By on March 16, 2015

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In my column on manual transmissions, I touched on how the only way to ensure the survival of the manual gearbox is to keep buying them. But a significant number of commenters expressed the sentiment that rowing your own was no longer worthwhile.

On the one hand, I get it. Today’s automatics have never been better, to say nothing of dual-clutch transmissions. There are a number of cars (any of the SRT Hellcats, for example) where an automatic makes more sense than a manual. But I also know that there are plenty of reasons to buy the stick.

I am always fascinated by the reasons people give for purchasing one. There are enthusiasts who cite the engagement and connection with the car, but for every individual who wants the purity of a manual, there is someone who has little to no interest in cars, but has always driven a stick and won’t give it up, or someone who think that it’s a good way to keep themselves from getting bored while driving.

Me? As much as I take the enthusiast line on manuals. I also find the act of pressing the clutch pedal and changing gears to be an incredibly relaxing repetitive motion. There’s something calming about the repetitive, rhythmic motion that I don’t ever want to give up.

How about you, B&B?

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215 Comments on “Question Of The Day: What Makes You Drive A Manual...”


  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Because they anger BTSR

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      More fun for me to drive.
      More difficult for car thieves to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      negative459

      No matter how good rev matching gets on modern manuals I don’t think you can match the control that you get by feathering the clutch or heel-toeing.

      Also, automatic cars don’t handle serious horsepower increases as well as a good manual. If you’re a tuner you don’t have the option of putting in a stronger clutch if you have an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      A very good reason, BTRS needs a smack down from a GM guy every now and than

  • avatar
    masouds

    Control.
    It stops me from day dreaming while driving, as it allows me to interact with the motor vehicle on a deeper level, know what it is up to and what to expect next.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      There are many other ways to entertain oneself – Drinking, eating, texting, talking on the phone, reading, applying make-up, etc. All of which are harder to do with a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My wife did/does all of the above while driving. This, coupled with the fact that she was born with a lead right-foot, makes it interesting, at any speed.

      • 0 avatar
        Trichobezoar

        My girlfriend straddled my stickshift to get off on a particularly boring drive down a divided highway through Amish country. Automatics don’t transmit as much engine vibration, so it’s harder to keep a feel on your engine RPM and balance without glancing at the tach. Haven’t seen many other commenters touch upon this issue.

    • 0 avatar
      SqueakyVue

      +1 I chose my son’s first car with a MT for this exact reason. That and so I don’t have to worry about his friends ever driving it. Besides one of the prime bonding moments is teaching your kid how to row their own gears.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    The pricise control that it offers, the connection and engagement with the car. All on the street.
    Also, the sasifaction of precisely matching revs. It’s a bit like playing an instrument :)

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Though it’s been nearly 2 decades since my last manual, this is what I miss the most about one. There’s something very satisfying about successfully coordinating all 4 limbs in the process of moving a large machine through a challenging environment. Traffic jams on the expressway, not so much. If only I had been able to teach my wife to drive stick I think one of our cars would be a manual.

      • 0 avatar

        This “coordinating all limbs” thing does not carry as much water as some imagine, because it gets old soon. Doing it for recreation is acceptable, but for that I have an airplane where moving all limbs is vital in ways that gearbox enthusiasts cannot even imagine. I don’t need or want doing such excercises in my car too.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      “like playing an instrument” is exactly it. I like doing it *because* it’s more difficult, and it’s very satisfying to get right.

      When Porsches with PDKs and Ferraris with F1 transmissions start showing up and beating my old-ass 944 in Lemons races then I’ll worry about the tenths of a second I could be missing by working the clutch with my flawed human foot. Until then, I do not care.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “Also, the sasifaction of precisely matching revs.”

      Yup- mostly by feel and practice (the tach really only confirms what you should already know). And when I hear someone downshifting and not even bothering to try to match the revs, but instead slowwwwwly letting out the clutch, well, to be frank, I feel quite smug.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    1) it saved me $1k in MSRP and realistically $3k overall versus the more popular automatic version of my car. On a 30k car this is chump change. On a 15k car it’s 20 percent.

    2) a manual nets me much higher MPG (best was 46 with a 100% freeway tank) than the terrible 4-speed automatic option

    3) I grew up driving manual and find it engaging and fun, even in traffic

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      Your comments are confusing given you have an STi as your avatar, which is not available with anything but a manual and only once got 46 MPG during the time when it was being dragged down the assembly line by the conveyor belt.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    1) After 4 Dodge Caravans during a period of 19 years, I got sick of having automatic transmissions replaced. In modern vehicles the transmission is generally one of the most expensive repairs/fixes.
    2) I have teenage/young adult children who drive the family vehicles. Rather than constantly reminding them of the dangers of driving and texting, I figured that a vehicle with a manual and bluetooth would physically eliminate their ability to do so. Engineer out a solution as safety professionals say.
    3)When they travel outside of North America, they can actually drive the rental cars available, which their friends can’t. It gives them some part-time job options such as working as a car jockey, etc. It is a skill and as per Napolean Dynamite, you need skills.
    4) It makes them a better driver. They have to watch farther ahead, anticipate and pay attention to driving. They learn about engine braking and how physics applies to driving. They learn how to use the drivetrain to improve performance, reduce gas consumption, etc. They learn to understand better how a vehicle works.
    5) When my kids are old they can tell their kids and grandchildren how their father made them drive a manual transmission car. And they will probably be able to buy classic cars much cheaper because so few other drivers will be able to drive old manual classics.
    6) It reduces brake wear.
    7) It is generally safer because of most of the points listed above. Plus in winter conditions, it provides better control.
    8) Because I’m a cheap S.O.B.
    9) Most of the time it’s more fun. Heavy stop and go traffic, etc being the opposite when I sometimes wonder about the choice. But when you have an open, winding road and catch things just right, it’s what driving is all about (I can even pretend that I’m the Stig).
    10) Because I CAN.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    The lack of any other choice when we were looking for a replacement farm truck. Plus this one was the last generation in which the manual was still superior to the automatic.

    http://image.dieselpowermag.com/f/features/ford/25065599+w799+h499+cr1+ar0/
    0910dp_04_z%2B2008_ford_f350%2Bmanual_transmission.jpg

    Edited for space.

  • avatar
    skor

    I currently don’t own a manual trans car, but will take one IF it doesn’t cost more than an automatic version. I will not pay a premium for a manual.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I drive manuals because that is more or less what I’ve always driven. As I wrote in response to your other story, my last automatic was a pre-owned 2007 Passat with the 6-speed automatic, which was actually a pretty good transmission. Having started driving in the late 80’s, automatic transmissions out of the factory weren’t really a viable performance option. Now, cars with automatics can lap a race track quicker than the same car with a manual transmission. Perhaps in my middle age it just isn’t that big of a deal for me anymore.

    What I’ve always found fascinating about this topic is, the automobile went from being a device for enthusiasts to an appliance soon after the first Model T rolled off the assembly line, more than 100 years. From that point forward, the priority has always been more or less to make driving as convenient as possible (with safety being a more recent priority). The automatic transmission was seen as a wonder when the first one came out in the late 40’s or early 50’s, and with the exception of the “enthusiasts”, it was seen as luxury convenience item that commanded a premium.

    I get the enthusiasts point about manual transmissions, and I sympathize. I also realize that we are in the extreme minority. Most drivers used to drive manuals not for the pleasure of it, but because it was the frugal choice, both in terms of up front costs and fuel economy. Now that automatics are cheaper and the fuel economy better, the vast majority of drivers are speaking with their wallets.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yeah, automatics have always been about ease and convenience. Even before GM put the first Hydramatic into production at the end of the ’30s, there were all sorts of zany pre-select and semi-automatic setups on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I don’t buy the fuel economy advantage, unless is purely due to a overdrive gear the manual doesn’t have, and even then that is only during highway driving.

      I will say that for the sticker test, an auto can be made to appear more efficient.

      I know in mixed city driving, my manual boxster s would always beat the mpg of the pdk base boxster I was loaned numerous times for regular maintenance. That is a smaller engine too.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Today’s automatics offer a lower first gear–like a stick, and anywhere from two to four ‘overdrive’ gears depending on model. However, with a six-speed auto in my Fiat 500, top gear at 65mph has the engine turning about 2300 rpm, which is almost exactly the same revs my V6 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited turns at the same speed, yet the little inline 4 gives me almost double the average gas mileage of that jeep while being less than 1000 pounds lighter. The Jeep has a stick.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          I had an opportunity to spend some time driving a Fiat 500L with the 6 speed manual. It was a real pleasure (or, I thought so, anyway) since the manual transmission seemed to be perfectly suited to the car.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        In most cars that offer both, the automatic is geared taller and relies on the torque converter to compensate for the reduced mechanical advantage. This produces better results on the EPA test, which sometimes translates to the real world and sometimes doesn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        In the days of yore, it was pretty much always true that all other things being equal, the vehicle with the manual transmission would get better gas mileage than the vehicle with an automatic. These were the days of 5-speed manuals and 3- or 4-speed traditional torque converter / hydraulically operated / planetary gearset automatics. While these automatics offered good smoothness of operation, they were not ideal for fuel economy purposes.

        The automatic transmission landscape has changed drastically since then. The torque converter automatic is going the way of the dodo, primarily because of more stringent fuel economy regulations the world over. CVTs and DCTs are on the upswing and both of these have the potential to surpass manual transmissions in terms of economy.

        CVTs because they have the ability to keep the engine at its most efficient rpm while infinitely varying gear ratio to do whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. DCTs because they are, internally, pretty much the same as manual transmissions, just with dual clutches and sophisticated electro-mechanical control systems. When you program these for fuel economy, they effectively are driving a manual transmission in the most fuel efficient way, generally speaking more efficiently than the average driver would drive a manual transmission. Gear counts are getting higher as well; the Ford Focus automatic is a 6-speed DCT while if you want a manual in that car, you get a 5-speed. 8 and 9-speed DCTs are coming out – the more ratios available, the easier it is for the transmission to keep the engine in the optimally efficient rpm range.

        So that old saw about the manual getting better gas mileage than the automatic isn’t necessarily true anymore. Not that I ever bought anything for the fuel economy rating…

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    My real reason is the sense of control (especially in winter), or in “coasting in gear” situations (ie approaching a light about to turn green) that the clutch pedal gives me. I plan ahead, I know the actions required, and as the situation unfolds I execute with no lag. There is no way to “prep” an auto, regardless of it being a traditional slush box or facny dual clutch, that I want to coast/decelerate in gear for 5…4…3…2…1 and now, green light, engage drivetrain… oh damn the torque converter is spooling up again. (Granted, dual clutch units may handle THIS particular scenario better, but then have their own foibles regarding low speed traffic.)

