Some people like to sit back and enjoy a drive, looking about and taking in the passing scenery at a steady pace. Others like to savour the skills of operating a piece of sophisticated machinery; taking pleasure in a high standard of driving, often at or near the legal limit. We all have our preferences and that affects our choice of car as much as anything else.
Although not nearly as many as there used to be, some car makers still produce vehicles with rear-wheel drive; most have models that operate with front-wheel drive and more still offer the extra grip that comes with four-wheel drive. In short there’s something for everyone, but one thing the current crop of petrol, diesel or hybrid cars all have in common is a gearbox. Over the last 120 years or so, in cars as we know them today, these collections of cogs have developed from a crash gearbox with straight-cut gears; one that required the driver to carefully judge an engine’s revs to shift smoothly, to the sophisticated units we have now. Gearboxes have come a long way.
The Manual Gearbox
A manual gearbox or transmission, operated by a lever and known to our American cousins as a stick-shift, uses a driver-operated clutch, usually engaged and disengaged by a foot pedal to regulate torque transfer from the engine to the gearbox. It comes with five or six gears and is preferred by drivers who like total control. These days though we like our creature comforts at home or in the car and possibly an easier life generally, so many folk now prefer a vehicle with an automatic transmission.
The Automatic Gearbox
An automatic transmission can, as the name suggests, automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to do all that tiresome shifting manually. An auto allows an internal combustion engine, best suited to run at a relatively high rotational speed, to provide a range of speed and torque outputs necessary for comfortable motoring. These days there are various types and all are very complex and intelligent. The very latest models have up to ten ratios! In fact, this is becoming more common today as, for example, the new Ford Ranger Raptor – a pickup truck – is now offered with such an automatic.
Increasingly popular with car makers are continuously variable transmissions (CVT). Instead of shifting through a set of fixed gears, a CVT ‘box will constantly adjust ratios to provide optimal performance in transferring power to the wheels; in a sense it is like having just one gear or an infinite number depending upon opinion. Initially some motorists didn’t care for them but car makers have taken heed and made improvements, so much so that these days they have a more ‘stepped’ feel. A great improvement. This modern solution is popular with manufacturers because the technology delivers much better fuel economy, something everyone can appreciate.
These, arguably, are the cars of our motoring future and offer instantaneous brisk to very quick acceleration, because they effectively have only one gear. No gearbox needed, so if you find the shifting and sometimes grating of gears annoying, then an EV might well be the right choice.
Having a choice when it comes to cars is important because individual drivers have individual preferences. That’s why here at eCars247 we offer a wide and varied selection of high quality used cars at competitive prices
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