Automatic or Manual tow car?

Oct 6, 2020
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I've been towing caravans for many years and we are currently on our 4th or 5th Mondeo Estate tow car. I currently have a 2L Mondeo diesel est 180 BPH manual gearbox 67 reg. I'm quite happy with it, but recently we got the "3 year itch". So we've been window shopping new or nearly new tow cars. It seems that the only options these days are automatic cars.... I've driven automatics in the past - but never as a tow car. The other recent development is the hybrid versions, which again seems the option "everyone" is selling. The advice I'd like is what is the collective thinking on automatic tow cars and Hybrids in particular. The hybrid in question would be what is called a (non plugin) mild hybrid from Ford. PS we did start looking at SUVs but they have nowhere near the boot space of the Mondy and in some cases are actually too light to tow a 1500+kg van. Thanks guys - Graham
 
Nov 16, 2015
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6 years ago, I was trying to find an automatic Modeo Titanium X. Could not find a 2nd hand one. Ended up with a Santa Fe.. Brand new 2014. Love it. Auto. Would not go back to a manual.
 
Jun 2, 2017
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We tow with a Kia Sorento auto. When abroad, stick it on Cruies at 60mph, sit back and let it go! Lovely tow car no effort, very comfortable. Arrive at your destination without any aches & pains.
Never dream of buying a manual again to tow with-why work when the car can do it all for you?
Mike
 
Jan 3, 2012
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12 years i have had either a MPV OR SUV it easier for me from my wheelchair my present car is a Brand new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan DSG i also would not go back to a manual
 
Nov 11, 2009
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For. towing an auto every time. If possible one with a torque converter auto box. Check if the mild hybrids have the required towing specification.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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I like changing gear and our Nav is more economical as a manual. Having had an auto mini I think they lack involvement or connection somehow. Not for me.
 
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Oct 22, 2019
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I like changing gear and our Nav is more economical as a manual. Having had an auto mini I think they lack involvement or connection somehow. Not for me.
Same here. Our friend has same pick up as an auto and we get a few more mpg on average than the auto. Told him in the beginning how good ours was and they brought the auto version and a little miffed that they were getting less.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Depends on the type of auto gearbox. The twin synchro clutch gearboxes are basically automated manuals and they are almost identical if not better in real world driving economy than manuals. The conventional auto gearboxes with torque converter are less economical but again it depends on the cars make. Cars with 8 or 9 speed torque converter boxes tend to be good for economy. Those with less ratio speeds not so.
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Still don't like the detached from the driving feeling an auto box -any auto box, gives you. I like to be moving that gearstick! And unless you have one of the newer 'connected to the satnav so they know the road ' type gearboxes that are appearing now they don't think ahead eg to a hill or when a hill is approaching/traffic flow etc!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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For some years now the VAG DSG has had a self learning capability that adjusts to the drivers style. But no Hill Anticipation Mode yet😀 Although if the satnav uses Google I guess there will be one now.
 
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Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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I tow with a Kia Sorento 2.5 auto which tows our twin axle 1680kg caravan as if it wasn't there.
Towing is a completely relaxing experience, the auto gearbox uses a torque converter so no expensive dual clutch repairs and reversing with the caravan is a doddle.
The main difference between my auto transmission Sorento and my manual Ford Fiesta 1.6 td Titanium X daily drive isn't the porridge stirring manual gear lever, for me it's the fact that the indicator stalks are on different sides of the steering column which can lead to the windscreen wipers being operated by mistake when about to change direction.
Having had both auto and manual towcars in the past, I'd recommend the auto every time.
 
Jul 30, 2007
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I know what you mean about the indicator/wiper "stalks"Parksy.

I had a "57"plate Titan a few years ago....took me ages to get used to the different layout.

The number of times its started raining and im then indicating to turn right/left😂😂
Excellent towcar though.
 
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Mar 10, 2006
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Still don't like the detached from the driving feeling an auto box -any auto box, gives you. I like to be moving that gearstick! And unless you have one of the newer 'connected to the satnav so they know the road ' type gearboxes that are appearing now they don't think ahead eg to a hill or when a hill is approaching/traffic flow etc!
With my auto the 7 gears gives me more MPG than both the Mazda cx_5 manual with 6 gears and the TC 6 speed auto.
And it's 50kg heavier with more power.
If I want to drive it manually the paddles or gear stick offers those options.
No more manuals for me.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I know what you mean about the indicator/wiper "stalks"Parksy.

I had a "57"plate Titan a few years ago....took me ages to get used to the different layout.

The number of times its started raining and im then indicating to turn right/left😂😂
Excellent towcar though.
I have same problem giving directions to my wife. “Turn right” from me actually means “turn left”. Guess my brain was wired in Korea.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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I have same problem giving directions to my wife. “Turn right” from me actually means “turn left”. Guess my brain was wired in Korea.
My friend has a form of dyslexia like that - when he's navigating I have to watch his hands, not listen to his voice - his dyslexia was only diagnosed shortly before retiring as a Quantity Surveyor.
 
