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Automatic tow cars

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Posted

I think I have asked this before but it might have been a few years ago. And things may have changed.

Do automatics make better tow cars . I very often see a car That i like and am put off because it is an automatic.

Would you be put off . I have never driven one so I can't comment on performance.

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Posted

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We tow with an auto and have no problems at all and I doubt if we'd ever go back to a manual for towing.

Whether performance and fuel consumption are affected dramatically will largely depend on how old the vehicle design is - modern auto's don't appear to suffer as badly as older ones. Ours is nearly 16 years old so you can draw your own conclusions as to how badly it's affected HOWEVER it's a two ton brick so performance and fuel consumption will always be poor !

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:England:

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Posted

I went from a 240gl manual to a V70 auto, went from Jablines by Paris to Brissac-Quince with two gear changes, into drive and into park, it's so easy, maybe they do use a bit more fuel but I am keeping mine.

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Posted

I would say it is VERY reliant on engine size, Though things have improved a lot in the last few years I still dont think anything under two litres is that good, Although over that they are FAR superior to a manual in modern traffic conditions, Poss manual may be better on a 4x4 for serious off road work but even that is now being nibbled at.

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Posted

I`ve towed with autos from the early 80`s,( Ford Cortina Estate 2.0L), in all the years, and cars i`ve only been let down once, that was a 2.9L Scorpio, that didn`t have a transmission oil cooler, and it literally blew apart down in the South of France...but believe me it was ruddy hot..., since then have always made sure that what ever motor I go for has one fitted. and as fishman says anything under 2L is gonna struggle, or not go as you would hope.

2.5 L upwards, in diesels is a far better option...IMHO

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Posted

Do automatics make better tow cars . I very often see a car That i like and am put off because it is an automatic.

Would you be put off . I have never driven one so I can't comment on performance.

I think you've got the question the wrong way round.

Why would anyone prefer to tow with a manual car? Autos are superior in every way, for me.

Just my opinion of course.

John.

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Posted

I would say it is VERY reliant on engine size, Though things have improved a lot in the last few years I still dont think anything under two litres is that good, Although over that they are FAR superior to a manual in modern traffic conditions, Poss manual may be better on a 4x4 for serious off road work but even that is now being nibbled at.

For serious off road work, it has to be an Auto. Our auto Discovery 1, often leaves manual defenders struggling in sticky conditions!

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Posted

Auto all the time including off road.

Ian

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Posted

Our tow cars have both been autos - firstly an old Discovery Tdi 300 and for the last 5 yrs a Sorento XS Auto. Best feature of the Sorento is the ability to slip it into manual mode when decending steep hills, but this is the only time I don't use it in full automatic mode.

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Posted

I think you've got the question the wrong way round.

Why would anyone prefer to tow with a manual car? Autos are superior in every way, for me.

Just my opinion of course.

John.

I read all the hype about auto towcars being good, bought a volvo850 with a 4 speed auto box with lock up on the top two gears,and a sports mode, tried it thought what a load of horse manure as a tow car and sold it at a large loss. Bought the same car with a manual box, loved the car, it worked wonderfully as a tow car, kept it for 8 years, swore blind that until my left leg fell off I would never have another Auto and there you have it. Manuals for me are superior in every way. Just my opinion of course.

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Posted

For serious off road work, it has to be an Auto. Our auto Discovery 1, often leaves manual defenders struggling in sticky conditions!

Nabor goes in for the trialing in his cut down land rover, all the ones ~I've looked under the bonnet of, and that's a fair few have two basic mods, first throw the land rover engine away and fit an Isuzu, then fit an auto box, so yup, auto's for serious off roading as well.

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Posted

I think you've got the question the wrong way round.

Why would anyone prefer to tow with a manual car?

Because some people drive according to the rev counter, not the speedo. And manual gears can be a lot more controllable than an auto. Saying that, i like autos. And the right one makes towing effortless. But off road use and towing are totally different situations. Manuals have their benefits.

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Posted

Depends on the automatic - if it's an "old-fashioned" torque converter types then yes it's best - the only downside is slightly higher fuel consumption.

With diesels the automatic is even better as there's no DMF to fail expensively, which does occur earlier on manual cars used for towing.

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Posted

Just changing my 54 plate diesel Shogun auto for a Honda CRV with a 2.2 diesel and an auto gearbox. Wouldn't have a stick box now . It's so easy and restful to drive and the extra fuel used is more than compensated for by ease of use.

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Posted

Towed with several manuals over the years - Datsun, Ford, Volvo too name a few. Then I saw the light and bought a Volvo S70 auto with just over 40k on the clock about 10 years ago. That went two years ago when we got the current car with just under 100k on the clock - it was only used for towing and around 40 miles a week for work. I had the worry of an expensive repair, never happened.

