Friday, 2 November 2007

Automatic Choice

Today was in many ways a perfect motoring day. The weather was cool but dry, the sky clear and visibility good. Even better, I was able to travel on single carriageway A and B-roads. While the roads were practically on my doorstep they were unfamiliar. Under those circumstances it is good to have automatic transmission. There are those who say that you can’t be serious about driving if you like automatics but they don’t know what they are talking about.

Automatic transmission encourages left braking without having to worry about any other pedals. A little practice with the right foot and the transmission selector lever means you will never be stuck in the wrong gear. The automatic transmission in the Citroën BX isn’t the best but the control lever allows you to get the best from it. Lots of transmissions allow the lever to be pushed from the drive position into neutral, something that could have disastrous results for the engine if done whilst driving quickly. In the Citroën the lever can’t be pushed into neutral without squeezing a button on the lever.

The same button must be held to lock out third and top gear but it is useful to hold second gear for roundabouts and tight corners. Between drive and 3rd there is nothing to inhibit free movement of the lever, which is great for overtaking or fast bends. Someone within Citroën clearly understood how to get the best out of automatic transmissions.

It was the automatic transmission that did so much to aid my enjoyment of today’s motoring. I also appreciated the Citroën’s suspension as the roads weren’t always as smooth as they could be. If only the steering was sharper, how much more fun I could have had.

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