. makems

    makems Funster Life Member

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    We had a Rapido on a Merc auto at 3.9t which gave us 25mpg

    Now have a Burstner on Fiat comfortmatic at 5t whcich gives us ........ 25 mpg. Still running it in though so I expect that to improve a little.

    We are the opposite of yourself, as we only want an auto which restricts us greatly in what is available. Given the choice of autos though I would choose the Merc with its proper auto box every time even if it was a couple of mpg worse. Unfortunately we couldn't find the layout we wanted with sufficient payload on a Merc when we were looking.

    Unless you are doing serious mileage i wouldn't worry too much about the difference in mpg. The main thing is to get the right layout.
     
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  9. Spenders

    Spenders

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    Auto or manual..... easy decision

    I have an Autotrail Scout on a Mercedes chassis, with the six speed 'Sprintshift' automated manual box.

    As others have said it can be driven as a clutchless manual, but I have only used it as such on a couple of occasions. It is just so easy and relaxing to use it as an automatic I can't see the point of not doing so. I get 25-29 mpg depending on load/roads/driving style. I wouldn't dream of going back to traditional manual now.
     
  10. Coolbeanz

    Coolbeanz Funster

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    Well I think I know what I'll be doing today :Doh: re-visiting the hundreds of motorhome adverts to see what I might have dismissed just on the basis it was automatic. It's incredible how easy it us on Fun to get answers/opinions on almost anything. :thanks2:
     
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  11. golly

    golly Funster

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    We have an Auto-sleeper Surrey Mercedes chassis, with auto, average mpg we get is 26mpg, best I have had is 30.26 worst was 21.65. As said in other posts it is so relaxing to drive, our previous van was a manual don't think I would go back to manual.
     
  12. Mel

    Mel Funster

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    Mpg also depends on body type and shape. And driving style.

    But I love the Fiat robotic box.

    With our Rapido/Fiat auto A class we get around 24 to 28 mpg


    Mel
     
  13. beachcaster

    beachcaster Read Only Funster

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    The 3 litre computer contolled auto on my fiat..........is superb.....and will give the same return on fuel as a manual. Far easier to drive...and with the ability to select gears if you ever need to.
    I have driven autos of one form or another for years.......and hunted around for ages to find an Auto trail with this engine and box.

    barry
     
  14. Coolbeanz

    Coolbeanz Funster

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    You have the model we have short-listed, the 696g has the best layout by far for what we want. I notice some of them have 2.3 engines which seemed a bit small so I will keep an eye out for the 3L. :thumb:
     
  15. HymerB544

    HymerB544 Funster

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    Auto or nauto

    Hi,

    We've had three motorhomes over the past 8 years, all manual. My reasoning for choosing manual was not particularly sound. I just assumed it gave you greater control and better MPG; mind you, that was based on my last automatic car, a 3 litre Ghia Capri back in the 70s which was great but a real gas guzzler.

    Our manual vans have always been easy to drive, especially with cruise control for the long runs, but I'd be a liar if I said I'd never experienced the odd squeaky-bum moment in very heavy traffic facing uphill at traffic lights trying to juggle handbrake clutch and gear lever!

    We recently swapped our Volvo C30 hatchback (which was manual and regularly returned close to 60 mpg) for a 2 litre Merc A Class with a. Auto box. The dealer said we would get upwards of 45mpg. I thought "yeah, right" but in fact we get high 40s running into town and back and mid 50s on longer runs.and the car is a dream to drive in all traffic conditions.even Sue says she wouldn't go back to manual again.

    So when we change our van, we will definitely be buying one with an auto box!:thumb:
     
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  16. jemhorn

    jemhorn Funster

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    Auto Fiat

    Just bought in November a new Lakia with 150bph, 4.250 tonne gvw so can't report on fuel consumption at the moment. However I find the Auto fantastic and so relaxing to drive, you are on holiday after all! If you want to be a 'boy racer' then just switch to the Manual setting. I didn't want an auto but faced with a 5 month order time I decided to take the Auto that was available from stock and I'm glad I did. Go for it!
     
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  17. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    Can't comment on fuel con but I have an auto car and manual van. The auto is much easier to drive , especially in traffic , where you can concentrate on what bozo is trying to nobble your no claims rather than which gear you should be in.

    The only time I have ever shifted from auto to manual in my car is on sheet ice to use the gears to progress and slow down, but frankly if you are driving a MH on sheet ice you may be asking for trouble.

    Its hard to find a manual in the USA as their tradition is the opposite of ours and they have traditionally driven autos.

    I would actually like more choice in auto boxes, as it is very hard if not impossible to find a two berth fiat/Pugeot chassis on an auto. Companies like Elddis just dont seem to get it.....there is a demand for autos in that sector, but their stone age customer service is impervious to that kind of request:Doh:
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
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  18. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    Mine is a 6 speed manual box, but I would have no objection to an auto.
     
  19. maz

    maz Funster

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    Have had two 5-ton vans, both Fiat Ducato based - first one with with manual gearbox, second with automatic (Comfortmatic). Never clocked mpg in anything I've ever driven so can't advise on that. :BigGrin: Automatic is obviously easier to drive, but I was also quite happy with the manual gearbox in my first van. It wouldn't ever be a deciding factor for me in choosing a van. Current van just happens to be automatic - but I chose it based on layout, payload and winterisation. :Smile:
     
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  20. rolandrat

    rolandrat Funster

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    The Comfort-matic gearbox is a dream to drive especially when mated with the 3Ltr engine.
     
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