By on March 13, 2015

2011-audi-r8-42-spyder-shifter-photo-416617-s-1280x782

One of the essential questions that many automotive writers fail to examine is “what is the nature of an automaker”? All too often, they lose sight of the fact that OEMs are in the business of selling cars, not manufacturing widgets for people who like cars.

This kind of mindset is what leads to the exchange outlined in Automobile Magazine, where one writer discusses the lack of a manual transmission in the 2016 Audi R8.

“You have to look at lap times,” he said at the 2015 Geneva auto show, adding that the take rate for manual transmission-equipped Audi R8s, at least in Europe, was almost nil. When pressed on the issue, Hollerweger remained firm. There is simply is no way for a stick-shift to match the performance of the R8’s dual-clutch transmission and few buyers wanted one, so Hollerweger believes there’s no point in offering a manual on the new car.

Of course, we’d beg to differ and we were a bit taken aback by his assertion that a manual-equipped car is not the more engaging experience for the driver.”

Emphasis added by yours truly. But that assertion alone highlights what is either a total lack of understanding regarding the auto industry, or willful blindness. The R8 is a halo car for Audi, and you can bet that they spent lots of time and money doing market research, analyzing sales data and talking to current and prospective customers about what they want in a car.

A manual is not something they want. It is what you want, and what I want, but the people signing the $200,000 checks have little to no interest in the purity and tactile supremacy of a clutch pedal and a gated manual shifter. Therefore, Audi has decided not to offer one, sparing them tens of millions in costs, regulatory headaches, fewer combinations that complicate the assembly process and three-pedal versions that sit on dealer lots collecting dust. It’s not a difficult decision to understand, but our ego is designed to protect us from thinking that we are somehow less important to Audi than the (very wealthy) customers who are supporting the brand by actually purchasing their products.

And yet, this writer begs to differ. On what grounds? Because it’s cool? Because it’s a shame to see the manual die out? Because you think they should. Sorry, but in the world of ROI and P&L statements (which make a car company stay in business), those reasons are less than worthless. If you don’t live and die by that line of thinking, then you’re Lotus, barely existing despite doing everything right in the eyes of the enthusiast.

The entitlement that comes with thinking that a particular car or variant thereof should simply exist for the sake of it is something I can’t wrap my head around. Whether a car that you’ll never ever buy has two pedals or three, a stick shift or paddles has literally zero impact on your daily life. There’s a good chance that you will never even see a 2016 Audi R8 on the road, depending on what part of the country you live in. And yet every time a new car is released without a manual, we have people rending their garments over this matter.

There is literally only one way to ensure the continued existence of the manual transmission. You have to buy new cars with manual transmissions. Car companies, like people, respond to incentives. Increased sales of manual transmissions in new vehicles (not used) is an incentive for them to offer more. Whining about their demise is not. We are not entitled to anything in this world, let alone an unpopular, costly (for the car maker) option that by all rights should have disappeared long ago.

So why not reward the people who are still doing God’s work and offering you three pedals and a real stick shift (and I really do mean that, because all of the product planners I know do their best to make the case to management for offering a manual, even if it means sticking their neck out)? Bark did. Jack did. I did. Do your part. Vote with your wallet. Here’s a list of cars that offer one, and there is still a manual option to fit every conceivable need. If everyone that complained about a lack of manuals actually bought a new car with a manual, we’d be like Europe. If you have no intention of buying a new car with a manual transmission, then you have lost your right to complain.

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323 Comments on “Editorial: You’re The Reason Auto Makers Don’t Offer Manual Transmissions...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    I feel like this is stating the obvious. Perhaps I just take it for granted.

    • 0 avatar

      You do, because you are immersed in the realities of the auto world every day. Want proof that it’s not obvious? See the above article.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I read it, it’s obvious. Most enthusiasts grasp the vague concept of the economics of it, they just want to gripe about things not being the way they want them to be.

        Even after it’s explained to these people, they don’t change their tune.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Most people don’t allow facts to get in the way of a good argument.

          That being said, I don’t think that they grasp that (a) the costs are enormous and (b) overall profits are not that high, relatively speaking. They assume that these companies are swimming in cash, when they routinely underperform much of the rest of the business world.

        • 0 avatar
          daviel

          Like me. My next car is stick.

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        As someone else who is immersed in the Auto world, I am obliged to point out that Chris Harris’ jalop column today is effectively the answer to your question.

        That is to say, make manuals expensive, and expensive people will buy manuals.

        Of course, I expect that your typical R8 Poser customer is quite a bit different than your typical Cayman GT3 Poser customer. Then again, neither is very similar to your typical brown-manual-diesel-wagon automotive ‘enthusiast’ forum poster…

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          I find a lot of Chris’ discussions of this kind of stuff to be either playing to his audience, or reeking of “let them eat cake” with regard to the “non-premium” car market.

          Not all of us can be oversteer-devoted apologists for every new car high-end product from Germany and Italy. Not all of us can live with a constant sense of inadequacy about something which leaves us hating the Miata either.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Derek – – –

        You are right: it’s not readily apparent to most people that vehicle manufacturers would not just offer “features” for the buying public to select from. Those days are long gone. Perhaps in the 1950’s and 1960’s that could be done. But now, in this era of “go-to-market” supply-chain management and inventory control, no optional feature would be offered (or continue to be offered) that spends more than xxx days in the warehouse of a distribution center, to say nothing of the factory inventory of the factory in which vehicles are made. Inventory costs money. Option adjustments cost money. Computer time costs money. Option Sales efforts cost money. Option advertising costs money.

        I have five vehicles: Two trucks; a Jeep; a BMW sedan; and a BMW Z4 3.0 si sports-car. All have RWD, and all have manual transmissions. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

        (I take particular delight, — nay, unholy glee — when going into a car dealership only to be greeted by a bubbling sales person who offers his/her “help”; and then watch the consternation that appears when I ask, “OK, what have you got with a manual transmission?” (^_^)… )

        Look, guys: Derek is right. BUY BLOODY MANUALS, for Heaven’s sake (or rather, for mine), since I never will get that abomination called an “automatic”. How can anyone who is mechanically sensitive sleep well at night having operated a vehicle with a component that works by destroying itself?

        ====================

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          “How can anyone who is mechanically sensitive sleep well at night having operated a vehicle with a component that works by destroying itself?”

          You mean a clutch?

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Burgersandbeer – –

            Thank you. See correction:

            “How can anyone who is mechanically sensitive sleep well at night having operated a vehicle with a MAJOR component that works by destroying itself?”

            Clutch duration on my 1974 Dodge D100 pickup truck = 22 years / 225,000 miles.
            New replacement Clutch with installation =$350 (Time = 2 hours);
            New replacement Auto-trans (at 120K miles) = $2300 (a friend’s almost identical truck). (Time = all day.)

            Some MINOR components are meant to wear out, like brakes: that doesn’t count. But you do make a good point.

            =================

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Derek – – –

        HELP! HELP! HELP!

        I am trying to find data on the Internet for the % of automatics that each of various countries (UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Ireland), plus the USA, might have. I would like to plot that against the Fatality Rates per 100,000 vehicles.
        The hypothesis would be: “The Higher the % Automatics, the Higher the % Fatality Rate”. Some subjective indications already exist that this might be true.

        But I am having trouble finding the % Automatics information. Can you use TTAC resources and help from the B&B to get at these data?? (I know it was about 93.3% for the USA in 2014.)

        Frankly, I think this would a fascinating finding, if the correlation were linear and greater than about 0.8! Just think: it would be published here for the first time, and you’d be famous (^_^)…

        =====================

        • 0 avatar
          Brine

          New registrations, % automatic (2011 EU vehicle market statistics data)
          Germany – 26
          UK – 24
          France – 13
          Italy – 18
          Netherlands – 18
          Ireland – 11
          EU total – 20

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Brine – – –

            Wow. Thank you so much for looking this up.
            I had no idea where to start on this, since obvious sources seemed not to have that data available.

            I’ll get started on this analysis right away, but don’t know if I can publish a plot (in a practical way) it in “comments” here.

            TTAC staff: do you have an email I could use to send it to you as a “.pdf”?

            ==================

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            These stats surprise me. If 24% of cars are bought with automatic transmissions, why were there none available at any rental car place? Not that I ultimately needed one, but you’d think there would be more.

            As to the original post: I have already voted with my wallet and added another future used manual car to the world that wouldn’t have been had I not ordered it.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      It is stating the obvious, but unfortunately a necessary statement, because there’s an amazing amount of auto bloggers out there who refuse to see it. Of course they expect the various auto companies to do what they want, just don’t expect to see them reach into their wallets, pull out money, and actually reward the auto companies for making said requested decisions.

      In A Perfect World (he sez): Wannabe auto bloggers would not be able to comment on any website dealing with new cars or the future of the auto industry – until they’ve actually purchased a new car, in their name, with their own money. At which point, the magic portals of the Internet would open and allow them commentary. For one year. At which point, they’re blocked out again until they purchase another new car.

      Yeah, its impossible. But I can always dream. Because no opinion on new cars or the future of the auto industry is more bull**** than that coming from someone who prides himself on always buying used (“let somebody else take the depreciation”). All hat, no cattle.

      • 0 avatar

        I absolutely agree. You ideally should have skin in the game before offering up your ideas.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          BS – this is the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority”. The veracity of any claim must be evaluated on the basis of the claim, not on the authority (real or imagined) of the claimant.

          Must one be a National Socialist to validly criticize National Socialism?

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            Well put.

            I’ve never murdered anyone, or stolen a car, or burned someone’s house down, but I condemn those things.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “I’ve never murdered anyone, or stolen a car, or burned someone’s house down, but I condemn those things.”

            Maybe killin’ actually ain’t half bad?

          • 0 avatar

            No it’s not. It’s a way to broaden the understanding of the topic they’re writing about.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            One of us is correct, one of us is lying.

          • 0 avatar
            Avro Arrow

            I must agree with you totally. I condemn automatics but I drive a stick. I also condemn buying new cars in general because what other major purchase loses half its value in the first fifth of its lifespan? I can’t think of any. Case in point, I just (today) bought a 2012 Hyundai Veloster TECH. Taxes in, I paid $13005CAD. For a new one with the same equipment? $24091 AFTER the $1468 rebate. A fool and his money are soon parted and I see fools in new car dealerships all the time. A bad investment is a bad investment and someone saying “all hat, no cattle” may sound good but it really doesn’t change reality. The reality is that he’s too smart to throw his money away and he’s right. Now, I see the point that he’s being hypocritical by telling people to buy new cars with manual transmissions, but on the other hand, if those people were going to buy new anyway and his words convinced them to buy a stick, then good was done that day and we can all be thankful. :D

        • 0 avatar

          I just saw an interview from 2011 where Eddie Alterman said he didn’t own a car because with all of the press cars he has access to, it makes no fiscal sense for him to own one himself.

          It’s a good bet that I couldn’t personally afford at least half of the cars that I review.

          BTW, this editorial is sort of the flip side to how I complain when the nearby kosher grocery is out of Joyva “Joy” bars, raspberry jell covered in dark chocolate that my dad, O’B’M’, used to buy me when I was a child. They’re out of stock because I buy them. In this case, the store isn’t paying close enough attention to what the customers want.

    • 0 avatar
      Think2Win

      But did you buy it?

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >Editorial: You’re The Reason Auto Makers Don’t Offer Manual Transmissions

      The editorial title reminds me of the GEICO drill sergeant commercial:

      “You know what makes me sad? YOU DO!”

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    It’s NOT us… It’s the women in our lives who’ll have no part of a manual transmission

    • 0 avatar

      Get a new woman.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        lol, my wife taught me to drive manual transmission. And then showed me she knew how to handle a stick…

        giggity…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ha, ha… you’ll see, smart guy. One day you’ll know…

        • 0 avatar

          If I’m spending thousands on a worthless stone mined by child labor and sold by a cartel at exponential mark ups, then a manual transmission car is a fair compromise. But that’s just my opinion.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Good attitude, Derek, best way to insure life-long bachelorhood

          • 0 avatar

            From my own research, the “yes honey, whatever you say” method seems to ensure that result, while firmly asserting your needs leads to happy relationships. Your results may vary.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well put, DK.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Dream on single guys. “Happy wife, happy life” there’s a reason for that saying and I’ll bet the guy who came up with it didn’t own a stick

          • 0 avatar

            I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the most intelligent, accomplished, emotionally stable, not to mention attractive women are the ones repulsed by women who walk all over men, and the men that willingly put up with that behavior.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >Dream on single guys. “Happy wife, happy life” there’s a reason for that saying

            Good luck trying to fill that bottomless money pit.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            What is with the placating to your woman and whining about it on the Internet. I seriously bought my wife a vintage Cracker Jack ring for engagement, she is so practical lol. I taught her to drive a stick but she don’t like it, doesn’t stop me from driving one though.

            Happy wife is happy life, but supplicating to your wife at the expense of your own needs and desires…well that is a recipe for misery the only outlet being prattling on about cars in Internet commentary

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            +1, Lie2me.

            A friend in Atlanta had a fridge magnet that read “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

            Truer words were never spoken…..

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        And there’s lots of them out there who can drive a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        SteveRenwick

        Or marry the right one in the first place. The lady of the house hasn’t owned a car with an automatic since dumping her AMC Matador in 1979.

        One time, she was having trouble with the clutch in her Golf VR6. Kid at the dealer service counter tried to blame it on her, asking brightly, “Well, ma’am, how long have you been driving a stick shift car?” Wife fixed him with the steely-eyed look and said, “Twenty-seven years.” Oh.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        My wife told me that the next car we buy must again have a manual transmission. We just bought a cheap daily driver from a friend. Bought it because it is cheap, might be our eldest’s first car, and it’s reliable. My wife’s biggest complaint? Automatic transmission. My biggest complaint? See her complaint. Good car. Wish I did the shifting.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        My wife told me that the next car we buy must again have a manual transmission.

        We just bought a cheap daily driver sedan from a friend. Bought it because it is cheap, might be our eldest’s first car, and it’s reliable if a snoozer.

        My wife’s biggest complaint? Automatic transmission. My biggest complaint? See her complaint. Good car. Wish I did the shifting though.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      My wife and I did our part. She hated learning, but now would not consider an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      tpepin

      Exactly! After my wife backed my car into our neighbor’s Versa denting the crap out of my rear bumper then freaking out and cracking the front bumper on a snowbank. I mentioned casually to a family member (Female) that my next car will be a stick shift specifically so my wife would *never* drive it. She was aghast “You Can’t Do That! You could strand your wife and kids in an emergency!” :EyeRoll:

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        How can they think so little of her to not imagine she’ll learn strategically how to work the pedals and get it rolling in some gear, any gear? IF it stalls just fire it up again. She thinks so little of your wife. Good thing you are there to fight the soft bigotry of low expectations. If you don’t make your demands known, they can never be met.

    • 0 avatar
      KrohmDohm

      I have a manual (Elantra GT bought new)and will continue to buy them as long as they are offered.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      The Bible says that when seeking a mate, the faithful should not consort with unbelievers.

      That’s pretty good advice for car guys, too.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        OneAlpha – – –

        That’s really great. I imagine the Bible also says, — somewhere in the fine print, or footnotes, or commentary, — “Thou shalt never forego thy manual, lest the wrath of God be upon ye.”

        Automatic’s were created by Satan to entrap the lazy, the incompetent, or the ignorant? (^_^).

