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Is Toyota Building Cars For Old Farts Only?



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gvr4ever

So, the wife and I wanted to look at a Lexus IS250 manual this weekend. We call up the dealer (Can't search dealer inventory online) to see if they have a manual IS250, and the sales person told me that he has only seen three of them. Then he proceeds to tell me what people want to buy, and that no one is interested in a manual. What is going on?!?!?!

I called a BMW dealer too, and they did have one manual transmission 328i in stock. The problem is, that it does cost a bit more then a IS250. The BMW sales person said that if he had $5 for every time someone asked if they had a manual in stock, he wouldn't have to work. So we are not alone. Are car makers now just making what they want to sell and not what people want to buy?!?!?

Rant to Toyota/Lexus. If anyone happens to be reading this from Toyota/Lexus.

I'd like to buy a proper RWD 4 door sedan. I am not going to settle on a automatic because I don't want to spend the extra money, add the extra weight, and I'm young enough that my left foot still works. If it's so hard to even test drive a car that is on your web page, then we will end up with a Subie STi. Subie seems to understand that people still want a normal manual transmission.

BTW. one of your block head sales people actually tried to to me that a auto was cheaper because it had less parts in it. Well, it's not cheaper. It cost more to buy and adds more weight.

Brendon

Its not just Toyota/Lexus. The American market in general prefers automatic. It's probably a self-feeding effect in this country since in Driver's Ed, they teach you using automatic cars, not manual. It's very different in Europe, where 9/10 people prefer manual. Also, in many European countries separate licenses are issued for automatic or manual. Many people over there want to learn manual so they have the better license and aren't so restricted.

I know when I was first shopping for cars right after getting my license, I wanted an automatic since I didn't know a thing about how to drive manual. I was never taught it in Driver's Ed. Now 3 years later, I wise I had manual, or at least semi-manual so that I can control the shifting. It gets really annoying when my transmission shifts up or down when I don't want it to. CVT is another option, since it uses unlimited gearing.

Not to nitpick at your wife's desire, but the IS250 is actually better in automatic than manual. For some reason, the curb weight is higher on manual (3527 lbs) vs automaitc (3435 lbs). It's also significantly more fuel efficient (24/32 mpg automatic, 20/29 mpg manual). I don't know why this is, since its usually the opposite.

I know what you are saying - I think it is more what people want and generally driver laziness than a manufacturer issue. Just like that BMW sales person that you met - all the ones I've talked to said the same thing. There are things people want to buy - and what they are willing to settle for. Once people stop settling on their choice of what they want - maybe the manufacturers will have better options for new customers.

Hurts me to say that I'm also one that settled when I shouldn't have. I was in the same boat - took me long enough time to find the Matrix XRS in good shape, the options I wanted, and 6-speed (I had 8 months). When I bought my Corolla - I also wanted a 5-speed. But I didn't like the only TWO manual transmissioned models they had (wrong color, base models, etc.) out of 300+ Corollas they had on the lot, and I couldn't wait 3-6 months to order the one I wanted - I just settled (stupid on my part) and the rest was history.

Last time I checked some numbers - it was something on the order of ~ 90% of all cars, trucks sold in the US are automatics. In comparison - Europe is about 80% manuals - just try renting a car there sometimes, most are stick shift only. Local Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Porsche dealerships close to me are the same way - about 80%-90% what they have are automatics. They just don't move enough of the standard transmissioned ones to stock on a regular basis. Even VW - catering to a younger demographic - only sells about 30%-40% with manuals. The sales guy's input - because many people don't know how to even drive with a stick shift. Even Ford sell about 80% of their V8 powered Mustangs with automatics!

