By on July 7, 2015

2015 Dodge Challenger 6-speed manual shifter

With news that BMW’s M division might give up offering manual transmissions altogether along with the plethora of automatic-only performance options from other automakers on the market, the battle to keep the manual looks bleak.

Not only that, but automatics seem to just be the better choice for a number of other non-performance options as well.

Let’s set the Mazda MX-5 Miata aside for a moment because we all know putting an automatic transmission in a light-weight, low-power roadster is sacrilege and anyone attempting to buy an automatic Miata should be shipped off to a re-education camp.

For starters, let’s talk about one car that isn’t necessarily driver oriented.

In Alex’s review of the Scion iA yesterday, he points out the automated needs on the lower end of the price scale (emphasis mine):

The iA isn’t the Scion I was expecting, and it isn’t the Mazda I was hoping for either. The iA seems like Mazda’s interpretation of what a Scion should be, and marriage has created a surprisingly good little car. Shoppers will find a well-controlled ride, excellent road manners and impeccable fuel economy all wrapped inside Scion’s warranty and scheduled maintenance, and sold at a Toyota dealer. The combination makes for the most appealing sedan in this segment by a hair. (If Ford mates an automatic transmission to their 3-cylinder turbo Fiesta, it’s game on.)

For those of you who’ve never driven a manual Fiesta, especially one with the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost mill, it’s as close as you can get to driving nirvana in the subcompact segment without adding ST curry. The manual transmission is the perfect amount of notchy and forgiving, and it’s the one vehicle I wish I could use to teach everyone how to drive a car with a stick shift.

But, appreciation for rowing your own these days is limited. The little three-pot Fiesta would likely do a helluva lot better sales-wise if it could be had with an automatic. Instead, those looking for a new car who’ve never driven a manual before immediately dismiss it. That should be expected as learning how to drive on a brand-new $17,000 investment is far from ideal.

Over at General Motors’ Aspirations Division, Cadillac’s last-generation CTS-V was an absolute hoot to drive. When it came out, I was lucky enough to spend time behind the wheels of both the CTS-V Coupe and Sport Wagon (which they should have called Estate). The coupe, equipped with its six-speed automatic, was an absolute blast to drive hard. It also required zero effort to just cruise around as you should do in a Cadillac. On the other hand, the six-speed manual Sport Wagon was more fun when driven in anger, but about 1/10th as relaxing to drive in “Everyday Mode.” If it were my money, even though I’ve grown up my entire life on manual cars, I’d have bought the automatic V — hands down.

What do you think, Best & Brightest? Is it time to give up the “Save The Manuals” war and finally accept computers are better than us as this whole changing-gears business?

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253 Comments on “QOTD: Is It Time We Give Up The ‘Save The Manuals’ War?...”


  • avatar
    vvk

    Never.

    • 0 avatar
      iliketea

      I don’t ever want to be just another input to a vehicle, I want to drive it!

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      BAN THE AUTOMATIC. Row your own or walk!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        If you’re not setting your own spark advance and choke, you’re not really “driving”!

        (No. Get over it.

        Automatics are good. Manuals are dead, because they’re actually pretty horrible for pretty much everyone pretty much all the time in normal use.

        No.)

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        I’ll let you say “BAN THE AUTOMATIC. Row your own or walk!!!” to the U.S. veterans of the Iraqi and Afghan wars who lost a leg or two, and therefore cannot control a clutch.

        For that very reason, Olds didn’t charge returning WWII GIs with leg amputations for the Hydra-Matic option.

        As one who can drive a stick and greatly enjoys it, it makes me sick to my stomach when people on this and other sites start the childish rant of, “You MUST drive a manual!”

    • 0 avatar

      An automatic transmission means that even the dumbest THOTS (Kardashian, Minaj, etc,etc) can own and drive the hottest sports cars in the world.

      The highest performance sports cars have moved to AWD in order to improve their 0-60 times and make “launching” a selling point.

      The power in these things is RIDICULOUS and a computer-controlled torque vectoring system is a mandate. BUH BYE “rowing your own gears” LOL…

      The MANUAL IS DEAD. Just accept it.

      If Electric Vehicles and automated vehicles do take over, the manual is even DEADER.

      • 0 avatar
        fsdude

        Those “hottest sports cars” you mentioned are like only a 1 percenter of the total car population. There are still cars that I can see offering manuals for a long time to come. And lastly….if automated vehicles do take-over…..that’s more like say bye-bye to driving in general….period.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        CPU controlled torque-vectoring is not dependent on transmission choice.
        AWD was a move to increase “control” for the normal driver, not to aid in “launching”. Its a safety net as well as a performance enhancement.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    There seems to be an immutable percentage of guys who simply must fondle a stick. Especially with such big, roundy tops!

  • avatar
    mikedt

    “That should be expected as learning how to drive on a brand-new $17,000 investment is far from ideal.”

    I didn’t think learning how to drive a stick was all that difficult. You see tv/movies where the newbie bunny hops the car or grinds the gears on every shift but I didn’t have either of those problems. My only mistake was the time I shot across 2 lanes of a road when I tried to start off from a stop sign on a hill.

    Personally I think the death of the manual and the proliferation of 8+ speed automatics (and eventually autodrive cars) will be the death of real car ownership. Now when your automatic transmission dies, and if you keep your car long enough it will, nobody has the faintest idea how to repair it. Even the dealers just drop in a new one. Easy for them, but $5 grand out of your pocket. Kind of makes leasing/zipcar seem like a good idea.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It really depends on how mechanically inclined the driver is. I’ve taught three different women to drive stick. One picked it up immediately, with minimal difficulty. One had some trouble, but eventually learned to drive a stick car serviceably. And one just never got it, not even after a year of trying; she could make it a few blocks to the store at low speeds, but it was always hard and foreign, and the prospect of driving any further terrified her. Those results were consistent with their comfort with other mechanical things.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve taught about 10-12 people to drive stick. My best stick students were women. One owns a Forester with a stick. One of my earliest stick students asked me to teach her to drive stick after she’d already bought a used Honda with a stick (I can’t remember which one, this was probably in the late ’80s). She did fine.

        Obviously, manuals are on their way out in the US. But I’m going to hang onto them as long as I can. And, no, it’s not time to give up the save the manuals war. I suspect it’s inevitable that eventually, it will be illegal, or prohibitively expensive to buy insurance to drive your own car on public roads, but hanging onto manuals will morph into hanging onto drive our own, and the harder we fight, the longer we’ll be able to enjoy driving.

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          Good Lord, how long do you plan on living?

          I am just shy of fifty and given the pace at which this is happening (and the ridiculous amount of empty space in America), I am pretty confident that I will go to the grave being able to legally drive my own car.

          Someday? Sure, but I’ll be long gone

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Now when your automatic transmission dies, and if you keep your car long enough it will, nobody has the faintest idea how to repair it.”

      I think the opposite is actually true. Due to the manual dying off, few people know how to repair them.

      Personally, I’ve become a fan of the 1-speed gear reduction found in EVs. It’s all the sliding parts that ruin transmissions.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        People know how to repair transmissions.

        Those people are “transmission rebuilders”, for the most part.

        It’s … not a big problem, unless you own a Chrysler (or did; the ZF seems to have more programming issues than failure issues).

        Your local mechanic won’t “repair” a seriously faulty engine, either – he’ll let a professional do that and just drop in the replacement.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          The General Motors & Ford business model of warranty work on increasingly $hittier transmissions is to rip the old one out and replace it with an hecho en Mexico or China one, not bothering to rebuild the defective as new one.

          They’re plug & play components now, built by the absolute lowest bidder.

          Good luck to PowerShift transmission equipped vehicle owners out of warranty.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “The General Motors & Ford business model of warranty work on increasingly $hittier transmissions is to rip the old one out and replace it with an hecho en Mexico or China one, not bothering to rebuild the defective as new one.”

            They still rebuild them under warranty on most models, but there’s a cost factor involved. Usually if the repair costs less than 70% of replacement, they repair. If more, they replace.

          • 0 avatar
            Exfordtech

            Certified trans tech does a cost estimate on the trans, including partial teardown as needed, and as Danio said, if a price limit is hit, it gets a unit, otherwise it is rebuilt in the dealership. Ford compares warranty costs between dealers of similar size and market location, and if your costs are trending too high in any repair category (too many units versus repairs for example) then a warranty audit could be triggered. When I got out in ’07, the most failure prone unit was the Explorer, 2/5 and reverse shift servo pins wearing out the case, at the time there was no approved procedure for re-boring the case, and this would condemn the unit (solenoid packs were another issue due to incorrect fluid fill during vehicle assembly). This usually didn’t happen until about 75k miles, so most were out of warranty, unless the vehicle had ESP. Can’t speak about the newer units, except the 6F50 is about as bullet proof as they come nowadays.

      • 0 avatar
        fsdude

        “I think the opposite is actually true. Due to the manual dying off, few people know how to repair them.”

        I highly doubt that…..as manual transmissions are the least complex and simpliest of all transmissions available. And unlike those newer manuatic transmission, there’s no sensors or electronics that need to be dealt with to diagnosis. It’s like how older cars, such as the muscle cars of the 60s. Not very many of them left around, but DEFINITELY still a huge following for them and no shortage of mechanics that can service them……as I’m sure they were well known to be easy to tune/repair.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          This. Not much has changed with the traditional manual transmission over the last 20 years. Any transmission shop can takle them. Some are now beginning to work on the automated manuals as they come off warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Largely irrelevant anyway. Budding car enthusiasts who are actually buying their first vehicle, and who would purchase a stick if it were available on their car of choice? How many buyers can that be?

      Hell, I’d be happy if most drivers learned to reverse, use their mirrors, and depart a stoplight by using less than maximal acceleration. Then we can talk about stick shifts.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The top-tier performance cars will be getting rid of their manuals over time, but I suspect that they will continue to be available in lower-tier models in Europe.

    The performance aspect seems to be the most important driver for this. It is now possible to get more impressive acceleration numbers from the automatic/DSG versions, and it is cheaper to develop one transmission that can handle large amounts of power and torque than two.

    In the US, it’s practically a lost cause. I would expect that the pony cars, hot hatches and near-luxury Germans will be among the few that remain.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Thinking of this from an engineering perspective, the gearbox matches the engine’s sweet spots to road speeds.

    If you do a clean-sheet design, a CVT is the ideal solution to this.

    Step-shift automatics are OK.

    Manual shift gearboxes work, too. But they require a lot of driver supervision and technique — and you can still damage it, if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s almost no technology released in the modern era which has these characteristics.

    The torque and power curve of electric motors make all of this unnecessary.

    Take away: the manual might disappear now, or maybe it will disappear when electric motors go mainstream.

    P.S. I still intend to teach my kids how to drive one. That will start in 2025, and I expect I’ll be able to find a manual shift Jeep Wrangler for the purpose. I also intend to teach them how to fly airplanes.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Another nice thing about electric motors is that you get the “engine” braking effects of a manual when you dial in the regen. I have my EV on it’s first long trip away from home and the regen works great in Vermont’s mountains. Takes a huge load off of the brakes. You also don’t have to deal with the transmission hunting for the right gear.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        I’ve picked that up from EV video reviews. To me engine braking was always the best thing about manuals.

        Why would one ever turn regen off?

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @RideHeight:

          On high end EVs, the regen is adjustable — and the only reason to turn it off is if you want to coast.

          In the Prius, you can’t turn it off. They set the accelerator-off regen to approximate the deceleration of a “normal” car. If you shift a Prius in to neutral, it will turn off the regen completely.