    Thats my take on the beneifts of the manual, anyways.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Any car whose primary purpose isn’t lap times can be well served by a manual transmission.

    Anything from a Boxster to an MX-5 to a Mustang would work great with a stick. How about a Ferrari 458 Speciale? Would you want to let a transmission penalise a few tenths of your record time? One of the most surprising cases is the Alfa 4C. It doesn’t have enough power to overshadow your shifting skill and it will never win any track battles, so why saddle it with a mandatory DCT?

    If enough people continue to buy cars for driving fun, the MT will be around for a while yet.

    As I was getting ready for a highway entrance, a new-looking Audi S4 stopped next to me. As it took off, I could tell it was a manual. Gave me a little smile.

  • avatar

    It’s enjoyable.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I think controlling engine speed/rpm is one half of the driving experience. Your effort pays off in what the car is doing. All I can say is it feels right. When I drive an automatic I often feel more like a passenger in a machine that is doing it for me.

    So I suppose it is about connection to the machine. A symbiotic relationship.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      So true. In automatic I feel like I’m just riding along… in a manual I feel like I’m driving.

      When I started driving some 30 years ago a manual gave you better MPGs, the car was faster plus cheaper, so those reasons made the MT a clear winner. These days I do just because it feels right and has become my “normal”. Automatics are too cold and lifeless, like preprogramed machines. Blah, yuck, meh. Even my wife (once she learned to drive a stick) refuses to drive an automatic as she finds them boring. You mean I just aim and squeeze? OK, wake me up when we get there. I want to DRIVE!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I enjoy it.

    I don’t really need to justify it or come up with a post-hoc rationalization.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      This. There is no quantifiable reason that the manual transmission is better. I just grew up driving them and I enjoy them. It is part of the experience.

      I’m of the opinion that manuals do not make one a safer driver, either. When one texts and drives, he/she doesn’t do it when they are speeding up or slowing down through a corner. One is tempted to get distracted when they are steady state driving where they aren’t touching the shifter or the clutch anyway. I can literally drive my torqueless [sic] FR-S across this mountainous state without shifting out of 6th gear. How does a stick prevent me from texting and driving when today’s cars possess plenty of torque to lug around in top gear all day?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Quentin: try that in a Hyundai driving in one of the most congested urban areas in North America. No chance that you are lugging or driving around without shifting.

        With both hands engaged, one of the wheel and one on the shifter, you cannot physically text.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          I don’t think people text and drive in that situation with either type of transmission. People are more likely to speed where they think it is safe. The same applies with texting. They are more likely to text where they think it is safe to do so. i simply doubt there is much texting and driving in congested areas where you are actually moving. Even in an automatic, there is too much going on in those conditions to get that false sense that texting and driving is OK.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            I drive daily in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) either the 3rd or 4th most populous urban area in North America and one of the most congested.

            I wish Quentin was correct, unfortunately I see (primarily young and female) drivers texting all the time (despite it being illegal in Ontario) regardless of the road or driving conditions.

            Distracted driving as it is referred to is now the primary cause of traffic collisions (I certainly would not call these accidents).

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ Arthur Dailey – Agree. I’m lucky enough to have a convenient bus route to the office, and the amount of texting I see by drivers who are in motion is terrifying.

            P.S. GTA actually is 5th; don’t forget about Mexico City. And while Toronto-proper has slightly people than Chicago-proper, Chicago has more people in its metropolitan area (though GTA is growing like crazy).

  • avatar
    brux2dc

    1. Control over spirited driving or economic driving styles.
    2. Feeling connected to the car
    3. Lower cost of ownership (transmission repairs)
    4. Potential lower MSRP
    5. Reduced theft potential (USA only)
    6. More thought into what’s going on on the road ahead

    Overall a much more engaging driving experience. I live in DC and still wouldn’t want an automatic if there’s a manual option (DSG doesn’t count an a manual!).

  • avatar
    kkop

    Where I grew up, everyone drove a manual (OK, 99%). There was actually a separate driver’s license for automatics (that did not allow you to drive a manual). Automatics were for physically handicapped drivers and those whose brains could not handle the complexities of three pedals.

    Nowadays, I still like manuals for the greater engagement they require, and for the greater control they allow. I live in the hills and appreciate that I can easily downshift to save the brakes when going downhill, and hold gears longer when going up. In my truck an automatic is perfectly fine, but in my Challenger a manual is a must.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    Fun. Automatics, to me, take away some of the fun of driving.

    Reliability. When I bought my E46 M3, I knew there was no way I wanted to take the chance of owning an expensive-to-repair SMG.

    Resale. When I sold my E46 M3, I was able to price it higher than similar SMG-equipped cars.

    Granted, an E46 M3 is an old car now, and not many cars have such stark drawbacks to their “automatics”, but I’ll always prefer manuals for the reasons above. Plus, I like to rev-match.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I just enjoy it more. I also need it as my car only has 140HP and an auto doesn’t make full use of the power. This is my 7th stickshift car. I looked at automatics this go round (specifically DSG GTIs)… the good ones work well but I just don’t find them enjoyable.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    I’ll preface my comments stating they are mainly what I don’t like about autos

    1. Torque to throttle relationship. In a given gear, it is consistent. I’ll tend to load an engine at say 3k rpm for a “little bit more accel”. In an auto, it down shifts and gives me too much power. Annoying.
    2. “Involvement” but not the kind most people think of. To me it’s the fact that one can’t drive a manual successfully without paying attention to traffic and road conditions. I find myself daydreaming in an auto since it really doesn’t matter. It’ll shift for me. This is doubly important to me now that I have kids. I found all my young friend manual drivers to be more engaged.
    3. Traffic. Ironically my right leg gets tired constantly hiring the brake to prevent creep. In a manual I don’t shift too often and tend to “time” the slinky nature of traffic jams.
    4. Speed – as in getting in and out of the car. I know it’s a small pet peeve but I hate the extra time it takes to shift a car to get moving forward, and I have to put it in park to remove the key. Also hate waiting for the gear to engage going from reverse to drive.
    5. Reliability. I’ve yet to replace a clutch (last car gave out at 320k miles, clutch was fine though)
    6. When I make a mistake, I can blame myself. When something in my car does it, I get angry because I expect what I buy to work as I want it. No auto has ever been perfect for me.
    7. I don’t like learned “sport modes” sometimes I am puttering around but come into a turn hot in the gear wanted, power out a small distance then shift back to lazy gear. Autos either can’t understand this or hold a low gear for what feels like minutes with the engine spinning at some insane rpm for just cruising.
    8. I find many automatics don’t allow a smooth start (or consistent to throttle app – it’s either grandma or race)
    9. Smooth stopping. With a manual I can basically let off the brakes as I am nearing a stop, gently coming to said stop. In an auto it’s very hard, if not impossible, since you have to fight the in out of the creep function
    10. Sense of speed. I know basically what speed I am going by the gear I’m in. I’ve caught myself well over the speed I wanted to be in an auto since I have no reference sans the speedometer.

  • avatar
    ilkhan

    I just hate the feel of a torque converter. TC is a very disconnected feeling. Like, the engine of connected to the car, but very mushy.

    Stop rolling forward when I’m off the brake, and start slowing down when I’m off the gas.

  • avatar
    fasn8n

    I did not see this mentioned by anyone else, but a manual is the way to go if you ever have to start a car with a dead or weak battery.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @fasn8: Thanks. The bump start. I wonder how many under the age of 40 know this technique or have attempted it?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I’ve done it, but both F-350s (farm truck and the Highway Dept. truck) were geared so low (4.30 and 4.88, respectively) that it wasn’t really something to brag about.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You’re supposed to bump in 2nd gear, not 1st. At least, that’s what I was taught. It works. Had battery go dead on my Jeep once and just slowly rolled down a slight incline and easily got the engine to kick over before I’d rolled 20 feet.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        I’ve seen it done a time or two; never tried it myself. I also wonder how or if it would work on a newer car with electronic engine controls.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          We recently bump started a friend’s S2000, so it still works, if the battery is not stone cold dead.

        • 0 avatar
          bk_moto

          Works fine as long as you have enough juice to run the fuel injection and ignition system. If the battery is totally and completely dead it won’t work but then again it may not work on a carb car if the battery is totally dead either unless you have a magneto. :-)

          You have more margin for error (in terms of battery health) with a carb and no electronics but it still works on the new stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        Just don’t forget to turn the ignition to the “ON” position. (Don’t ask how I know… he said embarrassedly)
        ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I’m 29, and rolling starts saved my bacon a number of times, working as a construction inspector and having 12v cooler in my car.

        Those things are power hogs!

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        If so few people are unaware of this technique, perhaps it is not particularly relevant anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      I know it, and have attempted it and I’m only 25. But it doesn’t work on a 20hp Diesel tractor, you ask me how I know this…..

  • avatar
    -Nate

    All of the above but mostly because I enjoyed stick shifts until my spine was shattered so now it’s too damn painful to operate a clutch .

    Bummer this but I still drive and few keep up in regular traffic so I’m O.K. with slush boxes now .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    7402

    It’s simply a more engaging interface.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The fun, the control, the sense of power.

    A man driving a car with a manual transmission has to use all four of his limbs, and more of his senses, to control the car.

    It’s as if man and machine have become a powerful cybernetic organism.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Weellll…four limbs may be needed, but they don’t have to be all from the same person :S

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      About 20 years ago, Autoweek’s Steve Thompson stated the “four limbs” theory, and that’s part of it. Driving a manual is a more balanced physical activity, and my left leg feels left out when driving an automatic. I think that’s partly why, despite its excellence, Acura’s new 8DCT just doesn’t come close to the experience of driving a manual. Yeah, it shifts instantly, but it just isn’t the same. It’s like playing a “guitar” in Garageband instead of plugging my Strat into my ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb.

      Also, having lived with manuals for 20 years in downtown Philly, with 15 of those involving a commute to Delaware, I don’t have any problem with manuals in an urban environment. In fact, I strongly prefer them in the city, because holding second gear can be advantageous in many situations. My TSX’s 6MT is a perfect machete for cutting through the urban jungle!

