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Old 01.06.2019, 18:33
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Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Hi there

I am looking to buy a new 4x4 and want to ask about other forum members experience of driving automatic 4 wheel drive in Swiss driving conditions, particularly snow, compared to manuals. I have heard that automatic 4x4's have less control?

I have driven manual 4x4's in Switzerland which were BMW X3 2.0 diesel manuals (1st and 2nd generation) and they have been immense in getting me up and down small, snowy mountain hills. My work place used to be 1000 mountain where others took a cable car up to work!

For the past year, I have since owned a Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 automatic although that has never driven in snow as we moved to Asia for a year and are returning to Switzerland.

In particular, am looking at getting a second generation BMW X5 but as I see it they are all automatic, hence why I am interested. One X5 owner I drove with once to a ski resort commented he felt it was not so good downhill in snow? I observed this but I wondered if he put it into manual mode, if this would have been better?

Many thanks for your thoughts on the automatic v manual in snowy conditions.

Kind regards

RASZ
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Old 01.06.2019, 19:37
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

You won't need a 4x4 in Ticino unless you have a forest road that gets muddy (we do, so we do).

Tom
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Old 01.06.2019, 22:35
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

I hardly put winter tyres in Ticino
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Old 01.06.2019, 23:06
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Just replied to your other thread on BMW.
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Old 02.06.2019, 08:11
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

With a powerful enough engine the gearbox shouldn't be an issue wrt snowy/mountain conditions.

I have had problems in the past with underpowered cars (rentals in North America) where the gearbox could not hold a consistent desired speed on the climb, as the pedal depression required made it keep changing down to third, but then it would quite quickly accelerate, change into fourth, be unable to hold the speed, change into 3rd, gain speed, etc. Something you absolutely don't want to happen in dodgy conditions.

This was clearly a poorly matched engine and transmission, but it convinced me that a traditional slush-box without the ability to force it to stay in high gear was something I'd never be happy with.

These days nearly all auto boxes have 'manual' modes, although I'm not overly familiar with the BMW ones, so I would check, specifically, that you can override the 'kick-down', especially if considering less powerful versions. What I mean is like in VW/Audi semi-manuals, of which I have two, which will not change down in Manual mode unless you press the pedal to the floor, or the engine revs drop below tickover speed, which gives total control to be sure they're never going to change gear when I don't want them to.

Conversely, going downhill is never going to be a problem, as autos have all been able to select and hold a low gear for generations. I can't imagine why your friend would have had an issue unless he only ever left it in Drive, which is just plain user error.
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Old 02.06.2019, 08:53
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Basically a no brainer.
Hands down manual is the one and only way to go.
Anything else is for Dorks.
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Old 02.06.2019, 08:55
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Exactly - if you don't want to actively drive your car then take the bus.
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Old 02.06.2019, 09:40
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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I hardly put winter tyres in Ticino
We (and others) use winter tires year round in Ticino!

Tom
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Old 02.06.2019, 10:59
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Isn't a Hyundai Sante-Fe about the same size as a BMW, and from your other thread, it seems you wanted a bigger car.


A Santa-Fe is surely about the size of a X3 just a bit less prestigious perhaps ?
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Old 02.06.2019, 11:04
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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Isn't a Hyundai Sante-Fe about the same size as a BMW, and from your other thread, it seems you wanted a bigger car.


A Santa-Fe is surely about the size of a X3 just a bit less prestigious perhaps ?
If you get one make sure it has space for an extinguisher!

https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...orean-car.html
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Old 02.06.2019, 11:05
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Dear all.

Many thanks for the replies.

The Santa Fe is our car at the moment in Malaysia where I am posted for work. BMW's have 100% import tax here so are frankly unaffordable. We sold our BMWs in 2018 when we moved out here. We are moving back to Switzerland in the summer. We like the Santa Fe but it doesn't handle as well as an X1 or X3 and we envisage it would not handle as well in difficult conditions like snow.

Thanks again to all.

RASZ
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Old 02.06.2019, 11:31
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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Dear all.

Many thanks for the replies.

The Santa Fe is our car at the moment in Malaysia where I am posted for work. BMW's have 100% import tax here so are frankly unaffordable. We sold our BMWs in 2018 when we moved out here. We are moving back to Switzerland in the summer. We like the Santa Fe but it doesn't handle as well as an X1 or X3 and we envisage it would not handle as well in difficult conditions like snow.

Thanks again to all.

RASZ
You might want to go on a winter driving course, you come over as rather nervous about driving on snow, people have been doing it long before huge 4x4's became common, they are really unnecessary & bad for the environment.
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Old 02.06.2019, 11:51
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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You might want to go on a winter driving course, you come over as rather nervous about driving on snow, people have been doing it long before huge 4x4's became common, they are really unnecessary & bad for the environment.
Our Panda 4x4 is far from huge!

Tom
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Old 02.06.2019, 12:56
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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people have been doing it long before huge 4x4's became common, they are really unnecessary & bad for the environment.
Absolutely. Only one of our three 4x4s is huge, so we're clearly doing our bit.
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Old 02.06.2019, 13:06
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Hi there

Thanks very much for the replies.

If I sound slightly nervous it's just that this car will be for my wife and our little children. My wife will have a newborn the same month we buy the car and also a toddler. She's an excellent driver experienced in snow but neither of us has driven an automatic in snow before.

I grew up driving 2wd in snow in the Scottish Highlands and, due to my location, spent 4 years driving to the top of 1,000m mountain in Switzerland 2014-2018 every day for work when many would get the cable car. We had 10 inches of snow in June once in 2017. I actually get a thrill driving in snow and would always go for a manual, it's just that there are other considerations such as brand, availability and price which mean we are considering an automatic.

I know what you mean about the environment! I would never had driven a 4x4 before but since I have , I have found the X3 to be the most fuel efficient car I have ever driven, and I wouldn't go back given how safe they are.

Thanks all!
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Old 02.06.2019, 13:28
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

Why does your wife need a 4x4 to drive a newborn and a toddler up a snowy mountain ,if it's you that works there? And there's a cable car?

I don't mean to judge you, just curious. I have a 4x4 also, though I think it's even smaller than a panda.
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Old 02.06.2019, 14:16
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

What‘s automatic or manual?? So last century...
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Old 02.06.2019, 14:36
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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Hi there

Thanks very much for the replies.

If I sound slightly nervous it's just that this car will be for my wife and our little children. My wife will have a newborn the same month we buy the car and also a toddler. She's an excellent driver experienced in snow but neither of us has driven an automatic in snow before.

I grew up driving 2wd in snow in the Scottish Highlands and, due to my location, spent 4 years driving to the top of 1,000m mountain in Switzerland 2014-2018 every day for work when many would get the cable car. We had 10 inches of snow in June once in 2017. I actually get a thrill driving in snow and would always go for a manual, it's just that there are other considerations such as brand, availability and price which mean we are considering an automatic.

I know what you mean about the environment! I would never had driven a 4x4 before but since I have , I have found the X3 to be the most fuel efficient car I have ever driven, and I wouldn't go back given how safe they are.

Thanks all!
You will find a normal 3 series more fuel efficient with way better handling than an X3
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Old 02.06.2019, 14:52
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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Basically a no brainer.
Hands down manual is the one and only way to go.
Anything else is for Dorks.



And if they don't make a manual version of a car, such as an AMG 63, even if it does make me look a dork, you'll still be looking as my ass
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Old 02.06.2019, 14:53
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Re: Automatic v manual on Swiss Mountain Roads

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Our Panda 4x4 is far from huge!

Tom

What do you feed it, bamboo shoots ?
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