          I’ve never let my Prius coast to a stop. Honestly, I got bored after before I lost half my speed speed every time I tried it. As someone who did my first couple of hundred thousand miles in manuals, I feel the need to know how a vehicle costs in case I ever need to coast it off of the highway — but after only 11 years and 165k miles, this bit of knowledge isn’t going to be useful any time soon.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            In my Leaf, I always set it to the most aggressive mode which is “B”. Heading to Vermont last week, I think at one point I was down to the low 30’s in range. 10 miles later I was up to 42 miles thanks to the descent into the Connecticut River Valley.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Note that there is absolutely no reason an automatic can’t do engine braking, if it’s either programmed to (see Ford’s “Tow/Haul” mode, and I presume Chevy and Dodge do something similar) or you tell it to (any manually shiftable automatic).

          Hell, my old 300D did it more or less automatically by having Not That Many Gears and an engine that Really Liked Slowing Down…

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I was a bit freaked out when I noticed my wife riding the brakes downhill in our Prius.

        But, then I realized that the first 20hp of braking (which is all she uses in that situation) is going straight in to the battery and chilled out. Oh, and the Prius will automatically engage engine braking when you fill up the battery.

        We’re still working on avoiding cooking the brakes in our minivan. She’d rather just buy the latest technology than adapt her style to the requirements of the machine… Which might make it easier to talk her in to a Tesla, if that ever becomes affordable for us.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          BTW, if you’ve ever watched someone drive “not quite right”, you can sympathize with the engineers who designed the car who just program the computer to do the right thing for every driver in every situation.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          I’d already have a Prius if the ergonomics and sightlines weren’t so hideous. And it’s pretty clear that when/if a 25-30K EV crossover appears it will be the Boomers’ Official Last Ride.

          We only drive a fraction of the miles youngsters must log. Personally I think a silent, drip-free vehicle with decent roof height would be the cat’s ass.

          C’mon, Bolt. ‘Cause then the Japanese would have to answer back.

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          You almost have to engine brake in a minivan depending on the incline.

          Once the mass overtakes the lack of aero, that is one big brick for those brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Electrics could still use a transmission. I’d like to see a two speed, manual or auto doesn’t matter (obviously, the auto would just be a planetary gear- no torque convertor). You could leave it in either gear at all times, but one would be gear reduction for performance, the other direct drive or overdrive for efficiency and top speed.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        You’re right, electrics could use at least a two-speed transmisson. I’ve read some articles about it. There are companies working on it. Can’t remember what issue they were trying to overcome.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Way to incite a war, TTAC. ;-)

    I kid…but not really.

    Here’s the deal: I like manual transmissions because nothing beats the feeling you get from coordinating a clutch pedal, gas and stick shift. It really does create a unique bond with the vehicle that no dual-clutch super-duper auto can replicate.

    That said, the latest versions of the VW/Audi DSG/S-Tronic transmission are really good at mimicking the sense of control and management you get from a manual; They simply can never replicate that machine+human bond, however.

    ZF’s latest 8 speed is an outstanding transmission, but it still lacks the precision and control you get from a dual clutch system. You trade a little bit of refinement for that control in the dual clutch systems, but they’re getting very good.

    I will likely stick with manual transmissions for as long as I can buy a vehicle with one. When I’m forced out of them, I think I’ll be able to live happily with a solid dual clutch system.

    • 0 avatar
      Veee8

      ” It really does create a unique bond with the vehicle that no dual-clutch super-duper auto can replicate. ”

      I agree but shifting is so distracting when I have to sip my latte and text at the same time. Manual shifting is becoming a lost art along with attentive drivers.

      I feel the technical pendulum is shifting towards isolating us from the road, making us feel disconnected, coddled and invincible or privileged in our machines…so many modern automobiles are just generic appliances.

      I get the convenience of an auto in traffic/urban commuting, shifting my Mazda6 sucks when heading to cottage country…but when the traffic thins out and road get twisty my manual is so rewarding regardless of speed, it reminds me of what pure driving is.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        You just need to drive lower-end cars!

        Or a Wrangler. I was impressed with how civilized it was when I drove it — but it still comes across more like a Cessna 172 (with the high dashboard, forearm-height windows, and tippy stance) than like the kind of car you’re talking about.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        I hear both hreardon and VBeee8. I prefer and have always owned manuals. But truly enjoying a manual transmission is becoming almost impossible these days because of all of the traffic around us – at least in the Northeast part of the U.S. where I live. It’s become almost like riding a motorcycle: One has to seek out those clear, quiet Sunday mornings to enjoy shifting.

        Add to that the fact that automatics have become quite good and the fact that it’s becoming more-and-more difficult to find a decent manual in a car that deserves it… and maybe it’s time for us – that last-surviving, hard-core, row-your-own people – to acknowledge where we are in the automotive timeline and just move on.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          You just summed up the reason why row-your-own may well die.

          In traffic, shifting is a real pain, and the older one gets – speaking from experience – you don’t want the additional aggravation.

        • 0 avatar

          I disagree. I live just outside of Boston, and I thoroughly enjoy my stick and clutch. That said, I don’t have to commute in traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            I drove a five speed Mk 1 Focus in traffic for 12 years. The ratios were super wide, and the engine very tractable, you could let the clutch out at idle and it would roll along at walking speed which was very useful in traffic.

            I sold it last year and switched to a plug in hybrid, which is vastly superior in slow traffic. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a conventional drivetrain, but if I did, I would want a dual clutch transmission or a well behaved CVT. The time has come to hand the management of the drivetrain to the car, it just does a better job than I can.

            You don’t hear of racing drivers demanding an H pattern shifter, there’s no reason for me to.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Reality check: “Generic appliance” describes most cars on the road since perhaps 1935.

        Likewise, “disconnected” is the opposite of “horribly connected because the suspension is so awful on these roads”, more than “perfectly connected in just the right way via the Ideal Driving Machine”.

        “Pure driving” is whatever you make it, and in no way depends on having a clutch pedal – the only reason you imagine it does is that you’re *used to it*.

        I’m sure someone who learned on a Model T would tell you that *all your controls are completely wrong for Real Driving*.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > I agree but shifting is so distracting when I have to sip my latte and text at the same time. Manual shifting is becoming a lost art along with attentive drivers.

        I LOVE the sarcasm! Well played!

        > but when the traffic thins out and road get twisty my manual is so rewarding regardless of speed, it reminds me of what pure driving is.

        You’re preaching to the choir, brother!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “I like manual transmissions because nothing beats the feeling you get from coordinating a clutch pedal, gas and stick shift.”

      You win. This is the best reason, and the only convincing reason other than repair cost, to prefer a manual to today’s better automatics.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        It’s the only reason left. Step-shift automatics sucked when I learned to drive in the 1990s on 1980s cars. They’re good enough for everyday use, now, even for me.

        CVTs and EVs will make them all obsolete, when those technologies are widely recognized as mature.

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          You might see performance brands developing some much more realistic fake manuals as well.

          Let’s face it, the stick adds to driving experience for a small subset of the population.

          But, it really doesn’t bring any practical benefit to the average driver and it is only a matter of time before it is gone, just like the carburetor.

          Maybe its time to start looking into gokart tracks…

  • avatar
    darex

    Loving my 2014 MINI F56 MT — wouldn’t have it any other way! Fortunately, with MINI, I don’t have to.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    What strategy and weapons, exactly, has the “Save the Manuals war” been waged with? If it involves anything other than using buying power to convince manufacturers that there is a market case for it, then yes give it up. The manual transmission has been abandoned as a mainstream choice simply because people don’t want them anymore.

    That’s a shame, but in an age where most drivers seem far more interested in their smart phones and the app streaming capability of the car than how it actually drives, it was basically inevitable.

    My current car is a manual and I love that, but my next one won’t be because my better half hates them and the logistics of our household make this difficult to work around. Another casualty in the war.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      30-mile took the words right out of my mouth.

      A manual transmission is not a constitutional right. It’s an item of consumer merchandise that manufacturers will make if there’s a financial case for it. No buyers, no manuals. It’s just like station wagons: If you want them to keep making them, then buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “It’s an item of consumer merchandise that manufacturers will make if there’s a financial case for it.”

        It’s unfortunate but true. As an enthusiast it’s a bummer to see such a tactile interface removed from some good cars, but as someone who owns stocks and therefore relies on the success of businesses to provide me with my retirement, I can fully understand why they are disappearing.

        However, having just driven a G37 for the first time I am tempted to say that hydraulic steering SHOULD be a constitutional right :)

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        The frustration about the lack of manuals is due, in part, to the misalignment of interests between dealers and consumers. More of these would be sold if dealers would stock them. Dealers basically want to stock only what will sell *quickly*, but this results in less choice, and the resulting sales mix is not reflective of actual demand.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          baconator: correct, and this is a problem not only for manuals but for every obscure option out there. Dealer says: You will like the highest-volume model, configuration, and color or you will suffer my wrath. The story of my car life is the story of liking obscure cars, and obscure options on common cars, and having trouble finding or buying what I want.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          It’s an interesting point, baconator. I wonder how one would go about determining how much latent demand for manuals exists, but cannot be fulfilled due to unavailability on dealer lots.

          My circle of friends and family is more or less disinterested in cars. Only one of them has a manual and none of the others want one whether they are available or not.

        • 0 avatar
          motoridersd

          This. Which sadly reflects the market as most people are not interested in a manual. The unfortunate side effect of this is that there are people that are curious about a manual, but when they go buy a car, they can’t test drive a manual because no one stocks them, and if they want to buy it, they have to wait a long time.

          Buying a car blindly is not something most people do, so, these curious people remove the manual from their list, and move on to the closest configuration available on the lot, or at a nearby dealer.

          The question here would be, who shot first? The consumer who didn’t want to row their own, or the dealer that didn’t want to stock the slower selling versions with a manual? I think it’s the former.

          In my case, I will continue to look for a manual, in a wagon, turbocharged, AWD or RWD when I replace my car. It’s impossible to have it all in this country though, and for the moment I have settled on a RWD, 6 Speed manual, Wagon but with a non-turbocharged straight six.

          *shakes fist at Volkswagen of America for not bringing the Golf R Sportwagen to the US*

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          Just like light colored interiors and I would actually buy a car with a light colored interior.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yup.

        There’s no “war” except in internet forums and probably in driving magazines.

        Money talks – like the station wagon, indeed.

        I bought one – but I have no intention of ever buying a car with a manual, because I don’t hate myself.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      30-mile-fetch: +1

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Yeah, there’s no war.

      I prefer manuals but have no problem if the manual disappears simply because nobody wants them. I’ll vote with my dollars and everyone else gets to vote with theirs.

      I do have a problem with the misleading EPA fuel economy test numbers though. They should allow for the operators of the manual versions to be competent drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      eventualhorizon

      I had the same issue. After buying my current car (’97 Maxima ), my wife made me promise that the next car I bought for my use would be an automatic. Fortunately the Maxima outlived the marriage so I dodged that bullet.

      I’ve always driven a manual and I plan to continue as long as my health allows. I live in Atlanta and commute 25 miles through traffic twice a day. It sucks but not so much that I would give up the stick.

      Hope you can keep your current car for a while fetch.

      • 0 avatar
        Forty2

        I ordered my car from the factory with a manual because no dealer had any in stock, much less with the options/colors I did and didn’t want. I also live in ATL and my commute from Buckhead to Alpharetta can range from 20 minutes going vs up to to two hours coming back. Despite that, having the stick makes traffic less painful than in an automatic in that I’m not riding the brakes and can often go quite a ways without even touching the brake pedal. Automatic means creep and no engine braking; my pet theory of why traffic is so bad is automatic means hitting the brake all the time, meaning the driver behind slams on the brake, and the driver behind that one does it, et al, and it turns into a clusterfsck.