      But yeah, I understand going automatic if you’re always in bumper-to-bumper crap on the highway. I do deal with this a lot and still strongly prefer a manual overall, but even for me it gets tiresome occasionally.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I don’t particularly like the claim regarding the “all four limbs.” It only advocates one embodiment of a manual transmission. There are systems with the clutch controller on the gearshift, thus negating the need for a pedal. Also, except for slipping the clutch at start up, operating a manual transmission with paddle shifters is a viable embodiment.

      When I think about questions like this, I think about what is fundamentally different about the implied options. I don’t see the clutch pedal as fundamentally different. A torque converter is more fundamental, but DCTs don’t necessarily use them, and lock-up plates bypass the torque converter. Control is fairly fundamental, but autos can have a true manual mode, but I don’t know of any that can skip gears like a traditional stick. Autos in manual mode typically aren’t as responsive, but that’s more about programming & emissions than capability. And even manuals will adjust engine programming for emissions or even rev matching.

  • avatar
    Boff

    Why do I drive a manual? You may as well ask me why I’m heterosexual. It’s just who I am.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I’ve been shifting gears since I was 12 years old, sitting on my father’s lap in his ’72 Alfa Spyder.

    Anymore questions?

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    Its way more fun.

    You’re actually driving the car.

    Its faster (an autobox may be faster 0-60 but when you know the gear you want, you put the manual there – with an autobox shifted manually it will downshift by itself meaning you never know what gear its in and have to stop and look).

    Better performance.

    Better gas mileage.

    It takes skill. I had a girlfriend that went out with me for two years before she realized my car was a manual.

    Nothing like it. Its living..

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    Keeps me in tune for my bike. Driving either type of transmission is no problem for me but I will always prefer the manual just because that is driving.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    A quartz/kinetic/Eco Drive watch is more accurate than a mechanical watch, but I love mechanical watches. An MT is the same thing. Yeah, there are plenty of practical reasons why I like an MT (like it’s better in the snow), but the bottom line is the autonomy combined with the immediate aural and tactile responses to my inputs. Shifting is a pleasurable activity.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but there is a commercial for a “sporty” car driven by a razor-stubbled cool dude that includes a quick cut to him “shifting” his manumatic, followed by the sounds of revving and then a cut back to the dude looking like Clint Eastwood after shooting a few bad guys. It’s hard for me to convey how OFFENSIVE I find this ad. So yeah, I like MTs.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Wouldn’t it be neat to have this option.

    Full 3 pedal manual when desired.
    Full 2 pedal automatic via a push button. Gear selector changes to Chrysler style dash nob in this mode. Clutch and shifter a mechanically locked out.

    Technically I think this would be feasible in a non dual clutch trans – like an smg.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I do think we’ll see something like that (if the exotics aren’t already doing it), but I’m confident it will not have a clutch peddle at all. The most obvious solution would be paddle shifters.

      But even if a traditional stick is used, the pedal can still be eliminated. Detecting the intent to move the stick out of/into gear is not difficult, and automating the clutch is just as simple.

      I think the physical connection between stick shift and gears will go away, just like there’s no physical connection between an auto / paddle shifters & the transmission (or throttle by wire, etc.). The same human interface could be retained in a shift-by-wire design, but the position of the gear shift simply sends a signal instructing the transmission on what to do. Then, a D position could be added that switches decision-making to the computer.

      Even if a peddle is retained, if the peddle is locked out, it has to be disconnected from clutch, either with a physical switch or converting the whole thing to clutch-by-wire. I see the clutch-by-wire as the more likely answer, which then leads to the rest of the “false manual” (meaning the car actually does all the mechanics, while the driver explicitly tells it what to do) system as described above.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Augh! You used pedal and peddle interchangeably and within one post. You’re doing that just to mess with my head and my OCD.

        Pedal- something you push with your foot
        Peddle- what gypsies do with their wares
        Petal- part of a flower. Also the trigger on a .50 caliber machine gun

        Ahhhhhhh. Now I feel better.

  • avatar
    immortalsix

    Saves brakes.

    [But i6, brakes are cheap!]

    I live in a mountainous, twisty labyrinth, and drive 2 hours round trip to work.

    With 900 curves and 500 up-n-down hills and a few long burn hills, I was murdering rotors and pads on every car I had. I had one set of rotors last 6 months.

    I got a BMW X3 with a stick shift (weird, right?) and I’m still on the same set of pads and rotors.

    Plus, it’s fun, duh.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I drive a manual because I can.

    I drive a manual because it offers me better traction and control off road.

    I drive a manual because I don’t need a Sport, Eco, or whatever mode the manufacturer want me to use to gain performance.

    I drive a manual because I have a mind that can determine when to change gears.

    I drive a manual because I understand the characteristics of any engine I sit behind and can change gears when required.

    Why? Because I’ve driven manuals all my life (and owned autos) this has given me far more insight into how vehicles perform.

    Any fool can depress an accelerator to go forward. Ask them to operate a vehicle with efficiency in mind and they would be lost.

    I like driving manuals. Driving a manual makes for better drivers who are more atuned to there vehicles.

  • avatar
    Fenian

    It’s more fun. It’s as simple as that.

  • avatar

    While I could see driving a manual in the countryside or some place where there isn’t much population density or traffic…

    AUTOMATIC F.T.W.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I told someone I don’t have broadband or pay tv at home, his solution was to move. So I’m passing on that bit of lame advice to you. You’re welcome.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I busted out laughing when I read your comment! Since we moved into town, I’m amazed at how many of my neighbors don’t have broadband or pay tv in their home, probably because they’re all old and not computer savvy.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      Just to make you feel better I live in a city (San Francisco) and all 3 of my cars are manual. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @BTSR – It’s like saying you love camping, especially when you can stay inside the RV the whole time.

      Just having to shift gears in city gridlock, is another reason to get a stick shift. If you’re into it, you’re into it whole hog. If not, just say that.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    @see 7 up, I think Saab did something like this back in the 90s. Something felt instinctively wrong about jamming the stick into gear without pressing a clutch.

    Anyway, forget about the value argument. Save $1000 of MSRP, lose twice as much on trade-in.

    I just wish the manufacturers wouldn’t make the higher trim level auto-only.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Not sure about saab, but Porsche had something akin to it in the 60s-70’s “sportomatic”.

      However it involved using the shift lever we the car took care of clutch work. There was no clutch.

      What I am envisioning is a mode in which no driver involvement is needed. Put the car in neutral, release clutch then select “auto”. From there you select PNRD via a selector nob like the new ram trucks.

      Seems the best of both world for the drivers that want a manual but don’t want it for certain situations or have a spouse that won’ t drive a manual

    • 0 avatar
      daver277

      Many cars like BMWs comand a premium for having 3 pedals.

      Try finding a newer 4runner with 3 pedals. They seldom get sold and when they hit the market they sell much faster.

      • 0 avatar
        Forty2

        Huh. I fully expected mine to have a lower resale value because of the tri-pedals, but maybe I’ll be nicely surprised in five or so years when I plan on replacing it.

        I’ve had the car since April 2014 but due to about 80% work travel it’s only got about 4300 miles on it. At that rate I won’t even have much over 25,000 in five years. If so I’ll probably just keep it.

  • avatar
    Lack Thereof

    I have driven stick-shifts mostly because it’s what my parents drove, and largely for the same reasons.

    MPG’s (vs traditional 3 and 4 speed slushboxes) and reliability.

    Growing up, there were two automatic transmission cars my parents owned that reinforced the reliability issue. We had a used Pinto Runabout, purchased for a temporary highway commuter car, that struggled with the 1-2 shift for the entire time we owned it. The Pinto gave way to a 5-speed Audi, returning the household fleet to 100% stickshift status.

    Several years later, it came time to replace our rust-eaten F-100, equipped with the high-MPG overdrive 3-speed + 300cid I-6 combo. We followed it up with a 1990 Dodge Grand Caravan, with the biggest V6, extended wheelbase, towing package, and Chrysler’s brand new 1st generation Ultradrive electronic 4-speed.

    We towed with it 4-500 miles a weekend, every weekend, with mountain passes.

    It got at least 2 complete transmissions under warranty, and accumulated at least a half-dozen “updated as per TSB #xxxx” stickers on the firewall and transmission computer.

    After the full round of control updates, and Chrysler banning the use of generic Dex/Merc fluid, It did eventually stop blowing up / limping home, and we did get 200,000 miles out of it before the 3.3 succumbed to piston failure. But the first 75,000 miles or so were pretty sketchy.

    And just to reinforce the impression that automatic transmissions always fail, just look at how many junk cars on Craigslist are listed as “Bad transmisson” “Transmission slips in 2nd” or something. Because automatic transmissions always fail.

    My next car may be a slushbox, though. Transmissions have gotten a lot smarter – electronically controlled 4 speeds from around the turn of the century handle basic commuter tasks easily, and only give up 1 or maybe 2 MPG to their 5-speed counterparts. The 4-speed auto is technologically mature, and so long as you steer clear of the v-6 midsize world, not likely to fail. A big change from the automatics of 20-30 years ago.

    Being able to accept an automatic makes car buying much easier, rather than searching for stickshift unicorns.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    One thing I’d like to state because I know it may come up (how’s that for a cya statement)

    A manual isn’t like adjusting your timing. Gear selection is a very basic process that doesn’t need to many input variables, mainly,
    What rpm am I at.
    What do I want to do.
    What are road and traffic conditions like.

    Plus, the option for selection are primary – go up one gear or go down a gear (obviously one can skip). This differs mightily from something like timing, where many many variables need to be evaluated and humans don’t have sensors for the inputs (ie they have to read a gauge rather than know they are not accelerating as fast as they want)

    Everyone thinks computers are better than humans. That is not true. They are very good at taking a large amount of data and calculating a response quickly. They are not a match with humans for very basic tasks, or for those that require visual input (which a human excels at). They also do not do a better job or faster job than humans at tasks we find easy (see walking)

    Excuse my writing. Cell phone makes me seem like some.russian. I could elaborate on the above but it’s annoying to type on this phone.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      There are tasks that computers certainly do worse than humans, such as using language. However, for tasks like the act of shifting, a computer/machine will beat the human hands-down, every time. The decision-making of when to shift, however, has always been reactive instead of proactive like with a human. (Rolls Royce is implementing a transmission linked to GPS so that it becomes predictive based on what’s approaching.)

