Author Topic: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission  (Read 12665 times)

johnnywill08

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new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« on: September 06, 2012, 09:49:05 AM »
hi guys
buying a new car and really have become sold on the honda fit.   mpg is pretty decent (EPA) 27/33, but obvy we can better) and its rated very high in customer satisfaction....

so, my issue is that, given that more and more people are buying used, and that these are fairly popular cars, the gap between low miles used (below 50k) and a brand new manual tranny fit ($15k) or auto transmission ($16k) is really really slim right now, talking about maybe $2-3k difference, and you're sacrificing warranty time etc.

doesnt account for private party sales which i'm exploring heavily as well, it's just that the pickins are slim private party-wise and those are somewhat overvalued around here (boston/metro)

some other factors:  we're sellin an 05 jeep liberty w 115 k on it for $6k -$7500 (realistically low $6's) and we'll just about immediately (2-3 months) pay off the financing we would do on it, which comes in at 2.25% at our credit union.

also for the gearheads, the auto tranny is rated higher (+1mpg EPA) than manual tranny....   weird right?  i'm still leaning manual but some forums say the auto trannies are so good now you can expect to match the manuals...  can't be right, can it?  please only chime in on this end if you literally KNOW what you're talking about, ie have real experience, not just an old school, "manual trannies can't be beat, no matter what" sort, no offense, need real practical knowledge here because there' more than enough opinion to sort thru online already (i know that may sound awful, i've just spent 2 days reading thru opinion after opinion, so love to here some facts, is all)

thanks again guys, you're the best!

Posthumane

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 12:27:49 PM »
There are cases where an automatic transmission can have better fuel economy ratings than a manual, though with conventional transmissions it is rare (but not as rare as it used to be).

First off, the Fit was offered with a CVT outside of the North American market, which can offer an almost ideal gear ratio for any scenario, which will offset it's slight internal inefficiencies compared to traditional manuals. That being said, if you're in North America then the ones you are looking at won't have those, they will have a "conventional" automatic.

A conventional automatic will typically have a torque converter and planetary gear sets controlled by bands and clutches. A lot of the efficiency losses come from the torque converter because it constantly "slips" a little when it's not locked, which is a lot of the time in city driving. Torque converters will lock at highway speeds on all cars nowadays, so it doesn't impact highway fuel economy so much, and manufacturers are making them lock in more scenarios now with electronic transmission controls, even at lower speeds, which increases efficiency a bit.

Another reason that automatics were typically less efficient is that they had fewer gears compared to manuals, making selection of the "ideal" ratio more difficult. This was made up for by having an unlocked torque converter most of the time. The Fit (and many other new cars) has a 5 speed automatic, same as the manual, so that is not so much of an issue.

Because conventional automatics have torque converters, which act as an additional and somewhat flexible gear ratio, they can get away with taller final drives and wider space gears, which allows them to turn lower RPMs at high speeds. This alone can account for having slightly better highway ratings in an automatic than a manual. I've noticed modern automatics with electronic controls are being programmed to shift at lower RPMs at low loads than they were traditionally, which helps economy as well. For example, one of the work trucks I drive sometimes has a 6 speed automatic and it will be in 6th gear at ~45 km/h (at about 1200 rpm).

A third alternative to CVTs and conventional automatics is a "manu-mantic" or automatically controlled manual. This has the same internal gear layout and clutch as a manual, but it all gets controlled by a computer with servos instead of by the driver. This can be expected to match or beat a manual as it's the same transmission internals as a manual but with more optimal (in theory) controls. I don't think the Fit has one of these, but lots of Mercedes, BMW, Porches, etc have them, as well as the Smart car.

All that being said, a manual transmission can give you more control than an automatic, which may allow you to more easily exceed the EPA ratings, even if the manual ones are worse than for an automatic. While automatics have manual shift options sometimes (the Fit has paddle shifters I think), they typically don't allow you to force a higher gear than it will think is appropriate. If you are into hypermiling a manual will allow you more flexibility, but if you are a careless driver it will also let you get worse fuel economy. Decide what is best for you.