        I know the days of the manual are numbered, and my next car will probably be a BMW M3 or M4 as long long as I can get it with a manual, but now I’m reading that BMW might eliminate that transmission so no M car for me. Which sucks, because BMW are about the last car maker to even offer a manual in that market and even then you’re usually limited to a factory order which was the case for me. The only manuals on the lot where I ordered my 335 were an M5 at over $100,000 and a used 328c. So maybe I’ll be driving my 3er a lot longer than I’d planned.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I might need to turn in my enthusiast card because after 25 years of owning at least 1 MT car: I agree. Driving stick feels archaic, and modern automatics/SMG’s get better MPG and track times.

    Or maybe I’m just old now?

  • avatar

    At age too-close-to-50, with periodic knee issues and fresh off of surgery on my right shoulder, I’m *almost* at peace with the idea that my next car will be the first one I buy with an automatic transmission. Almost. It still feels wrong, somehow, like I’m cheating or something.

    • 0 avatar
      bill h.

      I’m closer to 60 but still able/enjoying driving a stick shift in my daily commuter. Nevertheless, when the clutch throwout bearing that goes awry happens to be one’s left knee, then I’ll know it’s time.

      • 0 avatar

        I still love my 6M CTS-V. But there are days when I come out of the gym and get in it and really wish I’d gotten an automatic. That’s new in the last year or so, and it feels like blasphemy.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        over 60.
        well over….

        There is no way I could multi task with a manual.
        No friggin way!
        There is the Whooper in my mouth, the hot coffee in the one hand and the newspaper in the other…all while trying to dial the cell AND watch the DVD!!!

        Come on…this is impossible with a stick!

        and then there is the stupid bad stop n go I294 traffic for 60 minutes in a huge luxury cruiser…really??? A standard trans in a large car??? Get real.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The issue isn’t the manual transmission, the issue is the cost overhead to equip a manual in a low volume car. This cost overhead in general is what is killing variety in cars and forcing them all to become somewhat homogenized. Since much of the cost overhead is GOV’T, and mfgs would rather make money than fight the growing cancer of gov’t, we get screwed. Furthermore IMO the whole point of a specialty car like the M3 is to give its buyers options. Multiple motors, multiple transmission choices, multiple suspension/brake choices, multiple interior choices or other customization(s). Since the costs are too high your choices will be limited to cheap/easy customization such as interior options, wheels, spoilers etc but you will still pay for the “M3” name. Which begets the question, what is the point of something like an M3 today?

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Oh, for Chrissakes. Really, 28? With the take rate for manuals down to 10% in the US, the real reason carmakers are ceasing to offer them is because of “the growing cancer of government”?

      Would it interest you to know that government regulations have been gutted across the board, as orporate influence takes over government in the new post-Citizens United era of a wide-open spigot for corporate campaign contributions?

      Nah, I suppose it wouldn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        There are additional drivetrain certification costs for manual vs automatic. If the take rate is less than 10% and the costs outweigh profits from said manuals it becomes a net loss. If these certification costs were eliminated AND a profit could be achieved, there would be incentive to offer a manual. Pch offers a different take on efficiency below, and he makes a good point.

        Source?

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Source for the 10% figure is Fox News. (You trust them, right?)

          http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/09/11/manual-transmissions-getting-rarer-in-us/

          Quick correction to my post: Their stat is based on North American-built cars. If import % of sticks is higher, that could raise the stat somewhat, though it obviously wouldn’t reverse the trend (or else this whole thread wouldn’t exist).

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Take rate is closer to 6%, and very disproportionately skewed towards sporty cars.

        Neat graphs here : https://www.yahoo.com/autos/bp/the-decline-of-manual-transmissions-in-two-graphs-%E2%80%94-and-proof-they-re-coming-back-194033483.html

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Since much of the cost overhead is GOV’T”

      Er, no.

      You’re not getting how this works. When one company finds a way to become more efficient, the others must follow.

      Ultimately, this is driven by globalization. It is no longer possible to be a dinky company located in some remote minor outpost such as Sweden that makes a few quirky cars and receives enough protections to own what there is of the Swedish market and pay the bills. Now that same company has to compete everywhere, including on its home turf, which is why it no longer exists.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So you see it as being driven by overall efficiency? Interesting point.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Think of VAG’s efforts to create modular platforms. The company is trying to find ways to develop niche products without the overhead costs that are typical of niche products.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I agree with Pch in this case. Government regulation (particularly the need to optimize for several different and mutually inconsistent fuel economy tests) certainly makes it more expensive to build a manual variant. But in the end this isn’t a story of government regulation, but one of continuous competition to please the most consumers for the least money, with a side dollop of product planning influenced by volume-concerned dealers.

          Which is a better use of the engineering dollar in that market: developing and certifying a manual that will have a 3% take rate, or figuring out how to put that crazy new compound curve into sheetmetal that will immediately influence 100% of your buyers? Or, for that matter, trying frantically to make your entertainment system as usable as products developed by giant electronics companies?

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        Globalization is driving consolidation of *brands*, but many automakers offer more engine and transmission choices in ex-US markets. The U.S. government’s certification processes increase the fixed cost of putting a manual transmission on the option menu into the millions, which raises the number of units that must be sold to break even.

        If the US rationalized its safety and emissions rules to that of the EU (or vice versa), we’d see more manuals because it would be easier to justify the business case for any given model. The parts and configurations are already sold elsewhere. (Examples: BMW 335i wagon w/ manual transmission and 645i w/ manual transmission.)

        The UK has a surprisingly diverse cottage industry of hand built specialty cars, some of which (Caterhams, for example) are not very expensive. This is because they make low-production models exempt from the expensive safety / emissions certifications that major manufacturers have to deal with. The U.S. has no such exemption, and so we don’t see those cars here except as purely non-registrable track-only toys like the Noble / Rossion. But we get no Artegas, no Weismanns, no TVRs, etc. etc.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          US car prices are lower and price competition is more aggressive. That margin compression results in fewer choices.

          In any cases, those choices available in Europe are invariably comprised of motors that provide less power. (If you’re paying those kinds of prices for fuel, then there are reasons to choose the 1.4 liter motor over the 2.0 liter variant.)

          Americans don’t want those kinds of options. How many Americans do you know who are clamoring for less power?

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      “This cost overhead in general is what is killing variety in cars and forcing them all to become somewhat homogenized.”

      SOMEWHAT homogenized? I’d say you’re being kind. For the most part, all newish auto designs look the same. One can easily spot the differences between pick-ups, SUVs and four-door sedans. After that, one has to look pretty closely. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Which begets the question, what is the point of something like an M3 today?”

      To let idiots feel special while driving like, well, idiots?

      (I kid.

      Mostly.

      But far too often when I see an M3, it’s bring “driven” by someone who isn’t competent to drive a Civic, let alone The Ultimate Ultimate Driving Machine.)

  • avatar
    Fordson

    GTIs will continue to be available with MT for as long as they make GTIs. Even now, the Mk7 GTI sells almost 50%/50% 6MT/DSG. And that’s at any trim level or door count – across the lineup.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Ehhh – not so much anymore, Fordson. The DSG take rate in Europe has been steadily climbing and is pushing 50% these days. In the US a little birdy has told me that DSG on the GTIs is now approaching a 60% take rate.

    • 0 avatar

      I would have said that about CTS-Vs… until a few months ago.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Bad example. VW America prevents chosing manuals on most of their upper trim levels, and including on non-GTI Golfs. Their limitations affect their take-rate, and negated the Mark VII Golf as a viable option for me.

      That why I went MINI: full freedom to buy the car I wanted, and equipped as I chose it to be. The most fully-loaded MINI can still be had witha stick. Who else affords this freedom in America? Almost nobody!

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        And why are they constraining the options?

        From the peanut gallery, I believe pch101 nailed it, when he was talking about the cost-efficiency of car companies.

        Adding a drivetrain is expensive, in terms of engineering, production capital, and matching cars to buyers. Or, you could make one car that’s acceptable to most buyers and save a ton of money — and a few enthusiasts will hold their nose and buy the car anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          And what ultimately drives it at this point in the performance car market is that the enthusiast will be able to get a non-manual car that will out-accelerate the manual one. That wasn’t the case even 5-10 years ago, but the technology keeps improving.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I never claimed that non-GTI Golfs were available with MT across the board. Just GTIs.

        You understand that MINI Cooper S’s are not MINIs – they’re a separate model. Well, GTIs are not Golfs.

        And yes, the fact that the MINI and the Cooper S both offer both transmissions is great.

        Somebody else said that the last holdouts for MT will be hot hatches and pony cars…I agree.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Face it, the choice is no longer ours. Fuel economy and emissions standards will win over driver preferences. The ECU MUST control shifting, and only an automatic can be controlled. The guy with a stick and third pedal simply can’t be trusted to do what is needed when it must be done.

    I learned to drive on a car with four on the tree and a manual choke; my father learned on a car with a manual spark adjustment on the steering wheel. None of that will be seen again, partly because they’re no longer mechanically necessary, but mainly because technology and regulation has made them undesirable, and soon enough, illegal.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Fuel economy and emissions standards will win over driver preferences”

      This applies to EPS vs. hydraulic steering, but I don’t think this applies to manual vs. automatic transmissions. I simply don’t think the average consumer wants to drive a manual. The (slightly) superior fuel economy of 6+ speed automatics compared to manuals is a very new thing, and I’m guessing the decline in take rates for manual transmissions precedes it by years.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Lorenzo – this is probably the closest to the truth. Manufacturers need to meet US CAFE/EPA emissions and the best way is to exercise control of the vehicle operation scheme. Simplifying/cost-controlling the process of vehicle assembly by limiting the options to a very few “packages” of options (I remember all the crazy ways of optioning-up a car the way I wanted it 30+ years ago) probably has more than a bit to do with it. Rather similar to being anesthetized in the medical setting, buyers are gently lulled away from what is desired to whatever the manufacturers offer for sale. I do find it interesting that Subaru eliminated the 6/mt on Outback’s and Legacy’s for the 2015 year on vehicles sold in the USA; the same assembly line still makes ’em for the Canadian market 2015’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      We seem to be forgetting that the mileage “advantage” of automatics is entirely a testing artifact. The EPA automatic test cycle is designed to deliver mileage well in excess of real-world results; the manual cycle is the opposite. And the automakers like it this way, as automatics are more expensive. Another fine example of regulatory capture, just like the NHTSA.

      You’ll have to pry my stickshift from my cold dead hands.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Can you show us *numbers* demonstrating that in any but the most careful, perfectly hypermiling hands, that manuals are Just More Efficient Than Automatics?

        Remember that in the *real world*, outside of testing artifacts, people tend to be pretty *bad* at shifting Just Right for fuel economy, in my experience.

        It’s 2015. Every torque converter locks, and 9 gears means you’re much more likely to be in the most efficient band than 5 or 6.

        (Also note that the carmakers don’t care what’s more “expensive” [indeed, they want cheaper, because customers are price-sensitive] – they care what has a higher *margin*.

        Do you have data to suggest automatics have a higher *margin* than manuals?)

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          The point is that the manuals should be given a fair shake on the EPA test.

          It’s unfortunate that the only official numbers we have compare an automatic at its best to a manual at its worst. Very few automatic drivers will operate their vehicles in accordance with the programming for optimal EPA test performance.

        • 0 avatar
          Truckducken

          Do you think automakers sell automatics, or for that matter any of their options, at a loss? (Well, excepting fleet sales ;-)) And are you really saying Nissan would rather sell a Versa than an Altima or Maxima, because it’s cheaper? Mind blown. No wonder carmakers are racing to set up anti-luxury divisions featuring flimsy, cheap cars without radios, climate control, etc. And no wonder BMW, Audi and Benz are struggling with lousy margins.