      So, it boils down to the car can execute the shift better than you, but you can decide when to shift better than the car.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    For many years, until the early 1990s, I bicycled everywhere (center city Philadelphia, then Minneapolis) and had an automatic car. For the past 20-25 years I’ve been driving stick – a 4-speed ’83 Civic 1300 followed by a succession of 5-speed Subarus – and perhaps because of all the biking, I nearly always prefer to coast rather than downshift. Although I agree with the advantages that others have listed above, coasting is one of my favorite things about driving stick. (Depending on conditions, I also often shift directly from 2nd to 4th – a choice that I like to be able to make when called for.)

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Manual coasting +1

      Except for me, my family can only drive autos. They have a hard time understanding they don’t have to drive in binary mode: gas/brake only. I keep explaining that coasting is the best thing an auto does, but it just dosn’t seem to sink in.

      • 0 avatar
        majo8

        It amazes me how many people drive this way. There is no such thing as coasting ( like you said, it’s an alien concept ), only gas applied, or brake applied.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Agree completely. I don’t know if the behavior is caused by binary pedals or an inability to look past their bumper (and thus anticipate & plan for what’s approaching).

        With the evolution to electric, BMW & Tesla talk of one-peddle driving. Regen can become strong enough that it acts like a brake. Therefore, you simply press the pedal to match the speed you wish to travel, including zero depress for zero speed.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    1. The feeling that the accelerator pedal is directly connected to the drive wheels. I don’t like turbochargers or adaptive cruise control.

    2. An automatic can’t read my mind. It can only react to accelerator position. Neither can a manual, but I can put the manual into the appropriate gear ahead of time.

    3. Absent abuse, the life expectancy of a manual transmission is the life of the car and that of the clutch almost as long.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Just feel like it keeps me involved with the whole driving experience.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Many years ago, I had a hand-me-down Volvo with a dying BW55. I took it to a specialty Volvo shop.

    “How much to replace the transmission?” “$1800.”

    “How much to rip that crap out and put in a manual?” “$800.”

    I have never looked back.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I usually prefer the driving experience more. All my cars up to now have been manuals. Since getting the Miata with it’s superb transmission, I really lost any joy in operating the transmission in my former Impreza. It could have been an automatic at this point. Driving a crappy manual doesn’t really ad pleasure to the experience anymore. My next car is probably going to be an auto not as a requirement, but there’s just more out there, and I have the awesome 6-speed in the Miata for pleasure drives anyway.

  • avatar
    lagunaseca

    Because car-jackers can’t drive a car with 3 pedals.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I use a stick for more precise speed control–especially with 4WD. There are those who say that 4WD will not help you stop, but that’s patently untrue as front axle and rear axle speeds are locked to the same rate of rotation. Good throttle control can actually get you better braking action than an automatic even with 4WD as your driveshaft speed is directly controlled by the engine backpressure with no freewheeling.

  • avatar
    tedward

    It boils down to entertainment value frankly. I’ve had to admit that to myself but it hasn’t changed my feelings overall on the technology.

    In the snow though, I think there is a real safety argument. Someone who really knows their car and cares about driving can predict and prompt an auto, but anyone borrowing/renting etc, or just driving indifferently has far less control over torque to the wheels. That should be a real concern to anyone with shared cars in their family. A manual capable driver can do better in the winter than an auto only driver in the same car with the same familiarity as well.

    I will not consider a car for purchase without a manual, and I think less of products as a whole that don’t give the option (4c for example). I share that opinion widely and I talk many people each year into manual purchases. If I worked at a dealership I’d probably do the opposite, which may be part of the problem.

    Car companies do misunderstand the clientele though. Manuals would be better placed as an additional cost option on higher trim levels as opposed to their current home in penalty box trim levels. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but most manual owners I know come down from premium brands to mainstream ones solely for the transmission availability. Those that don’t are dissuaded by the difficulty in getting must have features like sunroofs with the transmission they want. This may be a regional thing in e northeast, I’m not sure.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      +1. It baffles me that Cadillac and Jag are putting the manual in their 4-cylinder sedans but not the V-6 models.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatic

        I use to think that way. Now after 13 years of driving a manual Lincoln with the small engine I get it. While more power is nice the better weight distribution is more where I am now. As the Lincoln rust, its replacement is going to a problem. If only the V6 Charger came with a 6MT.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I like the shnick, schnick mechanical nature of it.

  • avatar
    strafer

    I’ve only driven manual since my first car in 1981 and have no desire for an auto.
    I hate driving other’s cars because I end up slamming on the brakes going for the clutch with my left foot but stepping on the wide brake pedal instead.

  • avatar
    drivrBob

    My main reason for having a manual is Acceleration. Especially with a small engine car. My Subaru dealer once tried to sell me on the Automatic but I replied that the manual got to 60 MPH a second faster. End of argument. Also if your starter motor dies you just have to park on a hill to jump start again. Once I even had a clutch go and I could still drive on without it. Just got to time it right. And if you get stuck in snow it’s easier to rock the car out!

    • 0 avatar
      drivrBob

      Its me again! Just want to add a bit more. If you have a low or dead battery you can push start your car if its a shift. Saves calling for AAA and waiting. Noticed that some of you have had clutches burning out. Maybe, I’m just lucky, but have never had this problem. Maybe it pays to buy Volvos, Audis, Subarus and Toyotas. Or maybe I just drive the clutch correctly.

  • avatar
    izzy

    So, I would instinctively put it in neutral in case the throttle is stuck open while going down the highway.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My car is a manual because it’s more fun in that particular car (G8 GXP). Overrun noise, rev-matched downshifts, and shifter noise accentuate the car’s somewhat obnoxious and rude personality.

    I’m also attached to the amount of time and effort I’ve spent developing the skill of driving the manual well, and if I’m going to be honest about it I kind of like showing off skills like smooth shifts and heel-and-toeing when driving others around.

    But many cars would be a lot worse with a manual, and the truth is modern automatics are starting to get to the point where for me there are no downsides in any aspect of actual performance. If I end up skewing more toward either luxury or utility in my next car it will be an automatic. That’s particularly true where the automatic works really well, as with the ZF 8-speed units, Toyota/Ford planetary-gearset hybrids, or Honda’s new CVTs.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Of the 8 vehicles I have owned, 3 have been manuals. But with all 3 I ended up with a manual by chance not because that is what I was consciously looking for. The last 4 vehicles I have bought have all been trucks, used to pull my toys. The first one was a manual and everyone since has been an auto(no more manuals) because when it comes to towing “give me auto or give me death!”.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’m not a manual-only nazi, but for me, choosing the transmission is related to my intended usage, the quality of the available manual, the quality of the available automatic, and the type of drivetrain.

    For instance, I almost always want a manual in a sports car. However, in some sports cars, the manual allegedly isn’t that great. For instance, the Porsche 991 7MT hasn’t gotten rave reviews, but the PDK has. Therefore, I’d be inclined to go PDK. I’d also probably drive the 991 every day. Comparatively, if I bought a Boxster, the 6MT is still pretty good, and I’d only use it as an occasional-use car, so I’d probably go 6MT. Another example is any car equipped with the ZF 8AT; for instance the BMW 3-series has a pretty decent manual, but the ZF 8AT is such a great automatic, I’d be inclined to go with that as it complements the drivetrain really well.

    Really, I’m at the point where the only cars I want a stick in are lightweight, lower-powered (say, <300hp) sports cars (or sporty cars, like a WRX or Civic Si or FiST/FoST). The 6MT in my S2000 is amazing, and I'd never buy a Miata or similar with an automatic. I'd also avoid autos in many of the old sports cars I lust after, like 993s, NSXs, F355s, etc. But most other cars I'd go with the auto/DSG and feel like I'm not missing out.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      The 991 7mt is a great trans. Journalist just talk up the pdk since it’s also great (and I think are “Told” to)
      Fwiw the pdk is the only auto I’ve driven I could live with. It requires the paddles though and still does some annoying things.
      It would be a definite need on a track car where it is amazing.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I’ve only driven the PDK in the Panamera 4S, but more than any other flappy paddle transmission, the PDK is just incredible at leveraging performance. In most Porsches, it’s good for at least .5s on the stated 0-60, and given the repeatability of 0-60 launches in the real world on manuals vs. automatics (ie, few/no owners abuse their cars enough to get the stated 0-60 with a manual), that’s probably worth 1.0s in the real world. Just an epic transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          I’ve never understood the 0-60 argument since I literally never do it. And on a track I definitely don’t do it. Any fast car feels fast on the street, especially when they are geared to break most speed limits in one gear if not two.

          Also, it seems kind of lame, two automatics racing. Just pull up the spreadsheet and announce the winner. No racing necessary.

          To me the pdk is nice because it shifts extremely smoothly and very fast. Nice traits to have when driving spiritedly.

          Oh yeah – I have driven a Panamera hybrid and that whole thing was just not right. You fight engine braking, shifting, regen – just not smooth at all.

    • 0 avatar
      talkstoanimals

      “The 6MT in my S2000 is amazing.”

      Funny, the reason I was going to give is because operating the manual transmission in an S2000 is one of the most physically and mechanically satisfying sensations on earth.

      (Full disclosure: I’ve recently switched over to a daily driver with the ZF 8 speed auto due to DC traffic and my my S2k is, therefore, a second, play car. But that doesn’t change the fact that its gearbox is one of the finest bits of machinery ever creafted by the hands of man.)

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I stated it before…. I find great pleasure in how a manual forces me to be engaged with everything the car is doing. I find I am far more sensitive to engine RPM, current gear setting ( and I always seem to know exactly what gear I’m in), speed, and maybe most importantly, my anticipation of what I want the car to be doing next. To me that all blends together far more efficiently in a manual.