        ===============

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      This is completely anecdotal, but in my most recent job I worked with 12 female attorneys, 4 of whom had manuals as their daily drivers. I thought that was a good percentage.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve taught one wife and two daughters how to drive a car with a stick shift. My younger daughter doesn’t own a car but my ex and my older daughter both bought and currently drive cars with manual transmissions. The ex bought her’s new. When we were still married my ex asked me to take a look at the clutch on her Volvo 142 that I had put together. When I got in the house I asked her, “How have you been able to drive that? There’s no clutch at all!” At the time she was commuting via Woodward to a job on the Wayne State campus. She said she started it in neutral and just crashed it into gear and that once she was rolling she speed shifted it the way I taught her.

      When I first taught my ex how to drive with a clutch, it was with an old split window VW bus, which has a reduction gear and can almost not be stalled. She sews and is a wedding gown capable seamstress. I told her, “If you’re coordinated enough to operate a sewing machine with a foot pedal, you can drive a stick shift.”

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      I’m with Derek here; most women THINK they want to be treated like a princess, but don’t like it in reality. It’s the mark of a needy man who sees her as above him, and neediness is an attraction killer. “Never put the pus…err…woman…on a pedestal”. It’s true. You can still consider her needs and even be a “sweet guy” (I give my girl lots of honest compliments), but in order for her to respect you, which is necessary for her to be attracted to you, she needs to know you put your own needs first…that you’re the leader and she’s lucky to be on the ride with you- even with successful, independent women. It need not be overt…you’re not putting her in her place…just subtle and suggestive will do. This is why women you obsess over get bored with you and the ones you don’t take seriously won’t leave you alone

      There’s nothing about being female that makes you any less able to drive a manual than being male. If you want a stick, buy a stick and she’ll have to learn if she wants to drive it. If she gets all irate over this…maybe not a good match.

      • 0 avatar
        superchan7

        +1 on Derek and Ronnie.

        Women can appear to be bossy, but in most cases they don’t want to be the boss. Those who let themselves get pushed around by their wives or love interests have “given up.” My wife generally agrees with this.

        Proof: I made her learn how to drive a manual.

        Further proof: When she was pregnant.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          It’s more about choosing your battles. I had a sports car with a stick shift. This is non-negotiable for me (I had the sports car before I was married, wife’s name not on the title, etc.) I’ve told her the only way that car goes is if I decide it goes, and that the proceeds from the sale then be used at my discretion.

          BUT, that also means I compromise on my daily driver, in terms of cost, drivetrain, # of seats, etc.

          Also, I don’t MAKE my wife do anything. And she doesn’t MAKE me do anything. I’ve tried to teach her to drive a manual, she hasn’t gotten it, hasn’t been comfortable, and decided she didn’t want to learn. Fine, she’s an adult, she can make those choices.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” I don’t MAKE my wife do anything. And she doesn’t MAKE me do anything.”

            Yup, I have found that’s the key to a successful, long lasting marriage: respecting the spouse’s sovereignty.

            Someone today emailed me the hot-body pic of Hillary Duff and her new philosophy on marriage, after filing for divorce.

            Which raises the question for me, “Why get married at all?” Does this make Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn pioneers in non-marriage?

          • 0 avatar
            superchan7

            “Make”, “convince”, close enough.

            It’s always a case-by-base basis, and anyone trying to live through marriage (and life) applying generalisations won’t get very far.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      I’m lucky…our first car together was a ’92 Integra in teal that She Just Had To Have Because Of The Colour. It was a manual…teaching her was no picnic but she caught on eventually (the key was…I had to stop doing all the driving) and now won’t consider an automatic. She wants a Jaguar XE…I hope they come out with the manual model before her current lease is up summer of 2016…

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      She has her car, and I have mine. She chooses hers, I choose mine. If I want a stick, that’s what I get.

  • avatar

    Derek, I agree. I have many opinions about cars which I’ve subjected many of you to. Since I am unlikely to buy a new car in the next 10 years (and since my friends and family ask for my advice and then ignore it), none of my opinions actually matter to car manufacturers. This true of my opinions of current Fords, Toyota’s, etc, and it is especially true of my opinions on Ferrari’s and Bentley’s which I will never ever spend any money on.

  • avatar
    319583076

    All 4 of my new car purchases have been manual transmissions. 6 out of 7 of my used car purchases have been manual transmissions. I’m an outlier and I don’t think I’ll ever be in the market for any maker’s halo car – but a manual transmission is a big deal for me.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Add my name to yours, Jack’s and Bark’s. Put my money where my mouth is. Even though by getting a manual Sonata, I have to do without the heated front seats that are standard equipment in the automatic (due to the fact that I get a real hand brake, where the heated seat buttons are placed).

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’m amazed that Hyundai bothered to design different emergency brake activators for the same car…

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll tell Hyundai Canada. The Product Planners will be thrilled. Believe me, they do look for ways to make it work as far as offering a stick.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Derek, Thanks but not sure they even offer a manual in the ‘new’ Sonata. Although the deletion of heated seats in manual Accents and Elantras might still be an issue.

        When I purchased the Sonata, nobody at the dealership had seen a manual one. There were not even sure that it had an actual handbrake. They had to confirm that with someone at Hyundai Canada. And of course, that person did not mention the deletion of the heated seats.

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          Hyundai dropped the manual on the previous gen Sonata. the 2015 does not offer a manual.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          The local Honda dealer had the same thing to say about the 1st gen CR-V. I wanted a stick, the Honda website said they existed, and the wife wanted a manual too. Salesman thought that want might be worth extra money but once he showed his true colors, I bought my 5MT from another Honda dealer. Still driving it on that same factory clutch after 286K miles today.

          Bet I’d be way into an automatic rebuild by now.

  • avatar

    This is why I consider it my duty to teach kids to drive manuals. I’ve taught maybe ten kids, plus several adults. One of my former students, a young woman, has a Forester with a stick.

    I’ve never had a car with anything but a stick.

    And I really don’t care what’s in cars that will depreciate in their first year more than my cars cost new. I just think the gini index in the US has gotten far too big.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I taught everyone in my household to drive with a manual transmission, and none of them today own a car with a manual transmission.

      Just not practical in bumper-to-bumper rush-hour gridlock driving.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The point of the game is to not be in bumper-to-bumper rush – hour gridlock, regardless of trans type. The stick shift just makes it more lively if you are.

        If walking the dog becomes a chore and you’re not feeling it, don’t get a dog.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I understand, Mike, but sometimes it is impractical to be lively and buy a stick shift car for use in gridlock traffic.

          So, yeah, we, the people, are the reason why “car-makers don’t offer manual transmissions”.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If I’m going to be stuck in gridlock for hours, I’d rather it be a stick shift. Or what’s there to do?

            But I never understood being stuck there. I have to stop and find something to do, either by getting to work (area) early or getting home later.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Well, getting to the Federal Center from anywhere is no joy, at any time during the day or night.

            Add to that the stop lights along the main arteries like Ken Caryl, and others, and if I lived there I would opt for an automatic like so many people do.

            OTOH, I do have a bum left knee, so that third pedal could cause great discomfort for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            I don’t understand this, if you can effectively operate a clutch why is it so much worse to do so frequently? I understand you have a bum knee but for the rest of us who say such things it just makes no sense. It’s not a difficult task, it can be relegated to the near subconscious by even new drivers. Unless you actively dislike shifting and you simply dislike more shifting more what possible issue is there with rush hour driving? Btw I drove a stick daily for five years and really am hunting for another one to supplement my truck, never has a clutch been a hindrance to me.

      • 0 avatar

        I once was in an hour-long jam on 95 going towards Baltimore. Even then I didn’t wish for a slushbox. That said, I don’t have to deal with rush hour type traffic most of the time.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          David – – –

          Yeah, I agree. My old Dodge D100 with NP 435 transmission had a granny gear that was great for creeping in most log-jam traffic. Just leave a little space so the automatic guys can do their “hurry-up-and-wait” thing, while you just keep chugging along accommodating the ebb and flow ….

          But the best strategy is to avoid (like the plague!) log-jam traffic, REGARDLESS of transmission type: it’s a tremendous waste of fuel, not exactly great for minimizing wear-and-tear on the vehicle.

          ===============

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          If it’s real stop and go traffic I can actually get into the mechanics of driving a stick. Changing up the timing looking for the best or smoothest transition from stopped to second gear, the smooth downshift to first and balancing engine braking and the brake pedal for a flawless transition. I practiced clutch less shifting, maintaining an ideal RPM for whatever I was going to do next. It was great fun! In normal urban/suburban traffic it was far to easy to drop it in third and cruise, my Mazda seemed happy from 600 rpm to near redline with little drama at part throttle. That’s another thing I don’t get, people who want revvy sporty cars like the toyobaru twins or a rotary then complain that they have to constantly shift to keep up. If you are buying a car that’s happy above 4k why would you want it to drive like grandmas LeSabre?

      • 0 avatar
        majo8

        I have never understood this line of thinking. If you’re in heavy traffic, then that gives you MORE time to row the gears and push that 3rd pedal in more often.

        I think it’s just a cop-out excuse for those who see themselves as a “manual-transmission type guy/girl” but just can’t be bothered actually doing it.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Well yeah, they love the idea of a manual, when they don’t have to shift very often. Or hardly ever.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I think people just have a problem with the constant creeping forward. It has never bothered me. I prefer a manual in traffic. In an automatic you have to put significant pressure on the brake pedal while standing still. In the manual, I can just rest my foot on the brake, and the car will stay stationary.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            I think holding the clutch down is the issue. Was never a problem for me except for some sports cars with heavy clutch.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            What’s a sports car with a heavy clutch? Even on most trucks, just the weight of your leg does most of the work.

            When you have bad knees, heavy rush-hour traffic can be tough on the left joint. Any movement can be tough, like walking. But just say that.

            But why hold the clutch?

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Unless you are towing a Christmas float… ;)

            Got my clutch really hot towing a small utility trailer in a parade where the rolling speed was slower than my 1st gear at idle would allow.

            Smelled the clutch by the halfway point despite the winter cold. Clutch was okay b/c I’m still driving it years later.

  • avatar
    jaydez

    Hey, don’t look at me. I just bought an Accord with a stick back in September. It was REALLY hard to find because they would sell as soon as they hit the lot.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    But, but, but you should never buy a new car and take all that depreciation and frivolous consumer spending and debt. It’s financially stupid, and it’s completely un-smart according to like, everyone on the internet!

    Seriously, you’re preaching to a significant % of the choir on this site. For maximum effect, this should be cross-posted somewhere that delusion is widely considered a sacred, core belief.

  • avatar
    Chris FOM

    I’m part of the problem to, but from the other end. I do buy new cars, but I just can’t bring myself to care about a manual transmission. I’ll admit that I’m pretty young (33) and never learned to drive stick, but I’m not particularly inclined to learn at this point. By every objective standard a modern automatic is at least equal to a manual, and with the proliferation of gears (well beyond what you could realistically keep track of with a gated shifter) often superior. You used to buy a manual for superior fuel economy and performance, now both go to to autos. There is no objective reason to go with the third pedal, only subjective ones. Trust me, Europeans don’t buy sticks because they’re purists and hate autos. They buy sticks because their tiny little sub-2L diesels are undrivable with an auto. For the rare European that can afford the taxes and fees on the kind of engine we take for granted in the US, they’re buying an auto.

    And quite frankly the snobbishness of manual elitists is pretty off-putting as well. “Without a third pedal you’re just steering.” Nonsense. Without a third pedal you’re speeding up, slowing down, modulating the gas and brakes, looking for the apex of the corner, choosing your line, keeping the car on that line, and yes, even selecting the gear (assuming the car has paddle shifters or similar). The attitude of so many manual enthusiasts simply reduces “driving” vs. “steering” to the presence or absence of a single pedal and type of shifter, throwing everything else out. It’s more than a little tiring and given the objective superiority of modern automatics simply comes across as defensive lashing out.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Hitting Play on the stereo and listening to a concert-trained violinist will objectively give you a better sound than anything you or I could muster, but that doesn’t take away from the value of picking up the violin yourself.

      Some of the manual apologists go a little overboard in their enthusiasm, but shifting your own, along with modulating the clutch and throttle (which is where 95% of the skill of driving a stick lies) does add a dimension of tactility and involvement, especially if you get into performance driving and heel-toe your downshifts. Just because it’s an instrument you never bothered to learn to play, doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile to the ones who did.

      I’m younger than you, by the way.

      • 0 avatar
        Chris FOM

        And there’s the snobbishness of the manual purist. If you’re not shifting for yourself you’re completely passive. Might as well be sitting on a couch for all the involvement it offers.

        Nevermind that the analogy falls apart on its face as playing and listening are qualitatively different experiences. A better analogy might a violin that could adjust the tension on its strings on the fly so you don’t have to keep retuning it. As someone who played trombone and piano all the way through undergrad and on trombone especially was pretty darn good, if I never had to bother with another tuning slide or untuned piano I’d have happily said good riddance.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Where did I say “completely passive?” I said it adds a dimension.

          Shifting gears to get the engine in its range in the power band where you want it, modulating the clutch to apply the power exactly how you want, and blipping the throttle on the shifts to get a seamless transition when you re-engage the clutch are what I liken to mastering an instrument. On an automatic, you just push Play (put it in Drive).

          • 0 avatar

            Well said.

            I just love shifting gears, It does add a dimension to driving. (And paddle shifters are not at all the same thing.) I particularly love gearing down and gunning it, but I love the feel of shifting even when driving gently on suburban streets. I’d get a manual even if slushboxes were more efficient, faster shifting, and just as inexpensive to own and maintain.

            I’m in upper middle age.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Your points are valid (both of you). I fully classify myself as an enthusiast and crave the engagement that comes with a manual, but I don’t fault others in their choices. I agree that modern manuals are vastly improved, most notably current generation dual-clutch. Not saying either is “better”, just both are great. I drive a 6-spd manual on a 400hp car. Just me, but 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), 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. As you said, subjective, but for me, those are essential.

      I think we can both agree however, that there are good automatics and there are not good automatics that kill the energy of the car, kill the experience, and just plain make driving numb. Now that I drive a manual, I find it very frustrating when I have to wait on an automatic transmission, which is obviously mitigated by a dual-clutch. Even in my wife’s BMW, I feel like I am always ahead of the transmission and I’m waiting for it and it’s avery good ZF automatic.

      • 0 avatar
        michal1980

        because you somehow sift faster then the automatic?

        There is a delay in the new zf8 that bmw uses. But its much short then pushing the clutch down.

        And much shorter then pushing the clutch down, changing the gear, and releasing the clutch.

        Its just that in one case you are doing all those things that might add up to be over a second. In another you click a button and wait .5seconds.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Nobody who wants a manual cares. You get a manual because you want the involvement, not because you care about a few tenths of a second. I track my car because it’s fun, and part of that fun is getting better at shifting – the satisfaction of heel-toeing into second coming into the chicane and making it all seamless – not because I’m after the fastest lap time.

          It’s unfortunate that most car buyers, at least in North America, don’t care about that. Such is life.

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            It’s unfortunate that most car buyers, at least in North America, don’t care about that. Such is life. – Juniperbug

            Just as disappointing is that fewer and fewer people actually know how to 1) operate a manual and 2) really understand the nuances and connectedness of a manual beyond routing driving.

            I gave up .2 or.3 seconds and launch control by not going with PDK. I was fine with that, but I won’t fault someone who wants to go automatic.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I have had a manual transmission for every car I have owned. I will say, that since getting my Miata, driving the manual Subaru was way less satisfying. The Miata is so good at what it does, and it’s shifter is perfect, an everyday compact’s manual just isn’t going to provide the same satisfaction anymore. I just turned my Impreza in, and it’s replacement will more than likely be an automatic. I’m not opposed to another manual, but for the first time, it will not be a requirement, and there are many more automatic options out there.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          “because you somehow sift faster then the automatic?”

          michal1980, I think either you missed my point or I was not clear. Speed in shifting is not really the point. Yes, manual shifting these days is slower than a dual clutch. In a traditional automatic, there is a lag in either pushing a paddle or hitting the gas to engage a higher gear. It’s the lag I’m talking about. After driving a manual, you start to get frustrated at that lag. I’m not really concerned abut how fast I’m shifting. It’s not always about speed.