As far as the sale price is concerned, small Hondas tend to suffer from price inflation on the used market. The same could be seen with Civics before, where 1-2 year old ones were selling for the same price as new ones (why?!?). They do tend to last a long time though, so you may want to expand your limits and go for a higher mileage one, such as with 100+k miles, and you might find you're pleasantly surprised. I'm in principle against buying brand new cars, but I also don't condone buying used cars at almost new prices when they are popular.

velocistar237

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 12:44:00 PM »
Be sure to look at the total cost. The price you're quoting is "MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $790.00 destination charge and options." In the end, the cheapest price for a new Fit is around $17.5k.

I hear you about the used market. I considered going down to Rhode Island to take a look at a used Fit. In the end, we decided on a different car altogether.

It's about time for the 2013 models to come out, at which point the price on new 2012 models might go down a little.

Flynlow

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 12:47:23 PM »
Posthumane hit most of the high points, I'll try to fill in a couple of the gaps. 

First, on the "manuals are always better" front...I'll get the painful part out of the way, and hope you keep reading.  Manuals ARE always better, that is, a mechanical connection (clutch and gears) will always have less power loss than a fluid connection (automatic with torque converter), leading to slightly more power being transmitted from the engine to the drive wheels, resulting in better acceleration performance and fuel economy.

Now, that being said, why do some automatics post higher numbers on their window sticker???  The answer is gear ratios.  As was mentioned above, a CVT can optimize the gear ratio it is in for every situation, leading to great performance, whereas the traditional automatic or manual is limited to ~6 gear ratios to choose from, and those 6 have to cover a wide range of situations (acceleration from slow or fast speeds, cruising around town vs. highway, etc).  This doesn't mean the CVT is more efficient, their belt drive still gives up some efficiency vs. the clutch/gears of a manual, but it is more than compensated for by its infinite gear ratios.  Also, DSG's are beginning to enter the market in reasonably priced cars, they are computer controlled manuals, with the power efficienies of a mechanical connection along with the convience of automated control. 

But sticking to the classic automatic vs. manual concept, assume you're looking at 2 identical cars, other than the transmission selection.  Let's say its a generic hatchback, 3000 lbs, and available with either a 6 speed automatic, OR a 6 speed manual, and for some reason the automatic posts higher fuel economy numbers.  Why?  By far the most common reason is the gear ratios selected for each transmission will be different.  This was done because automakers were receiving complaints about passing power with manual tranmission cars.  Consider a situation where you are driving the above example vehicle (automatic to start) down the highway at 60 mph and you want to pass the vehicle in front of you.  You move to the left lane and put your foot to the floor, and the vehicle will automatically downshift from 6->5->4, and sometimes even to 3rd gear, giving you a huge surge of power and very impressive acceleration.  Now, the manual transmission car, same scenario....you put your foot down, and the car takes forever to accelerate, because you're still in 6th gear.  It requires the extra step of manually changing down 1, 2, or 3 gears to access that passing power. 

Seems very simple, but the average driver doesn't see that, and instead complains the car lacks power on the highway (because they don't downshift).  In extreme circumstances, the dealer or OEM will have to buy the car back from the customer.  So, as a result of this, most manual transmissions these days have lower gear ratios than their automatic brethren to give extra passing power without downshifting, to the expense of fuel economy. 

If the cars were the same weight, with the same gear ratios, and driven in the same manner, the manual will be the more powerful AND fuel efficient choice. 

Flynlow

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 12:55:54 PM »
As a non-generic example, looking at the specification page for the Honda Fit:

http://automobiles.honda.com/fit/specifications.aspx

You can see that both 5th gear (and 1-4 for that matter) and the final drive ratio in the manual transmission is different than the automatic.  The automatic has lower numerical values (ironically called "geared higher" in most automotive conversations), which will give better fuel economy, assuming the same engine and vehicle speed.

johnnywill08

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 07:08:21 PM »
wow guys thanks so much for all that info.  this is why i come here-no bs answers form people who know what they're talking about...  thanks again!

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 08:36:01 PM »
velocistar237 made a great point, which is that you can get some great deals at the end of the year, so you may want to wait until November to see what you can find.  I bought my current car in November a couple years ago.  Yes, it's new (or was) but the dealers were so anxious to get rid of their year-end models, they were willing to make some outrageous offers, so it worked out better than buying a slightly used car.  Honda was actually the most aggressive, and I would have considered the Fit if I was taller (it had lousy visibility for me).  If you're not too concerned with the color or getting specific extras and you're happy to take whatever is left on the lot, this could be a good answer for you.

