Your Choice in Transmissions Could Save You Gasoline

Aug 21, 2008

Are you in the market for a new car? Are you thinking that a certain tiny four seat subcompact will deliver to you the best fuel economy? Think again - some of today's cars are using advanced technologies which are helping larger, heavier cars achieve better fuel economy numbers than their smaller competitors.

Yes, you'll pay more for the larger models, but your pain at the pump will, in some cases, be slightly less than that tiny lightweight you have your eye on. The difference? It is all in the gears - transmission gears, that is. Let's take a look at a pair of models from different manufacturers to find what sets these cars apart besides their size......

Kia Spectra vs. Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu Picture

Kia Spectra Picture

For the record, the Kia Spectra is made in South Korea by the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group and is imported to the US while the Chevrolet Malibu is built in America. The Spectra is a compact car, the Malibu is classified as a midsize; both have enough seat belts to carry five passengers.

Base engine for the Spectra is a 2.0L I4 paired with a five-speed manual transmission while a four-speed automatic transmission is offered optionally. The standard engine for the Malibu is a 2.4L I4 that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Though the Spectra gets 24 mpg city and the Malibu 22 mpg city, the Malibu has a highway edge of 33-32. Interestingly, the standard manual transmission engine combination results in 30 mpg on the highway for the Spectra.

Extra Gears, Better Fuel Economy

What makes the difference between the two models? The two extra gears in the Malibu is what does it. Earlier models had a four speed manual which delivered 30 mpg, but with the six-speed now included, Chevrolet drivers can get ten percent better fuel economy than before.

Having extra gears means the transmission can operate at lower ratios which means that less fuel is used. For people who do a lot of highway driving, the Malibu wins out in fuel economy, besides being a larger, roomier car for long trips. This doesn't mean that the Spectra isn't a capable car, but it does contradict a certain maxim - smaller cars are always more fuel efficient. Instead, the maxim should be that cars with the newest technologies, particular those with modern transmissions of at least six gears could be the most fuel efficient vehicles available.

Technology You'll Pay For

Most certainly the Spectra and the Malibu are designed for different drivers so my comparison does not include price or prestige, but it does indicate that car shoppers should look very closely at what they are getting: the bigger car could offer the best combination of ride and fuel economy for you and your family - you just have to ask yourself if you are willing to pay for these enhancements.

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Copyright 2008-2012 - Matthew C. Keegan is the owner of a successful writing and marketing business based in North Carolina, USA. He manages several websites and is a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport, a quality retailer of aftermarket automotive parts including automotive body kits.

Your Choice in Transmissions Could Save You Gasoline