Flappy Paddle Gearboxes

  interzone55 11:30 20 Feb 2012

My partner is looking to swap her motability car as it's getting nowhere near the economy figures claimed by the manufacturer, so Motabiity are letting her swap early.

After driving my MINI she's decided that a MINI Countryman (or as we call it, The Oxymoron) is the perfect car.

As she needs an automatic due to a gammy left leg the Cooper SD fits the bill perfectly, and as a bonus it comes with a flappy paddle gearbox.

Now for the question - the automatic car is nowhere near as economical as the manual, not sure why this is, but would changing gear manually with the paddles improve economy to near manual levels?

  Quickbeam 12:58 20 Feb 2012

It'll be an automatically changed manual type twin clutch gearbox, as opposed to the traditional auto box that is a driven through a hydraulic torque convertor.

It's the inefficiency of the the torque convertor and internal operation of the gearbox using brake bands and internal clutches on less gears that lose the fuel economy with that type of gearbox.

  Quickbeam 13:12 20 Feb 2012
  Woolwell 15:03 20 Feb 2012

"as it's getting nowhere near the economy figures claimed by the manufacturer". Very few, if any, cars do as the figures quoted are widely optimistic. See Honest John.

  Pine Man 15:08 20 Feb 2012

In some cases cars fitted with flappy paddles are MORE economical than manuals and even faster.

I have had many conventional automatic cars, a flappy paddle gearbox and at present a manual gearbox. As far as I am concerned the worst by far was the flappy paddle. The changes were not as smooth as a conventional auto and with six 'gears' it was a most uncomfortable ride.

My present car is a Golf GT and before buying it I tried the twin clutch DSG gearbox which wasn't much better than a flappy paddle.

  interzone55 15:17 20 Feb 2012


Yes, we know that, but as it's a motability car we've used the pressure of one of Britain's biggest fleet buyers to give Kia a slap across the face and dump their over hyped piece of rubbish back on their forecourt.

The specs claimed 50+mpg, but it's averaged 34mpg on a combination of A roads and motorway.

Unfortunately the average car buyer can only do the same normally by rejecting the car within the first 6 months of purchase, and as I found out, going to Small Claims Court to get them to take the car back.

  HondaMan 16:08 20 Feb 2012

I'm sorry to say it, but if anyone re3lies on manufacturers hype they have only themselves to blame.

The link to Honest John gives more realistic figures. The manufacturers figures come from bench-run engines with artificial loadings to simulate driving conditions

  interzone55 16:27 20 Feb 2012


We kind of expected it to get within 15% of the claimed figures, my car runs at around 90% of the manufacturers claims, but the Kia is falling almost 40% short of the official figures.

But back to my original question - will using an automatic gearbox as a paddle operated manual give a figure closer to that expected of a manual?

  Noldi 16:51 20 Feb 2012

These gearboxes you mention are run by electronics an not like the old juicier mechanical change boxes. The settings you select sport, track or normal will affect the fuel economy one way or another. At present we are developing a 650 + bhp car that is achiving 40 mpg + using electronic gearbox and engine management systems but this does drop to 7 mpg at 200 mph, the new pollution regs are getting tighter over the next few years.


  interzone55 17:13 20 Feb 2012


7mpg at 200MPH isn't half bad, it's much better than the 3mpg Top Gear achieved in the Veyron

  al's left peg 17:46 20 Feb 2012


Not sure about the flappy paddle compared to a normal automatic but a recent test of a Mini Cooper petrol compared to a diesel one showed the diesel to be 1mpg more fuel efficient than the petrol.

As it is a motility vehicle, the higher purchase cost will not affect your choice of either vehicle, however the higher running cost of the diesel fuel will hit you in the pocket.

Would it not be better for you to consider a petrol version?

Cheers, Al.

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