TwoPupsOnACouch

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 09:25:28 PM »
My husband and I were in love with the Fit, but then checked out the Nissan Versa.  The Versa typically goes for a few thousand less (at least in the SE PA region, where we live) and was actually more comfortable for us.  Lots of seat padding and internal space, which is important since he's 6'1 and lanky.  In my experience, the only downside of the Versa was that the back seats do not fold completely flat.  At the time it seemed like a downer, but after two years of use, I can say that we would never have really needed the feature anyway.  This car gets hard use, lots of long trips, hauls two kayaks on the roof , compost and dogs in the trunk.  Great gas milage, and feels like a much bigger car inside.  Maybe try giving it a test drive to compare.  Just a thought.

ivyhedge

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 11:34:40 AM »
The Fit is definitely a nice choice, although its popularity and efficiency and commodious nature will likely make it difficult to find an amply depreciated option.

Until recently, both of us suffered lengthy commutes.

In our CR-Z, I rolled 27,000 miles in 11 months. My wife added 9,000 miles in 8 months in our Fit.

My ride (6-spd) has since returned 48.64 mpg over 29,946 miles, and I try moderately hard to keep the efficiency above 50 mpg (not difficult on the highway, but hard in the city since it's not a parallel hybrid). Worst tank: 42.7mpg; best: 53.1mpg.

What's stunning is that my wife's Fit (auto) median efficiency was 43.1mpg. Her low was 38.1mpg in the coldest period of the winter and her high was just north of 47mpg. She drove the car normally.

Oh, you will do so much better than the EPA estimates...

Uncephalized

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 03:10:32 PM »
Seems very simple, but the average driver doesn't see that, and instead complains the car lacks power on the highway (because they don't downshift).  In extreme circumstances, the dealer or OEM will have to buy the car back from the customer.  So, as a result of this, most manual transmissions these days have lower gear ratios than their automatic brethren to give extra passing power without downshifting, to the expense of fuel economy. 

If the cars were the same weight, with the same gear ratios, and driven in the same manner, the manual will be the more powerful AND fuel efficient choice.
What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway? Do they not notice the "CLUNK, VROOM" noise that their automatic car makes when they step on the gas, or the tach suddenly jumping several hundred or thousand RPM with no commensurate change in forward speed? What do they think is happening in that situation?

Posthumane

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2012, 05:48:10 PM »
What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway? Do they not notice the "CLUNK, VROOM" noise that their automatic car makes when they step on the gas, or the tach suddenly jumping several hundred or thousand RPM with no commensurate change in forward speed? What do they think is happening in that situation?
You'd be surprised. Some people don't grok driving or cars at all. One woman I drive with has a manual transmission car and is constantly in the wrong gear it seems. I've seen her pull up to a light and try to start the car in 4th, then shift to 2nd when it starts shuddering... Another girl got mad at me when I drove her car and caused it to downshift while accelerating (automatic) because she thought the engine sounded like "it was about to explode" when in reality it didn't go above about 4k rpm.

menorman

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 09:03:39 PM »
Seems very simple, but the average driver doesn't see that, and instead complains the car lacks power on the highway (because they don't downshift).  In extreme circumstances, the dealer or OEM will have to buy the car back from the customer.  So, as a result of this, most manual transmissions these days have lower gear ratios than their automatic brethren to give extra passing power without downshifting, to the expense of fuel economy. 

If the cars were the same weight, with the same gear ratios, and driven in the same manner, the manual will be the more powerful AND fuel efficient choice.
What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway? Do they not notice the "CLUNK, VROOM" noise that their automatic car makes when they step on the gas, or the tach suddenly jumping several hundred or thousand RPM with no commensurate change in forward speed? What do they think is happening in that situation?
I don't downshift when I'm passing on the freeway.....because my car has power pretty much everywhere. One of the perks of V8s. I usually shift around 2000 in normal driving and I can put my foot down in 6th at highway speeds and off we go without a hiccup.

Flynlow

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 05:49:06 AM »
What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway? Do they not notice the "CLUNK, VROOM" noise that their automatic car makes when they step on the gas, or the tach suddenly jumping several hundred or thousand RPM with no commensurate change in forward speed? What do they think is happening in that situation?
[/quote]

You do drive in the US, right?  Have you SEEN the people you share a road with? ;)

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2012, 07:46:16 AM »
How do you downshift in an automatic?

