4-Speed Vs. 5-Speed Transmission

Written by tom lutzenberger
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4-Speed Vs. 5-Speed Transmission
A car stick shift displaying a typical five-speed configuration. (shift stick image by BaSSaBaS from Fotolia.com)

Cars come with different transmission designs. Some include transmissions to provide efficient gas mileage, while others package additional strength for towing and torque. Both manual-transmission and automatic-transmission vehicles come in four- and five-speed versions. The benefits and drawbacks depend more on what a person wants from a car versus inherent performance.


Starting off in older cars from pre-1975, the four-speed transmission was mainly found in higher-performance vehicles rather than stock commuter cars. In modern times, a four-speed transmission can still be found in both domestic and imported cars. Four-speed engines provide better torque than their advanced cousins, but they give up mileage efficiency at the higher speeds.


Toyota began introducing more advanced designs in the mid-1970s outside of sports cars, placing the advanced transmission in both mass-market vehicles and pickup trucks. The highest gear for this kind of set-up is usually referred to as an overdrive gear. Today's modern cars come standard with a five-speed set-up to maximise fuel performance for highway use.

Cost and Maintenance

The five-speed transmission will produce lower costs in fuel consumption. Due to more technical parts and design, however, repair work on a five-speed transmission tends to be costlier in labour and parts versus a four-speed.

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