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My friend has a form of dyslexia like that - when he's navigating I have to watch his hands, not listen to his voice - his dyslexia was only diagnosed shortly before retiring as a Quantity Surveyor.
Interesting as I might say “ left” and the right hand moves. But I never had any problems in the days of driving or motorbikes when hand signals were the norm. Otherwise I wouldn’t have made it this far. I was on a ship that had side passageways with red or green deck tiles. Luckily I’m not colour blind. That was to help the Royal Marines navigate around the vessel.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Much prefer towing with an auto. Have a Torque Converter auto in my 5cyl Diesel, I wouldn't go back to manual for towing. I'm not convinced by the "Self Charging" slogan for hybrids (especially by Toyota) its pure marketing spin. I would rather have a PHEV and get the benefit of proper all-electric range for non-towing duty. However, looking at the new versions of my car, they are all Mild Hybrids; they do not claim any electric range, so it's just a technology to improve economy of existing petrol/diesel engines to eek-out the life of the doomed internal combustion engine.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Some people on here might prefer a manual i have had both in my time but when i got my Tiguan auto with 7 gears gives more to the gallon .than some cars of this size
If i want to drive manually you just move the gear stick or paddles on the steering wheel .
 
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Mar 4, 2019
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I tow with a Kia Sorento 2.5 auto which tows our twin axle 1680kg caravan as if it wasn't there.
Towing is a completely relaxing experience, the auto gearbox uses a torque converter so no expensive dual clutch repairs and reversing with the caravan is a doddle.
The main difference between my auto transmission Sorento and my manual Ford Fiesta 1.6 td Titanium X daily drive isn't the porridge stirring manual gear lever, for me it's the fact that the indicator stalks are on different sides of the steering column which can lead to the windscreen wipers being operated by mistake when about to change direction.
Having had both auto and manual towcars in the past, I'd recommend the auto every time.
I totally agree comment about Kia 2.5, my experience the same. And regarding expensive dual clutch repairs, I have suffered one of these with a DSG Skoda Superb with oil clutch, I would also mention the very expensive oil change at 40,000 mandated for DSG (otherwise they die). Easy to check torque converter oil condition and change at the first hint of deterioration. Turns out changes are less frequent and much cheaper than DSG.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I totally agree comment about Kia 2.5, my experience the same. And regarding expensive dual clutch repairs, I have suffered one of these with a DSG Skoda Superb with oil clutch, I would also mention the very expensive oil change at 40,000 mandated for DSG (otherwise they die). Easy to check torque converter oil condition and change at the first hint of deterioration. Turns out changes are less frequent and much cheaper than DSG.

Don’t forget the 20000;mile Haldex oil change, which even after 43000 miles and two changes didn’t prevent the Haldex pump giving up the ghost too on my Superb 4x4 estate.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Much prefer towing with an auto. Have a Torque Converter auto in my 5cyl Diesel, I wouldn't go back to manual for towing. I'm not convinced by the "Self Charging" slogan for hybrids (especially by Toyota) its pure marketing spin. I would rather have a PHEV and get the benefit of proper all-electric range for non-towing duty. However, looking at the new versions of my car, they are all Mild Hybrids; they do not claim any electric range, so it's just a technology to improve economy of existing petrol/diesel engines to eek-out the life of the doomed internal combustion engine.
The plethora of mild hybrids now appearing even on minute cars is all about manufacturers trying to get their average fleet consumption levels below the legal threshold for the fleet. If they cross that threshold they will be ‘ fined’ for each car sold above the threshold. For big manufacturers like VAG, Fird etc it could run into billions of euros. It’s intended to drive emissions down and the effects are smaller boosted engines, mild electrification, lighter cars, stop-start and some models removed entirely from the range.

When we move down to one car a PHEV would be high on the list as even a 30 mile range on battery would be more than adequate but having the ability for longer journeys without looking for charging stations would be an advantage too, until the time comes for local journeys only, then it would be full EV.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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When we move down to one car a PHEV would be high on the list as even a 30 mile range on battery would be more than adequate but having the ability for longer journeys without looking for charging stations would be an advantage too, until the time comes for local journeys only, then it would be full EV.

When we moved down to one car I bought a "keeper" to reduce my carbon footprint that way - but now we've gone back to two cars as I've bought a little city car which uses half the fuel of the big diesel - and can stand being damaged in parking knocks. When the time comes to give up caravanning and longer journeys, I doubt I'll be allowed to drive, in fact that will probably be the trigger, so I don't think I'll ever get an EV
 
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When we moved down to one car I bought a "keeper" to reduce my carbon footprint that way - but now we've gone back to two cars as I've bought a little city car which uses half the fuel of the big diesel - and can stand being damaged in parking knocks. When the time comes to give up caravanning and longer journeys, I doubt I'll be allowed to drive, in fact that will probably be the trigger, so I don't think I'll ever get an EV
“Keeper” ?????
 
Nov 11, 2009
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“Keeper” ?????
From some friends and relatives experiences that time can come of progressively until night driving, or longer journeys become unattractive. But they can still drive shorter or local trips. It’s rarely a black and white decision in my experience.
 
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