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Automated Manual Transmissions: Automatic For The People

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We all can acknowledge that the compact size of small cars makes them perfect for city driving and even more suited to city parking. Likewise traditional automatic transmissions are a proven luxury for those who have to contend with daily traffic jams. However automatic gearboxes are often too expensive for most drivers of smaller cars. The difference in price between cars with manual or automatic transmission can be thousands of euros. Well Opel has recognised this and in partnership with transmission specialist ZF, they have developed their new Easytronic 3.0 as an option for their KARL, ADAM, Corsa and new Astra models. Meaning drivers of small cars don’t need to give up completely on this little luxury.

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The Easytronic 3.0 automated manual transmission, is based on a manual gearbox with an automated gear-shifting system – making for a more affordable, efficient alternative to a conventional torque converter automatic transmission for small or compact cars. Aside from the added comfort of not having to spend large portions of your commute shifting between first and second gears; this automated manual transmission promises to optimise fuel economy by selecting the most fuel efficient gear for you. For example when coupled with their 1.0 ecoFLEX, Opel’s new Astra offers a return just 4.2 litres per 100 km (96 grams CO2/km) in the NEDC combined cycle.

The ratios of the five forward speeds have been designed to keep revs to a minimum at higher speeds, once again helping fuel economy and reducing engine noise. There is also a “Creep” mode for slow-speed manoeuvres which is similar to that of an automatic transmission, and the special start/stop function enables rapid starts and acceleration. And when eventually the traffic does begin to move, the option for manual gear changes is retained should the driver so wish.