          In the manual, I can work the engine when it best suits me. I understand fully how the engine will engage based on gear and my modulation of the clutch. I guess in the end, although modern automatics are really spectacular gearboxes, there’s just something abut the connection with a manual and how much more I feel connected to everything the car is doing.

          There is no fault in an automatic. I’m a big fan of PDK and DCT, but manual is a fantastic experience.

          • 0 avatar
            michal1980

            energetik9

            I think you missed my point.

            You shifting your self is LAG.

            the lag from you shifting is the same, if not greater then the automatic shifting for you.

            but since you are ‘doing’ something you don’t notice that lag.

            Its just ignorant to claim that automatics are laggy because they don’t shift the instant you floor it, or the instant you hit a button, while ignoring the time it takes someone to shift.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        energetik9 – – –

        Excellent analysis. Here is another one that gives a pseudo-quantitative aspect to this whole Auto vs Manual issue:

        1) Number of Driving inputs with typical Manual = 5 (steering, gas, brake, clutch, shift);
        2) Number of Driving inputs with typical Auto = 3 (steering, gas, brake)

        Deficit = 2. Therefore, percent that Auto Trans is less involving = 2/5 = 40%.

        ==================

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I love driving a low powered vehicle hard. Can only enjoy doing drive one with a manual transmission.

        An automatic can be nice but I’m not going to look forward to driving it like a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      “Having never consumed drugs, I can safely say that they offer nothing of value to anyone.”

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Chris is as you say autos are at least equal to a manual and provide better fuel economy and performance.

      Then how can you say that the little sub 2L diesels need a manual or else they are undriveable?

      And since you don’t know how to drive a stick you cannot logically compare it to an auto. Having someone who cannot drive a stick, comparing its performance is like being taught sex ed by a nun.

      Learn from those who do ‘know’ the manual is more fun and does teach you how to drive. Nobody who drives a manual would panic in an ‘unintended acceleration’ situation.

      Knowing how to use engine braking does help.

      And autos outperform manuals regarding fuel economy in the lab and in theory. Put to the test (we have identical Sonatas in our family auto and stick) and the stick which I drive has returns better mileage than the auto which my mother drives (and believe me she does not redline or race it).

      • 0 avatar
        Chris FOM

        And there’s the dismissive snobbishness again. Do you even recognize how arrogant this sounds?

        “And since you don’t know how to drive a stick you cannot logically compare it to an auto. Having someone who cannot drive a stick, comparing its performance is like being taught sex ed by a nun.

        Learn from those who do ‘know’ the manual is more fun and does teach you how to drive. Nobody who drives a manual would panic in an ‘unintended acceleration’ situation.

        Knowing how to use engine braking does help.”

        I may not be particularly proficient at manuals, but I have driven them. I wouldn’t feel comfortable by myself in a manual, but I’m not speaking out of total ignorance either. I don’t even have anything against manuals in general, in fact before I bought (yes bought, not leased) my 335 a couple of years ago I nearly went with a Golf R or Focus ST, neither of which offered an auto of any sort.

        It’s the derisiveness I can’t stand. The assumption that one only need be taught by the right person to see the light. If you don’t drive a stick, you don’t even know how to drive. If you don’t drive a stick you’ll panic in unintended acceleration, or don’t know how to engine brake. That’s a huge number of assumptions you’ve made, none of which are warranted.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Chris,
          You wrote “I’ll admit that I’m pretty young (33) and never learned to drive stick.”

          Now you write ” I have driven them”.

          So which is it?

          As I stated, having someone who has not driven a stick critique it is like taking sex ed from a nun.

          Give it a legitimate try. A Miata would be a great choice. Then let us know what you think.

          I guarantee that your driving ability will improve as you master this skill.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            I know I’m late with this reply by now, but basically I’ve driven a stick but don’t feel proficient with one. I’ve spent a few hours behind the wheel of a stick learning the basics the basics, but still stall out frequently enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking one out by myself (nevermind attempting more advanced techniques like heel-toe downshifting).

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Chris FOM – – –

            Don’t give up! The problems may be:

            1) You are being too impatient with yourself. Just slow down and deliberately think things through; then find an empty parking lot and just practice starting up: Neutral > 1st gear > accelerate > brake > neutral > stop. Now repeat, over and over.

            2) The vehicle may have a 1st gear that is “geared” too high, so it may not even be a problem you have personally. I had an old ’74 Doge pickup once with a 1st gear so low that all you had to do was let the clutch out, — no gas matching at all.

            3) Nobody needs to do “heal-and-toe” techniques who is not on a race track! That whole thing has been way overblown. Yes, a little double-clutching** is something you can work into for downshifting LATER, to help the synchros a bit. But nowadays, modern 6-speed manuals are universally more than adequately synchronized. Just don’t jam the gear-shift forcefully: “feel” your way down into the next lower gear SLOWLY, until you get the hang of your particular tranny. They all have their own personalities, you know.

            Right now, after 54 years of driving manuals, and with my ’96 Dodge Ram 5-speed, I can float rapidly up and down through the gears 3rd > 4th >3rd > 4th (and repeat), such that there is no jolting, no noise, and no change in speed of the vehicle. This, by the way, is a very good exercise in tranny control by double clutching, — resulting in a smoothness that most automatics can’t even match (except for CVT’s).

            ———–
            ** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSup4MLX2GU
            ———–

            =================

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            NMGOM, your post reminds me that I learned to drive a stick as a 17-year-old in the Governor General’s Horse Guards. The trucks they taught us on were about 15 years old and had been not-so-gently used by the regular army for many years before being handed done to the militia, Synchromesh was supposedly there in most of the forward gears, but they made us double-clutch every shift as a precaution.

            And of course, there was the day that one of the guys jammed it into 1st with (shall we say) inadequate use of the clutch. The result was very impressive to behold, and gave the Service Battalion we shared the armoury with a new project.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            ect – – –

            Thanks for sharing that. I liked it…(^_^)..

            =============

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      ” I’m pretty young (33) and never learned to drive stick,”

      Ban him!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      One often overlooked “objective reason to go with the third pedal” is that they typically (not always; see e.g. BMW) cost around $1000 less to buy new. Whether you lose some portion of that amount at trade-in time varies with the type of car and how long you keep it.

      A few years ago a friend was looking for a used minivan and came across an early Plymouth Voyager with a stick shift on a dealer’s lot. My friend was ambivalent about the type of transmission, but it was amusing to hear the dealer start talking about how hard to find manuals were, as if that made the van a valuable rarity rather than a near-unsellable dog on his lot. My friend laughed in his face and eventually got a bargain on it.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Had a Honda dealer do that once to me about a 1st gen CR-V AWD. At first he said they didn’t exist and then they existed but were really rare and thus worth a premium. Switched dealers and he had one for me the next day at $1500 cheaper than the automatic. ;)

        I’d also point out that not only is it cheaper to buy initially but for me they have been more durable. My circle of friends/family seem to often wear out an automatic.

        My manuals have last 300K+ plus miles with only clutch replacement for much less than an automatic rebuild. 286K and counting on the current factory clutch.

        In fact I could literally buy a brand new replacement transmission from the dealer for the same cost as a used automatic rebuild if I hired a shop to do the automatic.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    All depends on the car. For example, I wouldn’t want an automatic on my Abarth, but an’t see a manual offered on an E350.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    To be fair, OEMs get some benefit from having cheerleaders. But they can’t expect most of those cheerleaders to be particularly smart about the business of automaking.

    Which is to say that a fair number of enthusiasts are idiots, but the automakers need them. Evangelists are known for their devotion, not for their wisdom.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Apt analogy.
      With the exception of a used ’07 Passat wagon we had until a couple years ago, my wife and I have always had manuals. That being said, it is becoming less and less important – to me at least – and I’ve sort of gotten sick of the piety of the “no manual, no sale” crowd.

      When it comes time for my next commuter, I’ll be open minded about automatics. I have a 50 year old pickup in my driveway to keep my left leg in shape.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    The perenial Manual debate.
    Lets look at some figures. On a C7 vette in the usa its 30+% on a M4 its apparently 40%. The Challenger is even higher.

    If one just looks at overall fleet sales autp sales are 95%.

    So lets break it down properly, to sportscars.
    Many/Most sportscars bought today are for drivign in traffic to work and the valet parking at a resteraunt. What thye are is the modern day equivalent of what was called the personal 2 door coupe. The owners dont track and road conditions means the performnace is hardley if ever used, its a paper spec. For this owner PDK is the way to go.

    Then of course we have a subset of people who really buy the car for drivign enetrtainment and will buy more harcore versions. Of those people maybe 50% buy PDK because its higher velocity and yes seamless in traffic. For the velocity and ease of use they are preapered to give up tactility and interaction

    For the other 50% well a mnaual provides entertainment and interaction on street in the 5-8/10ths speed zone(sanely doable on street) a pdk does not. On track most modern manual cars are more than fast enough, faster than most drivers skills, and the
    immersive experience demmanded by a manaul is seen as a plus, not to mention durability maintanance and light weight.

    Porche decided to go PDK witht he GT3 for performance specs to be “competitive” and then responded to the cries of the faithful by developing the “slower” manual only cayman GT4, a car wich is sold out before the first one is even delivered. Look at GT3 sales(PDK )and GT4 sales(Manual) its an even split

    I think its safe to say that where an equivlalent mnaual is offered in a hard core performance car there is a 30-50% takeup rate. This hardley indicates the mnaual is dead.

    As to ferrari and Lambo. yes if you do a mnaual and a PDK you have to develop two powertrains and that is expensive and maybe not worthwhile.
    Boutique italain cars these days, they are gucci handbags.

    Enthusiuasts certainly buy manuals in sufficient numbers to wnarrant their continuation, hence BMW Vette porche offering a manaul in models specificaly aimed at enthiusiasts.

    When was the last time you saw a ferrari or lambo at the track. Where I go its mostlly loti vettes BMW and porche, and thye are 90% stick. Occasionaly you might see one R8 or one or two GTrs or one 458.

    Manuals sell, It hasent suited manaufcaturers to push two powertrains

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Boxerman – – –

      “Enthusiuasts certainly buy manuals in sufficient numbers to wnarrant their continuation, hence BMW Vette porche offering a manaul in models specificaly aimed at enthiusiasts. (sic)”

      And Chevy via Camero and SS; Dodge via Challenger and Ram 2500 Diesel; Ford via Mustang GT, Fiesta ST, and Fusion ST; Mazda via MX-5 Miata; Mini via Cooper S; and Volkswagen via Golf GTR — just as added examples (not inclusive). So, no, the manual isn’t completely dead by a long shot.

      ===============

  • avatar
    energetik9

    My SUV has an automatic and my spots car has a 6-spd manual. Although I do like the capabilities of a dual-clutch and I fully realize I lost .02 in my 0-60 and I lost a launch control feature, there is something about working the gears that keeps me grounded and keeps my brain fully engaged in my driving.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well count me as part of the problem , I prefer to drive stick and I own a very that is a stick, but when I bought my last new car in 2011 my TDI wagon, was a DSG auto, why ? A few reasons, one my wife will not drive a stick, she tried one blown tranny was enough for me to say your right no stick for you, so any time I parked behind her in the driveway I would moving my car, number two reason and the bigger reason I drive about 30,000 miles a year in mostly NY metro traffic and driving a sticks sucks when it takes you 60 minute to get cross town in nyc , about 4 miles maybe. It is not worth it, I will get a new car in the next 24 months and I do not see a stick in it, I will save the stick for the summer car, Dereck if you had to drive from GTA to downtown Toronto, would you still have a stick? So I guess I am part of the problem , but I gave up the dream TTAC car , a diesel wagon , but no stick.

    • 0 avatar

      @seth1065

      I love my manual, and would have nothing else. Nonetheless, when you mention the 60 minutes cross-town traffic in Manhattan, I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN!!! I’ve done that, maybe 2-3 times. It’s awful, and the stick really does make it worse, I suspect, than it wouild be with an automatic.

      Fortunately, I almost never have to drive in that sort of traffic.

  • avatar
    snakebit

    In a perfect world, and in a not-that-expensive world, your main squeeze would get the car they’re most comfortable in, and you would do the same. As long as cars come with manual gearboxes and your family owns such a car, teach each family member how to drive them. And another thing: what’s this trend to building cars that can parallel park themselves. How utterly lazy have we become? I think the height of this particular quirk is a Ford commercial showing a mother teaching her teenager to drive. And, after the car parks itself, the kid is given a thumbs up for his parking ability. Unbelievable. While you’re teaching how to manually shift, people, teach parallel parking.

  • avatar
    skor

    I agree with the author, there is no business justification for a manual trans. Once upon a time the manual had some real advantages over an auto: Better performance. Better fuel efficiency. Better durability. Cheaper to buy. The days of primitive two and three speed autos is long gone. The modern auto has it all over the manual, with theft deterrence being the only advantage a manual has over an auto. It was fun, I’m sorry to see it go, but the manual is now headed the way of the dodo. Sorry, but we can’t live in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      skor – – –

      “The modern auto has it all over the manual….”
      Not quite.

      As noted to “FormerFF” down below – – –

      Advantages of Manuals (all else equal):
      1) More robust, durable, and longer-lasting;
      2) Less expensive to buy;
      3) Superior driver involvement**;
      4) Owner-doable oil change, which is also less frequent and less expensive;
      5) Requires no separate cooling system with its own radiator;
      6) Wear item = easily replaceable clutch (not the whole tranny!);
      7) Superior traction in slippery snow, by “feathering” the clutch;
      8) Almost air-tight theft protection.

      ——-
      ** A car with an automatic offers typically 40% less opportunity for driver involvement than those with manuals. Calculation also shown at “Energetik9”, above:
      1) Number of Driving inputs with typical Manual = 5 (steering, gas, brake, clutch, shift);
      2) Number of Driving inputs with typical Auto = 3 (steering, gas, brake)
      Deficit = 2. Therefore, percent that Auto Trans is less involving = 2/5 = 40%.
      ——-

      ===============

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t care much about manual transmissions, but I did buy a brand new car that is powered by a naturally-aspirated pushrod V8.

    So because I actually put money where my mouth is does that mean I am free for the next four years or so to complain about any of those things going away?

  • avatar
    IC Turbo

    Add me to the list of those trying to help. I bought a 2008 Camry SE manual. This required me to give up both heated seats and mirrors but I did gain a real handbrake. I even had to special order it and go without an actual test drive because “We don’t sell that in your sales region.” It was still cancelled for the next generation.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    “we were a bit taken aback by his assertion that a manual-equipped car is not the more engaging experience for the driver.” This is exactly why I searched high and low for one of the last new ’14 Outbacks with a manual. For me, driving a manual is far more engaging to drive. All 6 of my spawn were taught to drive manuals (the girls will never be forced to walk home); three of the now-in-their-thirties six still prefer and own manuals. The kids say that it wouldn’t be driving without rowing through the gears. One of the girls just purchased a new Fiesta; she went through the search as did I to find a manual and bought it. I bought my ’99 F350 7.3L new with a manual (and got a helluva deal) and still own it – can’t get a big truck with a manual (except a Ram which is a Cummins wrapped up in an FCA product – nope). A manual also has the side benefit of being a great anti-theft device. I may be wrong but it seems that newer automatic boxes with all of that electronic wizardry make vehicles more economical, the reverse of the situation previous where manuals were more economical. This helps manufacturers to raise the CAFE of their produced vehicles and, as someone previously pointed out, simpler to produce with less variation on the assembly line. Also, in spite of Bluetooth tech, it takes a couple of hands to text while driving through city traffic – too difficult for the current generation if they are shifting gears while working Facebook. Perhaps this is the new “more engaging experience” manufacturers are providing.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “There is literally only one way to ensure the continued existence of the manual transmission. You have to buy new cars with manual transmissions.”

