Please do not get sniffy. I drive an automatic car. I do not have a manual
licence ( OH does b ut I cant be reliant on him!) . I am not a confident
driver although I am SAFE, that was why I got an automatic in the first
place. I travel 100 miles a day to work and back without incident, so there.
Now, I want to get a 4x4 car. I don't mind if it is second hand ( I will go
to a dealer) or new.
I have a automatic Clio currently and my PH has a little used ( about 500
miles in three years!) Scudo van. I was thinking to change the Scudo for a
4x4 - possibly keeping my 2 year old Clio ( although I might have to change
his van for an older 4x4 and even a manual depending on what I can get).
Thats the scenario. Now, what sort of 4x4 is good - OK? I don't need a big
one or that fancy, just reliable. I had been looking at a Suzuki Jimny. The
problem is I have been to several dealers fora NEW ( brand new) car and
found them very sniffy when I mentioned wanting an automatic. I have looked
on the web sites of many manufacturers but they don't state which vehicles
they will do as an automatic option.
I have found this before , so its not new to me but is a problem and I am
tired and don't have time to sort through it and take the flack. My old
Renault dealership when were helpful has been taken over by a big firm who
are sniffy about anyone who mentions automatics! I could do with some
advice. I don't need to be patronized please, I have had that from men in
the motor trade. ( No , this is not my inheritance money but I do need a 4x4
to keep travelling 400 miles a month this winter to sort out the house I
have inherited. OH van is 2004 and could do with changing too so a 4x4 could
be a better option).
Thanks for any help in selecting a suitable vehicle. Smallish, economic and
reliable are the criteria - not big and blousy and "boys toy". I don't care
about eco friendly. I need a car to get from A - B and is useable in all
I know nothing about 4x4 cars so can't answer your question but, having
driven automatics for the last 25 years, I don't understand what problem
you're having in getting an auto. You say the dealers/salesmen are "sniffy"
about autos - just tell them in no uncertain terms that that is what you
want, end of.
When I passed my test at 17 back in 1975 I thought auto's were wussy and I
never, ever, wanted one - until I drove one a few years later. Automatic
gearboxes are definitely one of mankind's better inventions and I would
never go back to a manual transmission now.
there is no doubt that manual is more fuel efficient and generally
better for smooth fast driving, but the wear and tear on the left foot
and the left arm in traffic..
As I get older and my reflexes are not what they were, the auto is more
and more useful.
Really, only 10% of the population could be said to drive a manual
better than an automatic would,and I am not sure I count in that group
Firstly, uk.d-i-y is not the usual place to ask this sort of question.
The idea of Usenet is that there are a number of newsgroups and the
title gives some clue to the sort of post that is on topic. You may get
better answers or a better range of answers from uk.rec.cars.misc or
uk.rec.driving, although having said that many people post there and
You also haven't given a budget or a preference for fuel type which
makes recommending a particular vehicle somewhat difficult.
Your post gives the impression that you think that a 4x4 will work some
magic and allow you to drive through conditions that will defeat other
cars or that a 4x4 will somehow be "safer" in these conditions. Neither
statement is necessarily true and in last year's snow I passed many
stranded 4x4s. If you're going to get the best out of a 4x4 you need to
get some training in addition to having a driving licence, particularly
if you have never driven a 4x4 before. Also an automatic 4x4 is markedly
inferior in coping with poor road conditions than a manual car.
Have you given a thought to the fact that many automatic 4x4 vehicles
actually have multiple gear levers? For example I have two 4x4s at
present, a Jeep and a Ford. The Jeep makes use of a second gear lever to
change between 4x4 High ratio and 4x4 Low ratio. The Ford has a selector
switch for rear wheel drive only, 4x4 high, 4x4 low. Other 4x4s also
have other controls such as differential locks. If you're not confident
or able to drive a manual, is a 4x4 with its plethora of controls going
to be right for you? Only you can answer these questions and I'd
recommend that before you spend cash on a 4x4 you actually get
experience of driving one.
As to which one, again you have to decide. Do you want an off-road 4x4
(Land Rover/Jeep in appearance) or would you be happy with a 4x4 saloon
For someone who has no experience of using a 4x4 I'd recommend a Subaru
Forester. These are essentially car-like, available with automatic
gearboxes and are well built. You could also consider a Subaru Impreza,
which is even more car like. The Forester is more "utility vehicle" and
was designed around the needs of people who have horses or small farms
and who need a tough vehicle with 4x4. Good low mileage Foresters and
Imprezas start around £5k.
The other thing you need to think about is tyres. The tyres fitted to
all cars and 4x4s in the UK are inadequate for winter use in snow. If
you're going to be driving in snow you need to change the tyres on the
vehicle to ones suitable for snow. These may be referred to as "Mud and
Snow" or "Winter" although you can also use "All Terrain (AT)" tyres.
Winter tyres for a Forester will cost you about £100-130 each.
You'd also be well advised to pack a snow shovel, water,
blankets/sleeping bags, HiVis vests or an insulated workman's
fluorescent jacket, a torch and batteries and possibly some source of
food that will last in the car. As mentioned earlier, I passed many 4x4s
stranded in the snow last year and I heard that many drivers were in
their cars for one to two days.