          As to data, go have some fun on fuelly, truedelta, etc. Or keep trusting your gubmint sticker and ignoring reality. Your call.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    There is nothing more satisfying than rowing through some gears on a nicely setup MT. Generally though, you only find nice to shift manuall transmissions in small cars that are somewhat performance oriented. My Mustang and Beetle are 6MT, and with minor shifter modifications are great to drive. In larger vehicles though its automatic hands down, especially if its a truck.

  • avatar
    Rday

    automatics make so much more sense particularly when you are an old fart and don’t like to hold in the clutch at stop lights and in stop/go driving. Wish i could get my lady to sell her shelby 500GT. It is a pain to get into at my age and the seat belts are too far to the back. hate the heavy clutch. it is fun to drive occasionally but i would prefer some modern convertible with more room. I will be driving the shelby back to la in a few weeks. it is not fun to drive on wet, icy. snowpacked roads here in KC area and is hardly driven anymore. still gets 24 mpg on the highway and the seats are very comfortable once you drive for awhile. sure wish it was a convertible automatic.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I think the mainstream market for manuals is gone. Good. Few things are more aggravating than watching someone who shouldn’t be driving a manual.

    That leave the enthusiast market: those who enjoy driving. I’m sure that a few makes will milk us for years to come.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    One thing nobody’s mentioned yet that has an influence for me: Left foot braking. I like the involvement of manual shifting, but on balance, I like the involvement of LFB *more*. RFB feels like walking around with one eye closed in comparison, like being in a fever haze, because I can’t fully control the car at all times. When I drive a manual I LFB when possible, but there are always areas where it’s not, and balancing the car just feels impossibly crude when you’re flopping back and forth between throttle and brake.

    The other issue for street driving is that LFB chops a good few tenths of a second off your time-to-braking in emergencies, and that few tenths can easily make the difference between stopping before the red-light-running clobbers you in the intersection, and being t-boned in the driver’s door.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I have to disagree with you here.

      LFB is a recipe for disaster for many drivers, and a great way to wear out pads and discs for most of them.

      The number of accidents caused by people jamming both pedals in a panic is why many cars have brake/throttle cutoffs now. It tended to increase the stopping distances for panicky drivers—sometimes terminally so.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        There have been cars that cluelessly put the gas and brake pedals in the same plane so guys with big feet and sturdy shoes could easily hit both at the same time without sufficient attention.

        To this day I use only the edge of my right foot on the gas from my time in a Metro.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        All right, I agree, if you’re an absolute moron whose feet flop around randomly on the end of his legs, and if you have the physical coordination of an elderly orangutan on LSD, then maybe you shouldn’t LFB. But in that case you shouldn’t be driving a damned car to begin with. If there’s nothing stopping you from flailing madly about and reflexively shoving your foot against the floorboards while you’re driving normally, then right foot braking is just masking the problem.

        I figure there are two possibilities: Either I’m Ayrton F*cking Senna, a master of vehicle control, or it’s not actually some kind of superhuman feat to not wildly stomp your lower appendages on whatever surface they’re over like they’re some kind of goddamned foreign objects over which you have no conscious control. I refuse to believe that I’m *that* special, and therefore I submit that the prejudice against LFB is nothing more than frantic old wives’ tales.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          If only 5% of people do a panic stomp on both pedals, that’s enough to make it a *terrible design* for a normal mass-market car.

          For that matter, remember cruise control and long trips – you sometimes really *need* to stretch your legs, which means they’ll be out of position.

          Any design that makes it easier to hit the right one in an emergency, from a non-normal position, is superior for safety.

          • 0 avatar
            PeriSoft

            “Any design that makes it easier to hit the right one in an emergency, from a non-normal position, is superior for safety.”

            And what sounds easier – “left leg stop; right leg go”, or, “right leg stop, right leg go”?

            If the idea is that in an emergency people will just stiffen up like automatons and shove wildly in every direction, how does it help to make them spend time moving their foot from one place to another before they do it?

            The only context in which RFB makes any sense is when people have had it pounded into them that they’ll never be able to LFB. If they learned it from the start, or if they were taught for an hour or so (Oh my goodness!) it would be a non-issue. Again, I simply can’t believe that people are so utterly moronic that they can’t handle “left leg stop, right leg go”. It’s far simpler than the alternative; only familiarity and inertia can possibly present any rational obstacle. And that obstacle is a mild one provided you don’t go into the deal with irrational prejudice.

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      I used to race go karts, and all go karts used left foot braking. It takes time to develop the reflexes required for left foot braking, but it can be done. Personally, I prefer manual transmission cars. I taught my wife to drive stick over fifty years ago in an original Mini. You had to use a double clutch downshift into first, as first was unsynchronized. Since she broke her left leg a few years back, she does not have the dexterity required to use the clutch. Left foot braking works if you work at it. some people simply don’t want to be that involved with their ride. I would guess that drivng a lot of different vehicles would make you a better driver. I learned left foot braking from go karts. I learned spatial awareness and to position my self on the road from motorcycles. And, most important of all, I learned to always think ahead from flying. And now, I drive an automatic for an average of about five miles a day. Living in a village in Mexico means that everything that I want or need is just a mile or so away. The only times that I rack up the miles, is when I drive back to the US every few years. Oh yeah, the speed limit here is 24 mph on the main road and 12 mph on the back streets.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I think the paradox of modern cars is that the performance of the cars keeps rising higher and higher, even as the nation’s roads become so overcrowded that the number of chances to use that performance gets lower and lower.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the most emphasized automotive features these days are interior amenties like infotainment, NVH and soft-touch surfaces. The fact on the ground is that drivers are spending most of their time sitting still in traffic jams. Reluctant as older enthusiasts like me are to face it, for most drivers the pleasure has gone out of driving. Combine that with ever-rising costs (less the cars themselves than the gas and insurance) and younger Americans’ falling incomes, and an iPhone becomes both more attainable and more satisfying as the toy of choice. It’s a bummer, but in that context a manual is less fun and more work, and a slushbox makes proportionately more sense.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “I think the paradox of modern cars is that the performance of the cars keeps rising higher and higher, even as the nation’s roads become so overcrowded that the number of chances to use that performance gets lower and lower.”

      Bingo (although, having spent time in Asia, I’d just say “crowded,” not “overcrowded”). This is exactly why I’m getting less and less enjoyment out of owning a car that sacrifices in other areas to achieve high performance.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      … who the hell thinks NVH makes driving more pleasurable? I mean, I don’t know how else to parse your mention of it, than the idea that reduced NVH is bad for driving pleasure.

      (Heck, road noise tends to be far less of an issue in traffic jams, since I’ve always found it to be proportional to speed.

      Significant NVH-relevant engine vibration is simply … bad. It’s bad engineering and bad design to not minimize it.

      I say this as someone who had a 5 cylinder diesel with bad engine mounts : I ASSURE you that engine vibration is not a good thing.

      [Then again, I’m an outlier – I don’t think “louder means faster”, as evidently half the world does.]

      [“You ever known a siren to be good, Mr. Simpson? No, it’s a BAD siren.”])

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “… who the hell thinks NVH makes driving more pleasurable?”

        I do, up to a point. Are you saying that you would prefer that there be no sensory feedback from the engine and road surface at all?

        Louder does not mean faster, but a more communicative vehicle is both faster and safer to a competent driver able to use that information.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Sorry to be unclear. My NVH comment meant the opposite: that buyers are now pickier about criteria of driving pleasure that have nothing to do with enjoyable performance driving. One of these is keeping outside noises at bay and providing smooth idle/takeoff from rest.

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    I’ve said this in other forums (and maybe here), but I see a close parallel between convertibles and manuals. It used to be that a real sports car had to be a convertible, but then somebody figured out that closed cars are more rigid and produce better numbers. Driving a convertible came to be seen as a pastime for poseurs, open-air exhilaration be damned. Now it’s the fun of shifting on your own that’s under attack.

    Ultimately, it comes down to whether you are driving to produce numbers or to produce sensations. Put me in the latter camp.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I love you man!

    • 0 avatar
      Veee8

      “Ultimately, it comes down to whether you are driving to produce numbers or to produce sensations. Put me in the latter camp”

      Well stated.

      Replace the steering wheel with a joy stick and I will truly lose my mind…

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Replace the steering wheel with a joy stick and I will truly lose my mind…”

        You won’t even get that since a joystick controls for pitch as well as yaw. You’ll get two directional arrow buttons. Poke it only a few times for a slow turn, keep poking for sharper ones. Next to the arrow buttons will be two others marked “go” and “stop” to replace those annoying pedals.

    • 0 avatar
      pbr

      I’ll take your point, and add that this is what makes the Miata a complete treasure. Here is a car that is very affordable, convertible and (predominantly) sold with manual transmissions. It’s a driver’s car without peer within the boundaries of its specifications.

      I couldn’t care less about a manual in any particular minivan, pickup, SUV/CUV, luxury car, commuter car, moving van, etc, and don’t think knowing how to drive a manual is an essential life skill for the average person, but if there was no car that drove “like a Miata” because there were no corporate siblings to share the costs of a manual transmission option with, that would be a sad state of affairs.

      In reality, I’m not that old, but I don’t think I’m going to outlive the supply of manual transmissions in the enthusiast fringe of cars that are actually fun to drive, so I don’t worry about QOTDs like this.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Really, the only solid reason to get a manual in a new car these days is out of nostalgia. Yeah, some autos still aren’t great, but some manuals have issues too.

    I’m surprised that oustide of a few niche cars (i.e. Miata, muscle cars, low-volume “performance” cars, etc.) that any manufacturer in the US still offers them.

    As far as repair costs go? Frankly, automakers are selling cars to people that buy new cars, and all but the most lackluster metal-shavings-factory-equipped A/T is going to last more than long enough for most 1st buyers to trade it in down the road before it needs rebuilding.

  • avatar
    redav

    Haha, the actual answer is that we are moving to 1-speed transmissions in EVs anyway, so the issue is moot. After all, multi-speed transmission only exists because of deficiencies of engines, particularly lack of torque at 0 rmp and limited top speeds.

    But all that aside, the fight shouldn’t be to save the manuals, but to improve automatics such that they do everything you like about manuals as well or better.

    For example:
    – Eliminate the ‘slush’ of the torque converter to make a direct connection between engine & wheels.
    – Permit the driver to truly select gears rather than sequentially click through them.
    – Give the driver complete control (sans damaging the engine) even if the computer doesn’t like it.

    If the deficiencies of automatics are eliminated, why should anyone fight to save the manuals?

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Some of the things I like about manuals are shifting via an actual shift linkage, rev-matching and clutch control.

      Explain to me how automatics are going to do those as well or better than a manual, if those activities are in fact eliminated.

      If you had all of your food liquefied, you wouldn’t have to chew it…but if you like chewing it (and experts agree that chewing – mouthfeel – is a lot of what people like about eating) then even though it’s more efficient in getting into your digestive system, the liquefied food is never going to provide everything you like about eating regular food, only better.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’m just waiting for food/nutrition to be fully available in patch form.

        “Explain to me how automatics are going to do those as well or better than a manual, if those activities are in fact eliminated.”
        – Quite simple: No one really cares if you like the ritual process of doing something, just like it made no difference that some people liked the act of rolling down a window or enjoyed the process of rebuilding a carburetor. They know you’ll get over it.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Yup.

          Those are rituals, things that “make you feel engaged” only because you couldn’t avoid them.

          I “felt engaged” when I had to adjust the idle of my 300D on a cold start, but that didn’t mean I pretended it was better that I had to do it myself, rather than the [email protected]#$^ car either not needing it or doing it for me.

          (See also manual spark adjust and choke settings, equally dustbinned by progress.)

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Mmmm…you said “automatics (will) do everything you like about manuals as well or better.”

          When I point out that won’t happen, you now change to “nobody cares” about what I like.