    Therein lies the rub. Almost everyone on here prides themselves on buying only used cars! Certainly nothing wrong with that, but you can’t expect someone else to buy your dream for you, drive it gently and maintain it meticulously, then selling it to you in a few years so you can then thrash it to death, thinking you’re beating the system!

    Only money talks, and the OEMs don’t give much of a hoot for the narrow enthusiast market.

  • avatar
    darex

    Derek, your brand-new Mazda3: Stick or Auto?

    Better not say “auto!”

    My new MINI Cooper: STICK!

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I taught myself to drive stick on what was then a brand new car with a light clutch and a very narrow engagement point and then spent the next two years trying to do all the silly things a teenager with a sporty manual transmission car would do. As did my friends who loved to brag about how they knew how to drive stick, etc. even though when I actually let them drive my car they just stalled it at very stop light. The reality is though that if I was buying a sports car now I’d get something with a double clutch.

    Part of it is that yeah, I sometimes have to drive in heavy traffic and damn did it really suck to be stuck in traffic for two hours shifting in and out of 1st and 2nd gear just to move 10 feet at a time, but to be honest I’ve also driven some pretty high performance vehicles with DCTs and there’s a certain thrill to clicking the shift paddle and having the transmission immediately fly into the next gear. Is it the same kind of thrill as a manual? I’m not sure, but it’s not necessarily worse.

    And while I don’t recommend letting your friends drive your high performance sports cars, at least you won’t have to worry about them stalling your car every damned block.

  • avatar
    shappy

    2014 Audi S4 here, with a manual! Yes, I put my money where my mouth was. I am also 99.9% sure that the B9 S4 (as well as every new Audi going forward) will be S-Tronic only in the US. :(

    • 0 avatar
      banker43

      I have the same fear about future Audis. That is why I bought a 2014 A4 with a stick 4 months ago. There really is not any other choice in all wheel drive sedans right now. And in the future, probably no option at all.

      • 0 avatar
        MMaier - Audi S4

        True that. I have a 2001 S4 Avant with the 6 speed manual and 257000 miles. Would consider replacing with another Audi but they no longer offer MT wagons. The new A4/S4 sedans are a little larger than I care for, and the new S3 is auto only / sedan only. So I’ll plug along putting reasonable maintainence $$$ in the S4 – trying for 400000 miles. So far it’s been averaging $2500 per year, far cheaper that a loan on a comparable new ride if it could be found.

        BTW — my other rides are stick. My better half can drive stick, but prefers auto on her daily driver.

        When it comes to eventually replacing the S4, the tops of my current list are a VW GTI, Honda Fit, or Mazda 3, depending on how the college funds for the kids are shaping up.

        FWIW — I plan all my future rides to be stick, if not available new then I’ll look at used.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Out of 12 vehicles I’ve owned, 10 had a clutch and 9 had a clutch pedal. One of the other two was free, so I had no standing to complain. The other one, well, apparently the only thing rarer than a 2wd srw regular cab Cummins 12v Ram is one with a stick.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I did my part.

    My lady knows how to drive a manual transmission, so I guess I lucked out there.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    My wife and I have always driven manuals. Our most recent purchase was a 2013 Focus SE. I phoned every Ford dealer within 50 miles to see who had a manual I could test drive. When several of them called back to follow up, I told them I had bought from X because they had manuals in stock.

    We don’t buy cars very often. The purchase prior to the Focus was my Infiniti retirement present in 2007. Before that, it was a Subaru in 1998. We still have both of them. If a car company misses a sales opportunity, it will be a long time before they get another chance.

  • avatar
    swester

    Manual transmissions are like convertible tops: while fun and pleasure-enhancing in certain conditions, their extra limitations make them generally unreasonable and unnecessary for the vast majority of drivers most of the time.

    There will always be enthusiasts for both, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    What I can’t explain is Europe’s widespread vestigial addiction to them, when automatics now regularly exceed in fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      In Europe, you have to learn how to drive to get a license. The process is taken very seriously, is extensive, expensive, and demanding.

      In the US, anybody who can slow speed it through a couple of cones and back into a parking space gets a license.

      I can only assume that, when you’ve spent a lot of time and money on being taught to drive, you take it seriously. And driving a manual is part of being serious about one’s driving.

      • 0 avatar
        swester

        Something tells me that assumption IS a bunch of baloney, especially since it is the Germans and Italians who are leading the way with the development of sophisticated automatic transmissions and phasing out manual models. Are you saying that Mercedes, BMW, Audi et al are not interested in “serious driving”?

        As far as I thought, manual was prevalent in Europe because of increased fuel efficiency (before sophisticated automatics were capable of exceeding a stick) and the overall out-the-door cost being lower.

        Call me crazy, but to me, the measure of “serious driving” has always been far more about road feel, body tightness, steering, and engine strength than whether or not I am forced to manually guide a vehicle through the same mechanical gears over and over ad infinitum.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Small four-cylinder engines and automatics don’t go well together.

      In Europe, it’s typical that someone who tests with an automatic can only receive a restricted automatic-only license. The high cost of getting a license encourages drivers to learn how to drive a stick from the start.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I love the fact that one of the few midsize sedans offering a manual is a Buick. Wish they’d offer one in the Encore.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    I’ve never purchased a new car for myself without a MT. I hate analysis of performance of DSG/Auto vs MT. Who cares. MT is the only way to go for me. And you know what, in snow/ice here in the NE I’ll take my chances with a MT over anything else.

    I just wish there were more options for larger vehicles with AWD and MT, but that’s a rare (non-existent) combo.

  • avatar

    You’re right. I could have gotten a manual transmission. But I went for the DSG instead. Why? Because I’m too lazy to do a manual transmission in a daily driver. But I remain convinced that I’ll be able to get a manual in the kinds of cars I’d *want* one in (Mustang, Corvette, MX-5, GTI, Fiesta ST, Miata, etc…), at least for the foreseeable future.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      This is another piece of the puzzle. A lot of cars that are auto only wouldn’t be any better with a 3rd pedal (or a wagon back or a diesel engine). An Altima 6MT 4 banger diesel wagon would still suck. There seems to be this subculture of fetishizing things we can’t have, often beyond the realm of reason.

      • 0 avatar

        Ha. The car does have those other two things going for it. It is a diesel, and a wagon. But no, I didn’t see any point in a manual transmission…other than that I could have a legitimate excuse for not loaning it to my mother :P

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I can see several very good reasons for not getting a DSG:

          1. It costs more upfront

          2. It needs an expensive service every 40K miles

          3. Dog help you if it breaks. I can change a TDI clutch in my garage (I have done so, in fact), I cannot rebuild a DSG.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    My SISTER was the one who couldn’t convince my brother-in-law to get their latest vehicle with a stick.

    She loves manuals, but he’s never driven one and refuses to learn how, so it’s a big ol’ inverted situation at their house.

    Neither one of them are car people, but she gets it with this ONE thing, and he doesn’t.

  • avatar
    andrewbarnet

    I just bought a ’15 Forester with a manual transmission. Like other commenters (who bought other cars), I found one with great difficulty and bought it the same day it hit the lot.

    I do understand why automakers are not manufacturing more vehicles with a MT option, but I have a harder time understanding why, when they DO manufacture them, why don’t they make more of them? The demand does seem to be out-stripping the supply.

  • avatar
    dwford

    My problem is it seems that automakers equate manual transmission drivers with cheapskates, and only offer a manual in their base models – as other commenters have already noted. At this point with automatics taking up the bulk of sales, why aren’t automakers charging extra for the manual transmission instead of the automatic? Every automaker still charges $1000 to upgrade to the automatic. Also, why offer on the base? There are hardcore manual transmission lovers out there that won’t buy an auto, why not stick it to them and make them buy the upper trim levels? I ended up leasing my 2011 Sonata in SE trim because I wanted the features I couldn’t get in the base GLS stick.

    I do like it when I see enthusiast orientated models like the Fiesta and Focus ST’s being produced only with manual transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Yeah. I hate that when manuals ARE available, you can’t get them with the premium engine in most cars.

      You can have the I4 MT or the V6 AT, but no V6 MT.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      They offer it on the base to advertise an artificially low price. Or maybe that is an accidental benefit. It is hard for me to believe anyone would go to the trouble of certification just to pretend they have the cheapest car in the segment.

      I agree though. I’m more likely to pay more to get a manual with a few options I might not care about than to give up features and color choices to have the manual. I suppose auto makers have looked into this as a strategy as well, and decided I’m in the minority. Apparently I’m a minority of the minority. Sigh.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        That’s it, in many car lines, the MT version exists only as a price leader. Cars like the Kia Soul and Nissan Versa Note are more utilitarian than sporty, and the MT is only available on the lowest trim level. I’m not sure what Honda’s doing making the MT versions of most of their cars available in the low and mid line trim levels, while you can get a Focus in Titanium trim, but with a five speed.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          The Accord EXL-V6 Coupe is an exception — top-line car with a stick. (Only better thing would be the stick availability on the V6 Sedan.)

          I would consider a stick, were one available on the Touring Accord (with all the toys), but I’ve tried to learn, and failed epically, on Honda sticks; starting from a stop (even on an incline :-O ) isn’t much of a problem, particularly with an engine with good low-end grunt under the hood that the clutch becomes an on/off affair which doesn’t require throttle to avoid a stall! Where I fall apart is once I get into traffic — at that point, I cannot coordinate my left foot and right hand well enough to not be a nuisance!

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            I’m not quite clear what goes wrong once you are in traffic, but it might be a matter of lowering your expectations for how smooth you are going to be.

            I put driving a manual in the “easy to learn, hard to master” category. It is going to take practice before it is second nature, no way around that. You won’t progress from novice to heel-toe downshifts in an afternoon.

            If you can start from a stop on an incline, you are ready to move off your practice route and try increasingly difficult traffic/terrain. If you are interested in owning a manual, just dive in. You already have as much of a foundation as you need.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      BMW has made the manual a “no cost option” where they still offer one. Of course, back in 2011 when they started doing this, they raised MSRP by almost $1000. I snuck my order in a couple days before that took effect. Previously the automatic was a $1200 option.

  • avatar

    Good Riddance

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      BTSR, why do you care so vehemently about the demise of the stick? Moderates like myself are happy to let you enjoy all the automatics you want, all I ask is that some cars still be available with a stick shift because I find them enjoyable to drive. But that opinion has no bearing on what you enjoy.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        BTSR is vehemently against anything that doesn’t validate the choices he’s made thus far, and by extension (in his own mind) his very existence.

        • 0 avatar
          Marone

          Yes…..I concur.

          I have no idea why anyone with even the slightest interest in cars in general would not have interest in manual. I get not everyone wants one or has the ability to drive one. While most on here are capable and willing to have constructive dialogue, to say good riddance is just a ridiculous statement that adds zero value to the discussion.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Marone – – –

            You hit the jackpot.

            “bigtruckseriesreview @ Youtube” has no real interest in cars. He likes big trucks, which fielded the Ram 2500 diesel as the only offering with a Manual.

            ===========

  • avatar
    hriehl1

    45 years of shifting and counting in my commuter car…. never replaced a clutch or had a (non-warranty) transmission repair. 2 minivans with autos, Plymough Voyager and Honda Odyssey, had 4 transmission replacements in 16 years.

    1964 Opel Kadett
    1966 Plymouth Valiant (3 on tree)
    1966 Chevelle (3 on tree)
    1975 Mercury Capri
    1971(?) Volvo 1800e
    1978 Ford Fiesta
    1982 Nissan Stanza
    1987(?) Merkur XR4Ti
    1992 Ford Escort
    1995 Mercury Mystique V6 (very underrated)
    2003 Suzuki Aerio (also underrated)
    2012 Mazda5

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      hriehl1 – – –

      Great comment! You obviously know how to engage a clutch properly.
      I got 225,000 miles out of the clutch on my 1974 Dodge D100 pickup, and that vehicle even had a very hard-working life.

      Yes, you can wear out a clutch by racing the engine, and popping the thing, — but if you do that routinely, why would you expect to get more than 20K-40K miles? Don’t blame the clutch!

      ===============

  • avatar
    ilkhan

    My upcoming new car purchase will be a stick.
    Mustang GT or FoST.

  • avatar
    FordMan_48126

    Can’t blame my wife – she had two Audi A4’s (the last was the ‘S’ model) with manuals, which I could drive just fine (when she let me), as one of my first cars was a 1978 Honda Civic CVCC with a 5 speed. However, when we decided to have a child (and all the stuff that goes with a child), neither of us could find a SUV/CUV we liked that had a manual…Audi nor Porsche offer one with a manual, at least in this country.

    What I think is really killing manuals, at least in the US, is driver training schools/classes, or lack there of. Where I grew up in Michigan, my older siblings had to learn to drive a manual when the had drivers ed….however, when it became my turn less than 10 years later, there no longer had manuals in their fleet. Today, the school systems in Michigan do not even teach driving anymore. Yes, if more people bought manuals, the market would vote and automakers would listen. However, if they are not even teaching it anymore in basic driver training, then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Making payments to VoA on an 11 GTI with 3 pedals I bought new. Was seriously going to replace it next year with an Audi S3 until I discovered it was auto only. The new GTI and Golf R have manuals but aren’t enough of an upgrade to tempt me. So I’ll be driving my GTI payment free for awhile. They blew a big sale.

    • 0 avatar
      manny_c44

      Yeah the S3 is nice, no manual is a bummer. The weird thing is that in Europe the S3 gets a manual but some other Audi’s are only manual in the USA, very strange.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Similarly, I would have probably bought a new BMW 3-series wagon when the F31 came out. But no stick, and mandatory AWD means I will just keep the one I have until it or I am old and gray. Their $55K loss.

  • avatar

    Derek,

    Your solid foundation in reality will certainly help you cope when stick shifts are no longer available at all (the ’30s? the ’40s? certainly by the ’50s). And if/when only self-driving cars are allowed on the roads.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Had 13 cars, 11 manual.

    Sadly,I’m part of the problem. I was certain my most recent purchase was going to be an Accord Sport 6 speed, but was scared off by the direct injection, road noise, and no 60/40 split folding seat. Got the Antichrist of cars for enthusiasts instead, an automatic Camry. At least its a V6.

    Also, the wife has a 2013 Forester, as loaded as you can get with a manual. She will only drive a manual. It was sitting on the Subaru lot, someone ordered it and changed their mind. We got a nice deal, as nice as you can get on a Subaru in MN because NOBODY wanted a manual Forester.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Both of the brand-new vehicles I’ve ever bought had a clutch. However, that was in 1989 and 1995. I’m getting the itch to replace my ’05 Scion xB (bought used, with a clutch) but I don’t really see anything out there (with a clutch) that feels like a suitable replacement. So I keep driving the xB.

    • 0 avatar
      hriehl1

      You might find a leftover Mazda5 though they recently dropped the MT option… I love mine; 30 MPG real-world.

      One other explanation for the demise of manuals is that they’re available only in the low-end stripper models. If a MT had been available in the more upscale model, I would have bought it, but the stick was more important to me than the amenities so I bought the stripper.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Sadly, I’m part of the problem. All of the stick shift cars I’ve bought have been used. All of the new cars I’ve bought have been autos. But they didn’t offer 9k S2000s when I was buying one, so I had to go used. My bad.

  • avatar
    omer333

    I’ve only had one manual car, and since I have no patience, I did not teach my wife to drive stick.

    I think that’s the thing, no one has patience to learn or to teach.