Once you get into your niche cars - like EVO, STi, etc. - then you will see a greater interest in manual transmission choices - since most of the customers are interested in manual transmissions/transaxles. Unless they start making them like the Corolla XRS (next on my buy list), which were 6-speed standard ONLY - be tough to find them with a stick shift.

gvr4ever

That is really odd that the manual would weigh more. I almost wonder if that is a typo. Either way, looking in to more detail, I think the car is a little too slow for the cost. 1/4 mile in 16s. That's actually kind of slow for a manual v6 of anything. A new v6 mustang could do it faster then that. Oh well. I read that the is250 was faster then the older 300. I thought they were slightly faster then that. I thought they were a direct competitor to the starter BMW 3 series, but the 328i is a second faster from 0-60. Probably worth the few extra grand if we go that rout. We will probably wait till spring at this point anyway. See what the cost of the BMW M1 is going to be. That 300HP engine rocks and is under rated. It is rated at 300HP and 300' torque (1500,5000 RPMs), but people are putting down 275HP and 300'torque on a dyno on a bone stock 335i. The same engine will be a option in the M1. Lighter with power. That's what I like. More then I would want to spend tho. I don't think I can wait till I save up a 20K down payment on a car.

My main problem is that I've been driving a manual car for so long, it actually feels unnatural for me to drive a auto. I've driven a new 335Xi 6sp auto and it was a really nice car, but it feels so strange for a car to take off on me with out me feeling the clutch grab. It's kind of hard to explain. I am really sick of seeing cars on a manufactures web page that don't really seem to be available. Either really sell them, or just don't even offer them.

I am really sick of seeing cars on a manufactures web page that don't really seem to be available. Either really sell them, or just don't even offer them.

They sell every car they show on the website. The problem you are running into is that you want cars equipped in such a way that your ideal car would not be given a second look by 95% of the buying public and so they are not regularly stocked by dealers.

You will run into this issue with any car when you want one that is atypically equipped. For instance, I had to custom order my Corolla because they just don't make Corollas with all the options sans leather to ship out and sit on lots. The reason for that is because the average Corolla buyer won't spend 20k on a Corolla and it would sit there forever if dealer just ordered them that way.

The same goes for the Lexus you looked at, your typical Lexus buyer hasn't driven a stick in probably 20 years if ever. They wouldn't entertain the idea of buying one no matter what you tried to do to sell it. Dealers see cars that they can't sell as a liability and since manual transmission Lexus cars don't sell, you just won't find one sitting around.

Certain cars are more like niche vehicles and come typically equipped with manual transmissions and other hard to find options on other cars (or at least more typically equipped with these options than other cars) BMW 3 series and Miatas are examples that come to mind. Before the Mazda had the Sport AT, it was almost impossible to find an automatic Miata.

If you need a car now and won't drive automatic, then you should consider looking at Audi, BMW and Infiniti. I frequently see Audi A4, BMW 330i and G35 Sedans with MT on local dealer lots. There aren't many, but there are more of them than there are on Lexus dealer lots. If you really want the IS250 with the manual transmission, don't really care about color and other options and you can wait, ask the dealer to do a nationwide search for one and acquire it if one is available. If one isn't, custom order the car. You'll have to wait 3-4 months for it, but you can get exactly what you want.

Honestly, I'd order the IS before buying an all new BMW. Do you want to be R&D for BMW, finding all the manufacturing and engineering issues in your new car and then waiting for them to come up with fixes?

gvr4ever

I am really sick of seeing cars on a manufactures web page that don't really seem to be available. Either really sell them, or just don't even offer them.

They sell every car they show on the website. The problem you are running into is that you want cars equipped in such a way that your ideal car would not be given a second look by 95% of the buying public and so they are not regularly stocked by dealers.

You will run into this issue with any car when you want one that is atypically equipped. For instance, I had to custom order my Corolla because they just don't make Corollas with all the options sans leather to ship out and sit on lots. The reason for that is because the average Corolla buyer won't spend 20k on a Corolla and it would sit there forever if dealer just ordered them that way.

The same goes for the Lexus you looked at, your typical Lexus buyer hasn't driven a stick in probably 20 years if ever. They wouldn't entertain the idea of buying one no matter what you tried to do to sell it. Dealers see cars that they can't sell as a liability and since manual transmission Lexus cars don't sell, you just won't find one sitting around.

Certain cars are more like niche vehicles and come typically equipped with manual transmissions and other hard to find options on other cars (or at least more typically equipped with these options than other cars) BMW 3 series and Miatas are examples that come to mind. Before the Mazda had the Sport AT, it was almost impossible to find an automatic Miata.

