By on December 27, 2016

6-speed manual transmission

Let’s face it — the manual transmission is on life support, and its relatives have flown in from Atlanta and Houston to crowd around the hospital bed.

Stick shift aficionados can dream all they like about an 11th hour renaissance of the three-pedal setup, but transmissions aren’t vinyl LPs. One day in the near future — no doubt a dystopian landscape where dessert speakeasies doll out sucrose to sugar-taxed denizens of a Bark M.-imagined superstate — we’ll talk of the manual in the same manner as the front bench seat. Hell, rumble seats, for that matter.

Drivers of manual transmission vehicles already find themselves in a shockingly small minority, castaways on an island of technological obsolescence. Edmunds estimates the stick shift take rate at less than 3 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. It’s no wonder, either. Dual-clutch transmissions offer lightning-quick shifting, while continuously variable transmissions boast smoothness and enviable fuel economy gains. Eight, nine and ten-speed automatics fill in the gaps.

For the holdouts, what keeps the row-your-own fires burning?

For this author, currently on his sixth manual transmission (out of seven vehicles), the benefits are both nebulous and practical. Living in a snow belt means a two-wheel-drive vehicle needs all the help it can get when the white stuff piles up. Good luck rocking that car out of a drift with an automatic.

Still, that happens only a few days out of the year. When the sun shines, and long, twisty roads to nowhere beckon, a stick shift often delivers that connection to the physical world we all need to remind ourselves that we’re human beings, damn it. And yes, I’ll admit it — it makes me feel like a man. True, Queen Elizabeth II can drive a stick. Still, many drivers, men and women alike, want to drive — to be in control of a machine, be it a Lamborghini or Cruze.

It’s romantic, appealing to a bygone time before automation touched every aspect of our daily lives. Also, it’s a great way to dissuade friends from borrowing your car.

What’s not exciting and romantic is the day-to-day pitfalls of owning a manual. Commuting in stop-and-go rush-hour traffic is a drag, and it’s hard to eat a burger behind the wheel. However, the “Save the manuals!” refrain exists for a reason.

To members of the B&B: what keeps you coming back to the manual transmission? Or, is the love lost?

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220 Comments on “QOTD: What Keeps You in a Stick Shift?...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Sticks are hugely more important to car blogs than to the auto industry.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Old Man Pants – you’ve got it. Easier and cheaper to for the manufacturers. Takes more effort/money to stock and install manuals with the required extra hardware/separate EPA certification and simpler CAFE calculations. With manuals gone the major difficulty during assembly will then center on only needing to pop out the trim filler plugs and plugging in the options for the different trims to the pre-wired connectors of the common wiring loom hidden within.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Because I’m a modern day Luddite:

      Manual transmissions
      Mechanical watches
      Fountain pens + paper
      Black powder revolvers
      Vinyl records
      Tube stereo electronics
      Bespoke suits, shirts and shoes

      Also, car thieves have a harder time stealing manual cars.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I am into most of those things not because I’m a luddite, but because I’m a shameless hipster.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “I’m a shameless hipster.”

          Me too! I bought a floor squeegee yesterday rather than continuing to wet-vac snow melt in the garage. Greenie-green-green!

          F*cker works SWEET!

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Re: general population ineptitude with a stick. This will probably show up all over the place in some form or other. Took my 4Runner to the quick change oil place the other day. The kid asked for the key and asked me to have a seat in the lounge. I did and within two minutes he came in after me. He said “I’m only 23 and don’t know how to drive a stick”. Since he had my car for service I had no comeback. Just pulled it over the oil dump and went back to the lounge.

        That certainly seems to put me in agreement with twotone. In fact I guess I agree with about half of his list.

      • 0 avatar
        Avid Fan

        Mechanical watches, oh yes, two thumbs up. Fountain pens are just classic! Black powder revolvers, give me a Colt Walker or even better an old Single Action Army. Vinyl records, meh. Tube stereos, snooze. Bespoke attire, great.
        IMHO, it’s too much trouble to daily drive a manual. If you live in a city of more than 37 people, eat in the car or have streets that aren’t level, it’s just not worth it. Of the two or three manual cars I had, I BABIED the clutches and STILL they would slip, chatter and wear out too soon. EVERYONE else I knew was on their third set of tires, second set of brakes, 200k plus on the odo and still, yes, still the ORIGINAL clutch. I hate those people.

