Why Do Cars Come With 4-Speed Transmissions?

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After taking a couple road trips and being raped by gas prices while my car struggles on the freeway at 3,000+ RPM, I'm wondering why cars come with 4-speed transmissions.
Like wouldn't it be better to just add another gear to improve engine efficiency?
I'm sure there's some reason why, but I just wanna know if anyone knows it lol.

posted by  chris_knows

another gear adds more parts and more $$$... so the assumption is that everyone wants things to be cheaper.... But in reality it is more of a pay me now or pay me later.

What cars are you driving that still only have 4 gears... most cars have at least 5 or 6.

My old jeep only had a 3 speed behind a 304 V8... talk about bad mileage!

posted by  corbett_auto

I drive an '02 Sentra automatic...but my dad drives an '06 Mazda 5 automatic which accelerates pretty quick in the city, but at about 75mph, it does like 3,500RPM (the Sentra does like 2,750).
The manual versions of both cars come with 5-speed transmissions though.

posted by  chris_knows

The Mazda 5 is more of a minivan than a car, and as such it is normal for it to be geared lower and have more torque. the bigger the vehicle generaly the torquier the engine. My moms van (Kia Sedona) is the same way, when it is empty you have to almost try to NOT burn rubber. The only difference is the kia has a 5th gear that is very high, almost too high, because at 65-70 MPH it has to downshift to climb even small hills, which kills the already terrible MPG (avg 18.5 MPG).

posted by  dvdrose18

You think that's bad? I cruise in 6th at 60 at 3,000RPM on the dot, I've actually tried it and my 6th gear ends (redline) at around 128-130mph. Not really a bad thing, I still get 30+ on the highway lol

In my old neon I had a 3-speed auto, apparently they couldn't fit a big enough trans into that chassis to give it a 4th gear, the 2g neon was a bit bigger and got 4th gear.

posted by  newyorker

I think so too

posted by  Investor.j7

This must be pretty standard nowadays to have at least 5. I think car companies are under pressure to do this anyway. Quite a lot now have at least 6.

My very first car had 4. I don't miss it.

posted by  jparks

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posted by  jacksonb

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