How to Anytime: Educating automatic transmissions

You won’t find a single car with a manual gearbox in our fleet, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Switching from a manual to an automatic can be, for many, a tough nut to crack. So let’s explain how to use an automatic transmission properly.

The difference from the manual is the control of the gear lever and the number of pedals. In a car with an automatic transmission, you won’t find a clutch pedal, only a throttle and brake pedal. So you’ll have to unlearn how to use your left foot. It can be a big habit at first, but you’ll get used to it quickly over time and as you drive. We recommend that you keep your left foot off the pedals and be alert.

The gear lever in an automatic does not have a number designation because you are not shifting gears, you are just switching between gearbox “modes”. So you’ll find 4 letters with basic functions and one extra.
To switch between functions, you always have to press the brake pedal and press a button on the gear lever (there is no button on the Toyota Yaris, you just move the lever).

P – Parking: this position is always selected when the car is parked after the wheels have stopped. It works like the first gear when the car is parked, but we recommend using the handbrake in addition, not only when parking on a hill.

R – Reverse: reverse gear, used to drive backwards as in a manual gearbox.

N – Neutral: Neutral is not used much in automatic transmissions. The automatic is not designed for frequent shifting, so it is better to leave it in D – Drive when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light.

D – Drive: a level for starting and driving forward. It is not recommended to shift to N – Neutral when driving downhill.

B – Brake: The last stage, found in hybrid and electric cars, provides forward driving with regenerative braking. When you ease off the throttle, the vehicle slows down considerably with the help of regeneration, recharging the battery.