    No doubt automatics are better and I do like the idea of DCT/PDK. I think they are amazing. I certainly don’t fault others for that pathway.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I find automatics annoying most of the time. Ok, they are nice for slow city driving, and heavy traffic sometimes, and they can sometimes make driving easier (creeping into an intersection on top of a hill just using the brakes is the one situation where I actually miss an auto, also upshifiting from 1st to 2nd with a caravan/trailer is usually smoother with an auto, partly because the 1st gear is a lot taller) So I’m not against the existence of autos, as they certainly have their place.
    But;
    – You’re never ‘totally in control’ of your car (it doesn’t help that I’m far away from being able to afford one of those ‘modern’ automatics that are supposedly better than a manual) I can control the shifting to a certain degree by plannning ahead and using the throttle correctly, but there will always be situations where you will disagree with the autos selection of gears.
    -It takes ‘forever’ to change direction (especially annoying in the winter when tryng to rock a car loose from a snowbank, or whenever you need to perform a three point turn) It also makes reversing down a too slippery hill ,to make another attempt at it, near impossible.
    -Backing into a parking space on a hill. In this case you often can’t creep on the brake, but have to use the throttle a little to keep it rolling, with the usual delay this gives.
    -Engine braking. Not a problem if you’re not in a hilly area, but I actually live on top of a steep hill, I ‘need’ to be able to brake on 1st gear at least 2-4 times a day.
    -Fuel economy and highway traffic. The automatics I can afford at the time don’t even stand a chance. And with very few cars made specifically for Norwegian roads (speed limit is usually 50-55 mph and we have hills everywhere) many automatics will be shifting up and down between the top gears constantly.
    -Driver involvment. Sure , I could easily live with a Hellcat with an Auto, and I doubt I would be bored, but right now I would have to sell my house twice to afford even a base model Chrysler 300 or Charger if I want a v8 over here. I also feel right foot is unnaturally strained from constantly having to apply force towards the left.
    -Emergencies. I don’t really feel completely safe owning a vehicle that can’t be jump started, towed with a rope, or can stop or slow down if the brakes fail. Offcourse, this can be filed under economy too. Most Ferrari owners wouldn’t care about this.

  • avatar

    The upsides are hard to explain beyond intangible concepts like involvement and rewardingness, but it’s less debatable that automatics offer me, personally, no upside.

    Secondarily, in the world of older, cheaper cars manuals are 1) worth more and 2) cheaper to own. The people afraid of automatics are also afraid of 10y/o, 100k mile cars.

    As long as I can get a given vehicle in a manual, I will.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    I learned to drive in a manual and drove M/T exclusively for ~17 years. Rowing gears was like a second nature.

    I drive an auto now and miss the hand shaker, even if it feels funny while sitting on the other side of the car.

    What I like about the manual is freedom. Lazy to downshift and no need to recover fast? floor it. Willing to use high revs and hear your double cam motor… don’t upshift. Engine braking while going downhill, cake. The driving experience is also more involving as you need to keep the engine on the boil or avoid it to grenade.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    More control, enjoyment, and to be different.

  • avatar
    Andrew T.

    I’ve been driving a manual since I was 16. These are the reasons why…

    * Economy. Modern technology has helped automatics narrow the gap significantly, but I still feel it saves fuel if my arms and legs are doing the gear-changing work instead of torque convertors.
    * Reduced maintenance. (When the goal is saving money, this ties in with the above.)
    * Greater driver control…a big one. The ability to determine the exact gear and RPM level is invaluable in winter and foul-weather conditions. Plus, I can physically disengage the transmission at any time.
    * Reduced theft risk. If a random kid took my Veloster out on a joyride, they’d probably stall before going two feet.
    * Emotion. Yes, I’ll admit it: It feels satisfying to be “different” from other drivers, have direct mechanical interaction with machines, and have the ability to drive vehicles that others cannot. It was ingrained in my head as a kid that cars were supposed to have three pedals and a shift lever; and as long as I can do so, I’ll be happy to keep up the tradition.

  • avatar
    cmus

    I never learned how to drive an automatic.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Because it can be a blast. I have two cars: 1991 Volvo 240 and 2014 BMW 335i, both manuals. Yesterday I took the BMW on a Georgia mountain road (Hwy 129 if you know the area) and once clear of puttering Sunday drivers I was powering up switchbacks like no tomorrow. Yes in an 8AT version I could use the flappy paddles but there are few sweeter things in life that blipping the gas between downshifts, hearing that burbly barky exhaust (of course my windows were down, why do you ask?), rev matching then doing a little drifting through a switchback.

    My Volvo, I love the old clanking beast, it always starts, and when I lived in Boston a wide-open snowy parking lot and that car were, at the moment, the very best thing ever.

    A mushbox just isn’t the same. I’ve driven many, many rental cars and between the old-fash torque converters, CVTs (ugh), and assorted DCTs, I would only buy a car without a clutch after they amputate my left leg or nobody sells such a thing anymore.

    I fully expect BMW to drop manuals across the product line, at least in the US, within a few years. A dealer might have a single low-end 3-er manual on the lot but that would be it. No dealer had a manual 335i non-Xdrive east of the MIssissippi when I ordered my car. So if that happens, assuming my left leg is still on, I guess I’ll be looking elsewhere or at used ones.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I’ve had multiple reasons for driving a manual, but it always comes down to fun for me. As I’ve gotten older I appreciate the ease of an automatic, but as long as I can afford 2 cars for myself, one of them will always be a fun one with a manual.

    It also helps that the Japanese performance cars that I’ve favored (RSX-S, S2000, Mazdaspeed3) have only come in manual.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Same reason I listen to the engine not the radio. I actually like driving and I like my car.

  • avatar
    brianyates

    Driving a standard shift is just more fun in my opinion.In the sixties when I lived in London, I had a1959 Citroen 2cv, it had a four speed transmission, but had what was called a”traffic clutch”, in London traffic it was great, in stop and go traffic I could leave it in first gear and as long as I didn’t exceed 12kph, could drive it like an automatic. After 12kph, it had to be driven as normal. Of course, an automatic transmission in those days was less common, I don’t know what the ratio of autos to standard transmission is today though but I’m willing to bet that they’re(standards) still popular compared to NA

  • avatar
    IllTakeAn8WithThatV

    Look, it’s just plain satisfying. Yes, there’s the added connection – everyone knows that – but I can’t accurately convey put in words why it feels so good. Addictive comes closest. It’s addictive. It’s intimate. It’s fun.

    Moreover, no matter how good automatics get, including the best dual clutches, a couple of tenths better on the track is an irrelevant argument for most enthusiasts, much less the general car buying public.

  • avatar
    OM617

    The fun of perfecting the skill

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    Because I don’t know how to drive an automatic.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Maybe because it’s a miata, or maybe because it’s a convertible, but i really enjoy the mechanical interaction, i feel more like i am piloting something rather than mindlessly driving. the fact that the car is old and unrefined probably helps too.
    of course none of this applies on MA-128.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Because it greatly Simplifies the car buying process- eliminating the 80% of cars that are auto only. And I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that cars available with a manual tend to be more sporty cars.

    And I think that accidents would be reduced by 20% if everyone had experience driving manuals, and by 50% if everyone was forced to always drive manuals. Not only would texting/make-up-applying be minimized, but people would have a better appreciation of a car’s (and driver’s) abilities.

    I’ve only bought one auto car – it was both the most expensive car I bought, and the worst car I bought. Never again.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    I have driven old three-in-the-trees that were so slick to actuate, with gear ratios so carefully choosen and mated to the final ratio that it made old wheezy sixes and flexie chassises seem like a grand tourers.

    I would still take one of those over an auto any day.

  • avatar
    Broo

    When my father began teaching me how to drive, he insisted that I learn manual. Not because he is a big fan of it, but rather because he said if I can drive with a stick, I can also drive automatic. Reverse is not true.

    My first car was a manual. All cars I’ve had except one so far are manual. Though I’m not a sporty driver, I simply enjoy it.

    My automatic is a pickup. Engine and bed size were more important than transmission type. Would have preferred a manual, but I was shopping a used one and this combination was very rare. Wife is happy because if her van ever fails, she can borrow my truck. My daily driver and weekend car are manuals.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I convinced my wife to learn MT (even if she only got to 2nd gear) simply because IMO it forces the driver to be more alert to the car, the road and the traffic conditions. It will be quite a day when I can convince her to buy an MT car for herself. As a bonus, once you’ve caught on to the motions and the rhythm, a stick provides an intimate sense of involvement that everyone loves to talk about.

    I don’t currently have a manual transmission in the house, but I swear either my next DD or my next weekend car will have one.

  • avatar
    andrewbarnet

    I didn’t appreciate manuals until I owned a car with an auto, a Volvo 960 wagon. It was less fun/interesting to drive than my full-size pickup truck (manual), simply because of the transmission. And the Volvo’s transmission had continual electrical problems unique to the auto, like the shift lock getting stuck or the transmission getting stuck in “winter” mode.

    So, to echo many other commenters, I prefer manual transmissions because they make driving a more pleasurable and engaging experience, and because the costs, both upfront and long-term, are lower.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    Basically because it’s more fun and engaging. Secondly, because years ago when I worked as a transmission tech I quickly realized that having the manual eliminated probably 85% of expensive trans work. That said, I’ve only ever owned manual “fun” cars. I would never own a DD that was a stick, because working the clutch in stop-and-go traffic or on those days that you really want to be anywhere else than in a car gets old fast.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    Find me an automatic transmission (or a CVT, ha) that would let me accelerate SMOOTHLY up a steep hill, at 4-5K rpm and I’d buy it.

    Good luck.

  • avatar
    jagerninja

    Anti-theft device. I could talk about engagement while driving, how driving a manual is more satisfying and fun, and all those things are true–but they’re also the reasons that will be beaten to death in these comments. Me? I’m thinking outside the box. You can’t steal my car if you can’t drive it!

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    So people can’t ask to borrow my car. Or so it won’t get stolen since thieves can’t drive sticks.

    Also, they’re just more fun except in traffic.

  • avatar
    pleiter

    Because I have personally performed a gearbox swap when the synchro’s were broken on 2 of 4 gears; U-Pull junkyard. Would never contemplate for an AT. AT gear failure = SELL immediately, including donate for write-off. Gearbox can extend the “run it until the wheels fall off” philosophy.

  • avatar
    toadroller

    With a stick it’s driving.
    Everything else is riding.

  • avatar
    focal

    I drive manuals and will until I cannot. Companies don’t realize I’m loyal first to the manual and then the brand. I’d honestly get a VW 6MT before an automatic BMW. All my cars have been manual in my 27 year car driving life. From the first Civic to the current 3 series. I bought a RWD 3 series just to avoid driving an Xdrive automatic. I get 360-362 days of driving bliss and 1-3 days on public transit because it snowed too much.

    My next car the GT4 (if i get allocation) is obviously a 6MT. That’ll be my keeper because the next car to replace the 3 will probably be an automatic. They just won’t make a manual in 8-10 years. At that point, I will just get the Tesla Model 3 or Model 4.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    126 comments so far! All I can add is “almost all of the above.”

