Info:- Auto Gearbox Modes Part 3:
MANU - engage this and the kickdown points are raised significantly (you really need to boot it to change down) and the shift point is at about 4K I think (I don't usually touch this button). It also allows you pull away in 2nd for snowy conditions, but I tried this and did a 180!
NO BUTTONS SELECTED - kickdown points are lowered meaning it's easier to change down a gear on less throttle - shiftpoint is about 5.8K. I generally use this mode when it's peeing it down - the box won't catch you out on bends and send you spinning.
PWR - blip the throttle and you are going to kick down a gear - shiftpoint is at the redline of 7,200. A bit of throttle on wet bends can kick down and unless you ease off after noticing it can bite (happened to me a few times but no damage yet!)
OVERDRIVE - this small red button on the shifter engages/disengages the overdrive. The box is a 3 speed box but with an overdrive that acts as 4th gear. With overdrive on you can cruise at 80mph on the clock (73 true mph according to the sat nav) and it sits at 2,800rpm - great for fuel economy on long motorway drives. With O/D off, you will hit 3rd which at the same speed is just over 4K - great for moving round lorries, overtaking or country roads. At 60+ it keeps you right in the meaty powerband for instant power.
Gear ratios are far longer than the manuals - 1st will take you to roughly 45, 2nd will have you at 85 and 3rd tops out at 135 (on the dyno anyway).
The good thing about the automatics though, is they really like rev's, I hit 7,200 5-10 times a day I reckon, safe in the knowledge I won't be doing any damage. Whack a De-Cat pipe on with a Mongoose and you will notice the gains more than a manual as the pipe only gives gains at high rev's. Same gains to be had with new cams to.
Points to check on the Auto if you're going for a test drive - coolant is a big one - the auto ECU uses the coolant temperature to vary it's performance - if the ECU thinks the coolant is too warm it will trip the box into varying safe modes - hindering performance. I found this out recently and I had a performance drop when I was leaking coolant (didn't know it at the time) and hit proper safe mode when steam was pouring out the engine lid. Leak sorted and the car was so much quicker!
Transmission fluid should only need doing every 20K or so but I do it every year with the engine oil anyway - doesn't cost much. When you test drive it just make sure the buttons do what I've said above and the rev's hold to the above limit - floor it at 25mph and make sure you hit 45ish before it changes and 85ish before the next.
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