          You’re backpedaling.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Eliminate the ‘slush’ of the torque converter to make a direct connection between engine & wheels”

      The locking torque converter is not exactly an ideal living only in the mind of God – they’ve been around since 1949 and are in almost universal use today.

      (See also http://www.bankspower.com/techarticles/show/9-understanding-torque-converters – TC slippage is not all evil, and as an aside, an unlocked TC is effectively another gear, providing a bit of reduction at start.)

      Gear selection vs. sequencing? Well … nobody really cares. Just like people very rarely seem to skip gears on a manual (possible as it is).

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Manuals were still common 15 years ago so I’ll be rowing my own for the foreseeable future.

  • avatar
    210delray

    The day is soon coming when the manual transmission will become extinct. I’ll be sad to see it go. I learned to drive in a 3-on-the-tree car (1967 Chevy Bel Air) and I’ve always had a manual transmission vehicle in my personal fleet. My wife learned to drive a manual before I met her, so that’s a big plus there!

    The thought of buying a Scion FR-S with a 6-speed manual crossed my mind when it first came out, but practical considerations ruled it out. I plan to keep my ’98 Nissan Frontier 5-speed manual for as long as possible — I see no reason at present that it won’t keep chugging along.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I was a long-time manual evangelist. Then I moved back to New York City where a manual is a device from hell. In the mean time, automatics have gotten so much better. First-off, given that the trend is to more ratios, is anyone really into the idea of a 9-speed manual? I’m not.

    Second, and I think this is really important, the reality of modern driving is that connectivity, safety, comfort, functionality and reliability are the trump cards if the primary purpose of car ownership is transportation.

    That’s why I have a motorcycle. Despite having driven almost 3000 miles in the last two weeks, I just came back from a fun ride on my bike where I shifted up and down to my heart’s content and had a real blast. Don’t get me wrong, I really love a responsive car on a nice road. But I’ve learned that separating fun from function means that I optimize both.

    And, finally, I can still shift my automatic manually should I so desire.

    So, the war is both won and lost. On two wheels, the automatic has failed miserably, long live the clutch lever! On four, the war is almost over. It’s a bit sad, but time, as they say, marches on.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Automatics are boring. End of story. Until either I can’t find a good MT car to buy, or my body won’t let me work the pedals and shifter, I’m driving the way I choose. I lament the day when I can no longer choose.

    Maybe i’ll just take the bus from that point forward.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      “Automatics are boring.”

      This is the simple fact of the matter. Any marginal performance gain conferred by modern-day automatics is vastly outweighed by the satisfaction and driver engagement of shifting gears and working a clutch. A manual makes a boring car fun, while an automatic makes a fun car boring.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Over the past 50 years, the US hass stayed the same size, but now has 300+ million instead of 100+ million.

    The vast majority of American (and global) drivers drive down straight as an arrow roads with long highway onramp merges.

    Manuals are perfect in the TV commercial world where the Swiss Alps or Scottish Highlands are two hours away and you’re the only one on the road. Everywhere else, m’eh.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in the 80s, the US military made the decision to begin their vehicle procurements with automatics. A minimal number of incoming recruits knew how to drive manuals, and the time to teach them was better spent on learning to be a soldier. So this trend has been in place a long time.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Depends on carbon fiber. Asking the manufacturers to integrate manual transmission with start/stop and hybrid powertrain is a bridge too far. Oligopolies are lazy and they harvest low-hanging cost-effective sales. Honda tried the manual-hybrid route, and the resulting product was panned for being lifeless.

    If carbon fiber becomes mainstream, manufacturers will have no issues reaching CAFE 2025 targets with simple ICE. Manuals will hang around for enthusiast drivers who enjoy the benefits of carbon fiber lightweighting.

    The wild card scenario is the “and vehicle” concept pitched by Elio. I doubt the Elio will become mainstream, but the concept may. If people start buying commuters cars like the Nils, the manufacturers achieve CAFE compliance easily, and they can keep heavy sports sedans, if they prefer.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Two points:

    1) When did operating a standard transmission go from being a minor matter of rather elementary coordination, to some kind of almost superhuman feat? I taught a number of my friends to drive a standard, in high school, after numerous beers, on my old 62 Corvair with worn-out 1st gear synchros. Come on. Anyone with average dexterity and intelligence can learn how to drive a standard transmission in an hour, and can be driving with reasonable smoothness after a couple of weeks of commuting. It’s also very unlikely that you will break anything while learning, if you are taught correctly (as in, get a “basic driving” book from the library). At worst you might take some life off the clutch so you end up replacing it at 180,000 miles instead of 220,000.

    2) Why would you want to do anything yourself when the pros can do it for you so much better? Why cook, garden, make furniture, take photographs, etc.? Why bother having sex with a real person who may be overweight, have skin blemishes, wrinkles, and doesn’t want to do certain things, when you can just download nasty videos?

    The problem is exactly what is stated above, that people aren’t buying standard transmissions. Part of it, I suppose, is cultural; and part of it is that as fewer and fewer cars are offered, fewer people learn, so fewer people demand it, so fewer cars are offered, and an extinction cycle begins.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      “2) Why would you want to do anything yourself when the pros can do it for you so much better? Why cook, garden, make furniture, take photographs, etc.? Why bother having sex with a real person who may be overweight, have skin blemishes, wrinkles, and doesn’t want to do certain things, when you can just download nasty videos?”

      The difference is one of choice. I do build furniture (for fun) and (being the son of professional chefs) am a pretty good cook. While the former is somewhat less so, both of those activities are, largely, elective. The time that I *must* spend on the FDR Drive is not and, frankly, I’d rather not come to hate manuals because I decided against letting the automatic do the dirty work during what is the tedious part of driving.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Getting rid of them is a smart thing to do. With all the latest technology improving the durability of everything except the disposable automatic transmission, those pesky manuals present a lot of trouble for planned obsolescence. Something BMW has a firm grip on already.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Agreed.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      The transmission in my Toyota pickup was just starting to show significant wear at 280kmi when I dumped it.

      My SuperDuty’s transmission is thoroughly strong at 135kmi, just after the engine blew up from disgust at being a Triton 5.4L. (Good job, Ford!)

      Hell, my ’76 300D’s transmission was workable-but-a-little-worn-and-leaky when I got it in 2000, with probably a quarter million miles, maybe more, and had only started to slip sometimes in hot weather by 2010 and another 100,000 miles.

      Automatics aren’t disposable, in general or typically.

      (Now, you can make them so via incompetence – Chrysler – or malice and hatred – BMW, but …)

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The only people that really WANT manuals are the small vocal minority of internet fanboys. Step into a parking lot in the real world, 95% of vehicles are automatic.

    The problem is this: The manual fanboys are unwilling to put their money where their mouths are and buy NEW vehicles with manuals in sufficient number to generate significant demand. Until that happens, automakers are going to focus on the large silent automatic majority.

    Personally, like most Americans, the majority of my driving is either bumper-to-bumper in town or long straight highways, and in both of those situations an automatic is just better.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    No, and Hell No. Having owned 1 AT car in my life so far and hating every minute of that, having driven a couple of the latest ZF 8HPs and feeling meh, especially with their manual modes, and just having bought a new ‘premium nameplate’ car with a nice MT, I’m not giving in.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    I saved $2900 by opting for the 6-speed manual over DCT in my 2015 M3, but I would’ve paid that much for the manual if that’s what it takes for BMW to cover certification costs so it’s a viable option to offer. I’m surprised BMW still offers as many manuals as they do, especially in the M5/M6.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Here’s another point of view, what’s happening in Europe with regard to manuals being dropped? Has this been considered for their market as well?

    • 0 avatar
      v_Bell

      Pretty much anything that has been traditionally available as a manual still is. But in 2003, when i bought my current car new, outside of “premium” brands automatics were only offered on a couple of engines per model if at all. Nearly always on petrol models; diesels were usually manual only.

      Now you can get pretty much anything with an automatic and many people do. Because of CO2 based taxes in many countries and company car policies that encourage and/or mandate lower CO2 emissions, and how its easier for manufacturers to fiddle with gear ratios and programming to get better mileage on the tests the automatics can also be cheaper than manuals. This fiddling for better tests results can be aggravating, like with the 7-speed DSG gearbox which has absurdly short first and second gears. OK as an automatic that keeps shifting constantly, infuriating when trying to shift manually. D/S modes are programmed for extreme efficiency and full throttle all the time driving, respectively.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I have a terrible feeling that I recently sold what will be my last manual daily driver. My Elantra GT is history and I have officially joined dullsville by buying a Camray XSE. Saddest part is I don’t miss the manual yet. I love the engagement it gives you but it was only fun during ideal conditions with low traffic. Stop and go during traffic jams or poorly time traffic lights was getting tedious. I agree with several posters above. Manuals are great in certain cars and situations. If you cruising coastal highway or tearing up a country road manuals are the best. Not so much during the daily slog to work.
    Technology continues to march on now matter how much some of us wanted to stay where we’re comfortable. Now that nearly every automatic is more efficient and in many case quicker than manual options I’m afraid it’s days are numbered. The last great hold out will probably be American muscle cars.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Eighteen of my twenty cars have had manual transmissions. To me, the level of engagement just doesn’t feel right without one. It’s the difference between driving and just steering.

    Just added a very lightly used CD4 Fusion to the stable, very fully equipped, with the third pedal option. I’m set for a few years now.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Part in parcel with the demise of the manual is the demise of the analogue car. The one with real gauges as opposed to virtual gauges that make the car feel like a video game.

    My prediction is that the great analogue cars with really good manual shifters will become classics like the current gen Audi R8 V10 with the gated shifter.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Victory for any side is not inevitable, and the one who gives up last wins.

  • avatar
    SpecialVisitor

    After 30 years of driving manuals I’ve come to appreciate automatics, and I’m okay with it. When it came time to buy another WRX went with the CVT. I have an older sports car for the weekend if I feel the need to row my own, but for the daily driver I’m happy to let the car do the work.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    I can totally see where this is going. BMW foreshadowed the future with their piped in engine sound.

    Cars with the “manual option” will come with a stick for shifting gears and a clutch pedal. The clutch pedal and stick will not actually do anything except simulate what they did in real manual cars – just like the controls on your home computer driving game. The clutch position and shifter position will be sensed to control the transmission, but will do so through actuators, not direct control. You can program your shifter to be a dogleg style or a traditional H pattern. You can set the pretend clutch takeup characteristics, just like your mirrors. The shift lever will just do what the steering wheel paddles do now. And it could be run full auto for those annoying commute times and when you need a free hand to drink coffee. You can have automatic rev matching as a setting, and heel and toe as a setting.

    Maybe car makers have already made the switch – how would you know?

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I just want to own a BMW M2 in a few years (possibly used by then) with a 6-speed MT.

    After that they can stop making them. I’ll just drive that car to my dying day (or when life circumstances force me to surrender it), complain about how kids these days can’t even shift, and enjoy a smug sense of superiority over my fellow drivers with ATs, even as I sit in stop-and-go traffic slowly losing my mind.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Forget your 12 speed automatics, CVTs and DCTs. Who cares?
    I hate OBD2 systems like EVAP & EGR, so damn irritating.
    Ditch these ridiculously gaudy navigation and back-up camera consoles.
    VVT? Direct injecion? WTF for? An extra 3whp and +.15 miles per gallon?
    AWD adds weight & complexity, likely incompetent anyway, get rid of it.
    TPMS monitoring systems? A tire pa. gauge costs 1$, hassle free.
    Heated seats? DTRLs? Adaptive cruise? Wiper sensors? C’mon man Really?
    Lane change departure and warning systems? Quit texting & driving.

    Eliminate all of this useless CRAP and enjoy the art of driving again.

