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Opinions need from Subaru Outback owners please - Page 8

post #211 of 214
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Wow. really? As a manual transmission owner (right now...looks like those days are over), I coast all the time down Big Mountain Road. Can you really not do this with an automatic?

Sib, with an auto, you might not have to coast, depending on the transmission programming.


I don't have a Subie; I have a 16-year-old full-size Chevy pick-up with a conventional four-speed auto and my wife has a 10-year-old Ford Focus with a four-speed auto. Both vehicles are equipped with tachometers.


The pick-up seems to be a little smarter, at least when I'm using cruise control, despite its greater age. When descending with cruise, it is capable of generating more engine braking than if I don't use cruise and simply take my foot off the gas. When it needs less braking, it seems to unlock the torque converter before it adds RPMs. On some grades, that's enough to allow it to maintain the desired speed and the engine continues to tick over at low RPMs (but more than idle, which is only about 500 RPM on the V8). Mind you, it doesn't work the same as a manual, but it works remarkably well.


My wife's car doesn't get much engine braking, especially in 4th, whether or not it's on cruise. So it "coasts" just fine even while in gear, but more brakes may be required.


Unlike a manual, an automatic is capable of allowing plenty of slippage and low engine RPM while descending, even while in gear. The RPMs may be higher than idle, but usually not very much, at least in the cases of the two vehicles we own.


Extreme examples of modern automatics can be found in full-size pick-up trucks. The cruise works with the engine computer to manage fuel flow, torque converter lock-unlock and transmission gear selection. For example, they are capable of downshifting on descent in order to achieve more engine braking and upshifting again when less (or no) braking is required.


I drove a full-size Chevy Blazer for years that had a four-speed manual with an unsynchrornized granny gear. I also had a Triumph TR6 for quite a while. I'm not completely ignorant of manual transmissions. They're fun, but modern automagics work pretty well.

post #212 of 214
The upcoming Alltrack has a hill mode, but I'm not sure I can wait until it is finally available. However, the fact that I slid into a gully earlier this week and needed winching, with AWD and a full set of Hakkapeliittas on, makes me glad it wasn't a new car. Made it 80% down the hill, then the plow ahead of me wasn't moving and it was either hit him or the brakes, and that was that. There's something to be said for driving a car that's showing its age, namely some new dings just blend right in. Must remember to not attempt my hill if ANYONE is on it. That way if I start sliding I can just let it go until it stops. It's these obstructions that are the problem! (And, can't see chaining up for slightly over one block. Especially when the manual says no chains.)
post #213 of 214

with an automatic, you can also coast, depending on the transmission.


you start with turning off Overdrive.  Depending on speed, you can also shift down to "2" or "L".


With the manu-matics, you can also shift down to engine brake


on Toyota CVT's, there is a "B" mode for "engine braking" mode....


VW Alltrack has a hill mode:  That stuff as already available on the Tiguan in europe.


Hill Descent mode uses the brakes to control the speed.... which of course, is hugely dependent on traction (thus tires).


I live uptop a steep hill also.  Back when I had Nokian Hakka RSI.....  they didn't do anything for going down the hill, as it struggled for braking traction with the ABS pumping away.  When I tried the hill again, and slapped chains on....  that's when I got down safely, making sure I got the heck out of the way, if someone behind me was attempting to go down.

post #214 of 214
These were studded when I bought them. Thought I'd chance another year. So much for that. If the car were newer I'd have replaced them, but the idea of spending close to a grand on a car that isn't worth that makes me crazy. It's snowed again today, we'll see what happens.. I used to creep down with the driver's door running along the snow berm, but it's not high enough yet to do anything. In recent years, the tires were sufficient.
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