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What transmission do you drive in yer Element?


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hey everyone,

the element sure has me interested and i was wondering what all your opinions are concerning automatic vs manual transmissions for the element.
 

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freezerburrn I have the 5 spd and absolutely love it. So easy to drive and very responsive to throttle inputs. Wanna pass someone on the interstate - no problem, just press the loud pedal and away you go. No need to downshift. It's the only way to fly! :D
 

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What's right for you? Only you can decide that, but with that said, here is my personal opinion...

I love the 5-speed. Even in commute/city/stop & go situations, I enjoy driving the manual. There can be some of the low speed lurching that occurs in first gear if you want to induce (who would), but it's also easy to avoid and not near as prevalent as it was on my 2002 Acura RSX-S.

The transmission is silky smooth and the rally-style location of the shifter becomes second nature in no time. The short throws from gear to gear allow for some very high spirited driving on twisty roads (remember, tho, it's not a Boxster) and no bogging down on grades.

If you enjoy the visceral experience of driving, of controlling the vehicle in as many aspects as possible, then you would always select a manual transmission. It's not for everyone and I don't look down my nose at those who choose the automatic, especially given the relative rarity of manuals in general and non-availability on the AWD/4WD.
 

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I prefer the 5 speed manual and wouldn't buy the vehicle without it.

Actually, they are hard to find in the southeast and I had to wait 6 weeks to get a 2WD EX with a stick.
 

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3 months to get my 5-spd - should have it by the first week of May. I am borrowing the dealer's automatic civic sedan and it's boring me to hell to drive it. I don't feel a part of the experience without the stick shifter.

Iskie
 

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I test drove both the 5spd 2WD and a couple of auto 4WDS Elements. I was actually looking at this perhaps backwards from how most folks might approach this. I thought I wanted an auto 2WD. The 4WD, or AWD or whatevertheheck we're calling it, really wasn't much of a draw for me. So, I briefly considered being willing to go to a 5spd to eliminate the 4WD aspect that I wasn't particularly keen on. Sure, in theory, there are auto 2WDs out there, but when I was looking, I couldn't find any in a multi-city search.

I think that most folks that argue in favor of the 5spd (in any model), really like the driving experience itself. I'll readily admit that I think driving is basically a pain in the ass. I'm interested in getting from point A to point B and points C, D etc. with a minimum of hassle. Back when getting good gas mileage and performance out of a car meant putting up with a 5spd to get a decent 4-banger, I had a transition year CVCC Civic-Accord and later a 5spd Toyo Turdcel. At that time, an auto trans 4-banger ecconobox was a sure-fire recipe for a total slug. But times and technology have changed, and I choose not to hassle with something like shifting gears if the vehicle can be made to do it in what I perceive as a reasonable fashion without any major drawbacks. So, I really think that the whole transmission type debate gets back to how one enjoys, or distains the actual act of transport. Some like, or even insist on a manual trans. to enjoy the driving experience, and some of us just tolerate one, if we have to.

Anyway, getting back to the specifics of the Element, I was pretty embarrassed when I squealed the front tires right out of the dealership. I thought it pointed to my rusty manual transmission skills. The funny thing is that this dealership had made a big deal of only letting the salesguy drive the auto 4WD off the lot. (We had to switch drivers once off the lot.) But when it came to backing the manual out of a very tight lot, past lots of vehicles, and then having to immediately accelerate into full speed traffic at the end of the lot, they let me have at the manual trans. I had this idea that the salesguy, and the the other dealership staff were looking at this middle aged guy that couldn't drive a stick. Actually, I'm sure that wasn't the case, but it made me feel stupid. More importantly, it made me realize that even if I got good and comfortable driving the manual, there was little hope that my girlfriend was ever going to get comfortable with it. And since, driving the E on trips, in which I was going to be counting on her for relief driving on long distance trips, was a primary purchase consideration for me, the manual trans. just made no sense whatsover.

I just thought I'd add this little experience and subsequent decision making process just to present an opinion "from the other side", since the responses to all these auto vs manual threads tend to be dominated by manual trans. afficiandos. I have no doubt that there are some that will read my post and snicker. But, I'm really glad that I didn't get a manual trans. I will admit that I really enjoyed the short dash-mounted stick throw. For what it is, the 5spd, is a good one. It's just not a personal preference.
 

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2003 2WD MT GG, 55K as of 3/20(!), It’s a Fun Box
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I'm waiting on my 5-speed EX in Galapagos Green--wont have it until the end of May or early June. It's kinda hard to find manuals near SF.

I've test driven a few manuals and last Saturday tested an automatic (had to do a fit-in-garage test). When I took the auto on the freeway I didn't like the feel. I've been driving a manual for the last 5 years which may affect my impression, but I thought the auto seemed sluggish; the E didn't seem as spry. I really like the responsiveness of the E with a 5-speed. For me I think it'll be more fun. Even so, I'd still recommend the auto Element to someone else--it's just definitely not for me.
 

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Natural wonder, no snickers here and I think your observations are spot-on. Thanks for presenting the other side, since it seems that us manual types are the minority, but post more passionately whien the subject comes up.

I remember way back to the "Real men don't eat quiche" fad and, in that book it said, paraphrasing here, 'Real men drive automatic transmissions because they are not afraid to let a machine change gears in their cars'.
 

