Are Manumatic gearboxes the best of both worlds?

The “brains” of the box monitor speed, engine revs, load and demand to calculate the optimum gear ratio required from moment to moment.

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What you need to know:

Is it true that Tiptronic gearboxes can be manual or automatic, and that they give drivers the best of both worlds?

In a word: Yes. “Manumatic” gearboxes (Tiptronic— used by Peugeot, VW and Opel-Vauxhall —is one brand; there are a couple of dozen others) are essentially full automatics and are mostly used in that mode.

The “brains” of the box monitor speed, engine revs, load and demand to calculate the optimum gear ratio required from moment to moment, and automatically engage that gear without any action required from the driver. Manumatics do that. But they also have a selectable mode which allows the driver to make his own choices…still using the same automatic gearbox, but “requesting” gear changes manually.

In that mode, it is still the same automatic box that is changing the gears (there is no clutch pedal), but only when the driver decides…by pushing a small lever or steering paddle forwards (to change up a gear) or backwards (to change down a gear).

No clutch, no manoeuvring a lumpy gear lever through the gates of an “H” shaped shift. Just a push forwards or a pull backwards…just a couple of centimetres either way…with a fingertip. The control of a (sequential) manual and the ease of an automatic.


I was carrying a properly secured door in my double cab pick-up when a policeman stopped me and said it was an offence.

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Yellow ahead! Now what?

I hope you are well. The other day, while driving my double cab pick-up along Thika Road, Nairobi, I was stopped by a traffic police officer for the offence of carrying a door. One door. It was properly secured. I did not know that double cab pick-ups are not allowed to carry luggage.


DN2 Motoring has addressed this syndrome before. Google my answer on October 19, 2022 to a similar issue related to roof racks. The short answer remains the same: “The applied rules do not depend on what the law says, but on which policeman you are talking to. That anomaly is so stark and so prevalent that it needs no further elaboration.”

The written law, which is a completely different matter, is quite clear.

Broadly, you can carry anything you like in any vehicle (even one specifically designed to carry cargo!) as long as the item itself is not proscribed (forbidden) and neither the item nor the way it is being carried presents a danger to the occupants or other road users.

You might have been committing an “offence” if the police were running a cess station for inter-county transport of doors, or had reason to believe the door might have been made of compressed cocaine or some kind of explosive material, or if it weighed more than the licensed carrying capacity of the vehicle (in your case, 500 kgs, which would be at least 10 house doors), or if it projected beyond the sides of the vehicle, or if it stuck out too far beyond the back of the body and did not have a red flag tied to it, or if it was so insecurely attached that there was a danger of it falling or flying off.

Beyond that, it is difficult to know what to advise. Perhaps hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door handle? Meanwhile, do not imagine you are alone if the sight of a police check does not fill you with joy, confidence and gratitude that the roads are being kept safer for you in an “utumishi kwa wote” sort of way.

Perhaps to my everlasting shame, my reflex reaction to any glimpse of yellow on the side of the road ahead, based on empirical experience, is “Now what?”