    There is no reason to waste a perfectly serviceable Saturday afternoon at your VW service station because your seat stopped massaging your fat supercilious ass.

    I’m with vvk, manual gearboxes for life!

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Stop buying VWs and stop hating life.

      (I kid. Sort of.

      Note that TPMS is legally mandated, as is OBD2.

      Navigation is handy for people who “travel” – you think texting is distracting? Try reading a map while driving.

      Cameras? Useful for “seeing”, especially in cargo vehicles.

      Heated seats? You don’t live somewhere it gets cold, do you?)

  • avatar
    another_VW_fanboy

    Sadly, it’s inevitable. The days where it was required (if you wanted to be considered a serious driver) are over. New drivers dont even consider it. It’s hard to find cars that even offer a manual as an option. Duel Clutch units are getting better and do a better job. I think nothing is as enjoyable as being involved in all aspects of driving your car, but I’ve accepted that I’m the minority buy FAR. I buy and love VW because they seem to get that and offer it in all their cars (not SUV CUV}, but even that will probably change in time as the new generation of drivers buy cars in the future and it just doesnt make sense to offer it anymore. These are the end days. Enjoy it while you can.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I think some manufacturers are trying to force the death of the stick shift intentionally, so they don’t have to bother making them at all.

    Supporting evidence:

    Want a stick-shift Mazda CX-5? Fine. But only in the base “Sport” model, FWD, no options available. And you get your choice of black, gray, or another gray.

    How about a Kia Soul? Sure, but only if you want the base trim, base engine, and no sir, you can’t have cruise control or RKE.

    Now Kia, Mazda, etc can say, “Look, nobody is buying the manuals we offer. No reason to make them any more.”

    On the good news front, smart is about to offer the 2016 ForTwo with a three-pedal manual for the first time. Let’s see how that works out.

    Me? I was mentally close to pulling the trigger on the new Scion iM/6MT, when I realized that (with rebates and deals) a Prius is about the same money and does many things a lot better than the Scion, except you can’t shift it. Now I’m not so sure about anything…

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Those cars are price leaders, their only purpose is to have a low priced model to attract buyers.

      You make it sound like those marques are trying to prove to someone that MT cars don’t sell. Mazda in particular makes manual transmissions available in car lines that others don’t. If the manufacturer doesn’t think it is profitable to install manual transmissions in certain cars, they simply stop doing so, and have no need to prove anything to anyone.

      If you do mostly city driving, a hybrid is nice to have. No reason for the engine to be running when you’re stopped.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I bought my first new car 32 years ago. Thirty-two years ago, most automatics were three-speed affairs. Automatics had the lion’s share of the market, but they were crap. In a given model that offered both an a 3 speed automatic and a 5 speed manual, the automatic might be 2+ seconds slower 0-60 and get 15% worse fuel economy. It made a lot of sense to drive a manual transmission. These days automatics often are quicker than the manual version of the same car, and the automatic gets better MPG. Automatics rarely are more expensive at the outset, either.

    My current car is the first non-minivan that I’ve bought with an automatic transmission. My current car is a Ford C-Max Hybrid, and it uses a modified automatic CVT. It seems to be a wonderful transmission. It is thrifty when it needs to be thrifty, and it lets you get engine and electric power on the road when you need to get moving fast. Honda offered a manual in the Hybrid Insight for a while, and it seemed to be the weak link in a car that was a weak answer to Toyota’s Prius over all. In a future where most cars will be electric or electrically assisted, manual transmissions will not be found on mainstream cars.

    I enjoy shifting gears – most of the time, but I don’t enjoy it in stop and go traffic, on hills or in parking garages. Even with non-hybrids, modern automatics interact with the engine computer better than manuals. They either have more gears or infinite gearing (CVT), and they shift faster than most humans. In most cars where both are available the automatic gets better MPG and is quicker 0-60.

    I hope cars like the MX-5 are always available with manual transmissions. For the cars most of us buy and use every day, they are technologically obsolete.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “Automatics rarely are more expensive at the outset, either.”

      Automatics are almost always more expensive, when there is a choice of manual or automatic. To the tune of ~$1,000, in most mainstream cars. In an M3, it’s almost $3,000. In some very exclusive high-end performance cars, you get a choice of either tranny at the same price.

      Hills and parking garages hold no terrors for the majority of manual transmission owners, I would wager.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Ever since I owned a motorcycle, I’ve found the engagement factor of manual transmission cars a bit over-rated. Yeah, you get another pedal and more gear-shifting work; but most of the time, the experience is exactly identical to an automatic-transmission car.

    Some manuals just aren’t that great. Take the TR6060 my 2010 Challenger had (please). The dual disc clutch was always weird even before it started randomly getting stuck ever-so-slightly engaged at around 50,000 miles & 4 years of ownership; I still liked the general concept of the car, but I’m happier with my 2015 and the ZF 8-speed.

    • 0 avatar
      ptschett

      (The clutch getting stuck slightly engaged was with the pedal all the way depressed, and gear lever in 1st or 2nd… I’d be trying to move the lever to neutral, but there was too much torque still being transferred, so the shift couldn’t be completed without also turning the engine off.)

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Gah! You literally stole the words off my keyboard! My motorcycle is not the fastest out there (650cc twin standard), but its 0-45 or so time/distance is faster than 99% of cars I ever encounter. Its shifting experience is strangely like that of a DCT…. way faster than a stickshift, with that almost contrived between gear belch during shifts. It’s a lot of fun, and even though it’s a cheap little “starter” bike it has excellent shift quality (as a motorcycle should).

      And again, the point about bad manual transmissions is one nobody seems to want to talk about. I have had (and still have) Hondas and multiple Nissans. All of my Nissans had less than great manual transmissions; almost to the point that I would have taken a good, snappy, “manumatic” slushie over them. In my Maximas the throws were UPS truck long and the clutch had about a foot of travel with no sense of engagement. In my 350Z they took that same vagueness and just cut the travel in half, so everything related to shifting was comically, unnecessarily heavy. It was nowhere near as satisfying to shift as even in my hum drum Civic.

      Other thing is cars have become so fast sometimes stickshift can get in the way. With my Civic the stick helps me wring out every last milligram of HP. In the Z, it had so much torque I rarely needed to shift. But when I did, the whole process was so slow I sometimes had to plan ahead like it was a much slower car. I think a well geared DCT could have chewed out a second or so chunk out of its 0-60 and quarter mile times. I think once a car gets down to the low 13s the performance advantage afforded by DCTs makes a lot more sense. When I had a 458 on the track the last thing I thought was “wow I need more to do, wish I had a manual”.

      Still though even after having been impressed with the MKV GTI’s DSG I just can’t quite bring myself to buy an auto just yet. I would rather take the performance penalty. Everything doesn’t come down to numbers. But if you are going to make a stickshift, make a good one… one worth making, buying, defending, etc… or don’t even bother.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I still liked the general concept of the car, but I’m happier with my 2015 and the ZF 8-speed.”

      I made the choice to go with the 8AT when I ordered my ’15 Challenger too. The 6MT was a 1k option, gets worse fuel economy and has slower acceleration numbers. I made that decision objectively and don’t regret it at all.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Non hybrid and/or electric powered vehicles will replace primarily gasoline powered, internal combustion engines long before the manual will disappear from our roads!!!!!!!!!! (I hope).

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I don’t get all the whining about manuals in heavy traffic. That’s one of the best things about manuals, actually having to *use* them. If it’s ‘the less you have to shift, the better’, you sound lukewarm on the whole deal.

    If it’s a physical pain, just say that. But then you probably have issues with just walking.

    No I’m not giving up on manuals. Just giving up on fellow car buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I would never own a manual if I had to drive it in heavy, stop and go traffic. I have before, and it’s pretty miserable clutching in to inch forward thousands of times over and over. Anybody who says a manual transmission car is good in such a situation is simply lying or has never driven in that kind of traffic. That activity isn’t “driving” anyway, it’s an effort in frustration management that isn’t helped by the extra work.

      If I lived in Vermont, yeah, I’d certainly look at a manual in a daily driver. Long windy roads with almost no stop lights. I’d also opt for a manual in any specialty use case sports car that wasn’t a daily driver. But modern 6-9 speed autos are simply a better tool for the job that most people are doing day to day.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I lived in NYC for ~28 years, and once spent 3 hours driving about 10 miles from the Bronx to Manhattan in a stickshift car. Just like in automatic cars, it was my right leg that was screaming, not my left. Maybe it varies person to person, but for me there’s not much left foot agony in stop and go traffic. The right leg has at least twice as much work to do.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Just get yourself the automatic. But what are you driving that it’s so miserable to clutch in? A Mack truck from the ’50s? It barely takes the weight of your calf and foot anymore. Once you do it, it becomes 2nd nature in heavy traffic and you don’t even think about it.

        Yes I’ve done it for years. In my avatar. Loved it. But why “inch along” if it bothers you? Wait 2 or 3 car lengths. If a driver swoops in, let them have it. Less inching for you to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Reminds me of the people that complain that they have to downshift on an S2000 to make a pass. That is a pure moment of joy, IMO. You get to rev match to get the car into the power band and make it sing rather than just pressing in the accelerator.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Problem with the S2000 and other “rheostat powerband” cars is that you don’t have a choice. I like winding an engine out, but not all the time, every time I have to merge or make a pass. What’s the point of 240HP when it feels like 120HP 95% of the time?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I don’t feel any pain from inching in stop and go traffic with my manual, but I don’t see the fun in it either. It’s just a lot of brainless legwork. The manual is fun when I’m on uncrowded twisty roads, or on the very rare occasions when there’s wide empty pavement in front of me and I can bang off a couple of redline shifts.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “The manual is fun when I’m on uncrowded twisty roads”

        Yeah, but …

        I have loads of fun on those with an automatic transmission.

        It’s “uncrowded twisty roads” that are fun, not transmissions.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    No manual, no peace.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Honestly, if I’d never driven a manual before and was looking to buy my own car (not mom and pop’s money) I would probably be afraid of one. Embarrassing myself or ruining the car for starters. I get that argument. But…

    I’ve owned both and live in a relatively crowded city and STILL prefer the manual over an automatic. Why wouldn’t I? The stick gets better gas mileage, better performance, and is more durable than the automatic.

    Without a doubt, if more people were taught how to drive a stick, many would prefer it over the automatic too. Unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen. Most of the people buying new Porsches and BMWs don’t really care about driving as much as image anyway, and no manufacturer that hopes to make a profit will give a hoot who buys their stuff as long as they’re forking over the cash.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      My dad bought a manual as my first car. It was a 1993 Impreza 5MT, AWD in the summer of 1999. When he dropped me off to pick up the car, he asked if I could drive a stick. I lied saying “yea.” having only driven a stick a handful of times at parking lot/field speeds. I got to the house about 15 minutes after he did because I was having trouble teaching myself. I still think there was something wrong with that clutch. I never stalled a car as much as I would stall that thing well after having “learned” how to drive a stick.

      I taught my future wife how to drive a stick on my 2001 Impreza when we were in college. She was getting ready to order her MINI Cooper having just finished her BS degree. I told her if she could drive my Impreza, the MINI would be a cakewalk and that “she’d have more control during winter driving.” I now realize that my justification was pretty weak in the era of ABS, traction control, and stability control, but she bit, learned how to drive my 2.5RS, and ordered her MINI with a stick. It turned out well, though, because the R53 MINIs seem to have problematic automatic transmissions and her MCS is still happily riding around over 10 years later.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        “I now realize that my justification was pretty weak in the era of ABS, traction control, and stability control . . .”

        You can use the same justification when you yank the fuses on those things!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      “The stick gets better gas mileage, better performance, and is more durable than the automatic.”