Posthumane

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 08:30:36 AM »
How do you downshift in an automatic?
Most automatics allow you to select a lower gear manually. In the older style ones you'd usually have R-N-D-3-2-1 or R-N-D-3-L or something along those lines, whereas many newer ones have only R-N-D-M available on the shifter itself, with either buttons or a side tilt of the lever allowing you to force a downshift (though usually you can't force an upshift). Also, you can force a kickdown by momentarily pushing the accelerator abruptly, then easing up a bit if you need to after it's kicked down.

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2012, 01:56:13 PM »
How do you downshift in an automatic?
Most automatics allow you to select a lower gear manually. In the older style ones you'd usually have R-N-D-3-2-1 or R-N-D-3-L or something along those lines, whereas many newer ones have only R-N-D-M available on the shifter itself, with either buttons or a side tilt of the lever allowing you to force a downshift (though usually you can't force an upshift). Also, you can force a kickdown by momentarily pushing the accelerator abruptly, then easing up a bit if you need to after it's kicked down.

Thanks!  I've only ever used those gears for mountains - I was taught that otherwise they shouldn't be used.  I guess I need to learn a bit about this.  If anyone can recommend any books or web sites, I'd love to learn more!

Uncephalized

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2012, 01:59:34 PM »
Seems very simple, but the average driver doesn't see that, and instead complains the car lacks power on the highway (because they don't downshift).  In extreme circumstances, the dealer or OEM will have to buy the car back from the customer.  So, as a result of this, most manual transmissions these days have lower gear ratios than their automatic brethren to give extra passing power without downshifting, to the expense of fuel economy. 

If the cars were the same weight, with the same gear ratios, and driven in the same manner, the manual will be the more powerful AND fuel efficient choice.
What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway? Do they not notice the "CLUNK, VROOM" noise that their automatic car makes when they step on the gas, or the tach suddenly jumping several hundred or thousand RPM with no commensurate change in forward speed? What do they think is happening in that situation?
I don't downshift when I'm passing on the freeway.....because my car has power pretty much everywhere. One of the perks of V8s. I usually shift around 2000 in normal driving and I can put my foot down in 6th at highway speeds and off we go without a hiccup.
Well, yes, obviously if you don't need to downshift to accelerate briskly, then don't. I should have said "What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway, then complains that their car doesn't have enough power to pass on the freeway?"

menorman

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Re: new or used honda fit and auto v manual transmission
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2012, 06:08:42 PM »
Seems very simple, but the average driver doesn't see that, and instead complains the car lacks power on the highway (because they don't downshift).  In extreme circumstances, the dealer or OEM will have to buy the car back from the customer.  So, as a result of this, most manual transmissions these days have lower gear ratios than their automatic brethren to give extra passing power without downshifting, to the expense of fuel economy. 

If the cars were the same weight, with the same gear ratios, and driven in the same manner, the manual will be the more powerful AND fuel efficient choice.
What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway? Do they not notice the "CLUNK, VROOM" noise that their automatic car makes when they step on the gas, or the tach suddenly jumping several hundred or thousand RPM with no commensurate change in forward speed? What do they think is happening in that situation?
I don't downshift when I'm passing on the freeway.....because my car has power pretty much everywhere. One of the perks of V8s. I usually shift around 2000 in normal driving and I can put my foot down in 6th at highway speeds and off we go without a hiccup.
Well, yes, obviously if you don't need to downshift to accelerate briskly, then don't. I should have said "What kind of fool doesn't downshift when passing on the freeway, then complains that their car doesn't have enough power to pass on the freeway?"
Yea, my downshifting is usually very much discretionary for me. At the same time, I often don't move over just because there's a truck. I just slow down and enjoi the savings. The problem isn't that most cars can't accelerate, even in their tallest gear, with reasonable urgency. My Accord got along just fine, though I'll admit it definitely didn't pick up as fast as the 540 does. But I think the real issue is that everyone is just far too impatient and mixed with a dash of ineptitude when they drive. If you see a truck up ahead and a mirror check reveals a vehicle in the neighbor lane two car lengths back and traveling much faster than you, DON'T TRY TO JUMP OVER THERE AND STEP ON IT. Waiting for the other car to fly by then go out at a more leisurely pace would save countless dollars and would suddenly mean your car doesn't have to have the 0-60 times of a bullet nor the engine to propel it at such rates of acceleration.