    And usually no one has any busted-up heaps with manual transmissions to learn on.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I offer to teach, but people are intimidated. Especially in the Bay Area, I think the hill holder feature would make learning a much easier sell. Unfortunately, my car does not have that.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I ordered my Challenger with the 8AT because it outperforms the 6MT in every measure, plus it cost less. I like manual transmissions, but I still need an actual reason to get one.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s flimsy excuse that automatics shift faster. Unless you’re racing BTSR, why do you need that split second in the 1/4 mile? It’s perfectly fine to prefer an automatic muscle car.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’ll take a split second in the 1/4 when it comes with better fuel mileage, a cheaper price and factory remote start.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        The only reason to get a MT these days is that you prefer it, they really don’t have much in the way of advantages other than low purchase price in the lower priced cars. There’s no need to call someone out because they choose an automatic.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          FormerFF – – –

          “The only reason to get a MT these days is that you prefer it, they really don’t have much in the way of advantages other than low purchase price in the lower priced cars. ”

          Whoa there, Nellie…

          Advantages of Manuals (all else equal):
          1) More robust, durable, and longer-lasting;
          2) Less expensive to buy;
          3) Superior driver involvement;
          4) Owner-doabe oil change, which is also less frequent and less expensive;
          5) Requires no separate cooling system with its own radiator;
          6) Wear item = easily replaceable clutch (not the whole tranny!);
          7) Superior traction in slippery snow, by “feathering” the clutch.

          FACT: I should note that in Germany, you are required to get your license-testing done using a Manual-transmission car (Yes, you can now get an exemption for Auto-only, but it’s with a restrictive license.)

          FACT: In wealthy Switzerland, with many mountains, and hills, and slippery winter snows, about 95% of drivers prefer and buy manual-transmission vehicles.

          ===================

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      The reason to get one is for fun. If you are no longer amused, that’s fine. I think if what you consider an actual reason to buy one is some kind of performance or cost advantage, your days of buying manuals are probably over.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    have not bought nor owned any automatic since 1970, when i purchased a 68 buick gs400.

    since then: one honda, a mercedes-benz, couple of fiats, three bmws and four porsches. each with a manual transmission.

    no interest whatsoever in anything with an automatic – even though i do reside in san diego, where the freeway/commute traffic is absolutely overwhelming. [fortunately, i’m retired so there is no need for me to commute]

  • avatar
    shadow mozes

    It’s hard nowadays to learn stick. Very few people have it, very few people are willing to teach it. The opportunity to learn is very rare. That’s why I’m stuck with an Auto. Never had the opportunity and don’t know anyone that can teach me.

    • 0 avatar

      And very few people are willing to let an inexperienced driver burn up their clutch. You forgot that part :P

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I think the damage an inexperienced driver can do to a clutch is overrated. Stick to flat terrain and teach them to get the car rolling using no gas at all. Once they get the idea of the engagement point, the dominoes start to fall.

        I learned without this method and managed to not destroy the clutch. I’ll bet the majority here learned without sending any cars to the shop.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          No gas at all? It’ll stall on every hill. I teach them on the steep hill, very 1st lesson. We stay there until they master it. Minutes sometimes. After that, the rest is easy. Some tips and done. I hold the hand brake to keep it from rolling back too much.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            You missed the “stick to flat terrain” part. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Heat destroys friction materials. If they don’t get the hill thing pretty quickly, I’d get them out of the drivers seat for a few minutes to let the clutch cool.

  • avatar
    Andy

    You’re making me feel guilty for having traded my MT Accord for a pickup truck with an automatic. In my defense, the truck I wanted (taco V6 PreRunner) wasn’t available with a stick. MT is only available on the 4×4, which I just don’t need… plus it’s exceptionally hard to find one in the first place. And it’s geared for off-roading, I suspect shifting to second at 7 mph would get really annoying in the daily commute). So yeah. I have a good excuse. But I’m a bad, bad car lover. :( I hope there’s still something cool with a stick to replace the wife’s CUV when the kids grow up.

  • avatar

    Derek, you seem to think all auto writing is supposed to focus on what cars make the best business sense. No good cars are commercial failures and vice versa.

    However, food or music come to mind: the people who care deeply about either rarely align with what sells in volume. Are they wrong? Must every review turn into a corporate product planning meeting?

    Just because the intended customer doesn’t care about a feature doesn’t mean a reviewer can’t say they think a car would be better for it. Or at the very least, that they just wish it was available. They come off as entitled when they overstep to pretend that hoards of 17-28 year olds constitute a significant untapped market. There’s a difference between the two.

    A more interesting line of dialog would be to investigate how it is that Honda can offer a manual transmission in the Accord Sedan (with a take rate probably down in the hundredths of a percent) but so many performance cars can’t?

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Honda can afford the engineering work. Likely the high-end manufacturers can’t. Also, the influx of new customers for them either come with the desire to be like an F1 driver, or from a country without a driving tradition, in which case the desire to own the car in the first comes from different consumer needs.

      But I think you misread Derek’s thesis. His point want not that it was inappropriate to desire something, but it was inappropriate on the part of someone who should know better (for professional reasons) to make a false argument about demand for a particular feature.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you mis-read my argument, but that’s my fault for not expressing it clearly enough. As Juicy Sushi said “. His point want not that it was inappropriate to desire something, but it was inappropriate on the part of someone who should know better (for professional reasons) to make a false argument about demand for a particular feature.

      “Why can Honda offer a manual Accord? Loss leader.

      Why can’t Ferrari offer a manual? Because in the last year it was offered, they sold 7 examples, or 1/1000th of production.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        ^ This. You can’t get a stick in a modestly-equipped (EX) Accord any more, unless you step up to Jack’s car, and that’s only available as a Coupe. (The Accord Sport is a so-so proposition, IMHO — power seats, uprated suspension and wheels, dual exhaust, decklid spoiler, but the rest of the car is straight base LX-grade, including the stereo. Honda should have offered a Sport * package * on the rest of the line with the larger wheels and tires, etc. We’ll see what they do for the MMC in the fall.)

        • 0 avatar
          Fenian

          I have a 2010 Accord EX-L sedan 5-speed, which as far as I know, is the last year they offered a manual in that particular sedan trim. I can’t blame them though.

          I enjoy my car, but most people buying mid-sized sedans don’t want leather and a sunroof with a manual transmission. I’m the odd-ball that does, but it doesn’t make sense for someone trying to make a profit. It’s unfortunate really.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    Derek, this is just our little corner of the “opinionocracy” that defines public discourse these days. No amount of factual data or reality-checks will disturb the closely held opinions of many people.

    The more someone holds to the absolute purity of his own special belief – be it manual transmissions, the US flag, renewable energy, or the coming apocalypse – the more unforgiving will be his rantings on the web. (A lot of this goes away when comments are required to include the actual names of the commenters – for an example, see the New York Times.)

    Don’t feel too bad about all the sobbing over the loss of manual transmissions by those who would never buy a new stick-shifted car. Your comments section wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining. And that’s what public discourse is all about these days, yes?

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    These comments largely comprise a self selected opinion poll of automotive fringe wackadoodles who enjoy obsolete technology.

    My kind of people.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      Its not fully obsolete since a manual does allow me to do things that an auto transmission doesn’t.

      Now you may view these as not needed, but that is an opinion.

      As of now, all automatics are reactive. A manual can be proactively shifted. There is a false sense that computers automatically can perform better than a human. This is not always true, especially when they are not provided the same info a human is (upcoming road grade, traffic, driver desires – to name a few)

      This difference is diminished with the new selectable autos (flappy paddles, selectors, etc). But a clutch still provides some degree of control (say in parking, slow speed, or technical maneuvers).

  • avatar
    Kato

    I own 4 vehicles, all manuals, one bought new. Wife prefers manuals also. The one bought new (’07 Suzuki GV, V6) is a semi-stripper because heated seats and a sunroof could only be had with an AT. I’d say the manufacturers are actively trying to wean NA off manuals, mostly to meet CAFE and to save money. If they offer one at all then it’s usually only offered on the stripper, which is infuriating. I was in a Subaru dealer a while back and the sales critter was actively trying to tell me why I shouldn’t buy a manual. I walked out rather than argue with him. This article is almost as annoying, blaming the buying public for the diminishing number of choices offered by manufacturers. Most of them make manual versions, they just don’t bother selling them in NA. The real culprits are fuel economy tests that favour automatics and car companies that are run by bean counters.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I think the real culprits are the dealers.
      They want to minimize variances in inventory and choice that would allow the customer to say “but you don’t have the options I want, so I am going to …”

      Pushing someone into a car with a sunroof vs no sunroof, is a whole lot different that trying to get someone to get a MT or AT that they don’t want. Remove that choice and it is no longer even in contention for being discussed.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I don’t accept that driving involvement begins and ends with a manual. Whether I’m driving stick or auto, if I want to move swiftly I still have to practice good eye discipline and balance the car with the steering, throttle, and brakes. This is hard stuff, only made harder with a manual. I assure you that I get it wrong more times than not when I’m heel-toeing, the car bobbling a bit. FAIL! But everything else is the same on my favorite highway ramps. I’ll also argue that the manuals on BMW and Porsche and the Nissan Z aren’t even proper manuals, since they help you with rev matching. What BS!

    All that said, I’m almost worthless to the car companies since I’m keeping my manual Civic until it gets totaled or some fool insists it’s a museum piece and offers me R8 money for it.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      “I’ll also argue that the manuals on BMW and Porsche and the Nissan Z aren’t even proper manuals, since they help you with rev matching. What BS!”

      Of which can be disable. Imagine if you had a car company develop a transmission option that was a full blown 3 pedal manual, but also could be move to full 2 pedal auto via a dash button.

      Would you not wan that choice? That is what, to a smaller degree, the rev matching option provides.

  • avatar
    TW5

    This article highlights the importance of having a functional motorsport industry that actively pursues the concept of sport. Removing driver skill by turning the clutch and gearshift into a finger-operated paddle is not sport.

    The supercar manufacturers are killing their own industry. Before advanced hydraulic controls and electronic assist controls, it was a big deal to drive a vehicle with 300 hp. Just drive an old 964 and feel the control weighting. It’s sub 300 hp. These new fly-by-wire hypercars are removing people from the vehicle, and there is nothing cool about a 70 year old man drinking a latte as he operates paddle shifters and turns 12″ front tires with one finger on the wheel.

    If the motorsport industry were functional, and people were racing street legal cars like they did in the GTO days, we’d have a proper breed of hypercar, and the manufacturers would sell cars all over the world to amateur and professional race outfits. Unfortunately, the manfuacturers are dumb enough to think the average stooge actually thinks paddle shifts and sorority-sister-control-weighting is cool, which compels them to equip the race cars with similar equipment.

  • avatar
    TNJed

    The real test for me (and my wife) will be when her 2005 xB with a stick comes due for a replacement this year. Hoping for a VW TDI but worried that her hybrid fever might not have subsided by then. Maybe the anecdotal carjacking deterrent effect of a manual transmission will sway her.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    I drive a 911 with a stick. The wife drives a manual IS300. Heck, even our winter beater, a Forester, has a stick. But something has been bothering us. Most manuals available now are merely “ok”. Sadly, most sticks in high dollar sports cars/sedans aren’t much better than what you’d find in an economy car. Whereas performance automatics have gotten much better and in many cases actually increase the performance of the car. That’s what led us to drive manuals in the first place..the increase in performance over slushboxes. I’m sad to say it’s been a decade since I’ve driven a truly great manual (Honda S2000). And that bothers me. There’s no reason why a manufacturer can’t have a stick that good 10 years on.

    Sad to say, I think my next car will have a performance automatic. Will I miss the man-machine interface? Yes, I’m sure I will. On the other hand, I’ll appreciate the added performance.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, at this point, I’d rather drive a good performance automatic than an “ok” manual.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember driving a manual-transmission version of the latest 5-Series. It wasn’t very good. The one in the latest Accord, however, was…

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Where did you find a manual version of the latest 5? Don’t those have to be special ordered now?

        From the factory, I agree that BMW manuals are nothing special – long, rubbery throws. Fortunately BMW offers a shorter, heavier shift knob for less than $100. Just yank the old one off and slap the new one on. No need to mess around with short shift kits. That shift knob alone made a night and day difference on my ’98 540 and current ’03 330.

        However, the short shift kit I had installed in my ’02 Protege (which I did buy new btw), resulting in much higher shift effort. It could get old during commuting. It was good for me to mix things up to keep interest in the car for a couple of payment-free years, but I don’t think I would bother with an SSK again.

    • 0 avatar
      Marone

      My 911 is a manual also. Thumbs up!

      My previous, a BMW 335 was a manual with a great transmission and my BMW M Roadster before that had a great manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      @ RRocket. I concur with your opinion about there being a dearth of decent manuals. I refused to buy my 2008 Subaru with the Subaru manual – it’s torture to operate compared to everything back to my 1960 Volvo 544. My hat is off to anyone who persists with a Subaru manual like you (bar the STI which is just fine). And especially those who can master the 1/2 shift smoothly – these are rare folk based on my experience. I haven’t met one yet!

      A better-off friend’s 2008 BMW 135i had a superb gearchange, and his 2010 M3 isn’t too dusty either.

      Been looking at new cars for a while. Honda has great manual gearshifts, Mazda pretty good, VW meh, Scion FR-S OK. Of course, living in Canada I just went to the dealer to try them out – lots in stock. But these cars don’t offer AWD, which the last two winters have proven I need if I’m to get about with a minimum of drama living out in the country.

      Way back in the 1930s (and discounting Cotal and preselector gearboxes), GM noticed that people hated shifting manuals. Instead of designing decent gear shift mechanisms rather than the existing cumbersome 3 on the tree nightmares, they let Oldsmobile develop the HydraMatic at huge cost. Then they had a way to charge extra for a feature they could have obviated by merely designing a decent gearshift in the first place.

      Now that’s business. Extra revenue, more profit. The Detroit 3 begrudgingly designed four speed manuals in the 1960s for pony and muscle cars, all of which shifted with the kind of effort required in a 1 ton work truck. Subtle, no. Manly, yes!

      And then went back to designing 3 speed autos out of sheetmetal parts for extra profit. THM200 anyone?

      Now we have people completely immersed in what they think is “technology” which amounts to an ability to push buttons on a smartphone app, and a physical fear of ever having to show a modicum of full body coordination by operating a manual shift car. Their friends might laugh at them if they’re all elbows and knees, after all.

      Very little spirit of adventure left. Everyone takes the easy way out, and as shown in the comments, some even take offence at people who like manuals by inventing perceived slights on their own capabilities from innocuous comments. Weird.

      Oh well. I just pray that all new autos aren’t as offensive to the march of progress as the ZF 9 speed. That’s about as useless as a Subie manual to me. I find my 5EAT, with its 3 ways of controlling what gear I’m in and for how long, is far superior. It also offers immediate response to the paddles unlike the ZF, which brings to mind requests from the captain to the drunken engineer in the engine room: “Are yuh sure, you meant that, Cap’n?”

  • avatar
    7402

    4 vehicles in the family fleet, all 4 with manual transmissions. Two were bought new (2014 and 2016), and two bought used (2005 and 1974). We’re not in the market for another car, but odds that the next one will have only two pedals are high simply because it gives us a much broader range to choose from.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    Thanks for letting us know how easy it is. I’ll be sure to rush out now and buy a Volvo S or V60 R design with a manual. Oops, they don’t sell any.

    Maybe I can go to the stalwart BMW and buy a manual 4 series gran coupe? Oops, not available. Oh well certainly a 3 series can be found. Except it’s only sold as a stripper model. If I want one with some options I have to wait 2-3 months and hope they won’t rape me on my trade when it arrives.

    You sell less of what you don’t offer.