    And even in traffic, a manual is not a problem for me. With a light foot, some manuals (I’m thinking Mazda) are just brilliant at crawling in 1st or 2nd gear without jerkiness.

  • avatar

    Good question, and one that always comes up whenever I buy a car. I always hear “why do you want a manual? We don’t have any” from dealerships. I hear my mother-in-law exclaim each time, “why did you buy a manual!?” That in itself is almost a reason . I’ve always had a manual since I was 20, which was 12 years ago, and all my cars since 2009 have been manual

    Despite all of the challenges finding a manual car and living in crowded LA, here are my reasons:

    -It is more involving. There’s a graceful balance between man and machine when driving a manual. Using all limbs while operating a heavy machine is a delicate balance that no automatic can replace
    -It keeps me occupied. I can’t be busy texting, eating, or god-only-knows what else while driving a manual. It keeps me focused on the important role of driving.
    -It’s a theft deterrent. We’ve seen videos of thieves trying to steal manuals and embarrassingly end up stalling less than two feet from their dazed owners
    – It keeps my husband from driving my cars. He’s a bad driver, and it assures me that he really can’t go anywhere with my car
    -Seeing anyone else who can’t drive a manual cringe when they realize that manuals still exist and they may have to drive my car
    -It’s typically $1k cheaper than an automatic. That says it all being the cheap skate that I am
    -I can rent and drive many cars in foreign countries. The many times that I’ve been overseas, I can rent the cheapest car and not have to pay double to have an automatic
    -It’s safer in the rain and snow- I’m can control the car from gaining speeds on slippery downhill slopes
    -There’s just a thrill to being in complete control of the car and it’s speed.
    -It keeps me from getting bored.
    -It’s extremely rewarding on a hilly and windy road.
    -In case of emergency, I can drive another person’s car. No matter what it is
    -Manuals are getting better all the time. Compared to the rusted 1978 Toyota Truck that I learned in, today’s manuals are slick and fluid, and with features like hill-start assist, take the worst challenges out of driving a manual.
    -And we need to save the manuals! As someone else mentioned, folks used to drive manuals because they were frugal. Manuals were cheaper to by, more efficient, and were faster, but today’s automatics have gained on that. The only remainder of manual buyers are enthusiasts. We need to let manufacturers know that we are still here!

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “Manuals are getting better all the time. Compared to the rusted 1978 Toyota Truck that I learned in, today’s manuals are slick and fluid, and with features like hill-start assist, take the worst challenges out of driving a manual.”

      Manufacturers might get a better adoption rate if they make manuals with:

      1. Hill hold assist, to make starting or parallel parking on a hill less daunting.
      2. start-stop, so your engine comes right back if you accidentally stall it
      3. rev match down shifting, which they let you turn off

      Put all three in one car and you have a manual with training wheels. The technology is already out there.

  • avatar

    -The engagement (no pun intended)

    -The joy of rev matched downshifts, the joy running up the gears on the onramp.

    -Anticipating what gear to be in, paying attention to what’s going on around me.

    -I live in one of North America’s worst cities for traffic and don’t feel it’s a chore at all. In fact,

    -Driving automatic just feels weird. When I get into an auto car, my left foot instinctively presses an empty footwell.

    Unfortunately, one’s shopping list gets pretty short if you insist on manual. Also, expect to factory order the car when you tick the manual option.

  • avatar
    mx5ta

    The first car I tried to learn to drive in was my brother-in-law’s manual Bronco: it was so hard to depress the clutch that my leg shook, and I thought driving was hopelessly complicated. Later I bought my first car, a 1971 VW Type 3 (rarely seen today) with an automatic, and instantly found driving simple and easy, and got my license. Next, I bought a ’74 Firebird with a 3 (or was it 4?) speed manual, and learned how to shift it on the fly, with friends cracking up as I did. On about my second day, when pulling into the parking lot where we worked, bucking the car by letting the clutch out too fast, a passerby, who was a Harley-riding looking guy, famously said, “Who’s that knockin’ on my door?” which is a phrase my friends still quote all these years later. But I got the knack pretty fast, and now quickly dismiss ads for sporty cars for sale that have automatics, unless it’s something like a 560SL, where you don’t have much choice. On the other hand, the daily driver you take through a city to work while wanting to sip your coffee or whatever, is best to be an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Was your Type 3 a fastback, squareback, or notchback? I had a high school friend who drove a fastback.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        We had a Type 3 ‘shooting brake’ (squareback) MT a very good auto for the time.
        Traded it for a Type 4 shooting brake, which unfortunately had too many glitches (electrics and brakes) that seemed to start plaguing VW’s starting with that generation.

        These are largely forgotten cars, squeezed in between the Beetle and the Rabbit. It has been decades since I last saw one in Ontario.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I haven’t seen one in a long time, either. I suspect the tin worm got most of them.

        • 0 avatar
          mx5ta

          I did like the Type 3, overall, as a first car, but my summer dishwashing money all went into it, and then to have such problems as the recurring fuel leak, plus such rust in a 4-year-old vehicle (as FormerFF notes) was too much for my hot-tempered younger self. I recall that on each side there was a perfectly round sheet-metal insert, about the size of a pool ball, and that’s where the rust started. I can’t guess why those round holes existed, but recently saw them on some old car online, possibly on one of the junkyard finds on this website.

      • 0 avatar
        mx5ta

        It was a canary-yellow fastback. I spent all of my summer job savings on that car, just as one of the two gas crises happened, and had the idea that it was more fuel-efficient; trouble was, it leaked gas from somewhere, so probably didn’t do so well. One of my friends bought a Camaro at that time, and I cursed myself for buying a “square” car, yet recently have read one or two articles that may have implied my car had a little sporty/cool factor. In all my time watching Craigslist car ads, I’ve seen exactly one ad, for a squareback needing much work.

        When it got bitter cold, it wouldn’t start, so I’d turn off the switch and pull out the key… but it would still keep cranking! So, the battery being under the back seat, I’d rip the back seat off and pull off the battery cable to keep the battery from going dead. Being hot-tempered then, I would fling the back seat into the woods next to our house!

        Underpowered it may have been, but I recall a trip back to college when I went 90+ on I-90 in NY. I think it was a way-lightweight car, but got poor results when trying to look up curb weight online.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          I remember going to the gas station and putting in $2 worth of gas.

          If I remember correctly, they were actually pretty good highway cruisers, much more capable than the domestic alternatives at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            mx5ta

            It would be great if this website (which is my #1 go-to site for car stuff) would do an article about these cars because, as Arthur Daily mentions, “These are largely forgotten cars, squeezed in between the Beetle and the Rabbit. It has been decades since I last saw one in Ontario.” I’m thinking that Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars may have featured one, but now will have to go back through and check. Uh oh, am I talking myself into buying a fastback, the car I always considered to be square?

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Here is an online listing for a Type 3 squareback with 8,300 original miles!!!!!!!!!!!

      Although I think there asking price of $22,900 is outlandish.

      For the time they were actually quite handsome vehicles and very practical. We had a Type 3 squareback MT4 and a Ford Country Squire wagon. The cargo capacity in the VW (front and rear) was exceptional as was the mileage and driveability.

      http://classiccars.com/listings/view/582343/1972-volkswagen-type-3-for-sale-in-syosset-new-york-11791

      The Type 4 (squareback) was however an ugly duckling.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Forget all this crap about manuals being more engaging, or manuals making you feel more connected to the car…it’s all about bragging rights. I stick to driving cars with a manual transmission because it gives me bragging rights as being able to do something people aren’t able to do nowadays.

    I know it’s fast becoming a lost art, no different than people who brag about being able to write in cursive in an age where written communication is done via email and text messages, rending cursive writing obsolete. We may not be there yet with balky dual-clutch gearboxes that are becoming less trouble prone by the day, but that day is coming.

    And when it does, I want to brag that I’m better than you because I can shift my own gears…just like how my mother used to brag that she was better than other because she could write beautiful letters in cursive.

    Now, please allow me to wallow in the petty shallowness of boasting that I’m better than you because of this obscure talent.

    • 0 avatar
      mx5ta

      Humorous post. Definitely, driving a stick gives you a little pride at mastering the arcane; kind of like my ability to rebuild Victrola soundboxes. Self-congratulation aside, driving a manual gives you choice: in my Miata I can leave it in 3rd or 4th as long as I want. You can still go fast in 5th, but 3rd and 4th is where it’s really happening, and you don’t want any auto tranny taking over and deciding for you when the shift will happen. Even in my underpowered 2WD S10, I can pep things up by using the manual to stay in a lower gear a little longer than an automatic would allow. Also, sitting upright in the cab and shifting, you can imagine you’re in a 40s-50s light truck, the likes of which has come to be at the top of my desired vehicle wish list.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I love manuals because they are so fun to drive and also I believe you can control the car better. If I buy a car with a manual option I get it 100% of the time. Just ask my last manual car, a 2012 VW CC 6 spd manual!!!!

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Fun to drive
    Mechanical/human connection
    autos never guess when I want to shift as well as I do, although they’re getting damn close
    I only get pissed at myself if it shifts roughly
    More control
    Most thieves can’t drive one
    Oh, and I’m betting that despite autos getting much better, the cost of repairs or replacing an auto is still 4 or 5 fold more than replacing a clutch.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    I’ve been driving 42 years now, about 25 cars owned in that time, and every single one has been a manual, starting with my first car, a ’69 Beetle in ’73. I have no desire to ever own an automatic. I learned to drive a 3-pedal car from the beginning, and enjoy the experience 10-fold over driving any automatic.

  • avatar
    Yak

    Nothing “makes” me drive one. In fact, I sold my last one (Z4) two years ago and I don’t see myself getting another one (never say never though). I’ve had many over the decades, my favorite being an NA Miata, but most of my BMW’s were quite enjoyable too. My least favorite was my 928S with its kooky shift pattern and heavy feeling clutch. I admit that it’s often fun to drive a sports car with a stick, but for me, the rewards became fewer and the penalties greater.

    The older I get (mid 50’s now), the more I find them to be a hassle. Too much of a PITA in traffic and on hills, and I like keeping both hands on the wheel during spirited driving. Plus, I’m lazy. So, my next Miata (NC) will be an automatic.