      Maybe 20 years ago. All of these things are patently untrue today, at least for performance cars.

      And most people don’t care about the thrill of driving. They want to get from point A to point B with minimal fuss. And that’s OK. Stop projecting your preferences as broad trends and statistically supported facts.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I’ll say this, a DCT shifts faster than any human ever could, so on the performance front it’s better (if better equals faster).

        As for automatics having better gas mileage and being more durable (I’m asuming you’re including DCTs since you’re speaking of performance cars)I don’t know if that’s true, especially in real world conditions.

        Do you have any statistically supported facts to prove otherwise?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Yes, go to Fueleconomy.gov and compare random cars. I just checked the base Civic, V8 Mustang and 335i. Rustang gets equal mileage with the auto. Civic 1.8 and 335i get better gas mileage with the auto. Fuelly real world mileage tends to line up with combined EPA ratings and I am always dead in line with EPA ratings on every car I own. So that’s something.

          I dont have any statistical evidence for the autos but its way easier to burn up a clutch than burn out an auto these days. Plus you dont repair a busted auto tranny, you just buy a rebuilt one or roll the dice on a junkyard one. Auto tranny for my Civic is like $300 from a junkyard.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            You can’t directly compare automatics to manuals on that site (fueleconomy.gov). They’re tested differently, with the automatic being allowed to shift whenever it wants and the manual hindered by ridiculous shift points that somebody came up with in the seventies to suit 3-speed transmissions.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            Does fueleconomy.gov base their findings on EPA results or real world testing? We know certain cars perform well on the tests but their real world mileage doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

            That combined with a test that lags real world conditions and that the manufacturers can game especially with an automatic transmission leaves me less than trusting regarding their numbers.

            You say it’s way easier to burn out a clutch these days. Do tell? Are you saying this is actually happening or that’s it’s possible (or even likely).

            Lastly, up top you we’re speaking of performance cars. Down below you give an example of a Civic. How much would a ZF 8 speed cost to replace or one of the dual clutch units used by VAG, BMW, et al?

            For me, it’s mostly about what I enjoy. Two tenths of a second to sixty or an increase of 1-2 mpg doesn’t trump that. Others will make the choice that’s right for them, as they should.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Like I said, Fuelly and FuelEconomy.gov generally line up, so all the stuff about the EPA’s crappy testing goes out the window. Can’t be that crappy if it lines up with millions of real world data points.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Do you have any examples of vehicles you’ve compared?

            I can’t figure out how you’re doing it. How do you pull up the average of, say, all 2014 Mazda3 2.0L manuals and compare to the average of all automatics of the same car?

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Yeah, I figured you hadn’t actually made any legitimate comparisons between the two sites.

            The complete absence of information on this subject is frustrating. It seems there’s a lot of interest in it, but not enough for any major outlets to settle the debate. So all we have is a bunch of ignorant media claiming that automatics are more efficient based on EPA test results, along with people parroting those claims, with none realizing that the manual vehicles are forced to drive the test in low gears at high revs while the automatics are loafing along at 1000 rpm.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Sure I have. I just gave you three examples, go validate them yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Had you validated them, you’d be able to provide real data instead of a vague statement like “generally line up”.

            You simply don’t understand that we’re looking for useful information, not your limited perception of a subject you clearly don’t understand.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      How do you explain all the Baby Boomers who, by and large, learned to drive manual, and then opted for automatics in the Eighties and Nineties, a time when all you said about durability and performance and efficiency was still actually true?

      New drivers are not learning, but a majority of American drivers were rejecting sticks long before Millennials were car buyers. It isn’t about driving involvement any more than smartphone cameras are about depth of field or digital music is about sound quality. Convenience wins, and affordable convenience wins faster.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I’m a boomer, and I can tell you that most of us learned on an automatic. My wife had never driven a stick until she married me, and I don’t think a single girl, and probably fewer than 20 percent of the guys in my high school learned on an stick, our parents drove automatics, and that’s what we learned on.

        Personally, I learned on a VW based dune buggy, but that made me the exception, not the rule.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    All this discussion ever does is prove how little influence us so-called car enthusiasts have in the scheme of things. Since almost the invention of the automobile, the goal has always been easier, more convenient, and more efficient. The “save the manuals” enthusiasts of the last decade or so are little more than a bump on that road.

  • avatar

    The computers are better, but we don’t need computer precise shifts on the road. Racing is a different story of course, and the computers will always be faster, but still boring. When the machines (optionally) do all the driving, then I’ll give up my clutch pedal.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    When you have to spend 4 hrs per day in bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic, you grow to detest and fear the manual. As a weekend getaway car,it’s nice and acceptable.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I’m fortunate enough to have 2 BMW’s in the family – a 3 series wagon w/stick and an X5.

    The enjoyment I get from driving the wagon has much to do with the transmission – as good as the X5 auto is, it can’t read my mind and shifting it manually is worse than BMW transmissions used to be 10 years ago due to the idiotic shifter they’ve gone to.

    When it comes to driving, simple is oftentimes better, and manuals are pretty damn simple.

    I’ve yet to drive an automatic that’s as enjoyable as a manual. Even the vaunted DSG Audis. For an auto, it’s great, but it’s not more fun than a stick.

  • avatar
    john66ny

    Ten of the twelve vehicles I’ve owned have been manuals. One automatic was required by my employer, and the other I inherited.

    Keeping my fingers crossed that number eleven will be manual too! And I would prefer it be an AWD wagon. Diesel and brown are under consideration!

  • avatar
    Funky

    No. The manual transmission provides for a more engaged driving experience (as others here have stated). I can’t say that I have had trouble driving a manual transmission vehicle in stop and go traffic or that I have had trouble driving one in the city. Stop and go traffic, on steep hills, I have found difficult in some vehicles (Chevy Camaro, an old Ford diesel powered delivery truck) but not in most others (Mazda MX-5, Fiat 500L, BMW 1 series, Jeep Wranger, a couple of Volvos). Maybe my experience is unusual, but I haven’t generally found it to be particularly difficult to operate the manual type of transmission. And, again, maybe my experience is unusual, but I have also found that I tend to achieve much better gas mileage (in modern vehicles) with a manual when doing “pure” city driving (short distances and stop and go at speeds less than 45 miles per hour) versus similar (but admittedly not always necessarily the same) vehicles with automatic transmissions including my experience with recent CVTs, 6 speed autos, and 8 speed autos.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Back in the day it was a case of; Well,with my battery running low I can park my F-150 pointed downhill, roll down hill with clutch in and pop the tranny in second to get her started. If my roomies are home they won’t bitch near as much since they’re pushing me down hill before I pop the clutch. These days one of us has had a heart attack and we all call a roadside service to jump start our stalled vehicles. Your needs change. These days I have six stop lights in four mile commute to a parking garage. A pox on manuals in that situation. Now to find out if Hertz rents manual Mustangs for my next vacation.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    Re: modern automatics get better gas mileage than modern manuals:

    Is that really because of any inherent characteristics of the different types of transmissions, or is it because of the gear ratios the manufacturers choose to use in each transmission type?

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      If you’re talking 6MT versus traditional torque converter 6AT, the manual could still win, especially if you factor in weight savings. Of course, this would require clean shifting at like 5K RPM sooner than do most manual drivers I’ve observed. :)

      Against CVTs, well, lots of luck. They’re good at what they do and getting better.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Might be a little of both.

      Autos are also a lot more efficient than they used to be, both with regards to managing slip and general transmission losses. Manual shifts are nowhere near as efficient as auto ones.

      Plus a lot of autos are CVT now.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Has anybody actually demonstrated that modern automatics of any type are more fuel efficient than modern manuals? I haven’t seen any legitimate head-to-head comparisons.

      As far as I know, most modern automatics are still inefficient enough to require coolers.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I have seen head to head comparisons in both Consumer Reports and Road and Track indicating that the AT versions of cars were getting better fuel economy, in those cases where the AT had more ratios.

        That was before CVTs, I suspect the CVT has more of an advantage than does a conventional automatic.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Got any links? The only one I can find is this one from CR:

          http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/01/save-gas-and-money-with-a-manual-transmission/index.htm

          The manual achieved better fuel economy for three of the five examples, and better acceleration for all five. But that was a few years ago now, and those weren’t exactly the most advanced vehicles or transmissions.

          The only thing I can find from Road and Track is a few mentions of how some automatics do better in EPA testing.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You seem intent on believing that the EPA test isn’t legitimate.

        I know that “real world” sounds catchy, but it’s actually worse. There is no universal standard of “real world,” and “real world” testing is more easily gamed.

        What “real world” really means is that fewer testing variables are controlled. That makes it less reliable, not more reliable. The EPA test is consistently administered in a lab, which makes it more useful because it is possible to compare results to each other. Of course, your mileage may vary, but it always will.

        And yes, there are now some automatic cars that are getting better fuel economy and the trend is moving in that direction. In the old days, sticks had more gears than automatics, but now it’s the opposite. The programming also seems to be getting better at choosing shift points than the old hydraulic systems used to be.

  • avatar
    suburbanokie

    While I love my 6MT Frontier, my next vehicle will be an AT. Ever-increasing traffic and a growing family almost necessitate it. That being said, if I ever find the time and money, the ’79 C10 sitting in the garage will have the old TH350 swapped for a standard (NV3500 or 4500 probably)

  • avatar
    niky

    I think the rejoinder should be:

    “If Ford mates an automatic transmission *just like Mazda’s* to their 3-cylinder turbo Fiesta, it’s game on.”

    I’ve driven a DCT EcoBoost Fiesta. And I’d rather have a manual. Lag, throttle over-run, indecisive shifting… no thanks.

    Mazda’s six-speed torque-box? Nirvana in comparison.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Just a few years ago, I owned nothing but manuals. I gave them up for an automatic because I had to face the reality of my back issues. I enjoy driving a manual and I prefer it. But, I also prefer to be able to walk into the store once I get there.

    So, I sold my manual-trans Isuzu Trooper and Ford Tempo GLS. I really miss them, and now that Ive found an automatic daily driver that I enjoy, I plan to pick up another manual car/truck as a 2nd and/or 3rd vehicle. I want a truck, or rather, I need one to do what I want to do. After that, I plan on picking up a sportier car for “Sunday drives” (or anytime I just want to cruise for the fun of it). Both will have manuals.

    The truck will be small, likely a 90s Mitsubishi or a pre-80 Datsun, and with a I-4, unless I find something really old (mid-60s or older) with an I-6. For the sporty car, Im thinking of a BMW 318Ti (hatchback) or a 97-01 Honda Prelude (if I can find one that isnt “modded” but is affordable, which seems more difficult everytime I look at them). None of these vehicles are acceptable with an automatic. It just wouldnt be the same.

    I wish Id have kept the Tempo GLS as I did enjoy driving it, but its gone and there is nothing I can do but move on.

    So, BMW wants to give up on gear heads and concentrate on badge snobs and soccer moms. So be it. I have no doubt that Ford will continue to offer manuals in its sporty cars for several more decades at least, and GM, Honda and Mazda likely will as well. Thats good enough for me, as modern BMWs are too complex and compromised by their electronic nannys to be as much fun as they once were. I bet Alfa will offer a manual in the Gioulia, and right now, its my favorite luxury sports car anyway based on its looks and sound.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Maybe not a war, but until I have good reason not to, I will continue to buy manuals as much as I can. As it is, I like smaller cars that really suffer from a torque converter (admittedly, they’ve gotten much better), and I don’t entirely trust that significant numbers of them aren’t tuned to game EPA tests.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, beyond the fact that we’re lazy, the arguments for driving a manual are pretty thin.