If you need a car now and won't drive automatic, then you should consider looking at Audi, BMW and Infiniti. I frequently see Audi A4, BMW 330i and G35 Sedans with MT on local dealer lots. There aren't many, but there are more of them than there are on Lexus dealer lots. If you really want the IS250 with the manual transmission, don't really care about color and other options and you can wait, ask the dealer to do a nationwide search for one and acquire it if one is available. If one isn't, custom order the car. You'll have to wait 3-4 months for it, but you can get exactly what you want.

Honestly, I'd order the IS before buying an all new BMW. Do you want to be R&D for BMW, finding all the manufacturing and engineering issues in your new car and then waiting for them to come up with fixes?

 

Simply wanting a manual transmission isn't really that small of a small market. I realize that most people want a automatic, but their are still plenty of manual drivers. Most of my friends are too and we are getting old enough to be looking outside of the Japanese boy toy market. If Toyota/Lexus wants to sit by and presume what buyers really want, then they can do that. They will be missing out on a large enough part of the market.

As far as being BMWs R&D, the current 3 series is not that new and I'd wait for a 08 at this point anyway. Also, they have full 4 year 50K coverage. They will replace any worn part on the car except tires. That includes brake disk, pads, shocks, ANYTHING. Oil changes too. That is really the only reason we are looking at one. Lots of people can afford the price tag of a car that cost more, but not the maintenance.

I'm not too big of a Audi fan. As far as German cars go, I really only like BMW and Porsche. To me a Audi is just a over priced VW and they can still have the same quality problems. I will never buy another Nissan product in my life, so that is out of the question.

Too bad Toyota gave up, lost it's performance market. Cause they might have had some boy toy cars in the past, but they were quality boy toys that lasted a long time.

Simply wanting a manual transmission isn't really that small of a small market. I realize that most people want a automatic, but their are still plenty of manual drivers. Most of my friends are too and we are getting old enough to be looking outside of the Japanese boy toy market. If Toyota/Lexus wants to sit by and presume what buyers really want, then they can do that. They will be missing out on a large enough part of the market.

Toyota isn't missing out on that market, they make manual transmission IS 250s and Camrys. What is making it difficult for you to find one is that no dealer wants to have one on their lot. When dealers know that 90% of Americans will not buy a manual transmission car, they simply won't order one. It gets worse when they are a Lexus or Jaguar dealer and only one car they sell has the option of a manual transmission and there is almost zero demand for it.

Let me ask you this:

If you are a Lexus dealer, do you want to buy a IS 250 that is going to sit on your lot for months longer than the automatic cars and then when it finally does sell, sells for less than the automatic cars?

Or do you want to move cars and special order a car now and again when someone wants to change gears and charge full price for it for all the hassle?

Seems like dealers are out to make money and my second strategy is the better way to do that.

Look, I know what it is like to have a hard time finding what you want in a car. Settling isn't ideal, but if you won't special order, then your only other options are to buy another model or to take an automatic.

Bikeman982

You guys sure are very picky.

I think everyone should learn to drive a standard, but the majority prefer the automatics.

Keep looking until you find the car you will be happy with and do not settle.

If you settle, you will regret it later. If you don't find the perfect car, get something you will still be happy with.

Let us know what you end up with.

gvr4ever

Simply wanting a manual transmission isn't really that small of a small market. I realize that most people want a automatic, but their are still plenty of manual drivers. Most of my friends are too and we are getting old enough to be looking outside of the Japanese boy toy market. If Toyota/Lexus wants to sit by and presume what buyers really want, then they can do that. They will be missing out on a large enough part of the market.

Toyota isn't missing out on that market, they make manual transmission IS 250s and Camrys. What is making it difficult for you to find one is that no dealer wants to have one on their lot. When dealers know that 90% of Americans will not buy a manual transmission car, they simply won't order one. It gets worse when they are a Lexus or Jaguar dealer and only one car they sell has the option of a manual transmission and there is almost zero demand for it.

Let me ask you this:

If you are a Lexus dealer, do you want to buy a IS 250 that is going to sit on your lot for months longer than the automatic cars and then when it finally does sell, sells for less than the automatic cars?