        • 0 avatar
          Noble713

          “IMHO, it’s too much trouble to daily drive a manual. If you live in a city of more than 37 people, eat in the car or have streets that aren’t level, it’s just not worth it.”

          I learned to drive manual here in Okinawa. There’s definitely more than 37 people here, given that we have the slowest traffic in Japan:
          http://www.japanupdate.com/2014/12/naha-rush-hour-traffic-slowest-in-japan/

          I spent 2 years DD’ing manuals…while drinking coffee…and texting girls on my smartphone…and changing music on my iPod….and feathering the clutch on hills. Manuals aren’t the problem: traffic in general is. I actually find commuting in my 4-speed automatic Mark II more aggravating: at least in a 5-speed manual Evo or Chaser I had something fun to do while driving. In my AT car I can only mash the throttle.

          Note: I’m not saying your opinion is invalid, just providing another data point with a contrarian opinion on convenience and driving enjoyment.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Tube stereo electronics”

        Do tell.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Depends on the car. I have an Abarth with a stick, any small & fun turbo car has to be stick. But if I buy a new Challenger or Mustang etc, it’ll be auto – they are quicker at the drag strip, which I do when I own those types of cars. Even something mundane – it would be auto. But if I am buying an old Chevelle or Roadrunner? 4-speed please.

      Just depends on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      NYCER

      Stick shifts will always be necessary in mountainous places like north Italy, etc. Automatic transmissions overheat and are nothing but trouble. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one up there.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Pure fun and engagement.

    That’s it. I love the feedback from the engine, I love the ability to downshift and control gears as I see fit, and I love the fact that I can chose the gear I wish upon entry into a corner. I don’t care that I lost 2/10ths of a second 0-60, or that I might have lost 1 mpg, and I don’t care about a manual with stop and go traffic.

    I just have more fun, I feel more engaged with what the car is doing, and I am more rewarded from it.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Same here, I don’t mind the daily grind at all. I don’t buy commuters. My car is very much a part of what I consider entertainment and a stick makes for a very fun and engaging vehicle.

      I’ll leave the “winning” to the twits trying to impress thier date forthe week and take the slow option.

      As the very trite expression goes “it’s about the journey not the destination”.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “it’s about the journey not the destination”

        That’s boosh*t whether said by some East Asian dao peddler or a Western apologist for aimless dithering.

        • 0 avatar
          caltemus

          With that opinion you must have never been on a good road trip. Sometimes it’s good to travel or move just for the sake of seeing something different.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          Having a destination or a goal is a very good thing, but the phrase — “the journey is the reward” — is referring to what you learn and the friends you make along the way.

          Watch the Wizard of Oz again. Then try that road trip and follow the yellow brick road. Or not.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      You probably are getting better fuel economy than the autos as the EPA real world feedback almost always has the 3 pedal variants doing better.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Most of the same reasons you mention, but it really comes down to being more fun. I like to shift. Keeps a little more engaged. Yah, stop/go stinks, but it’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. I’m in my 30s. I may not feel the same desire when I’m in my 60s and have sore knees/ankles.

    But until that point….FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Keep yourself healthy and reasonably physically fit, and I seriously doubt you’re going to have physical problems with a clutch pedal thirty years from now. I’m 66 and doing just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        bill h.

        At 60, the “clutch throwout bearing” that is my left knee is still OK, but some right shoulder rotator cuff problems do make the physical act of rowing the gear lever a little more challenging. Still hanging in there, though.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          Five years ago I came down with RA. Before getting under control I could not swing my leg into bed, walk without a cane, get up from a seated position. The most difficult thing about driving was not the clutch it was operating the turn signals, and the gear shift lever (my hands were in that much pain). But if I had an automatic I do not believe I would have been able to squeeze the lever lockout to get the car out of neutral. If you can walk you can clutch.

  • avatar
    houstonhawkeye

    Three reasons for me: Fun, control, and keeping me from being completely bored during my stop and go commute. Each time I go to buy a daily driver I tell my self that I will get an auto this time, but each time I change my mind and end up with a stick. It makes my life more difficult (wife will not drive manuals), but what are you going to do?