I would not go back to a wiggly stick, and what is that third pedal for?

Autos are now my preference for all my driving needs - its my choice and my wallet that pays the extra for the ease.....

Each to his own

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Posted

Diesel engine with DSG auto box, as much control as a manual box (if you want it) and none of he losses associated with torque converters; in my humble opinion and based on my own experience the best of both worlds.

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Posted

I've heard lots of complaints about DSG transmissions - not always easy to drive smoothly/gently. They've no long term record for reliability, particularly given the stresses of towing. DGSs are ok under warranty but no-one wants to know after that.

Unlike older torque converter automatics, the modern ones have only a slight fuel penalty, thanks to the frequent use of torque-converter lock-up and they all have a "Tiptronic"-style sequential manual mode.

If a car hasn't got a conventional torque-converter, it doesn't even make my long list to choose cars from.

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Posted

I'm towing our van with a dsg auto tomorrow for the first time.

Am I best to just leave it in drive or select sport mode or use it like a manual?

Hoping for rather better mpg than before - car is returning 50+ mpg solo so hopeful I might see upper 20's or even 30mpg tomorrow.

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Posted

There is a widespread view among transmission experts that modern electronic control systems are so good that it's best to let the electronic "brain" determine which gear to be in - they take speed, load, gradient all into account and many of them monitor the transmission fluid temperature and alter the gearchange mapping to ensure that all aspects of the engine/transmission performance are kept at optimum levels.

Older automatics had control systems so crude that they would "hunt" between gears on hills solo or any sort of towing - this is where the old advice came from to hold a lower gear or use the manual mode - but it shouldn't be necessary with a modern autobox regardless of type.

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Posted

Cheers Roger - I only ever towed with the land cruiser in drive and never had any problems but that had huge amounts of grunt and was a very old school 4wd auto.

Have never towed with a 2wd "car" before - just briefly with a people carrier and then 7 years of 4x4's. Still needs must in these days of £6 a gallon.

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Posted

I'm towing our van with a dsg auto tomorrow ........

Am I best to just leave it in drive or select sport mode or use it like a manual?

Resulting from my own experience I would suggest you start by using 'drive' as per normal and see how it goes. You have sport or full manual as options if for any reason you feel the response in drive isn't to your liking.

Adopting that approach myself I found that drive performs well for majority of situations with occasional manual intervention from me to force an upward change (surprisingly), as I felt that it was hanging onto a lower gear longer than I thought necessary. I don't like to see the revs running too high so providing the revs after the change remain above 1800-2000 rpm found that was adequate to continue accelerating.

With 170 engine you have I suspect it will be something of a breeze ... you have a little more in reserve than I have with a 105 (1.6) engine.

I hope you first experience of towing with the new car is as satisfying as I have found with mine.

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Posted

If you're switching from a heavy 4x4 to a lighter fwd car then you may well get some wheelspin from rest the first time you're towing on wet/slippy roads due simply to unfamiliarity - the ESP should handle it though.

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Posted

Burning/smoking clutches on hills, fear of losing your clutch ... ?

Put all that behind you with an auto

I've towed with a few - Carlton 2.0 autos, Omega 2.0 autos, Passat CC diesel DSG, Merc C-Class C250cdi Auto.

No grief with any of them, the last two also had hill-hold which is also great for towing - both of them did about 29mpg.

If you're doing any significant tow work then auto is it (check what it says in the handbook about any need for fitting an oil cooler tho)

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Posted

I haven't read any of the previous replies to this very worth post, but here is my honest answer from a confirmed stick shift man.

I move a lot of caravans each and every year and I know that it is one hell of a lot easier to do so with a tow vehicle fitted with an automatic box, and it is even easier if it is an auto box that also has a hiogh and low ratio transmission.

When out on the open road, the latest box with hook up don't race up and down the box like they used to do and neither do they slurrrrrrrrr against the torque converter.

So if it was my money right now (and please cover over 'Blue Louis' ears when I write this) I would now go for a good high end auto box any day of the week if purchasing a new car.

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Posted

I'm no expert on towing, having only started this year, with a Megane 1.5 diesel manual!! Yes, it worked fine with our light caravan.

Now we've changed to a heavier van, we've bought at VW Passat 2litre diesel with DSG box.

On our first few outings, I've managed an average of 30mpg with the van and 50mpg without. Only used the tiptronic on long downhill slopes to ease braking pressure and occasionally on long gradual upslopes to change up, as the box likes to hang around at 3,000 revs, when it could change up.

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