If you want to save gas you will have to shift at lower rpms than what the automatic mode will shift at.
Try 2100 for a smooth 2-3 shift
1600 for 3-4
1500 for 4-5
1450 for 5-6
You know you're shifting at too low rpms when the car blips the gas before shifting into the next gear. If you pay attention to the needle you will see what i mean. The needle should nicely drop to the next gear, it shouldn't bounce up first and you shouldn't feel the shifts; they should be smooth.
If you are coasting, you will be able to shift at lower rpms, like 1300 from 5th to 6th.
If you are accelerating, do not shift below 1500.
The best way to improve mpgs is to use your brakes less often. That means you should average your speed in traffic and you should time lights. As soon as you see a red light, just start coasting. And most importantly: Stay out of the fast lane.
You'll get the best mpg's at about 55mph. Sometimes there'll be big rigs cruising on the freeway at such a speed, and if you've got the time to spare, try following the big rig.
If you are between two big rigs, DO NOT tailgate the big rig in front of you. You will get pinched in between the two. I've seen pictures, it's tragic.
I recommend resetting the mpg-average every trip.
Do realize that you will have weak acceleration at low rpms. In the manual mode, the engine will not downshift when you step on the accelerator unless you reach the click at the end.
As for not knowing how to use manual mode: Practice will really help. Just try it, and know that you can't stall or over-rev the engine.
Last edited by Verbatim; 04-11-2012 at 12:12 AM.