    There is so much joy to be had with a solid first to second shift.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      In the same boat. I’ve been grousing about a newer car and my wife would love for me to get one with an auto, but I find them not engaging to drive, even ones with good autos.

      There’s no thinking needed for an auto, which I can see is an advantage some of the time, but for most of the time, it’s just not very fun.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I used to be firmly in the camp of the manual transmission. Then I entered the minivan stage of my life, and saw no benefit of a manual transmission in a minivan. Still, I bought a Volkswagen Passat manual in 2003, and I was a true believer of the manual in sedans. With the current generation of automatic transmissions, I believe that the detriments of manual transmissions outweigh the positives. True, manual transmissions are more fun and more engaging, but they offer no benefif to performance or fuel economy, they are a pain in the neck in parking garages and starting out on hills. They keep your right hand busy even when it would be better placed on the wheel or some other control. The modified CVT in my C-Max offers smooth, seemless accelleration to as fast as you want to go. A manual transmission would make the car harder to drive without offering any other benefit.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I get that in the end, it’s personal preference and more power to you.

      But, I don’t get the comment, “pain in the neck in parking garages”? I am not sure why that’s a pain? And not to pile on, but what’s hard about starting out on hills? Very easy with a little practice. My manual even has a hold feature that keeps it from rolling backwards for a moment, so it is especially painless, but I’ve never felt like I even needed that feature.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        All three cars I have with manual transmissions have a hill holder.
        It is called the emergency brake handle between the front seats . Just lower parking the brake handle when the clutch can be felt to be engaging the motor to the drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I first learned to drive on a VW based dune buggy at age 12, driving a stick just seemed very easy to me, and I stuck with it until I needed a tow vehicle, at age 32. At 43, I no longer needed the tow vehicle and went back to a stick shift. I have a traffic clogged commute and that car had a very low first gear which worked great. I could let the clutch out slowly with the engine at idle and the car would roll along at walking speed, which was very convenient. My most recent purchase was three years ago, and was a plug in hybrid. The electrified drivetrain is even better in traffic.

      When I bought the previous car, I wouldn’t have considered an automatic, the ones that were available in the early 2000’s were inferior to the automatics of their day. My wife has a 2014 Explorer with a six speed automatic that can be manually controlled. I drove it in manual mode for a few miles, and came to the conclusion that it did a better job than I could. That wasn’t true 15 years ago.

      I used to think I’d still want a stick for a sporting car, but then I drove a 911 GT3 RS at one of those track experiences. OMG, that was like having Walter Rohrl shifting for you, it was brilliant. Make mine a DSG.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        >>OMG, that was like having Walter Rohrl shifting for you, it was brilliant. Make mine a DSG.<<

        See this is where I draw a blank stare. It's not that I don't understand the outright speed of an auto but I absolutely love when I get the shift right to me it becomes a thing of beauty when the clutch engagement is just right, the throttle modulation perfectly timed ( or in the insane world of speed shifting keeping the throttle matted and just rowing the box and working the clutch ),and the shift quick and precise.

        All that provides a real sense of accomplishment to me rather than just the outright speed.

        Now if I could just get my heel/toe shifting down pat!

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          Depends on what you’re doing with it. I was driving a very powerful car that I wasn’t familiar with around a technical race track that I didn’t have all that many laps on. In that case having the car do the shifting is a big help. If you’re noodling around a back road in a street car at a moderately quick clip, operating the transmission adds to the fun.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      One of the benefits of my manual Tacoma is an actual *handbrake* which is a very useful thing. the Taco doesn’t have hill hold or any thing like that, so, if you have a stop sign at the top of a hill, you have to perform the equivalent of the heel-and-toe. It requires a bit of practice, but the benefit is that you learn just where your clutch engagement point is located.

      I’m in the “I like being connected to the process” camp. Modern automatics are really amazing and I certainly appreciate the one in our sedan in city traffic. On weekends, in the Taco, I’ll row my own just for the fun of it.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    I only got rid of my manual tranny car because I was driving 200 miles a day around the city and my ankle was paying the price. I’d happily go back if the perfect car presented itself (Which to me would be some sort of 4 door hatch/wagon).