    • 0 avatar
      Marone

      Yes, no option for manual in a gran coupe, but manual is offered in the coupe, sedan, and convertible 4 series. Also offered as a no-cost option in most every 3 series model. BMW is far better than most manufacturers on offering manuals.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        It is only offered in 2 models. The 328i and the 335i (i believe the 335xi manual is going away in 2016)

        So, in the “manuals rule” 3 series, here are your options.
        328i
        335i

        Should you go auto, here are your options
        320i
        320i xdrive
        328d
        328d xdrive
        328i
        328i x drive
        335i
        335i xdrive
        328d xdrive wagon
        328i xdrive wagon
        328i xdrive GT
        335i xdrive GT
        Active 3 hybrid

        So 2 vs 13 drivetrain options.

        Extend that comparison to BMW full line and you can no longer say BMW is better at offering manuals than most any other manufacturer.

  • avatar
    koshchei

    As with mechanical watches, carburetors, and organized religion, manual transmissions are an anachronism. There’s a universe of more worthy things to feel nostalgic about.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I would just like to add, even us who only buy used cars can help out the situation by buying used cars with manuals, which will help keep the prices on those up (I know we are all cheapskates, but come on, real car or apliance?), which would again assure those who actually buy new cars that their cars won’t depreciate like a rock once it’s off the new car lot.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    All 4 of the new cars that I’ve purchased in my life, all within the last 10 years, have been manuals. I’ve earned my whining rights!

    Sadly, I think that manuals will be all but dead within the next 15 years. Most Millennials and many Gen Xers have not been taught how to drive manuals. To them it is viewed like fly-fishing or surfing: a cool but extremely difficult to master skill that isn’t essential for everyday survival. Those of us who can use a stick overlook just how difficult doing so is perceived to be by those who can’t.

  • avatar
    baconator

    I know a fair number of enthusiasts who have previously spent $200k on a car, or would spend that on their next car. Among that circle there’s a lot of “meh” at the new stuff that doesn’t have steering feel or a manual transmission. Just look at the resale value of “unicorn” late-model Ferraris or Lambo Gallardos with three pedals, or the time-in-inventory of Aston Vantages with manuals versus those with DerpShift II, and you’ll see the demand picture right there.

    It seems to me that the manufacturers’ product planning process is skewed to omit this information. Yes, the guys that bought F430s with a paddle shifter, the ones that now hang out at their Ferrari dealer’s wine-and-proscuitto events wearing Piloti high-tops and a puffy logo jacket, will tell the factory they want the fastest technology or the most F1-heritage-whatever. And dealers did not *stock* manual-transmission cars, so the take rate (these things are impulse buys for a lot of their demographic) was low. Lots of buyers with equally deep pockets are on the sidelines but will pony up for a car that really captures their fancy. They’re gobbling up Testarossas, 575Ms, and the 6 existing manual-transmission 599s via private brokers for six-figure money and have no reason to even talk to their local dealers.

    I’m not quite at that level of wealth, but have been making the rounds of BMW dealers looking at 1- and 3-series cars. I’ve heard a lot of “no, we don’t have one with a stick – those get bought as soon as they’re in stock.” So order more, you silly dealers!

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      True, but many of the elite wealthy enthusiasts are buying rare vintage sports cars with an expectation that the vehicle will appreciate. The valuable variants are manual because those variants were often used in competition. The competitors of that era were often quite famous, which lends more value to the car.

      It’s hard to say whether manual is the market preference because of driving experience or income generation.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    I did vote with my wallet 3 years ago when I bought a brand new WRX with 5MT. I’ve only owned 1 automatic – my very first car and that was about 17 years ago. Since then it’s been manual only. Problem is – I like to buy only used cars. The WRX was a sole exception due to lack of unabused ’06-07 models on the market at the time. It kept its value extremely well and has been a good ride but it’s very much an exception to most rules. Most cars with a manual aren’t like that.

    I also would like to point out the lack of actual manuals in many non-enthusiast models like Accord and Camry. Most of the time they exist only paper with 2-3 cars actually having them in the entire state. So one must be truly persistent and be willing to lose flexibility to buy one of these.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do believe the consumer is partially responsible for the amount of auto’s on US roads. I also believe that EPA fuel figures are also a driving force in the use of auto’s.

    Here in Australia most every vehicle has a manual or auto option. I don’t know the breakdown in percentages of what is auto or manual.

    I do think it would vary according to vehicle type and what segment it sits in.

    Some vehicles only come as an auto, but very few.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I agree, people who want a manual need to be more demanding.
    My next two pedal car will be electric.
    I wish more people understood the reasons why modern automatics can give better performance OR better economy. The DSG boxes can do this with added weight, complexity and reduced reliability. A standard auto is also heavy, less reliable and with 8 gears (in some cases) incredibly expensive to replace. CVT is very heavy, slow and still has to go through a torque converter. No matter the technology, the auto gear box is typically programmed for economy so just plain awful to drive. So, a clutch might pack up after 100k miles (10 years?) and cost a bit, it is not any where near the cost of maintaining that 8 speed auto, CVT or that DSG. When the DSG gives up you have 2 clutches to replace!
    Don’t be swayed by sales pitches, stick to you guns and drive off with the gear box programmed the way you want it, when you want it.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Every car I have bought new has been a stick. Five so far. Two of them have been stick shift wagons!

    I will continue to do so as long as possible.

  • avatar
    Schizoid

    Does the article have a point? What I say I want, I buy. Is there a person in the world worth impressing by pretending to prefer a stick if you actually don’t? I drive a stick, and, in a neighborhood where there are several R8s (though, as yet, not one of the new ones), happily drive around in an aging S2000 and a fairly new diesel Golf. These cars, like all other ones I’ve bought over the last 31 years (save a ’77 Zephyr — long story — and a Saab 9-5 wagon that ate two automatic transmissions in two years) are stick shifts. This isn’t a male/female thing, either. If someone can’t learn to drive a stick shift well over the course of a month or so, assuming they don’t have a physical handicap, they probably ought not get behind the wheel. My elderly parents drive them, my son drives them, . . . Nor “this is a pain to commute in”a valid point — I drive 60 miles a day, round trip, two and from midtown Manhattan. In either of my cars, I actually enjoy the drive. Seeing how well I can creep along in bumper to bumper traffic, modulating my speed only with the accelerator, or accelerate into a space without needing to brake, makes even mindless plod, mindful entertainment.

  • avatar
    manny_c44

    I’ve only bought one new car and it is a 6MT (VW TDI). My previous car was a family hand-me-down but was also a manual. I can’t really imagine getting an auto, you lose the nuanced control which is most of the fun of driving I think. Even stop and go is not so bad with the light clutch and DMF.

  • avatar
    jdogma

    Manual vs automatic is a relevant discussion these days. Cars are rapidly changing and motor sports are rapidly changing. The really fast cars that can be bought for under $100k are so fast that a manual slows them down. My company, Carma Cars (no space and a dot com to see), is coming out with a track day car. We will be racing the prototype in NASA Pro Racing this year. It has over 500 hp and weighs ~ 1600lb. It is so fast that shifting becomes a significant percentage of the time spent accelerating. Lapping fast with downforce is a near violent experience, with shifting being an unwanted distraction and rhythm killer. Braking with downforce (and the resulting drag) is so rapid that old school heel-toe-through the gears braking is superfulous. Right now, all we offer is a manual, but there are seconds per lap to be had with faster shifting. I find shifting on the street enjoyable, but on the track it is a step on your salami type annoyance, and slower. Great that real car enthusiasts can be found on both sides of this argument. I intend to keep both sides happy.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Makes perfect sense if the goal is to win a race. I’m not racing.

      While I do genuinely enjoy the added involvement in driving a stickshift, there is also the fact that I am somewhat of a cheap SOB. Historically manuals have been cheaper upfront, and cheaper over time. The cheaper upfront is lost on my latest BMW with its “no cost option” stickshift, but I still bet I can beat the mileage of the ZF8spd in the real world most of the time. And I can replace a clutch in my garage (BTDT), I cannot rebuild an 8spd automatic myself. And the services of the manual, even with BMWs stupidly expensive magic gearbox oil, is much cheaper than changing the oil in the automatic.

      And the final reason is that automatics generally annoy the crap out of me, because they can only be reactive at this point. They can never look ahead and see what is coming, so they are never in the gear I want, or upshift when I don’t want them to, or downshift when I don’t want them to. Drives me wild. The only one that doesn’t annoy me is the old ZF 4spd in my Range Rover. Because it is in 4th gear with the TC locked at 32mph, and basically never shifts at all. The more gears in there, the more annoying it gets.

      • 0 avatar
        jdogma

        Good reasoning behind every point you make and I have to agree. However, faster shifting does not have to mean automatic, and automatic should not have to mean the driver is not fully in charge of the gear selected and the timing of that selection. I find that unacceptable in a sports car.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Relieving the drivers of their responsibility and self-determination is not motorsport or racing. Human limitation is something engineers approach as another problem to be solved, not the central theme and the inherent value in virtually all sports competition. As a result, motorsport has endured acute decline, during an era of sports industry boom. Even the major series like F1 and NASCAR have lagged behind the growth of other sports.

      Running 6 miles during a soccer match is not convenient or comfortable. Tackling and blocking on the football field is not comfortable. Skating full sprint for 60 seconds makes you feel like death.

      Sport is inherently a pain in the ass, but the thrill of winning is what motivates people. Working to make sport less difficult is normal. Replacing human activity with mechanical devices is a fool’s errand.

      • 0 avatar
        jdogma

        The original attraction of motorsports was the cars, not the drivers. That is still the reason most enthusiasts watch. The decline, if there really is one, is probably due to sanctioning bodies and organizers thinking that the human drama is the main draw. They have made almost every series a virtual spec series where the cars are nearly equal and the show is about the close driving competition. This is not what most car enthusiasts want. They want to see what mechanical attributes make the fastest car. The unique thing about motorsports that sets it apart from every other sport is the machinery.
        You can see that there are at least 2 distinct ways to look at motorsport. If there is a decline as you claim, it could well be because the sanctioning bodies are turning most classes into spec classes, or they equalize performance. Who wants to watch a Viper run dead even with a Mazda RX8? Who is fooled by NASCAR racers that look like Camrys? As evidence that most fans like racing because of the cars and not the driver competition, note that spec classes and even special champion series like IROC have been terrible at drawing spectators. GTP in its prime with fast cars, fairly free rules and not so close racing drew huge crowds; same for the CAN-AM.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          This thread is about manual transmissions. Many car enthusiasts are not even interested in a car that can shift for itself, let alone modulate the throttle and steering inputs on behalf of the driver.

          When mechanical devices replace/normalize human input, the human is no longer the limiting factor. As soon as human beings were replaced as the sole control mechanisms of race cars, the vehicles became too fast for humans to sit in. If not for the rules limiting performance, specifying parts and banning certain technologies, modern race cars, particularly formula cars, could easily kill the occupant with sheer performance.

          There are not two concepts of motorsport. There is motorsport (dead for a long time), and there is a steaming pile of technology-marketing, which engineers like to refer to as “motorsport”. Motorsport has innovations and relatively free car designs because humans can only handle so much power, performance, and complexity. “Motorsport” is fraught with moral hazard, spec equipment, cost-overrun, and arbitrary technical restrictions; which engineers invite upon themselves by removing the driver from his rightful place.

          In the absence of real motorsport, some TV executives have created WWF-on-4-wheels, but these TV shows are only motorsport to casual fans and corporate marketing execs. Sadly, WWF-on-4-wheels does even better than “motorsport”, which merely underlines how pathetic the “motorsport” industry has become.

          Also, GTP was not Group C. GTP was one of the early forms of balancing. American sports car racing split because one group of people thought it was the future of racing, and the other group thought it was unprofessional. Unfortunately, ALMS also drank from the chalice of “technological advancement”, which is code-speak for making the driver irrelevant. Naturally, the cheap WWF series survived, and their quest to build the sexiest blow-up-doll ever made continues unabated. Long may they serve as a lewd prop in B-list sports entertainment.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I can’t buy new right now; it would put my family in a financial bind to incur a 4-500 dollar car payment. We’re just now turning the corner after all the pain of buying a house. When the student loans are paid off, I may well finally buy a new car again. But no sooner.

    But from 1997 to 2011, every ride I bought was brand new. And every one was a manual. My used cars are stick, and will continue to be as long as I can physically drive that way, and can find cars I desire with a manual.

    And I’m engaged to a wonderful lady who can drive my car effortlessly. Hell she used to be a school bus driver- she can likely teach me a thing or two! :D

  • avatar

    I drove manuals for years and in 2006 I decided that it was enough. No more manuals, unless I get a second car.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have a 5 speed manual 99 S-10 since new with manual windows and locks. I really like it but it will probably be the last manual transmission that I ever own. It is too hard to find a manual transmission and eventually the manufacturers will stop offering them–most younger people want automatics because they want to text and talk even though it is against the law in many places when driving. I will keep my S-10 for 4 more years and then I will junk it even though it is still a good truck. It is getting harder to get tires for my S-10 and it is developing some rust which I will get fixed but eventually the road chemicals and salt will win. It is hard to get decent body parts and even some mechanical parts for an older vehicle. Manual transmissions are going the same way as crank windows, AM windows, mechanical watches (watches in general), and shoe repair shops. Yes I will miss manuals but I keep my vehicles a long time and I doubt that my individual purchases will change this tide. I doubt I will keep another vehicle over 10 years but I have had one vehicle for 18 years and another for 17 years.

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      The new Colorado has a manual trans. it is miles beyond an S-10 and costs around 22k. there’s also a new Nissan Frontier coming out and it will hopefully offer manual. I keep my trucks 20 years too, and one of these might be my next truck. Bear in mind you could just get another truck from down south with no rust, and then apply Krown every year and get 20 years out of it

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        I am going to have the bottom panel of the passenger side of the extended cab cut out and replaced and that should get rid of the rust otherwise the truck has no rust and the original paint with 104k miles. The 2.2 I-4 runs like new and the 5 speed manual had a new clutch a few years ago. Last time I had to get tires there were only 3 tires to choose from but then my 2008 Isuzu has the same situation. 15 inch tires are getting harder to get since most of the new vehicles have gone to bigger wheel sizes. The new Colorado is a nice truck and I would definitely be interested in the base model with the rear seat delete in silver. The Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma are also good choices but I lean more toward the Colorado/Canyon. Eventually manual transmissions will disappear and I will miss them.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Jeff S – – –

      Gee, I have a manual 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 (among other vehicles), and just put $4K into body work and renewed undercoating to fight the rust worm. I have NO trouble finding parts: the aftermarket is huge for American pickups, and they can be made to last “forever”. If you are happy with yours, and the mechanicals are in good shape, I’d find a cheap body shop and at least get a quote…

      =================

  • avatar
    sketch447

    Let’s clear up a misconception that has been brought to light during this discussion: Europeans are NOT better drivers than Americans.

    To be a good driver, you have to do one thing: drive a car. A lot. And Europeans don’t drive anywhere near the miles that Americans do. The average European might drive 6k miles/year.

    Why is this? Because European roads are narrow and crappy. Euro drivers are more disciplined on the highways (because there are speed cameras every 500 meters), but utterly reckless anywhere else. And fuel is prohibitively expensive. The cost of driving over there is just insane. Haven’t you heard about the huge fees one has to pay, just to drive into London? And in London, they’ll boot your car for the slightest transgression.

    Just watch Rick Steve’s Europe on PBS. He travels Europe extensively, renting cars all the time. Every time he’s on a Euro highway, he’s basically driving alone. In the city, it’s either the same or Mad Max time. No one can afford to drive over there.

    So the average Euro can drive a stick. Big deal. Every car over there is no bigger than a stripped Fiat 500.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @sketch,
      Don’t believe everything that you see on TV.