Or do you want to move cars and special order a car now and again when someone wants to change gears and charge full price for it for all the hassle?

Seems like dealers are out to make money and my second strategy is the better way to do that.

Look, I know what it is like to have a hard time finding what you want in a car. Settling isn't ideal, but if you won't special order, then your only other options are to buy another model or to take an automatic.

I haven't actually seen data to prove that manuals don't sell. I can understand maybe only having one on the lot at a time, but not to have any is not good either. I'm not going to order a car that cost over 30K that I can't even test drive.

Lets put it this way. If we didn't find a 5 speed Corolla, we would not have bought a Corolla. If we didn't have the Corolla, we probably wouldn't have thought to look at a IS250. My overall impression of Toyota, that used to sell cooler cars, and manual cars, is becoming a company that tailors to older lazy people. What is even worse, their sales people are actually rude enough to try and tell me what I want to drive based on what they have on stock.

We probably won't end up with anything till next year. Mainly because a lot of cars are coming out that we want to look at. I guess we are not good enough for Lexus. Silly for us to want a manual transmission in our car.

Bikeman982

Simply wanting a manual transmission isn't really that small of a small market. I realize that most people want a automatic, but their are still plenty of manual drivers. Most of my friends are too and we are getting old enough to be looking outside of the Japanese boy toy market. If Toyota/Lexus wants to sit by and presume what buyers really want, then they can do that. They will be missing out on a large enough part of the market.

Toyota isn't missing out on that market, they make manual transmission IS 250s and Camrys. What is making it difficult for you to find one is that no dealer wants to have one on their lot. When dealers know that 90% of Americans will not buy a manual transmission car, they simply won't order one. It gets worse when they are a Lexus or Jaguar dealer and only one car they sell has the option of a manual transmission and there is almost zero demand for it.

Let me ask you this:

If you are a Lexus dealer, do you want to buy a IS 250 that is going to sit on your lot for months longer than the automatic cars and then when it finally does sell, sells for less than the automatic cars?

Or do you want to move cars and special order a car now and again when someone wants to change gears and charge full price for it for all the hassle?

Seems like dealers are out to make money and my second strategy is the better way to do that.

Look, I know what it is like to have a hard time finding what you want in a car. Settling isn't ideal, but if you won't special order, then your only other options are to buy another model or to take an automatic.

I haven't actually seen data to prove that manuals don't sell. I can understand maybe only having one on the lot at a time, but not to have any is not good either. I'm not going to order a car that cost over 30K that I can't even test drive.

Lets put it this way. If we didn't find a 5 speed Corolla, we would not have bought a Corolla. If we didn't have the Corolla, we probably wouldn't have thought to look at a IS250. My overall impression of Toyota, that used to sell cooler cars, and manual cars, is becoming a company that tailors to older lazy people. What is even worse, their sales people are actually rude enough to try and tell me what I want to drive based on what they have on stock.

We probably won't end up with anything till next year. Mainly because a lot of cars are coming out that we want to look at. I guess we are not good enough for Lexus. Silly for us to want a manual transmission in our car.

Don't buy a new one. Get a used one that has what you want and save yourself some money.

 

Wait another year and get the 2008 next year (look around in the meantime).

K_Watson

I sure wouldn't mind finding a nice low mileage '01 V6 Camry like my GF has.

Bikeman982

I sure wouldn't mind finding a nice low mileage '01 V6 Camry like my GF has.

You want to trade your fine Prizm for a real Toyota?

 

Good choice.

My overall impression of Toyota, that used to sell cooler cars, and manual cars, is becoming a company that tailors to older lazy people. What is even worse, their sales people are actually rude enough to try and tell me what I want to drive based on what they have on stock.

We probably won't end up with anything till next year. Mainly because a lot of cars are coming out that we want to look at. I guess we are not good enough for Lexus. Silly for us to want a manual transmission in our car.

I've changed my mind. Don't settle for an automatic just because the dealer wants to sell it to you. Settling for something that isn't what you want is the worst thing you can do when buying a car and ordering one without driving it first would certainly be a stupid move on your part. Reading your posts made me take a jog down memory lane and it wasn't pleasant.