    Also, many of you think this is a negative, but it’s easier and less stressful to have friends and family drive my cars when they’re automatics. The way I look at it is that they’re just cars, meant to be driven, enjoyed, and yes, sometimes shared. If my spouse or elderly parents want to use my Miata, an automatic is the one for them, even though they are all capable with a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      mx5ta

      I’m in the same age group, and think it comes down to daily driver vs. occasional fun car. Daily driver: auto trans, rusty so let the salt eat it some more, who cares, lots of sound-deadening, hands free for coffee-sipping. Fun car (mine is also NA Miata): manual trans, noisy, rattles like it’ll fall apart when you go over railroad tracks, loud exhaust you love for the first 30 minutes of a drive then hate, low so you have trouble boosting yourself out of it on your left leg, seat that’s nothing like the easy chair in the daily driver.

  • avatar
    banjopanther

    I drive a manual (Focus ST), because automatics make me mad. They don’t know what I want to do next. They upshift when I don’t want them to and then I’m going too fast. How do you even keep a constant speed with an automatic? OK, it’s fine on my brother’s ’69 Barracuda, but I wouldn’t buy a new one.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I like small light cars that are just absolutely neutered by automatic transmissions, I find it more enjoyable and rewarding, and engine braking is nice to have in traffic.

  • avatar

    My first car was a 1976 Honda Civic that was a manual. It just stuck with me and I have always enjoyed driving manual transmissions so nostalgia and more fun than an automatic.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Bring back the column “Three on the Tree”, except make it “Six on the Tree”. Especially on FWDs since the shifter isn’t on top of the trans anyway.

    But I’m thoroughly disgusted with US/NA consumers widely rejecting manuals. Automatics kill the spirit of car, especially compacts and sports cars.

    I have to love it when OEMs build “manual only” cars. Civic Si, Boss 302, GT500, etc. When there’s a long waiting list, buying frenzy and production cap, let the slushy box lovers sit it out.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I learned to drive in 1971, at age 13, when my father bought a VW based dune buggy. We lived out in the country, and a family friend taught me to drive it. I have to say I really had no problem learning to clutch and shift, although I realize some people do. For the last 40 years, I’ve been driving manuals with the exception of the time I was using my tow vehicle as a daily driver, during which time I had a motorcycle and a race car. I’ve always enjoyed the involvement that a manual transmission provides, and up until recently, the automatic transmissions available wasted power and fuel. When I bought my previous car in 2002, there was no question that I was going to get a manual transmission.

    Last year, I went shopping for a new car. My wife had asked me not to get a hatchback this time, and because I have two daughters who are shortly going to be of driving age, to get something they’d learn to drive in, as my wife’s Explorer is a bit large for a new driver. I went out looking for something sporty that could be paddle shifted, but wound up with a plug in hybrid, with an electric CVT. I will have to say that for in town driving, it’s vastly better than is the manual transmission. The power delivery is much smoother, it’s easier to modulate between stopped and accelerating, and from accelerating to coasting to decelerating than is any car I’ve driven. My drive is mostly in low speed conditions, there’s nothing thrilling about it other than the occasional corner to carve, so I might as well be comfortable.

    I don’t miss shifting as much as I thought I would, maybe because most of my attention now goes towards maximizing the regenerative braking. Unless a meteor falls on it, I’ll keep this car for 8 – 10 years, at which time I’ll be in my mid – 60s, so I don’t know that another manual transmission is in my future. Quite honestly, even though I do enjoy shifting, as good as automatic powertrains are these days, I feel like I’d be inserting myself in the middle of a process that would be better off without me, like some sort of micromanaging senior executive. I use the accelerator to indicate to the drivetrain management system how much torque I want applied to the drive wheels, and it makes the decision, when in hybrid mode, how much battery to use, how fast to rev the engine, and what level of torque multiplication to use between the engine and the final drive. Plus, when driving on battery alone, which is most of my driving, it calls up how much current to apply to the motor, and does so in such a linear fashion that the pedal response is just the same as it is in hybrid mode. There’s no way I could do it better.

    I’m afraid that the time has almost come for me to think of the manual transmission as just a pleasant anachronism. There are still some high performance cars that do better with a manual, or are only available with one, but the ranks are shrinking every year.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    When the Zombie Apocalypse arrives, you may initially save your family.

    But when you are incapacitated and your family has to flee, what if the only vehicle available that is driveable (because all the batteries are dead and only it can be bump started) is a manual.

    Will your entire family be devoured because you did not teach them how to drive a manual?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Because a manual is in whatever “mode” your brain is in and reacts as fast as you need it to.
    I love the direct connection to the wheels to, in all driving conditions.

  • avatar
    maestromario

    For me, the manual transmission is the only thing remaining where the car’s computer doesn’t intervene. With drive-by-wire the gas pedal is now a suggestion, stability control overtakes steering, ABS and now AEB control the brakes. Plus, sometimes I like being able to put the foot down while keeping the revs below 4000rpm.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Manual vs. automatic: it’s the difference between driving and just steering.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    Fun and control.

    Circumstances already make me drive a minivan. This being a Honda with wonderful tight steering (best servo I’ve owned, actually), the manual helps to make this a tossable piece of equipment when I’ve unloaded the kids.

    I haven’t driven any really modern auto cars, but my wife has a ’02 Camry and I spend 5000+km in a ’07 Fusion once – these gearboxes don’t do what I want them to. Also, it gets pretty boring when all you do is steer and use two pedals.

  • avatar
    raph

    Ford DOA in a 1991 5.0 LX Mustang! I went through three automatics in that car which ultimately sealed the fate of any automatic equipped car until such time as I can no longer operate the clutch in a manual equipped car.

    The automatic in the 91 probably would have served a fairly long life for anybody using the car as basic transportation only but as a performance device it was sorely lacking and very delicate.

    When I went looking for a 5.0 I wanted a manual equipped car but couldn’t find one ( I was buying used in 1994 ) at the various stealerships I shopped at so I settled for a car equipped with Ford’s infamous four speed AOD transmission which Ford for use in the Mustang saddled it with a basic unit (four wheel drive trucks and supercharged Thunderbirds received heavier duty units) which was odd considering the V8 pony car was considered a performance car.

    Eventually I converted the 5.0 to a manual transmission which was pretty straight forward as Ford included most of the wiring necessary for the manual transmission and the pedal assembly was easily swapped as well (the pedal assembly is located by a few bolts to the dash and brake booster).

    The 5.0’s lease on life was short lived though as I had put a fresh motor in as well that had been worked over ( .030 over motor with ported heads, bigger cam, Edelbrock EFI intake, shorty headers, off-road H-pipe and the ubiquitous Flowmaster cat-back exhaust ) and while getting everything dialed in an exhaust valve retainer decided to let loose at around 4-5,000 rpm.

    I went through a few more handy man specials before I purchased my first new car in 2002 and made sure that Mustang was equipped with a manual transmission and every Mustang I’ve purchased since and plan to purchase will be equipped with a manual transmission.

    I enjoy driving them and don’t find using a manual transmission in any sort of weather a problem nor does it bother me to get stuck in stop and go traffic.

    I had over 80k on each of the previous Mustang’s with manual transmissions when I traded them in for a successive new car and they were in good working order.

    My current Mustang, a 09 GT500 goes through them fairly quickly though. The factory clutch lasted about 20,000 miles but was a double disc racing unit lifted directly from the FR500C race cars. It was literally an on/off switch in terms of operation. You made sure you were up on revs then let the clutch out and off you go as slipping the unit would wear them out incredibly fast.

    I don’t think Ford intended for the early GT500’s to be used as daily drivers and slipping the clutch as people do in traffic or gently easy away from a light could wear them out in as little as coupla thousand miles. When I brought my car in to a shop specializing in Mustangs for a new clutch the mechanic told me one owner and replaced his clutch four times in the same period. He was surprised I had gotten 20k out of mine. In went a McLeod RXT and that has lasted 70,000 miles only recently needing to be replaced. I replace the flywheel and slave cylinder at the same time so with the clutch its fairly pricey at almost 1600 bucks for the parts not including labor which this time around may or may not require the engine and transmission to be dropped out of the bottom of the car since installing a 2.9 Whipple supercharger and the accompanying “crusher” inlet (the inlet is installed at the factory and takes up of a fair amount of real-estate between the blower and the fire wall) and getting the transmission out requires tipping the engine back to access the two top bolts plus the engine is equipped with long tube headers.

    Even with that penalty though I thoroughly enjoy driving a manual equipped car, especially when your on the fly banging through the gears at the track executing a perfect launch and speed shifting down the track (keeping the gas planted and working the clutch and transmission in short order to avoid running into the rev limiter and maximizing acceleration).

  • avatar
    Travis

    The stupid notion that I’d actually be taking my car to track days. If I had known that I’d be racing as much as I am now, I would not have gotten a car with options that make it more track worthy. Hell, I probably would’ve gotten a completely different car altogether.

  • avatar
    Manfred

    I think driving a manual generally forces a person to be a better driver as you must focus and be situationally aware at all times since you must look ahead to gauge what to do with gearing.

    I really like the action of shifting. The mechanical feeling of a good shifter combined with the challenge and satisfaction of doing each and every shift well, is somehow relaxing and calming.

    I target shoot for those very same reasons: focus and satisfaction of doing it well. A Weihrauch .22lr target rifle for the range, and a manual Mazda 3 i Sport for the road.

  • avatar
    hotdog453

    Two reasons:

    1) Pure enjoyment. I find it amusing and fun
    2) The cars I’ve owned (WRX/STI, Evo, C6 Z06, Audi S4) all were modified to make more power. All of those cars “manual” option were better suited to make power; held the power better, less to break, and easier to tune. Though, frankly, even if the automatics were “better”, I still thing number 1 would have over-ridden my choice.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    The engagement I feel when I’m driving. There’s a time and place for an automatic, such as taking the van for a family picnic. But solo driving, when I want to feel really engaged to the act of driving, I don’t want no stinkin’ slushbox.

  • avatar

    I enjoy driving and it makes me more with the machine. I have several autos and they are fine too. All my automatics purchased used, and the two new cars I’ve purchased where both manuals. I suppose price is another part. I can’t justify spending $1000 on an option that doesn’t improve my ownership experience when I could get racing stripes or something else (like another non-running project car).

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I drive a manual for the control, the enjoyment and because I can. But I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to buy a manual transmission in a new car that I can afford. Not only are there not that many manuals available in cars that I’d be interested in but there are even fewer that are enjoyable to work with.