A Suzuki Jimny IMO isn't right for what you want, it's a car that be
rolled fairly easily hence not a good first 4x4, and it would crucify
anyone driving several hundred miles a week. If you insist on one of
those then there is an automatic version. Check Autotrader to see if one
is in a garage near you. Note that you have this week a choice of 10
auto Jimnys in the UK and 76 auto Foresters, so the Jimny auto is a rare
(difficult to find) vehicle.
This is precisely what I mean about sniffy. The idea that because I drive an
automatic I haven't enough experience or I am inferior in some way.
I didn't state type of fuel because it doesn't matter. I didn't state budget
because it isn't that important - remember I am changing a 2 litre Scudo -
expensive all round for this.
As for driving in snow. I did 100 miles from Exeter to Cornwall in blizzards
last January , so I have experience of taking an automatic | ( Clio) over
dartmoor and Bodmin Moor in snow.
I also know about tyres, thanks.
I just thought a 4x4 would give me more options. I have a friend who has a
Jeep which is automatic and I didn't see a mass of levers in his car thanks.
Either way, please do not think that because I drive an automatic I cannot
drive. My licence limits me, not my skills.
But thanks for the information about the Jimny. Scratch that. Again though ,
I like driving smaller vehicles although I would prefer one that will give
me some flexibility ( not a saloon - I have a car .... my Clio, which I know
experts are also sinify about but remember my Clio passed loads of equally
stranded drivers of its " betters" on the way over Haldon Hill last year.)
Just looking for a decent , middle of the range vehicle . Not big and
blously and as I said not a " boys toy". I am not looking for a " Top
Gear" answer. I don't need a Jeremy Clarkson. I just want advice on a common
all garden decent and reliable car ( 4x4 still remains a favourite as it is
a common feature where I live - rural Cornwall , although no one type
I prefer not to be sleeping out Thanks. I want to get home. I judge my
chances of that when I leave in a morning usually, although right now
weather forecasts are next to useless frankly. I cant even work out if I
should go sick Tuesday to avoid getting trapped in Exeter.
I asked in DIY and did put Off topic. I have usually found people in DIY to
be more practical and user friendly. Thanks.
Buy the car you want to buy, live with the consequences of your choice.
It's your money and will be your car. Personally I'd go for the Forester
it's an infinitely better vehicle than the Jimny. Here's a clue, which
of the two will you see most often on farms?
I have bever seen a Forester on a farm her. The old Land Rover ( usually so
old they are held together with string) seems popular. The Range Rover
seems to be the choice of the Fair ( as in those who go round with the
merry go rounds). The Suzuki seems a popular choice in the area where I
live hence I looked at it. Not one particular type though.
So, going on what I see on farms.... yeah ,
Grow a thicker skin.
By definition someone who cannot pass a test to drive a manual car is
not as capable as someone who can. As to automatics, I have three cars,
two automatics and one semi-auto. But I took and passed the manual test
and drive manual cars on a regular basis.
Then I suggest you didn't look properly. There is a *huge* second gear
lever to the left of the automatic gear selector.
How many accidejnts have you had with your manual? I have driven for 30
years with no troubles at all. I drive 100 miles a day, and on rural roads,
so not exactly without experience of difficult roads. However, you are
right, I am limited. I have a slight dyspraxia which limits my ability to
co ordinate my left foot for the clutch. Thats the issue. Not a "
disability" officially, so not motorbility challenged, just safer in an
Probably safer than you my friend.
How do you define " as capable"? I tried for SIX years to co ordinate the
clutch in a manual car and failed. I bought an automatic and took the test
the next day and passed it first time. My driving skills match your sany
day in terms of my " capability" to steer, watch the road, anticipate etc.
I do not see that being good with the clutch makes you "more capable" as a
driver - just better with a clutch. Thats not driving,
I don't have a manual, see above. But the answer is "none".
I generally find that people who prattle on that they are "safe" are
anything but, generally they are (a) slow and (b) lucky and usually (c)
don't drive very far. You may be the sole exception, but on usenet you
can make all the claims you want about how good a driver you are and
they don't amount to a hll of beans.
You seem to have a real chip on your shoulder BTW, is this why you
declare that car salesmen are "sniffy"?
Equally true of those who prattle on that a driver of a manual car is " more
capanle " than one who drives an automatic I am sure. There is far more to
driving than changing gear using a clutch. Hills of beans indeed.
Ignore the idiots who think they are better than you because they have a
licence that includes manual gearboxes. In fact automatics mean the driver
has more time to concentrate on the important aspects of driving. Be aware
that 4WD does not mean you will be invincible in bad weather which is a trap
many fall into. In the last two days I have encountered three 4WD vehicles
stuck min snow because the drivers had no idea of how to drive on an icy
road. Once you have your chosen vehicle go and get some professional
tuition at an off road centre to learn how to get the best out of your
vehicle. With the mileage you do choose a diesel if possible because the
savings are significant. Good luck with your quest.
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