They (Toyota) have attained success and now feel that they can build it and people will come, they can say buy it and people will. With that attitude they see no need to sell cool cars or to cater to the manual transmission market as they once did (although they always will to some extent). Celicas, Supras and MR2s used to be a necessary evil, an evil that promoted the brand. When the Corolla and Camry were crowned king of sales, promotion was no longer necessary; the cool cars vanished into thin air.

You sound pissed over the Lexus experience, and rightfully so. So let me give you some advice, screw the Lexus. Lexus builds stuffy luxury cars and you don't seem like the stuffy luxury car type of guy. It has nothing to do with you not being good enough for one, it has more to do with them not having what you want. Be anti-establishment and buy a loaded Subaru or BMW, that way you aren't giving Toyota the false sense that you are actually satisfied with what they are doing.

-the99contour

Don't buy a new one. Get a used one that has what you want and save yourself some money.Wait another year and get the 2008 next year (look around in the meantime).

What do you think the chances of finding a used IS 250 with a manual transmission are if you practically can't find a new one.

I'll tell you. Back when they sold only 10% of Miatas with an automatic, you could look at 100 of them on autotrader and in any given magazine 4 of them would be automatics. Almost never did you find a 1 year old Miata with an automatic and if you did they wanted a fortune for it.

I'm betting that the number of Lexus IS 250s with manual transmissions built every year is somewhere around 5%, so finding a 1 year old used one is going to be something like: look at 50 of them in autotrader and find none with a manual.

Bikeman982

Don't buy a new one. Get a used one that has what you want and save yourself some money.Wait another year and get the 2008 next year (look around in the meantime).

What do you think the chances of finding a used IS 250 with a manual transmission are if you practically can't find a new one.

I'll tell you. Back when they sold only 10% of Miatas with an automatic, you could look at 100 of them on autotrader and in any given magazine 4 of them would be automatics. Almost never did you find a 1 year old Miata with an automatic and if you did they wanted a fortune for it.

I'm betting that the number of Lexus IS 250s with manual transmissions built every year is somewhere around 5%, so finding a 1 year old used one is going to be something like: look at 50 of them in autotrader and find none with a manual.

Some things are worth waiting for.

 

If it takes you a year to find one - you will be happier than settling for something less.

If the odds of locating one are slim to none - it may be necessary to set your sights on something more obtainable.

Maybe get an automatic and convert it to standard? Probably a good, expensive, challenging project?

gvr4ever

Well, the more I read about it, the less I like it. http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...rticleId=121228 I doubt that I'll ever get the chance to drive a manual to come up with my own opinion. I am a tad disappointed in the performance numbers. A RWD v6 should be able to peak in to the upper 14s 1/4 times. Most people who spend over 30K on a sedan probably expect that.

I thought Lexus was suppose to be a direct competitor with BMW. They offer RWD, but not really the sport I guess.

I have seen used IS300 manual cars before and they aren't that hard to find. I think Lexus is just trying to get away from that. Not sure why tho. I think our location plays a roll in what kind of transmissions can be found on any car tho. Not sure what the deal is. I'm not making this up either. Most people I know drive a manual transmission. We might be a dying bread, but we aren't dead yet and we still buy cars. I did learn how to drive in a manual too, so that might be why I am so hell bent on this. I just don't like auto's as much.

NILLINOIS

I drove a stick for 12 years. After suffering a left leg injury, I really can't have a car with a stick anymore, because of the hip damage, and especially where i live, where its 90% stop and go suburbia driving. I also find a used vehicle is harder to sell with a manual.

Dealers are simply responding to what customers want in this country. I believe they don't even teach manual shifting in driver's ed anymore in the high schools.

Brendon

Its just the nature of the automobile's progression. With the movement towards fuel efficiency and the lack of interest in manual transmissions, automatic transmissions have superceded in many applications. If you look at many cars today, they are actually more fuel efficient in automatic than manual.

