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Old 02-28-2009, 11:17 PM   #1
SteveWoz
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2008 Astra XR
Default Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

My '08 Astra 5-door XR in Arctic White is very neat and suits me well. Great commuter car. Great Euro handling on the cheap. Great value, great looks. My first question (which I could have easily asked the dealer today on his courtesy call but totally forgot) concerns the Automatic Neutral Idle feature of the Automatic Transmission. Nice feature. I 've been doing this manually for years because my dad did it on his 1948 Dodge! I have read the manual's explanation, but there's nothing specific about a certain aspect I'm wondering about. That is, does the display light on the speedo change to N from D (though the stick stays on D)? If it is supposed to, my speedo stays on orange D. If it stays on D, but it turns to Neutral, I haven't sensed a change, but maybe it's not that perceptible. Thanks, and I look forward to reading all the interesting things on this site about this special car!

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:21 PM   #2
Saturn#5
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2008 Astra XE
2007 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

hey welcome to the forum and the world of owning an Astra. The car shifts into neutral but the "D" remains on the speedo. You can feel the car come out of neutral and into drive when you release the brake pedal. Do you feel the slight momentary hesitation? That is the car shifting back into Drive!

Welcome again! Be sure to check out the threads on the forum for great info about a great car!
Congrats on the purchase!

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:57 PM   #3
Adam Opel
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Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

I have said it before that I hate this feature and I am still doing research on how to disable it.
Supposedly it is there to save fuel, but I have done the math and you don't save anything.
At idle, in drive, your consumtion is 1 l/h. In "neutral idle", the consumtion is 0.8 l/h. So, the reduced drag on the engine results in savings of 0.2 litres per hour provided you spend the whole hour in neutral idle. My commute is 45 minutes mixed traffic, and I estimate the whole time the car sits in neutral idle is less than 10 min. So the benefit is negligible (say 30-40 cents per week at current prices) So, annually I save about 18 dollars, hardly worth the annoyance from this useless feature that ruins this otherwise good car and makes it rough and unpleasant. I really think the engineer that came up with this idea deserves a kick in the nuts. (Or, maybe the idea came from the marketing department, because they wanted to be perceived as doing something for fuel economy even if it means to ruin the car's driveability: after all, that's what Honda has done with the Civic - works better on a specsheet than in real life)

Last edited by Adam Opel; 03-01-2009 at 12:09 AM..

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Old 03-01-2009, 09:04 AM   #4
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2007 AURA XR
Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

from what i was told was it has to be that way in europe and they didnt change it when they brought it to the s.u

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Old 03-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Opel View Post
I have said it before that I hate this feature and I am still doing research on how to disable it.
Supposedly it is there to save fuel, but I have done the math and you don't save anything.
At idle, in drive, your consumtion is 1 l/h. In "neutral idle", the consumtion is 0.8 l/h. So, the reduced drag on the engine results in savings of 0.2 litres per hour provided you spend the whole hour in neutral idle. My commute is 45 minutes mixed traffic, and I estimate the whole time the car sits in neutral idle is less than 10 min. So the benefit is negligible (say 30-40 cents per week at current prices) So, annually I save about 18 dollars, hardly worth the annoyance from this useless feature that ruins this otherwise good car and makes it rough and unpleasant. I really think the engineer that came up with this idea deserves a kick in the nuts. (Or, maybe the idea came from the marketing department, because they wanted to be perceived as doing something for fuel economy even if it means to ruin the car's driveability: after all, that's what Honda has done with the Civic - works better on a specsheet than in real life)
What does it do that bothers you so much?

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Old 03-01-2009, 11:49 PM   #6
marx404
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

maybe it;s me but after driving the car for a few months I don't feel the tranny neutral feature anymore, nor does it slow me down in any way. I have never seen where it does anything to help my gas mileage nor lower rpm any more than normal, so I'm not exactly sure what it really is supposed to do except make me feel all warm and fuzzy, lol. IMHO, I think that utilizing the fuel cut-off by coasting, discussed in a previous thread does far more to help with fuel efficiency.

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Old 03-02-2009, 12:24 PM   #7
Robor007
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Opel View Post
I have said it before that I hate this feature and I am still doing research on how to disable it.
Supposedly it is there to save fuel, but I have done the math and you don't save anything.
At idle, in drive, your consumtion is 1 l/h. In "neutral idle", the consumtion is 0.8 l/h. So, the reduced drag on the engine results in savings of 0.2 litres per hour provided you spend the whole hour in neutral idle. My commute is 45 minutes mixed traffic, and I estimate the whole time the car sits in neutral idle is less than 10 min. So the benefit is negligible (say 30-40 cents per week at current prices) So, annually I save about 18 dollars, hardly worth the annoyance from this useless feature that ruins this otherwise good car and makes it rough and unpleasant. I really think the engineer that came up with this idea deserves a kick in the nuts. (Or, maybe the idea came from the marketing department, because they wanted to be perceived as doing something for fuel economy even if it means to ruin the car's driveability: after all, that's what Honda has done with the Civic - works better on a specsheet than in real life)
Tell us how you really feel!

Oh, and welcome to SaturnFans, SteveWoz. Hope you stick around. There's plenty of great forum members here with lots of info to learn about our unique cars.

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2008 Astra XR3 door 5sp - Silver Sand with premium trim, 18" rims, and advanced audio. (new owner as of 12/15)

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Old 03-03-2009, 05:09 PM   #8
Adam Opel
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Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digency View Post
I noticed (since it snows alot here) If you put your car in snow mode, it will disable the neutral idle.
I didn't know that, but this is no solution because you are not going to drive in snow mode all the time just to avoid the neutral idle. Snow mode means you are stuck in 3rd gear all the time, at best it will kill your fuel economy, at worst it will fry up the transmission. It would be better if snow mode used 2nd gear, then you could probably use it in crawling traffic.

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Old 03-05-2009, 03:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Brand New Owner - Neat Car - First Question

Neutral idle only works in firsy gear, as you note, not in "snow mode" which is thrid gear. However, there is no way to disable this "feature" it is both a function of transmission design and operating software. It is not there "just because they have it in Europe".

Many more US base vehicles with automatic transmissions will soon have neautrl idle. I have done extensive testing ( vehicle dynomometers and emission benches) both with and without neutral idel under controlled conditions. It does improve fuel economy. And while I agree I do not like the feel at launch, any fuel economy improvements are here to stay.
With the increased Fuel Economy standards imposed by governement, anything that increases fuel economy will take precident over "minor" driveablity issues. To get "like" gains" from weight reduction as you get from Neutral idle cost a fortune!! It's all in the name of Fuel economy!

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