Nothing quite beats the feeling of conquering rough terrain. The ground shakes you to your core, but you are its master, not the other way around. And it’s amazing to know you’ve driven across places others can only dream of.
That’s the beauty of having an off-road vehicle. However, not everyone can afford to buy an ATV or a buggy, which are designed exactly for that purpose. So what’s the next best thing? A 4-Wheel Drive, of course!
Why 4WD Is Better Than AWD for Off-road
Before we tackle the issue of manual vs. automatic, I just have to take care of a common misunderstanding. Do you know the difference between 4WD and AWD?
Firstly, 4WD means 4-wheel drive, while AWD means All-Wheel Drive. The differences are many, and I won’t be going into that much detail. However, if you want that, check out this article.
The general thing you have to know is simple. A 4WD handles off-road better. It’s designed to do so. AWD is simply “off-road capable.” It can get you through rough terrain, but it won’t be as efficient at it. Also, you may get stuck if you are overly confident.
Manual vs Automatic – Should You Care About That?
If you are a car enthusiast, you may scream “Manual!” to everyone driving an automatic. But surprise, surprise! Manual is not always the answer. And although everyone should learn to drive stick, this is not the point today.
Many people have the misconception that an off-road vehicle has to be manual. This isn’t true. Actually, most new cars come with an automatic transmission. You may not even have a choice of manual if you only look locally.
The truth is simple. If you are not a good manual driver, you won’t get much benefit from that. On the other hand, even if you are good, it takes some getting used to driving manual on a rough terrain. That being said manual isn’t all bad. Let’s check out why!
Reality vs Myth
There are a lot of statements thrown out there, which are simply not true. Sure, the topic of stick shift vs. automatic is quite divisive, but fact is fact. There are two things I have to address.
Firstly, automatics don’t give you a better miles-per-gallon ratio. This can be the case for newer cars now, but off-road is a totally different story. It all depends on the way you drive and how you handle your vehicle.
Secondly, driving manual is not always the preferable choice. There are many situations when automatics can be the better option. Do you want to use your off-road vehicle for general purposes as well? If you are used to automatic, it will serve you much better then.
The Pros and Cons of Automatic
As with everything else, the two transmissions also have good and bad sides to them. What characteristics do you value the most? Comfort or control? Easy riding or reliability? Speed or stability?
An automatic transmission is the best choice for people who are either new to off-roading or new to manuals (or both). You have to be pretty comfortable with the stick before you hop on an off-roader.
Additionally, an automatic transmission is simply better for easy riding. If you don’t mind going slow and you want to enjoy the experience that way, go with the auto. They are also generally more comfortable to ride as you don’t have to press the clutch constantly.
But there are some bad sides to that as well. Sometimes you may feel you are totally out of control with an automatic. You can’t force the engine into higher RPM. So you won’t be able to go over something steeper to your relative position.
Moreover, going downhill will often require you to have your foot glued to the brake. Automatics have a weird way of shifting through gears. In a moment you might be going very slow, while suddenly you are rushing like the wind.
The Pros and Cons of Manual
The stick is all about control. You want higher RPM? You have that. You want to go down the hill at a steady pace, without constantly pushing the brake? Go ahead and do it.
You can enjoy a ride that’s much more fun, although that’s quite subjective. However, there are many things that make manual a bit tougher to drive.
Even if you are familiar with stick shifts, you will still need some practice with rough terrain. That’s because the usual progression of “1st, 2nd, 3rd…” with shifts isn’t present. You don’t just accelerate and switch into next gear. You have to know which gear is better for what terrain. And that can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
If you are generally new to off-roading, it is good to start with the basics. Don’t think that experience with manual transmissions transfers so well to off-road vehicles. Hubris is bad.
Buying An Off-road Vehicle Out of State
Sometimes if you want to find the best deals, you just have to look out of state. And when it comes to an off-road machine, you can’t just pick any car that comes your way. You have to do your research and then find the best.
However, buying outside of state presents its own challenges. You can’t really check the car out unless you go there personally and spend money on that. You also have to find a way to transport it. At least with that, you are in luck.
Have You Decided Yet?
Is your mind set on buying a manual or an automatic? If not, I hope that at least you now know that there are options. And that off-road vehicles are great.
Whatever you go with, you will definitely find rough terrain thrilling. Corsia Logistics wishes you to have a great time. But don’t forget – always drive safe!