Personally, I predict that CVT will become the universal transmission in automobiles. They have proven themselves superior to both traditional automatic (torque converters) and manual. CVT provides a continous and infinite variable of gears across one belt/chain, removing the need for shifting and gear seeking (which I absolutely can't stand). Therefore, CVT can accelerate faster than manual by staying in the peak performance all the time. It also means CVT can always stay in the most efficient "gear" all the time. Its kind of crazy looking though. Check out some clips on youtube of cars like the Altima or Maxima. When they are under hard acceleration, they stay at 6000 rpm (or whatever their peak power is at) all the time. That means they never have to redline (which can cause serious damage to an engine) and they never go outside the maximum power.

Constantly staying in the best gear is especially useful when going up hills. Therefore, CVTs are proving themselves more fuel efficient. About the only drawback is their extra weight over manual, but when you're talking about 40-50 lbs, its easily made up by the improved acceleration response of CVT. Also, CVTs are limited to the amount of torque they can handle. Still, they can handle a lot. The new Nissan Maxima uses CVT and makes 255 HP.

Bikeman982

I paid extra money when I was going to driver's ed. classes so that I could learn the standard.

I drove standard for many years (1963 Ford Falcon, Volkswagen bugs and transporter, Buick Skylark, etc.)

I also drove UPS trucks and they were all standards.

The newer generation seems to prefer automatics and that is just indicitave of the manufacturing trend.

Try driving a standard on the hills in San Franscisco - that requires real technique!

gvr4ever

Its just the nature of the automobile's progression. With the movement towards fuel efficiency and the lack of interest in manual transmissions, automatic transmissions have superceded in many applications. If you look at many cars today, they are actually more fuel efficient in automatic than manual.

Personally, I predict that CVT will become the universal transmission in automobiles. They have proven themselves superior to both traditional automatic (torque converters) and manual. CVT provides a continous and infinite variable of gears across one belt/chain, removing the need for shifting and gear seeking (which I absolutely can't stand). Therefore, CVT can accelerate faster than manual by staying in the peak performance all the time. It also means CVT can always stay in the most efficient "gear" all the time. Its kind of crazy looking though. Check out some clips on youtube of cars like the Altima or Maxima. When they are under hard acceleration, they stay at 6000 rpm (or whatever their peak power is at) all the time. That means they never have to redline (which can cause serious damage to an engine) and they never go outside the maximum power.

Constantly staying in the best gear is especially useful when going up hills. Therefore, CVTs are proving themselves more fuel efficient. About the only drawback is their extra weight over manual, but when you're talking about 40-50 lbs, its easily made up by the improved acceleration response of CVT. Also, CVTs are limited to the amount of torque they can handle. Still, they can handle a lot. The new Nissan Maxima uses CVT and makes 255 HP.

 

Not sure where you get the ideal that auto's get better fuel economy then a manual. Since this is a Corolla forums, I'll start with the Corolla.

Corolla

auto 26 city, 35 hwy

manual 28 city, 37 hwy

Yaris

auto 29 city, 35 hwy

manual 29 city, 36 hwy

Matrix

auto 25 city, 31 hwy

manual 26 city, 33 hwy

Even the Nissan Altima manual gets 1MPG more then the CVT trans.

While a few cars might be rated at higher MPG in a auto, I think it is safe to say that most manuals still out perform their auto counter parts in gear ratio's, weight, and price. In the future that will probably change. Super cars have F1 style shifters that I would love to have, but it is going to be awhile before they are in normal cars. Just because a car has triptronic shifter padels doesn't mean they are nice. Most of them are still rather slow.

Why do so many people think that taking a engine to red line is so bad for the engine? The rev limiter is electronically limited so the engine isn't harmed. Honda's sell street cars that have a 9K rev limiter and they are built to be revved out that high with normal driving. Race engines can rev out to 19K RPMs. F1 doesn't allow a engine change after every race either, so they have to actually last now days too. Your street car with a 6-7K rev limiter is not going to do any internal damage by revving out to the electronic limiter.

I know the Mitsu 4g63 limiter is 7200 RPMs. I've been to it many times and I have over 100K miles on my car and compression is still very strong. People who have bypassed it have revved out stock engines with some good miles on them to 8500 and not blown them up. It's not a good ideal with out lighter valves and stronger valve springs, but the crank and pistons don't even need to be upgraded to safely rev out rather high.