      There are highways in Europe with no speed limit.
      There are many very crowded and congested roads and highways in Europe.
      And on the road are trucks, S series Mercedes, 7 series BMW’s and people carriers.

      In my experience, yes the majority European drivers are better than the majority of those in North America. And being able to drive a manual certainly helps.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      @sketchy

      I’d like to clear up a misconception: the idea that you have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

      You must be the original TV warrior. You watch some PBS program and that tells you and hence the world what European traffic conditions are like? Ha ha ha, ha.

      Before you continue talking through your hat, an actual visit to Europe might be in order. You know, so that your pronouncements have some validity. And while you’re at it, visit the populated areas not the new Spanish/Portuguese freeways that the citizens of that impoverished part of Europe at present do not populate to any degree.

      It’s like saying all US driving situations can be derived from conditions prevailing in Montana. Europe taken as a whole is a big place, France alone itself is virtually the same size as Texas and a much nicer piece of real estate with far more nooks and crannies. Americans who never got off the couch think Europe is the size of Danby township in the county beyond the next. Big mistake. But par for the course.

      Talk about getting sucked in. LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      sketch447 – – –

      “Europeans are NOT better drivers than Americans.” Really?

      Well, let’s take a look at the fatality rate per 100,000 vehicles, for some typical (but economically prosperous) Yurp countries, compared to the good ole USA (data in “Traffic-Related Deaths” from Wikipedia):

      United Kingdom …….. 6.2
      Ireland……………….,…… 6.7
      Netherlands……………. 6.9
      Germany……………….. 6.9
      France……………………. 8.5
      United States………… 13.6

      Ooooops….

      ====================

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You have a lot to learn about traffic safety.

        Rule number one: Death rate per population is not a useful safety measure. Traffic safety experts use VMT/VKT (deaths per vehicle miles/km traveled) to measure progress. Americans drive substantially more than Europeans — it’s harder to die in a car wreck if you spend less time in cars.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Pch101 – – –

          ….and it would appear that you have a lot to learn about reading, — as well as courtesy…(^_^).

          The data above had nothing to do with “population”.
          I repeat: “..fatality rate per 100,000 VEHICLES….”

          Did you even check the data in the reference? That column would have been obvious, and can be sorted in several ways.

          ================

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Same difference. My point still applies: It’s mileage that matters.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            And you seem to have something to learn as well – Deaths per 10B vehicle/km:

            US: 71

            Germany: 50

            Australia: 56

            Canada: 56

            Sweden: 36

            United Kingdom: 36

            So there are some figures for you adjusted for miles driven. Some countries are much worse of course, the Czech Republic was at 157.

            The deaths per 100K vehicles figures were 13, 7, 7, 9, 5, and 5, respectively. Not wildly different than the per 10B/km figures, relatively speaking. The US comes off a bit poorly regardless.

            These are 2012 figures. Source was WHO via Wikipedia.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Unfortunately, most European countries do not provide the mileage calculations that are needed for VMT/VKT.

            But there are nations such as France, Belgium and Austria that have rates that are equal to or higher than the US.

            In any case, there are a lot of factors that contribute to fatality rates. Even within the US, there are wide variations. But I doubt that you’re particularly interested in the details, since they undermine your simplistic and inaccurate fatality rate = driver talent theory.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I actually don’t think that talent = fatality rates. I do think it is a contributing factor. I also think making getting a license harder than opening a box of Cracker Jacks would help the situation. There is probably a happy medium between the “have a pulse” scenario in most of the US and the “trained like a race car driver” scenario in some parts of Europe.

            Though really, I don’t care about fatality rates all that much at all, because ultimately it is actually fairly difficult to get yourself killed in a car in the US if you at least wear your seatbelt and don’t drink and drive. But I sure would love to see a reduction in the day-to-day stupidity level on the roads in this country. Having had the experience of driving in countries with both much lower and much higher fatality rates than they US, I will say there IS a strong correlation between day-to-day stupidity levels and fatality rates. Want to feel safe and relaxed on the road, drive in Sweden or Germany. Or the UK. Want to feel like you are going to die at any moment, drive in the Czech Republic.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If anything it’s old European junk that still litter and pollute US highways that contribute to high US fatality rates. Millions of them. VW Bugs/Dune Buggies/Buses, MGs, Spitfires, Bugeyes, air cooled Porsches, Fiats, 2002s, etc. They should all go to the crusher, but Americans think they’re sooo cool. Crush all of them. Bring a Cash 4 Euro Clunkers With Drum Brakes All Around and Other Death Traps.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            DenverMike – – –

            Gee, that’s funny.

            For 90% of the driving that American’s do, my ideal cost-effetcive car would have leaf springs front and rear; good drum brakes all around; a nice 4 or 5-speed stick shift; and maybe a couple of airbags plus seat belts. All right, you can have a radio and air conditioning, maybe. Seats = five. 6-cylinder, in-line, EFI engine (NA). Would cost about $15K-20K new, since you would not be paying for useless “technology”, non-driving gadgets, toys, accessories, and bling.

            Can’t you just see a little old lady getting groceries happily in this? Why would you need her to pay for an advanced semi-racing suspension that we are all getting suckered into nowadays?

            Hey, that would be just like the 1941 Chevy Cabriolet, one of the most beautiful cars ever made, IMHO.

            You can see a photo of it here:

            https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail/CA0814-190059/0/1941-Chevrolet-Special-Deluxe-Cabriolet/3-Speed/

            or – –

            http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/chevrolet/deluxe/1156716.html

            =============================

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @DenverMike

            You need to lay off the weed man, even if it is legal in Colorado. It is obviously doing serious damage to your brain cells. And I don’t think you had a whole lot to start with, so any loss is too much.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            krhodes1 – – –

            I wonder what we would get if it were possible to do a plot of % automatics in a country vs. the % fatality rate in that country?

            Do automatics increase driving danger, vs manuals? If so, what is the correlation coefficient? Is it a straight line with positive slope?

            ================

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “For 90% of the driving that American’s do, my ideal cost-effetcive car would have leaf springs front and rear; good drum brakes all around; a nice 4 or 5-speed stick shift; and maybe a couple of airbags plus seat belts. All right, you can have a radio and air conditioning, maybe. Seats = five. 6-cylinder, in-line, EFI engine (NA). Would cost about $15K-20K new, since you would not be paying for useless “technology”, non-driving gadgets, toys, accessories, and bling. ”

            A Kia Rio starts at $16k with an automatic, and has four wheel discs and a better suspension*.

            No need for a straight six over a four, with modern technology; it’s not 1975.

            (* Oh, and “technology” like satellite radio and heated mirrors.

            You can keep it under your $20k cap and have bluetooth and component speakers and power windows and locks.

            So, uh, the car you’re positing already exists, except for being better, and not having the Desired Number Of Cylinders, which is irrelevant.)

            (** Death rate per vehicle is ridiculous and irrelevant; you’d use that to get a bigger number from hitting pedestrians, and for basically nothing else.

            The rate that matters for buyers and almost all policy is deaths per passenger mile.)

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I also think making getting a license harder than opening a box of Cracker Jacks would help the situation.”

            In other words, you want to (yet again) go with your gut and ignore the research, which indicates the exact opposite.

            Your gut feelings are not substitutes for research.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Pch101 – – –

            “….(you) ignore the research, which indicates the exact opposite.”

            Solid, accessible references to that “research”, please…

            =================

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ve provided the research here in the past, more than once. It obviously hasn’t done much good.

            What I’m saying is no secret to those who study traffic safety. If you’d read the research yourself, then you’d already know that it’s true and you’d know why the average uninformed grunt believes the opposite.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “I’ve provided the research here in the past, more than once.”

            You should continue to provide your research to support your conclusions and let readers accept or reject them on their own premises or merits.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Pch101 – – –

            “I’ve provided the research here in the past, more than once.”

            In other words, you can’t/won’t furnish an accessible link. So your comment is without substantiation, since not all of us are familiar with what you have “provided here in the past”.. ..

            ==============

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ve done my part. I’ve provided numerous links to academic research on this topic.

            I’m simply not interested in being your Googleb**ch, particularly when it would be a waste of my time. The fact that you are so opinionated about something that you obviously haven’t researched tells me that you’re not the ideal audience for this.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “I’ve provided the research here in the past, more than once.”

            Actually, you haven’t. You have a penchant for making this sort of claim, but you almost never provide references for your assertions – especially when challenged to.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    My last car was a stick as is the new one (2012).. Don’t look at me! I like to row my own.. I think people look at manuals as a novelty/oddball but when it comes down to it, they’d rather have two pedals and use their other hand for more important things like FB’ing..

  • avatar
    Forty2

    Ordered my 335i from the factory with a 6-speed last year. So I think I know where I stand here. A neighbor has a 6-speed recent 535i which I think BMW stopped offering last year. Oh and my neighbor is a stylish older lady.

    Everyone bitching about the chore of driving a stick in heavy traffic? You’re doing it wrong. Obviously at a full stop you have to clutch in and brake, but for the most part I barely touch the brakes because hey, engine is doing that for me. You bozos driving automatics are always riding the brakes, lighting up the brake lights, so bozo behind you hits the brakes too, and so on, and so on; why do you think slow traffic stops and starts? Ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Forty2 – – –

      Agree.

      Here is what I noted to David Holzman above, on this very same topic:

      “Yeah, I agree. My old Dodge D100 with NP 435 transmission had a granny gear that was great for creeping in most log-jam traffic. Just leave a little space so the automatic guys can do their “hurry-up-and-wait” thing, while you just keep chugging along accommodating the ebb and flow ….

      But the best strategy is to avoid (like the plague!) log-jam traffic, REGARDLESS of transmission type: it’s a tremendous waste of fuel, not exactly great for minimizing wear-and-tear on the vehicle.

      ===============”

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I don’t.

      I leave space and drive slower, and only use brakes if the guy in front of me forces me – absolutely minimizing the accordion effect.

      You don’t need The Amazing Magic Of Manual Transmissions to somehow drive well in traffic – nor is it automatic. (Hah!)

      Automatics engine-brake, too, and they also coast/idle nicely.

      No worries about clutch wear, either.

      (The problem is people don’t know how to drive, not “only manual drivers know how to drive”, or “automatic drivers don’t know how to drive”.)

      • 0 avatar
        Forty2

        Sure you can do this in an automatic, and I often do in rentals. But 99% of automatic drivers never leave D, and the engine braking is minimal to none. So, more riding the brakes.

        It’s not a stick vs auto; it’s called knowing how to drive.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    “The entitlement that comes with thinking that a particular car or variant thereof should simply exist for the sake of it is something I can’t wrap my head around.”

    I really don’t understand this.
    I do understand that manuals won’t be offered if nobody buys them, but
    1) Its not entitlement, it is wanting choice
    2) I am not a car manufacturer. I am a consumer. I care about choice (especially as one that only buys manuals). Does that make me “entitled”? I don’t see how it makes me anymore entitled than the manufacturer that makes their decisions.

    I am frankly sick of the “it won’t make them money” BS. I don’t care what makes a car maker money, or any business for that matter. I care they make cars I like, and should they not, I won’t buy them. Is that entitled? Do you offer Toyota V6 Camry money for the 4-cyl simply because you don’t want to feel entitled that maybe their “ROI” isn’t where it should be. No. You buy a camry or whatever if you like it and it fits your needs, not because it make a car maker more money. Do you buy Blackberrys because their ROI is poor? No. You don’t. You buy an iPhone. No sympathy is needed. Its a business decision on both sides.

    The real reason, imo – dealers and buyers. Dealers don’t want real options that require increased inventory. This is especially true when most buyers don’t buy manuals. And I’d also say that car manufacturers have been targeting the wrong drivetrain choices for manuals (i.e. thinking its for cost saving and slapped in the cheapest model. I think people buy sticks cause they want them, not because they are cheap. Most want them in the high output, trimmed package)

    • 0 avatar
      InterstateNomad

      That’s me. I’m avoiding all the base 4 cylinder cars with manual in the LX/LE trims. It’s actually really hard to find cars that have a decent engine in a high trim. Usually, the higher the trim, the less manual options available.

  • avatar
    InterstateNomad

    I think part of the problem is that a good chunk of the folks I know who drive manuals are the kind of people who hold onto their cars for years and never buy a new car if they can help it (and they usually know how to maintain the car). People forget it’s not just the performance enthusiasts who like manuals.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      InterstateNomad – – –

      You have hit upon the vicious cycle: People can’t get cars with Manuals NOW, so they hold onto older cars that had them THEN. So, because people aren’t buying cars with Manuals NOW, car makers don’t offer them NOW, meaning more people are forced to keep old cars that had Manuals THEN. (^_^)

      BTW: It is not only “performance” enthusiasts (assuming you means racing-type driving) who like manuals: of my 5 vehicles; 2 are trucks and one is a Jeep, — none of which could be considered a real “performance” vehicle. I just like the control and involvement, that’s all.

      ===================

  • avatar
    David St Hubbins

    There was a time and a point when a manual allowed a skilled driver to get more performance from a car. And then came a time and a point when human beings, even the most skilled ones (a group that never includes automotive writers) could not reach, let alone surpass, the performance of a modern transmission in, pardon my caps, a FREAKING SUPERCAR.

    If you don’t get that, you don’t get it at all.

  • avatar
    ryneges

    The Mk 1 Audi TT was originally envisioned as a vehicle that focused on the tactile experience. It was envisioned to be a machine as a mechanical extension of the driver’s will. Therefore, seat position, recline, clutch, shift nob, light switch, steering position, hand brake are all meant to activate by manual effort. The windows were probably meant to slide on a rail by manual adjustment but apparently it didn’t happen. The original concept interior was designed with a beautiful shift handle and metal pedals with rubber grips. Where you touch, you felt leather, rubber or aluminum. I bought that car understanding this. Most Audi customers never understood this vision. I sought it out because I enjoy interacting with and controlling the car, the speed, the direction. I enjoy the result of my direct engagement with the machine. Though the Audi TT Mk1does have a computer control module and many of its functions happen digitally, the part that matters to me is when I sit in the car,perform a move or a twist or a touch and the car does. DSG takes some of that away. The newer TT has totally lost the basis of the tactile experience.It is now all about digital innovation and it is cold and the driver/ car symbiosis feels severed. Manual was not thought of as a poor man’s concept where the TT was concerned. It had something to do with the less is more concept of design purity and truth. Reduction down to what was needed and then to take what was left and celebrate it through maximum design, hence the shift nob, stick and boot were made of high grade rubber, aluminum and leather. This idea of bringing direct mechanism control to the driver is now lost. The reason for the high designed elements within the car are forgotten. All was meant to be manual in the TT for the sake of experience and engagement.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      Test drive the Mk 2 RS and you might change your feeling about at least that car in the Mk 2 lineup. And if you liked the feeling of the Mk 2, you are just going to LOVE the Mk3 with its 12″ electronic dash

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    Once upon a time, when people respected money and the work it takes to get that money, people went for manuals because they knew they’d never get a devastating bill for a new transmission. Now people are lazy and entitled.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Only lazy + entitled folks in this discussion are the “enthusiasts” who complain about the non-existence of cars they will never buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Instead, they’d have regular clutch replacements!

      Sorry, man.

      Never had to have an automatic transmission replaced or repaired*, and that’s running several of them over 250kmi.

      I’ve replaced an engine, though. Care to tell me how to avoid that *significantly more expensive* proposition by not being entitled?

      (* My first car needed it when it was traded in, but it was also trashed in general. Plus the damage was not inherent to the design, but driving it with the motor mis-aligned in the mount – that ain’t likely to be great for a manual either.)