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I love the fun of a manual...but in my real life daily commute...its important to be able to drink coffee with one hand, and munch on the sausage egg biscuit and serenely drive in stop and go lurch traffic.

Had a manual 200 civic EX...fun...but didn't suit my transportation needs.
 

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Old lady - hate driving - prefer manual trannies.

I am such a bad driver, that I NEED a manual to keep on the ball. I tend to nod off in automatics!

Also have had battery go dead (twice) in downtown parking garages in the middle of the night, (not in the E yet) been able to roll that baby down the ramp and away I went. I remind myself of that whenever I'm in bumper to bumper.
 

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My E is the first non-manual I've owned. I do miss driving manual, but I simply didn't like the position of the stick in the E. Furthermore, it just didn't feel like a "stick vehicle" to me... large vehicles with manual transmissions remind me too much of busses. I'm stick always for coupes and even sedans, but for an SUV I do prefer the auto. Also leaves my hands free for playing with my MP3 player and waving to jealous CR-V owners. :D

Drew
 

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Was it a factor that the auto was all wheel and the stick a front wheel when you made your purchase?..

Personally I love the standard transmission vs the automatic....and you??...I know most like automatics...but the dealer said that the automatics are sitting on their lots ...I don't get it... :?:

thanks for your comments...
 

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This is the first I have heard that automatics are selling slowly and sitting on the lots. You should make to salesman who told you that to eat his words. Make a really low offer on one of those over stock autos he claims to have. His statement might be a good deal for you.

I like an auto because iI simply cannot stand to manually shift while dealing with traffic etc. It doesn't bother me at all on a motorcycle, but I like a car to be relaxing. Just my viewpoint.
 

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I've always driven manual, but my old lease was up and I wasn't going to wait around with no car until summer time. Plus I wasn't sure about how I liked having the stick on the dash like that. The E is not a sports car... I can do without stick.

So far I've no complaints about the auto. Not as fun as stick, but more convenient for twiddling with the MP3 player, and for manually opening my rear windows. :p

Drew
 

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I always preferred manual transmission and would have waited for it to be available in 4WD had it not been for the way the auto 4WD drove - I decided it wasn't worth waiting. I test drove manual and auto 2WD Elements and while the manual was more fun, the auto wasn't as far behind as I'd been led to believe, so I went auto 4WD instead and don't think I'll regret it.

My dealer said manuals weren't selling as well as autos...
 

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This will be my first automatic...ever. I always swore that I would never buy an automatic; only manuals allow for really driving, and I love to drive. Actually, I feel like I'm wussing out. :oops:

BUT, three factors came into play for me. First, I drove the auto AWD, and was amazed at the acceleration and pep. (Okay, I'll admit that going from an 85-hp Saturn to a 160-hp E might influence my impressions here. :wink: )

Second, I didn't want to wait for a 5-sp AWD. There were no production dates until very recently, and I'm having enough trouble waiting for my auto AWD. (Now that there are production dates, I will admit to a few tiny second thoughts about my decision. Should I wait a little longer and stick to my principles?)

Finally, and this was really relevant for me, is that I am a cell phone user. Sometimes I use a hands-free thing, but more frequently, I don't. I have a habit of saying "Hang on a sec" and dropping the phone whenever I need to turn sharply and shift at the same time. So, it really is a safety issue. I'm very careful about staying focused on the road, and ending calls whenever I feel traffic conditions warrant it, but switching to an automatic will be one less thing for me to have to think about when driving, since I don't plan to give up my cell phone...or my XM...or any of the myriad of gadgets that are part of car-life now. 8)
 

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[quote:85c9917a92="jayharley"]This is the first I have heard that automatics are selling slowly and sitting on the lots. You should make to salesman who told you that to eat his words. Make a really low offer on one of those over stock autos he claims to have. His statement might be a good deal for you..... [/quote:85c9917a92]

Actually I had to stop back at the dealer a few days after I picked up the...car..( you know someone told me that SUV's are 4 wheel drive only..??..so my front wheel drive is what???..)..anyway the salesman greeted me again at the door and repeated his 1st stamenent : that people had stopped and asked to test drive the only Element DX stick he had and never asked to compare it to an automatic...maybe is a regional thing here in New England...so I'm reading that 4 wheel drive is a big factor in all your decisions....anyone planning going 4 wheeling?...just like someone said that they didn't buy the Element as a sports car, but will you take it off road....??...
:shock: ..I would be afraid of scratching it...( being my wife's vehicle and all... :wink:)
 

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anyone planning going 4 wheeling?...just like someone said that they didn't buy the Element as a sports car, but will you take it off road....??...
..I would be afraid of scratching it...( being my wife's vehicle and all... )
Shortly after I bought my dodge 4x4 I heard a story that changed my opinion on off roading. Around my cabin there is a lot of public access land. Some guy with his brand new 40,000.00 chev 4x4 drove across a bridge. Long story short, the bridge broke and the truck fell and broke in half. Do you know that your colision insurance is not valid if you are off road. Anyway, I never took the dodge on anything other than fire roads and trail access. The element is perfect for that. If I want to do serious off road I will buy a beater that I won't care if I total it.
 
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