Bitter

grab a nice used E36 BMW and enjoy the aftermarket, nice ride, and surprising handling/performance...also the big repair bills.

on 2nd thought, grab a MK2 MR-2 turbo and do burnouts in the lexus dealers parking lot while giving them the finger.

Its just the nature of the automobile's progression. With the movement towards fuel efficiency and the lack of interest in manual transmissions, automatic transmissions have superceded in many applications. If you look at many cars today, they are actually more fuel efficient in automatic than manual.

Personally, I predict that CVT will become the universal transmission in automobiles. They have proven themselves superior to both traditional automatic (torque converters) and manual. CVT provides a continous and infinite variable of gears across one belt/chain, removing the need for shifting and gear seeking (which I absolutely can't stand). Therefore, CVT can accelerate faster than manual by staying in the peak performance all the time. It also means CVT can always stay in the most efficient "gear" all the time. Its kind of crazy looking though. Check out some clips on youtube of cars like the Altima or Maxima. When they are under hard acceleration, they stay at 6000 rpm (or whatever their peak power is at) all the time. That means they never have to redline (which can cause serious damage to an engine) and they never go outside the maximum power.

Constantly staying in the best gear is especially useful when going up hills. Therefore, CVTs are proving themselves more fuel efficient. About the only drawback is their extra weight over manual, but when you're talking about 40-50 lbs, its easily made up by the improved acceleration response of CVT. Also, CVTs are limited to the amount of torque they can handle. Still, they can handle a lot. The new Nissan Maxima uses CVT and makes 255 HP.

I hope that CVT will not take over - can actually lose quite a bit of efficiency in driving that big hydraulic pump that works the CVT. I think that C&D did a quick study on some Nissan examples, comparing the CVT to automatics and manuals. CVT spanks the automatics, but comes up a little short compared to the manuals. Sound engineering, but I think it needs a few more years before that can tackle the pumping losses.

I'm hoping that F1 style - automatically shifting manual transmission will be start making more noise. Too bad some of them were kind of sketchy - like the SMT on the late MR2 Spyder. A great ideal that is foiled by Toyota's overprotective logic on upshifts - takes way too long to complete. But an impressive piece of hardware none the less and the right direction for those that want manual driveline efficiency and simplicity with pushbutton ease of use. VW/Audi DSG/S-Tronic is another techno-savvy piece of hardware that seems to have it right. Take an Audi A3 or VG GTI for a spin and you'll know what I mean.

gvr4ever

grab a nice used E36 BMW and enjoy the aftermarket, nice ride, and surprising handling/performance...also the big repair bills.

 

on 2nd thought, grab a MK2 MR-2 turbo and do burnouts in the lexus dealers parking lot while giving them the finger.

 

Well if I got a BMW, I don't think I would mod it. At least not beyond intake and exhaust. I wouldn't want the repair bills for a used one either. With a new one, we would at least have 4 years to not deal with repairs.

Turbo MR-2s are too rare and we also need a 4 seater. I think we would like a 4 door too. While I would like a RWD, the next STi (not released yet) is going to be a 5 door wagon only. One thing I like about the current STi's is people are able to get 500+ HP and race them, using the stock transmission and drive train. On the 07 STi, a intake and exhaust is suppose to yield 40 WHP too. I guess you can't mod them pass that without getting ECU software upgrades, piggy backs. The current one is stickered around 33K. Also Hyundai released some pics of the tiberon replacement. It will be RWD with talks of many power plant options from a v6, a 4cyl turbo, a hybrid, and a diesel.

Unless you NEED a new car right now, it just isn't a good time to buy cause so many new cars are coming out real soon.

K_Watson

I sure wouldn't mind finding a nice low mileage '01 V6 Camry like my GF has.

You want to trade your fine Prizm for a real Toyota?

 

Good choice.

Oh no, I'd keep the Prizm around for a winter car.

Bikeman982

I sure wouldn't mind finding a nice low mileage '01 V6 Camry like my GF has.

You want to trade your fine Prizm for a real Toyota?

 

Good choice.

Oh no, I'd keep the Prizm around for a winter car.

So you would want two cars - one for show and the other for incliment weather?