Choosing an automatic gearbox used to mean you’d have to put up with less performance and increased fuel consumption. But technology has improved so that self-shifters can now match or better the efficiency of their manual equivalents.
So now there is no need for you to put up with the constant clutch pumping in traffic jams – go for an auto and you’ll never want to change gear yourself again. Here are our choices for the best automatics.
The Corsa is one of the best-selling cars in Britain for good reason. It is easy and yet fun to drive, cheap to run and packed with the latest technology to keep you entertained and safe.
There are two options if you prefer automatic gears. The first is a 1.2-litre turbo petrol matched to an 8-speed transmission. The second option is the 100% electric Corsa-e. It’s incredibly easy to drive, and with a range between charges of over 200 miles, you will never have to visit a petrol station again.
The Ignis is one of the most distinctive small cars on the road, with shrunken SUV styling which really stands out. It’s compact enough to slot into small spaces and weave through urban traffic but is surprisingly spacious inside.
The automatic version makes driving in cities even more fun. The 1.2-litre Dualjet Mild Hybrid petrol engine is mated to a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) gearbox, which means the engine can always be operating efficiently, whether you want economy or performance. Like all Suzukis, the Ignis is great value too.
The all-new Astra is a stunning-looking car, but is also brilliantly easy to drive and efficient. There’s a huge choice for drivers who prefer an automatic too. If you’d like a petrol engine, there’s a 1.2-litre turbo with 130PS. A 1.5-litre diesel can return up to 62.8mpg according to the official figures.
For even more economy, there’s a plug-in hybrid which can travel up to 43 miles on electric power alone. All use a smooth-shifting 8-speed gearbox which ensures you are always in the right gear.
Hyundai’s family hatchback is stylish, spacious, and packed with innovations – including one of the most sophisticated automatic gearboxes available. Instead of using a power-sapping conventional transmission, it uses Dual Clutch technology which combines the best aspects of Aa manual with the ease of a two-pedal automatic.
It’s available with a choice of two petrol engines; either a 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre T-GDi, both with a 48-volt mild hybrid system to make the most of your precious fuel.
There are few cars on the road which are as versatile as the Santa Fe. This rugged and yet sophisticated-looking SUV has space for seven passengers and is more than capable on slippery slopes or muddy fields, thanks to intelligent four-wheel-drive to the top versions.
All versions have automatic gearboxes, and there’s a choice of petrol hybrid or plug-in hybrid with six-speed transmission or a torquey 2.2 turbo diesel with an 8-speed dual clutch unit. All are relaxing todrive and responsive when you ask for a little more performance.
Peugeot’s big family car has all the space and practicality of an MPV but the fashionable style of an SUV. That means you also get the commanding driving position which gives you – and your six passengers - better visibility over traffic.
All new 5008s are now equipped with an automatic gearbox too, which takes some of the stress out of journeys but also means the stunning interior is free from the clutter of a gear lever. There’s a choice of turbocharged petrol or diesel engines, both using an advanced 8-speed transmission for maximum efficiency.
Page Published 11/05/21