    1) Manual gets better fuel economy – not anymore. 3-speed autos with overdrive versus 5-speed manuals have been replaced with 6, 7, 8, and 9 speed automatics versus 6 and in rare cases 7 speed manuals. The automatic delivers the better fuel economy

    2) Manual is faster to 50, 60 and the 1/4 mile. Not anymore. The computers and solenoids can flip through the gears faster than a human, and the automatic version of car X is typically faster now

    3) Automatics need service while a manual can go 100K or more before I have to worry about a clutch. Again, not anymore. The ATF dipstick is about the thing of the past. Modern dogma says if you haven’t cracked open that automatic to change the fluid by 100K miles – don’t ever do it. A growing list of automatics are “sealed” transmissions with “lifetime” fluid. In the real world, even a neglected automatic can gimp out to the life of a clutch in an equivalent manual. If you actually do swap ATF and filters every 50K miles – most automatics will give you 200K to 250K miles at this point.

    4) You have more control with an automatic. In some cases this still remains true, like a 6-3 get the Hell out of here downshift. No waiting for an automatic to go 6-5-4—-oh-3-GO! But many automatics have a range of modes to select from beyond sport and economy these days. Further with things like launch control and rev matching available in cars as crappy as the 2009 Cobalt SS — there isn’t a whole lot of challenge to drive a manual.

    5) You’re more connected to the driving experience. Well that’s great, if you’re driving experience isn’t stop and go traffic on a Seattle, LA, New York, or Chicago freeway. Then it is just horrid labor.

    Really the only good reasons to have a manual are:

    a) you can drive anything if you know how to row your own – amaze your friends

    b) in the highly unlikely chance you get carjacked, there is a better than 99% chance that the idiot doing it won’t have clue one on how to drive your car

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Really the only good reasons to have a manual are:…”

      Have you considered that it’s what one prefers. That’s all the reason one needs, much like any other option on a car or for that matter in life.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I’ve always like to compare automatic vs. manual with digital photograph vs. a drawing. The digital photo is quicker and more accurate, but sometimes the drawing is better.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I agree, Hubcap. As with my post above, it comes down to a matter of preference. Yours is no more right/wrong than mine (well, you and I agree on this issue, but you get the point).

        I lived north of Seattle and commuted on the congested I-5 everyday with a manual. I also owned a car with an automatic. I honestly do not remember a time, when driving the manual car, that I wished for an automatic.

        That was before my back was in the shape its in now. Had I not been forced to deal with this, there is no doubt that Id still be driving a manual today.

        That is not to say I wouldnt own a 1995 Taurus like I have now. Ive always loved these cars, and have wanted one with the 3.0L Vulcan (which could only be had with an auto).

        The Taurus makes for an excellent daily driver. Its comfortable enough with a decent ride, but doesnt handle like a shopping cart, either. I still look forward to the day when, back pain permitted, I can walk outside and choose a manual to drive if I want to.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I still prefer manuals but I agree that their days are numbered. For one thing dealers are not that anxious to have manuals on their lots because many do not know how to drive a manual and the dealers don’t want to get stuck with them. Also the manufacturers want to simplify their manufacturing and lower their costs by having less variation. It is much easier to offer an automatic with power windows, power locks, cruse control, and other features that were once options. Increased consolidation and globalization of the manufacturers will make vehicles more alike and less unique. It is much more profitable for a dealer to up sell a customer especially if that customer is leasing or if the monthly payment is just a little bit more especially if the loan is spread out of a longer period of time.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    And don’t even get me started on Cruise Control.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Let them eat computer controlled slushy boxes. What do I care?

    Leave me alone to row my own till even after self driving vehicles are illegal.

  • avatar
    otaku

    For what it’s worth, I currently drive an automatic ’08 Ford Focus, but one of the first cars I learned to drive was my brother’s ’87 Mustang GT 5-speed manual. Over the years I’ve leaned more toward automatics, but most of my decisions came down to what I could afford at the time. Still, I think car companies should continue making an effort to offer both types of transmissions to customers. I say people should be able to buy whatever they like.

    Personally, I’ve determined that bumper-to-bumper traffic is extremely aggravating regardless of what type of powertrain/transmission is involved and I don’t think that will ever change. However, here is my suggestion to help alleviate the problem:

    I don’t care if your car’s a hybrid, electric, or diesel; if you drive a stick, an automatic, DCT, CVT or whatever. I could care less about how many cogs your tranny has; just promise me right here and now that when the light turns green, you’ll wake up, get off your goddamn phone, find first gear and step on that funny looking pedal to the right!

    Agreed?

    Good.

  • avatar
    fsdude

    While I’m sure I may test drive a good DCT equiped vehicle one day, I’m sure I’ll be driving a manual for a long-time to come!

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    No, because I still can’t buy a practical, reasonably priced electric car with 300 mile range and sub 5 min. charge time.
    That is what will kill my need for manuals

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    Just like asking to give up sex for online porn. Manuals forever

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Not just no, But Hell NO!

    As I mentioned in another post on this site recently, people get MT’s because:

    1) The are more robust, durable, and longer-lasting;
    2) They are less expensive to buy;
    3) They provide superior driver involvement;
    4) They allow owner-doable oil change, which is also less frequent and less expensive;
    5) They require no separate cooling system with its own radiator;
    6) Their Wear item = easily replaceable clutch (not the whole tranny!);
    7) They show Superior traction in slippery snow, by “feathering” the clutch;
    8) They give us almost air-tight theft protection;
    9) They discourage Distracted Driving because it’s hard to fiddle with gadgets >> Safer.

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

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Unfortunantly, a lot of your reasons no longer apply. Manuals can indeed cost more than automatics (someone above mentioned it being a $1,000 option on the Dodge Challenger). A lot of automatics get better mpg than equivilent manuals.

      Hey man, dont think Im pushing for the end to manuals, because Im not, but the facts have changed in recent years to favor automatics. I do like manuals and plan to buy another with my next vehicle purchase, but given that I plan to pay cash, that limits me to older cars where your rules all still apply.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    When automatic transmissions give better fuel economy and faster acceleration than manuals, it should be obvious which is the better technology. However, I still prefer a manual.

    There are three things that bother me about automatic transmissions including CVTs and DSGs. First is that they can’t read my mind. With a manual, I can shift to the gear I expect to need a few seconds in the future. Unless I use paddles to override its gear choices, an automatic transmission can only react after the fact. That leads to my second complaint. To maximize fuel economy, too many automatic transmissions are reluctant to shift to a lower gear. As a test, I slowly add pressure to the accelerator pedal until the transmission shifts down. “Good” transmissions shift quickly and smoothly under fairly light pressure. “Bad” transmissions delay shifting as long as possible and then do so with a decided lurch. The third is longevity. A few months ago, we finally replaced the clutch on our 17-year-old Subaru with 240k miles. The transmission itself is still fine. How many automatics last that long?

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      Well, since you asked; two examples that I know of immediately come to mind:

      My father’s 1984 Mercury Grand Marquis had a four speed auto. He kept it for about sixteen years and must’ve gone well over 200k miles, since he flipped the odometer on it twice. Never had any tranny problems, but after all those New England winters, just about everything was rusted out under the thing by the year 2000. May it rest in peace.

      Also, back in 1992 I bought a used ’91 Ford Escort GT with the Mazda 1.8L and a four speed auto. After I was done with it, I gave it to my brother in 1998, who continued driving it to work for almost another decade. He got into a couple of accidents with it over the years, but never had to do a single transmission repair.

      When he finally traded it in on a Hyundai Accent, it had just over 220k miles on it. I think the Kelly Blue Book value at that point was approximately twenty-five cents, but the Hyundai dealer was running one of those “we’ll take whatever ya bring us” promotions, and he actually got $2,000 for it.

  • avatar
    JamesE

    The whole car should be automatic. As in it drives itself.

    When automated cars are the norm this will be about as relevant as discussing what horse shoes to put on your horse. We don’t ride horses for transportation anymore and soon we won’t “drive” cars. Those of us that love to drive manuals will simply enjoy them at the race track.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Great plan, if you have a race track handy. I hope autonomous cars can tow a trailer. So far, they all look like golf carts.

    • 0 avatar
      jmiller417

      Autonomous cars are going to kill the enthusiast market and go a long way toward commoditizing the rest. I’d be terrified if I ran a car company.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      Then what are you doing here at TTAC? Perhaps you should mosey over to Edmunds or the Ralph Nader forum.

      Damn, I hope you’re the first to buy an autonomous car and it drives you off a cliff all the while as you’re screaming and panicking but there’s no manual override.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    I just returned from a vacation in Orlando and there I rented a 2015 Mustang Convertible. I was pleasantly surprised to get the GT Premium trim with the Eco-Boost engine.

    My wife and I both drive stick, but the Mustang was an automatic (no choice). In normal drive mode, even my non-enthusiast wife noticed the steering felt “loose.” My 15 year old son suggested track mode, but I said no, and went with sport+ mode.

    It was the most fun automatic transmission I had ever experienced. It would down shift into a corner. I didn’t need to use the paddles, but I played with them anyway. In the end, I still missed the stick, but I admit modern automatics can be fun.

    I hope as long as there is a 5%-6% take rate on manuals, car makers will still make models with a stick. Mazda, Honda, Ford, and Porsche come to mind. And my son definitely wants to learn stick, not for some hipster image thing, but because Mom and Dad drive stick.

    And kudos to Ford. The best ride in Orlando wasn’t at Universal or Disney.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    In real life, you can get better MPG with a manual along with better performance. Ask any hypermiler what their preference is, and none of them will say automatic. And especially the smaller car you have with a smaller engine, of course a manual brings out more performance, especially now that modern autos are programmed to game the stupid EPA test.

    The manual will literally survive because of Europe and Asia. In the North American market, that’s anyone’s guess, but my generation (millennials, damn I hate that term) seems to be catching on more into manuals along with the love of cars. Aside from some fat preachy bastard I personally hate and loathe but pretend to be friends with for business reasons and his girlfriend who he brainwashed, nobody my age I know hates cars.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    I think it goes beyond the manual transmission.

    Based on Corvette, Miata (or Mazda in general!), WRX/STi, and Ford SVT/ST sales, I think the car enthusiast market is gone. It’s half the size it was in 2000 and falling fast, even when everything’s going right. People hardly even buy sports/sporty cars even when the only compromise is first cost, and in Mazda’s case even if it’s free.

    Where’d we all go? Check the subscription numbers for C&D or R&T, then the ones for Cycle World. There were 250 riders at a Grattan motorcycle track weekend last weekend. 1 ended up in the hospital and will be OK soon, 10 or so were treated by the EMTs, 5 or so had nontrivial mechanical issues and missed sessions, and the other 235 got what they came for.

    The enthusiasts won on bikes to the exact extent that they lost in cars, to the point where even the magazines are wondering if we’ve gone too far. Does saving 10 lbs over last year really matter? Is it an improvement that traction control makes wheelslip a useful bike-control tool? Will we be able to use the 1.5g + that modern street tires give, and is it good or bad that a bike “runs on rails” at .8 nowadays? Have we lost our sense of connection with bikes that run as reliably as cars?

    As for the manual transmission’s fate, it depends on what a MY2029 economy car is like. If it has 4 x 100 hp electric motors and weighs 3500 lbs, then it’s a relic. If it has an 80 hp electric motor up front and a 50 hp gas engine behind and weighs 1500 lbs, then your choice will be between manual and automated-manual, maybe sequential like a bike.

  • avatar
    PeterKK

    You can always buy used! *ducks*

  • avatar

    The biggest problem with automatics for me is the difficulties that arise when the car is modified. On a number of cars, one computer controls both the engine and the transmission. This includes Jeep Wrangler since the 2006, and RiPP often has trouble on automatic cars: hard shifts, refusal to shift into a particular gear, etc. Back in the day, you could get an HKS or JET PCM and swap it in. Not anymore.

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