  • avatar
    random1

    Answer: nothing. I’ve always bought a stick if available in the car I wanted, until my 2015 GTI. The DSG is so good. I use it in manual mode regularly, but not in stop-and-go, that’s just masochism. And there’s precious few larger cars where it’s even an option any more. Alas, the days are truly numbered.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Partly habit, partly an aversion to replacement cost and performance of automatics.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I learned on a stick and initially gravitated to them because I’m cheap and appreciated the better MPG. Then I bought them because the resale was lower and it makes used cars a better deal (again b/c I’m cheap). Now I don’t care, would consider a stick for a 2nd car or truck, but not for my primary ride.

  • avatar
    Nikolai

    My last two cars were manuals, but I’m back to an automatic for family/car sharing with the wife reasons.

    However I honestly feel like I’m a safer driver with the stick. I’m forced to be more engaged. My ADD gets me in trouble (like commenting on blogs from work), but having the wheel, clutch, stick and engine to pay attention too keeps all my attention on driving.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I like to DRIVE a car, not be wheeled around and steer.

    I also:

    Kick start motorcycles.
    Shoot matchlock and flintlock muskets.
    Play LP’s without going to used record shops. I bought mine new.
    Fence (as in dueling with swords).
    Ride bicycles without indexed shifting.

    Keeping the old skills alive is often a point of pride.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I too, enjoy yelling at those kids to git offa ma lawn. I kid. I kid because I love. Both motorcycles are kick-start, which I absolutely hate. I own lps purchased new in the 60’s, but I will happily buy more from both flea markets and hipster record store. My bike is 20 years old, but it does have indexed shifters. Shooting matchlocks sounds fun, but I’d rather spend my money on steel case and go to the range more.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Well, sticks the autojornos a chance to write another paragraph. Big Clue Here: Most manual transmissions sucked! A speed on the floor truck? A grabby clutch and shift throws that would be a balk if a major league pitcher threw like that. Your much beloved cheeping car you learned to drive on? Its manual transmission was designed to a price point; cheap parts for a cheap car. Most manual transmissions were the food equivalent of truck stop hotdogs on those roller things. The few manual transmissions that were designed to to work with and enhance the cars performance? Their food equivalent? The wurst; with spicy mustard.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      In the US, this was actually the truth, in 1958 maybe. Americans couldn’t be inconvenienced with such plebian things as depressing pedals and rowing sticks in the colorful futuristic images from the commercials.
      But in the rest of the world manuals were still the norm for several decades. And some of them were good, to the point where having the auto version was a punishment. (any Honda before , eh ever.)
      Maybe you still can’t actually buy an auto in any mass market car that is as good as an old Honda manual, but you can get autos now that are way better than a Mercedes manual from the 90’s)
      Automatics are and will always be junk-food delivered from a drive-thru window, (where a Porsche double-clutch is equivalent of choosing carrot strips instead of fries), while manuals can be just about anything you want them to be. (yes, manuals can sometimes also be slightly burnt roadkill)

  • avatar
    KevinC

    I’ve been driving since ’73, owned about 25 cars, and 100% have been manuals. I continue to do so because I simply prefer the experience of rowing my own and having my left foot involved with the 3rd pedal. I’ve driven plenty of automatics over the years, and I’m bored to tears within a very short time.

    I’m also sick and tired of forum geniuses talking down to manual drivers, extolling the virtues of superior modern autoboxes. We get it. We understand that autos are now faster and get better fuel economy, 2 things that weren’t so in the past. We don’t need to be preached to or told we’re idiots for continuing to drive “outdated” technology. If anything it makes me even more determined to drive manuals forever.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Some of us who get stuck in an hour and half to go nine miles traffic sure appreciate our automatics.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’m sorry, who’s “talking down” to manual drivers? I don’t see any #savetheautomatics hashtags, nor do I see a bunch of peacocking @$$holes going around bragging how they’re a “better driver” and “connect with their car” because of their automatic transmissions. In fact, I only see people bring up the advantages of modern automatic transmissions *in response* to arrogant blather from manual trans snobs.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      Agree totally with JimZ, it’s the opposite, anybody who enjoys driving automatics is ridiculed everywhere online, and the “I’m a man because I drive stick” and the “you aren’t an enthusiast if you don’t drive stick” attitude, plus the fact everyone I know personally who will only drive manual wear backwards hats in their late 20s and 30s and can’t go a sentence without swearing or saying “bud”, discourage me from ever aspiring to own a manual vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Wildcat

        I agree with you both (JimZ and scott25). I lived with a manual for nine years in two different cars and I’m past that phase now. And it’s nearly an impossibility for me now, some days, when my arthritis in my hips acts up, when walking up just two or three steps becomes an adventure. I drive a mid-side SUV mainly so I can pivot and walk out of it, vs. having to pull or climb my way out of a car.