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Sigivald – – –

        Since you obviously didn’t read most of the other posts on this site, I’ll recap this for you:

        Advantages of Manuals (all else equal):
        1) More robust, durable, and longer-lasting;
        2) Less expensive to buy;
        3) Superior driver involvement**;
        4) Owner-doable oil change, which is also less frequent and less expensive;
        5) Requires no separate cooling system with its own radiator;
        6) Wear item = easily replaceable clutch (not the whole tranny!);
        7) Superior traction in slippery snow, by “feathering” the clutch;
        8) Almost air-tight theft protection.

        ——-
        ** A car with an automatic offers typically 40% less opportunity for driver involvement than those with manuals. Calculation also shown at “Energetik9″, above:
        1) Number of Driving inputs with typical Manual = 5 (steering, gas, brake, clutch, shift);
        2) Number of Driving inputs with typical Auto = 3 (steering, gas, brake)
        Deficit = 2. Therefore, percent that Auto Trans is less involving = 2/5 = 40%.
        ——-

        ====================

  • avatar
    Equinox

    Have been supporting the manuals with my cars. Never owned an automatic yet in over 17 years of driving. Plan to stick to manuals (if available) in my next car as well.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    The true trend is towards no operator inputs except destination selection and departure time. Manual trannies are only one thing to lose while moving along that trend.

    I bought my early 6mt Audi B8 because it is more engaging to drive than the automatic. Its barely possible I would buy another in a year or two- one of the last B8s as the B9 is unlikely to offer a manual. Not possible that I would by an A3 or A4B9. Its more likely I will drop down to Mazda for next daily driver (with a manual).

    My 2010 Miata is automatic, which I wanted, as the Miata does not need a manual to be fully engaging.

    So. I put my money where my mouth is, or however that saying goes.

  • avatar
    bluegoose03

    Both of my cars are manuals. I bought them used. My wife knows how to drive stick from her Nissan 200SX and MG Midget days but she has switched to auto with her Honda Fit.

    Manual drivers are a minority and the current “Economies of Scale” economics model doesn’t bode well for manual transmissions in the US. Corps don’t care. They only care about the spreadsheet and the stock prices. That puts manuals on the endangered species list.

    I will say that hour plus commutes in heavy traffic haven’t helped matters at all. Sporadically, it is okay. If it is something that you do everyday I think it is going to wear on you..especially as joints become more creaky in old age.

  • avatar

    2 manuals, one slushbox

    Car Makers don’t send us manuals because of regulation. In other countries, like France, a manual has a lower tax (more efficient). Here, the EPA requires each engine/trans combo to pass the expensive tests. This is why you will see, say, a 328i wagon with manual and auto, but not a 335i wagon. It is not worth it for them to certify this. Sadly, the 335i engine passing in a sedan does not get approval in the wagon.

    If the EPA allowed an engine family to pass, it might be easier, but each one has to pass in the car body sold. Manual goes from a check box on the invoice and a change order on the assembly line to a full EPA certification process.

    TL:DR Emission Certification costs mean that you have to sell enough manuals to pay them back.

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      which still boils down to the fact that no one wants a manual except a very low percentage. probably about 5 percent

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        JD-Shifty – – –

        ….which boils down to 95% can’t drive and 5% can… (^_^)…

        In another 20 years that 95% will be happily entombed in autonomous vehicles…

        ==================

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          If it gets that far, autonomous driving will become *mandatory* on most roads, and your “manual” will have an automatic mode, and I bet you’ll use it almost all the time.

          If you can get one at all.

  • avatar
    Carilloskis

    I grew up in a family that loves manuals, I am the only one who drives an automatic, as Raptors don’t come in stick. It was funny my little sister asked if she could practice driving my truck around an empty parking lot as she was worried she would not know how to drive the drivers ed car with one. And my little brother once went to put the couch it to up shift on the highway out of habit with size 14 feet and mashed the brake peddle with his left foot. Appreciate Manuals and will buy them when i can but I’m not going to let the type of transmission dictate what I drive.

    Current manual cars in my family
    2011 Mustang 5.0
    2015 VW Passat TDI
    2012 VW Jetta Sport Wagon TDI
    2001 Nissan Pathfinder 4×4
    2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
    1998 Ford Explorer 4×4
    2006 Mustang v6
    2012 Chevy Cruze Eco
    1993 Taurus SHO
    2012 VW Tiguan

    Current Auto
    2010 SVT Raptor 5.4L

    Former Manual
    2012 Passat TDI-Totaled 2014
    2004 Jetta TDI-Totaled 2012
    2002 BMW M3-sold 2004 yes we went form an m3 to a jetta TDI
    79 Plymouth Fire Arrow sold 94
    86 Isuzu Trooper 4×4 sold 94
    80 something Dodge Turbo Colt sold 86

    Former Automatics
    2005 Suburban z71 4×4 sold 2011
    1999 Suburban LS 4×4 Totaled 2013
    1995 Suburban LS 4×4 sold 1999

    All the Manual Cars where bought brand new either by my siblings or by my parents except the Pathfinder, Explorer and Tiguan, For the Autos the 05 suburban and the Raptor where bought used by me. My Family Keeps cars for a long time and the only one i never got to ride in was the turbo colt. With the exception of the suburbans and the Raptor our family has bought many new manual cars over the years for a variety of different OEMs.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I bought my 2010 G37 6MT new and kept it for many years. Too many people don’t put their money where their mouth is, and that’s why they’re going away.

    I bought that car when I was 25. I’m 30 now and I don’t plan on buying a manual for my next car. The family has expanded and a crossover will be next. What people don’t realize is that people’s priorities change. I was fine shifting gears when I was 25. It was just me and the wife. Now, with a kid, two dogs, and the wife, driving needs to be as care free as possible, that doesn’t include a third pedal.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’m 32 and I’ve purchased 2 new manual vehicles (1 auto). My wife is 33 and she purchased 1 new manual vehicle (2 autos).

    All 3 manuals were types of cars that are easy to find with a stick shift (2 hot hatches, 1 sports car).

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Don’t blame me, I’ve yet to buy a new car!

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Of the cars in that list, few are available with a manual with options people would like. You want a manual, fine but you get black fabric seats and no nav and the cheap radio with steelies and crap tires. Yeah, those are appealing.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “There is literally only one way to ensure the continued existence of the manual transmission. You have to buy new cars with manual transmissions”

    Yup.

    Which is why I *am* the reason they don’t sell manuals.

    Because I won’t buy one. Don’t want one. Consider it an anti-feature.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Sigivald – – –

      In this multiple-choice test, you may select from the options below:
      1) I am lazy;
      2) I am ignorant;
      3) I am manually incompetent;
      4) I am not a driving enthusiast;
      5) I am disabled or in pain;
      6) All of the above;
      7) Some of the above;
      8) None of the above, but rather, “I am ___________________” [fill in the bank] (^_^)….

      ====================

  • avatar
    superchan7

    After failing to find an MT version of my sports car (it has a single-clutch semi-auto), I no longer have a manual car in my house.

    But when it comes time to replace my DD, I will seriously consider a new Accord Sport 6MT or a Civic Si. It’s a fight worth fighting!

    My parents both used to drive manuals as it was a necessity outside the US. Once they had “made it” and moved into luxury cars, they never looked back, nor do they care much for the act of driving.

  • avatar
    drivrBob

    Today the manual transmission! tomorrow the steering wheel! It wont be long till we are all a bunch of useless souls who cant do much of anything cause technology does it all for us. Its depressive to think that my offspring wont know how to drive. Then again how many of us can ride a horse?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      drivrBob – –

      See Elon Musk’s comments on Autonews’ “First Shift” this morning, addressing exactly that topic:
      http://www.autonews.com/article/20150318/VIDEO/303189959/first-shift-driving-illegal-someday?cciid=email-autonews-firstshift

      My view is that “xxxx” decades from now, it will still be possible to drive your own car, but that will require a specialty and very stringent license to do so. The whole issue of “distracted driving” (from whatever source) is triggering this. My estimate is that about 75% of Americans are no longer capable of driving either competently or safely right now, but the use of the manual transmissions would remove a lot of that “easy” distraction. With a manual, you are forced to concentrate more.

      And that is why I want to do a plot of: % Automatics vs % Traffic Fatalities.

      ====================

  • avatar
    William S.

    In my own experience that can be described locally as a canadian living in the french north eastern part where we are suffering from an extreme misery and poverty resulting from two superimposed inapt governments endlessly sucking and wasting all the money from people, the great majority of the people I spoke about cars with usually bought used vehicles throughout their lifetimes. These people (educated or not) usually see the manual transmission as a distraction and they don’t like it, they prefer texting while driving like fucking lunatic cowards, causing accidents. Of course these people care about fuel economy but won’t never even think of buying a new one, or discover what’s under the hood. On the other hand, the people like me (the minority), the fair and loyal customers buying a new 60K-100K car every two years, weirdly CARE more about the manual transmission than any other component, and we actually MISS this connection to our beloved powerful engines. Over the last ten years, I bought 6 new Acura, always at the same dealer. Right now I am more than utterly dissatisfied and frustrated by the 2015 TLX V6 SH-AWD that I paid over 60’000 canadian dollars because of one VERY POOR feature: a ZF 9 speed automatic transmission. This transmission is so poor I just still don’t believe it exists in a car like the TLX V6. This vehicle feels profoundly crippled, completely flawed by the transmission. It knocks, it pushes, it lurches, it makes the car dive forward, hesitates, suffers a terrible lag, has an incredible lack of kick down, I mean I am out of words regarding how poor this transmission manages the available engine power. If it was not for this transmission this vehicle would be seriously good for the price. But despite people like me, the minority who buy their cars new, the choice of a manual transmission, as supremely good as it was, has vanished. Therefore I think the demise of the manual transmission is due to things like CAFE (corporate average fuel economy), amongst other punitive legislations and regulations from the US. Car manufacturers are businesses and they are looking for a one size fits all for the majority of potential buyers and this is understandable. What is unfair is all the lies through the marketing and the motor shows, promising exciting new models that never see the light of day. I can tell you what I am about to do now though, I will sell this fucking crappy TLX, buy a used Honda Accord V6 coupé 6sp MT, keep it for 4-5 years and then will buy a new car carrying a strong message like Porsche does today with the Cayman GT4. However, even being the one who vote for the only remaining manufacturers who are truly devoted to developing onto the emotions of what is the root of cars and driving, I cannot be certain that the vast majority of lunatic cowards causing accidents while texting and driving who collectively don’t give a snap about cars other than a mean of transportation will be ignored by the manufacturers. Because they are, the fucking majority.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      William,

      I appreciate your comment and the story you have told, but, hopefully without offense, I am asking you to clean up the language a little bit…(^_^)…

      ======================

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I read this story every couple of months. It’s just so perfect.

    Also LOLing at the purported unreliability of automatics. A modern automatic is pretty damn robust, and will last longer than, while costing not much more to replace than a clutch. Rebuilt autos are pretty cheap and autos in general are pretty durable.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      sportyaccordy – – –

      First, a clutch is not IN a manual transmission. Replacing it costs $400-$800, and about 2 hours of labor. The cost to replace an automatic is $2500-$5000, depending, and a day of labor. The manual transmission itself will literally last “forever” with proper use and oil changes.

      Second, for driving enthusiasts, here are the advantages of a manual (all else equal):
      1) More robust, durable, and longer-lasting;
      2) Less expensive to buy;
      3) Superior driver involvement**;
      4) Owner-doable oil change, which is also less frequent and less expensive;
      5) Requires no separate cooling system with its own radiator;
      6) Wear item = easily replaceable clutch (not the whole tranny!);
      7) Superior traction in slippery snow, by “feathering” the clutch;
      8) Almost air-tight theft protection.

      To this list, you could also add better fuel economy IF ALL ELSE WERE EQUAL, which is never the case. For example, if the SAME test vehicle were successively equipped with manual and automatic transmissions using:
      1) The same number of gears;
      2) The same gear ratios;
      3) Skilled operators in each case;
      4) The same final drive ratio;
      5) The same fuel;
      6) A test regimen on the same day, under the same temperature and other atmospheric conditions….
      Then, it would be impossible for any torque-converter automatic to get the same or better fuel economy than a manual.

      Attached are some links that also address this subject:
      1) http://www.starkeith.net/coredump/2005/01/30/manual-vs-automatic/
      2) http://www.carsdirect.com/car-repair/price-comparison-automatic-transmission-repair-vs-manual-transmission-repair
      3) http://manualversusautomatic.com/

      ========================

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I’m approaching 287K on my manual transmission which is as smooth as it ever was when the car was new. This is the original clutch. has never slipped but I expect it to wear out eventually of course. I bought the car new so I know all its history. Have towed with it many, many thousands of miles. I can get a quality rebuild kit for ~$160 (just checked) from a name brand aftermarket supplier or $75 for a budget kit. That’s a new pressure plate, throwout bearing, friction disc, etc. I’d add a crankshaft seal and input shaft seal for good measure. Dealer quoted me less than $300 labor to install an OEM clutch kit once upon a time. I’ve also done these replacements in my garage all by myself.

      Automatic transmissions on the other hand can cost upwards of $2K to have rebuilt. The kit isn’t that expensive but all the labor is. $2500 to replace with a whole rebuilt unit from a FLAPS. $155 for just the most basic kit to rebuild an automatic transmission. New torque converter extra if you need one. I’ve helped with a couple but it’s not an easy thing for an amateur to get into. YouTube has example videos for you to get the idea of what’s involved.

      That’s my problem with automatic transmissions. On some brands it has been an extra cost option that might need a rebuild before 200K miles for that same option premium price all over again.

      $2500 extra at purchase time and $2500 to rebuild in some cases.

      Recently drove a vehicle with the steering wheel paddles/buttons. You could ruin an automatic quickly using those shifter paddles that mimic the dual clutch sports car transmission. No different than playing with the shift lever frequently wearing out the clutch packs. I don’t screw around with an automatic shifter except to ask the transmission to hold a gear rather than hunting back and forth for the right gear ratio while climbing a mtn. Or – to hold a gear riding down a mtn to avoiding baking the brakes.

      • 0 avatar
        JD-Shifty

        at this point everyone will accuse you of driving an “unreliable car” because it has a lot of miles on it. it’s scary and you could break down and any time and maybe even need a tow truck. or not. anyway, go out and spend 30 for “peace of mind”.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          JD-Shifty – – –

          If I drive a maroon 1941 Chevy Cabriolet (one of the most beautiful cars ever made, IMO), that has over 200K miles on it, with all major components replaced, will someone criticize me for driving an “unreliable car” based on their ignorance; or will someone congratulate me for driving this priceless “classic” based on their knowledge?

          ===================

  • avatar
    kurkosdr

    Manuals suck, there I said it. On one hand, you have a system that does every shift perfectly, and on the other hand you have “pro-drivers” who claim they do every shift perfectly with their manual.

    It’s like photographers who miss the view-finder (which has been replaced with the superior LCD, which actually shows what the camera’s sensor sees, not what your eyes see)

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      kurkosdr – – –

      Automatics suck, there I said it. On one hand, you have a system that does every shift properly (a Manual with skilled driver), and on the other hand you have “pro-drivers” who claim their Automatic system does every shift perfectly, while it’s hunting for the right gear, and while the (so-called) driver is munching on a Big Mac, holding a discourse on his bloody cell phone. Don’t even get me started on “Texting”.

      Sorry for the paraphrase: couldn’t resist (^_^) …

      ====================

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I have zero interest in owning an automatic though one of my recent used car purchases has an automatic. I own four other manual transmission vehicles. The automatics are finally getting close to shifting when I think they need to.

        Nothing more irritating than an automatic with indecision or riding with someone who thinks they can drive a manual but threatens to tear the driveshaft out with every shift. ;)

        I still have no interest in buying an automatic transmission vehicle.

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