Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - HoveST
I currently drive a 2000W Saab 9-5 2.3t automatic, and love the gearbox. It's happily done 102,000 miles now, but it is super comfortable for 4, but it's surprisingly difficult to get 3 car seats across the back.

I am currently looking at a Ford S-Max for my growing family. I've taken both the 2.0l Diesel Manual, and the Auto in the same engine for a test drive. I liked both, but prefer the Auto.

In financial terms, the Auto for the same car is £55 more per year on the vehicle tax, and taking the quoted mpg (47mpg for the manual, 38mpg Auto), if I do say 6000 miles per year, the additional cost of running an Auto over the manual is approx. £200 pa including the tax.

This isn't massive, but it isn't peanuts either. What is the actual reality of these mpg's? Is it actually quite difficult to drive a manual at the quoted mpg, and with normal driving actually get better mpg than quoted with the Auto?

With my green hat on, the lower emissions, better mpg etc. is making me lean toward the manual despite preferring the auto...
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - boxsterboy
How much do you value the convenience of the automatic? I know to me it would be more than £200 per year!

I too have been looking at a S-Max diesel auto, but am shocked at how much Ford dealers are asking for them considering you can get £8,000 off new ones. A new one could be cheaper than a 1yr old one!
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - HoveST
I think I'll be looking at something on a 07 plate with 25k+ miles on the clock. Our local dealer had a 2.0TDCi Titanium manual with 41,000 on the clock at £13,995 which I thought looked good value, and it's in great nick (not wrecked by children by the looks of it).

Like you said, I do value the convenience and comfort of the Auto, but there are advantages with a manual. Thanks for the reply.
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - woodster
New ones for £17k from the brokers.
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - daveyjp
Does this model have a DPF? If so for 6,000 miles a year I'd have a petrol. DPFs don't like short trips and it could cost you more to get it sorted than you save in fuel.
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - HoveST
It's actually probably between 6-8000 miles per year with a fair few longer journeys. I don't think the S-Max has a DPF, but I will check. If there anything more you can point me toward with regard to the warning about low mileage with the DPF? thanks.
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - daveyjp
Best warning is the sales material for some cars - VW brochures state DPF cars shouldn't be used for low mileage. In addition they won't sell them on the Channel Islands as there is no opportunity to travel longer distances to get the DPF up to temperature.

Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - WellKnownSid
I ran a diesel C class (W203) 2.2 auto for many years, and found that I could get comparable mileage in stop-start traffic and on longer journeys than colleagues with the same car as a manual.

It was only the bit in the middle - e.g. faster traffic in and around town - that it seemed to fare worse, but only slightly.

Clearly dependant on your use of the 'loud' pedal, but my overall average for this heavy automatic car was around 45mpg over about 80,000 miles. London CZ to the outskirts of Manchester could be around 66mpg on a good night.

I've never had a car that did LESS than the quoted mpg, but then again I've always lived in rural areas so cars never have much traffic to contend with.

If you like the auto more, I'd go with that one...
Auto v Manual - running costs etc. - Bill Payer
I ran a diesel C class (W203) 2.2 auto

could be around 66mpg on a good night.

I have to say that's extremely exceptional. I've got a C270CDi auto and pretty well only use it for long, steady, motorway journeys. I've never seen better than low 50's (which I'm pleased with) and can't recall even the highest figures claimed on the MB forums being as high as 66MPG.

I do agree that "press on" stop/start driving will absolutely kill the MPG of a diesel auto - if I have to take mine into town then on a 5 mile run from a cold start it'll be doing very low 30's MPG. I think they waste a lot of fuel picking themselves up from rest so it's crucial to try to avoid stopping.

It seems you can drive an auto in a more relaxed manner than a manual and you can let the torque of the diesel waft the car along, backing off the gas as much as possible.

Edited by Bill Payer on 14/11/2009 at 12:33