  • avatar

    I like feeling engaged while driving. A manual just feels numb.

    I also just bought my 6 so that in 8 years it can be passed down to my son as his first car. I learned to drive on a manual transmission and I think it helps a lot in learning to drive. It makes you think about driving more than just stomping on the gas and brake. You have to be ready to accelerate and pay attention to what gear you are in. I think it does a better job teaching responsible driving habits to new drivers and I want them to learn to drive one even if they are doomed.

    I also wanted the opportunity to teach my wife to drive one. She was mad about not being able to drive, but teaching her has been fun and she admits she actually enjoys driving it and loves the car now.

    Overall it’s just a more engaging and enjoyable driving experience. It’s not just an appliance to sit in.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    This is my 6MT Accord. There are many that look like it, but this one is mine.

    My MT is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

    My Accord, without me, is useless. Without my Accord, I am useless.

    I must row my gears true. I must shift faster than my enemy who is trying to prime me in traffic. I must beat him before he beats me. I will…

    My Accord and I know that what counts in traffic is not the distance we cover, the noise of our engines, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the position in traffic that counts. We will drive…

    My Accord is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its gears and its engine. I will keep my Accord clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

    Before Soichiro, I swear this creed. My Accord and I are the defenders of my honor. We are the masters of sexting drivers. We are the saviors of the manual.

    So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace!

  • avatar
    PeterKK

    Well driving MT is obviously a skillset. I picked up my car with it so I could learn it. Other than that this car has been the absolute worst. :p

    Still, hoping someday I’ll get my wife to be okay with MT instead of complaining about it’s difficulty so I can keep driving Manual. Feels more connected. More artful.

  • avatar
    is_lander

    Driving a manual was a right of passage. I learned to drive stick at age 11. I did not own an MT car until college. My college room mate wanted me to teach him the MT because it is what our dad’s drove and he wanted that skill. A woman classmate of ours helped me teach him which made him even more determined to learn (kind of sexist). Then he bought a manual Honda soon after. My cousin wanted to buy his first Integra and wanted MT. I drove up to New Jersey from my campus in Virginia in order to teach him (his dad was recovering in the hospital at the time). I test drove the new Integra for him because he was not ready with the MT. And then I taught his younger brother just for fun and so that he can buy his Integra in MT down the road. Both were extremely grateful (along with their dad). Plus, we borrowed a friend’s BMW 3 series to learn on (she did not know).

    I currently do not have an MT car. But I am CRAVING IT! Especially after these recent articles. It is time to “Man-UP!” so to speak (my kids watch BIG HERO 6 and the term there is, “WoMan-Up”). I have two young sons. They will learn MT from me, but first I need to buy the car(s). I love the idea that they will have a MT car in high school, and none of their friends will be able to drive it. The plan is to buy a small MT car, and then give it to my eldest at age 16, a few years after I buy it. Then buy another, and some years later give it to the youngest when he turns 16 years old. They like to imitate their dad, so I have to set the example and play with those cars first ;-) Love it or hate it, they can suck it up and will thank me later for the MT experience. I am also trying to convince my wife to learn. She needs to “WoMan-up” too. Most of my women friends drive stick, including my mom and grandma. SKILL!

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    I have had clutch cars and slushboxes. Driving a clutch is fun.

    Today most of my driving is either stop and go commuting or mindless interstate cruising around 70-80 along with the Kias and Malibu’s.

    My E46 has an automatic because clutch aint no fun in traffic and I very much wanted a E46 before they were all used up.

    A E46 replacement clutch and dual mass flywheel is $2500 bucks and too many E46ers have been used hard. Street racing or teaching your daughter to drive a clutch doesn’t matter, it’s rough.

    I am too tall for a Miata (head over the windshield header just dont feel safe, y’know merle?) and quite frankly since I can afford one semi nice car or two beaters I drive an auto.

    Perhaps a Focus or Mazda3 or even an Accord are next for me and perhaps a clutch version, depends on the commute.

    Don’t ask about the wife – she used to scoot around in our Integra at 80 flipping off those who got in her way. Now it’s AWD, low miles, plush ride, blue tooth, and doesn’t break like my bimmer.

    Best I’m gonna get for her car is a new model Murano or an AWD Acura…

  • avatar
    chris8017

    My first car was a stick shift because my dad insisted it was due to cheaper cost, better reliability and better gas mileage. He taught all of his kids to row their own gears so thanks to him there are 3 grown adults now who still to this day drive stick shift.

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    I have one of each in the stable and switch off based on the needs of the drive. The MT is a mildly optioned 2 door hatch that gets the snow tires and city drives, the AT is a fully optioned 4 door that tends to draw longer haul duty. But basically I rotate the two based on my mood. My parents taught me on MT and I didn’t purchase an AT car until ~20 years later. My wife is also a MT devotee, one of her many fine qualities.

  • avatar
    analoca

    From my perspective, it does not make sense to drive a manual car in the 21st century, bearing in mind the technological progress automatic transmission have experienced so far…You may ocasionally like the experience of driving a manual on certain conditions, as it certainly allows you to get more engaged with the car mechanics, but on a routinary driving, give me an automatic car. Do your wives still do the laundry by hand?

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    There is NO WAY I’d drive a small 4 cyl car w/o a manual transmission. I learned to dive one between a friends ’71 3 speed Vega, and my BIL’s ’66 SS 396 Chevelle(1st gear was oboy! 2nd, 3rd, & 4th not so much so!LOL!). When I bought my first new Honda, I wanted a manual, and I had to convince the salesman that I didn’t care how long it took, I was buying NEW and I wanted what I wanted. I could only test drive an auto one w/ paddles, which only served to confirm my thinking; as I quickly figured out the the paddles were more of a “plaything” to me, and most often would remain in DRIVE. I want full involvement, I enjoy it, I love outdriving people in faster/auto equipped cars. I concur w/ EVERYTHING positive said about manual transmissions before my post! Unfortunately, since Honda has chosen for whatever WEIRD reason to limit color choices and upscale equipment levels to CVT’s, I guess I’ll never have the 6 speed Accord coupe that I lust after!! :-)

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Although I considered automatics before buying my current car (especially because I was looking at hybrids), I am so glad that I bought another manual. There’s simply no replacement for the driver involvement and interaction. Granted, I see how it doesn’t make sense in something like a hybrid or a large luxury car, but otherwise, this is the only way to go for me. I know Fiat is now offering the Abarth with an automatic, but I just don’t see how you could buy a car like with anything other than the stick. When I drive an automatic, I inevitably find myself bored behind the wheel, and usually am holding the console shifter (if so equipped) and reaching with my left leg for a non existent clutch.

  • avatar
    jpk112

    More involved driving experience.

  • avatar
    shadow mozes

    Sounds fun, but I have no idea how to drive one.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    Gotta watch the speed/redlight/turn on red cameras in Chicago…so, no, I get nothin’ out of rowin’ around here.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I drive a stick because:

    1) I can
    2) I want to

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Funny you should ask. I just traded in a 2010 Challenger R/T 6MT for a 2015 with the 8-speed.
    I had a motorcycle before I had the manual-transmission car. It gave me a bit of a different perspective… after that, manual vs. automatic seems like arguing flavors of carbonated sugar water and ignoring that there are far more interesting beverages like beer, wine, and whiskey.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    D-Rock, I don’t think many people have experienced a good manual transmission. Fact is, most manual transmissions use a dual-mass flywheel, CDV (clutch delay valve on BMW’s), sloppy shifter linkage, and strange rubbery donuts connected to the driveshaft. The next article should focus on what manufacturer installs a “great” manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      ^^^ +1 “The next article should focus on what manufacturer installs a “great” manual transmission.”

      Writers often use “snik-snik” and “rifle-bolt action” but I didn’t understand what they meant until I went to a Mazda showroom and tried it for myself in a Miata.

      Indeed, not only would I like to know which manufacturers makes a “great” manual transmission, but what gives a manual transmission its personality: closely spaced gates? Short throws? Proper weight? Similarly, it might be amusing to read about what makes a bad manual transmission… which reminds me of a rental I tried that felt like stirring a bowl of Captain Crunch.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnny Canada

        “which reminds me of a rental I tried that felt like stirring a bowl of Captain Crunch.”

        Yup, and most BMW’s feel like stirring a pot of beans. Don’t even get me started on excessive clutch pedal travel; 80% of the travel is dead air.

        Even Porsche appears to have hobbled their manual in an attempt to drive baby-boomers into PDK’s. Anyone check the resale value on an automatic transmission Porsche with a sunroof?

        I’ve heard good things about the new 2015 Mustang transmission but no one wants to confirm if it’s the same Chinese version that caused so many headaches for the previous generation.

        Seems like anything with a Tremec is a winner (Viper,GT40,Hellcat, Shelby).

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Personally not a fan of Daimler’s 6-speed they used in the JK Wrangler (and even their own G-class equivalent). It’s strong enough, sure, but I’ve had synchro troubles since it was new, to the point that sometimes it won’t even go into a gear, grinding over the tops, and other times it will actively kick itself out of gear when I let off the gas. The problem is far more evident when the outside temperature is cold than when it is warmer. You’d think I was driving a ’50s truck the way those gears grind some times.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I got a manual Mustang GT after my wife made fun of me for driving a DSG GTI for a few years! :)

  • avatar
    -Nate

    _Loving_ all these comments ! .

    Speeder or slushbox , whatever floats yer boat is the correct answer .

    Typ III VW’s were the shiznit in their day ~ the round body holes that rusted out were there to install the rear torsion bars .

    My self , I liked the Fastbacks best and yes , I have owned them all .

    That $22,000 ’72 is very nice indeed but the minor restyle in ’71 ruined the looks for me , forever . besides being 3 X what it’s worth .

    RE : bump starting ~ some still do this but even back in the day , so few realized it’s important to _not_ use first or reverse gear .

    My ex psycho-b*tch G.F.’s ’82 Ford Escort Coup occasionally didn’t want to start , one time she called me to give her a bump start and her eldest Son and I went , she insisted on sitting in it as we pushed , when I hollered ” let ‘er rip ! ” she began cranking it with the key instead of bump starting it , luckily for us it roared into life as her Son and I looked at each other , I told him ‘ let it go , you know how she gets ‘ ….

    That Diesel tractor prolly could have been bump started ~ the higher the compression ratio the more important it is to use the higher gears as you only need to rotate the engine a tiny bit to jar it into life .

    -Nate

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