        What I really don’t like even more than the “enthusiast” attitude is that snobbery in the automotive press (magazines, blogs, etc.)–those writers who whine and moan about a specific car model because it doesn’t have a manual trans version. Um…so what? Most buyers don’t want them. For those that do, well, that’s their choice and they can enjoy them. That doesn’t make the other, what, 97% (?) of us a bunch of luddites, nor does it make those cars unworthy of attention.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “will only drive manual wear backwards hats in their late 20s and 30s and can’t go a sentence without swearing or saying “bud”, discourage me from ever aspiring to own a manual vehicle.”

        Don’t let a handful of immature yahoos potentially ruin the simple pleasure of rowing your own. Like any stereotype, they don’t speak for everyone.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    I bought a 2015 Mazda 6, my first automatic ever. Within a year and a half I was back in a manual.

    For an enthusiast, driving a car is a very tactile and subjective experience. To date, whenever I drive an automatic I struggle to connect to the personality of the car, especially when compared directly to its manual counterpart. It’s like if someone made a car with the best handling in the world, but to do so they had to remove the steering wheel. Would you enjoy that? I would not.

    I bought the Mazda because I had a rough LA commute. After moving away, the drawbacks of the manual are heavily outweighed once again by the stronger connection to the car. The more I can make my car feel like a motorcycle, the better.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You bought the wrong car with an automatic. Current crop of auto Mazdas are horrible. A CVT equipped Honda with a powerful enough engine is a more fun drive.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        What? CVT? Its like you push the gas and nothing happens. I drove Accord. Mazda autos are state of the art. Mazda manuals are from god!

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          Yeah but the CVTs are faster and get better fuel economy that conventional automatics. Of course I only own even slower and more inefficient manuals.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            your statement does not hold water. Mazda6 according to tests has best efficiency overall. And specifically, it beats Accord CVT. Hence, “CVTs are faster and get better fuel economy” is false. Especially “faster” part. How transmission loaded there for fuel efficiency can be faster? Look 0-60 times. There is no support to your statements.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    1 of my 3 cars is a stick, and it’s the only one of the three that’s fun to drive. That’s partially because of the stick, and partially because it’s a sports car instead of a prosaic sedan or CUV like the other two. Frankly, I’m relatively ambivalent either way on the stick; for back roads and occasional hoonery, the stick is better, but the point and shoot stomp the gas and go of an automatic (don’t even need DSG) has its own appeal as well. Unless I somehow can suddenly afford another sports car, which is doubtful, I’ve probably bought my last stick shift, and I’m okay with that. I’ll keep the one I’ve got though.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The thing about 8+ gear automatics is that they shift gears constantly. Press on the gas, go down 4 cogs to the red line, make a howl, shift up one almost immediately, then one more two seconds later, then end-up right where you started soon after that. A lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Compare and contrast with third gear in the Saab, which builds-up a tremendous, seemingly unstoppable rush from walking pace to nearly 100 mph. I guess that, in theory, a 10-speed auto will get me home .2 seconds sooner, but who cares?

    A manual is a lot smoother and more satisfying than any automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I’m firmly in the manual transmission camp, but I’ve got to admit that the 8-speed automatic in my Jeep works amazingly well (when it’s actually working correctly–another story entirely) with incredibly smooth upshifts & downshifts that are nearly imperceptible. I thought an automatic with that many ratios would be a gear-hunting disaster, but it is really not at all. It almost feels like a performance transmission, banging off quick shifts without winding out the engine at anything less than full throttle.

    • 0 avatar
      A strolling player

      It’s not the number of gears, it’s the transmission itself that matters. I’m currently in a V6 Charger rental with the ZF 8-speed automatic and I have nothing but praise for this transmission. Last year I had a Cherokee rental with the ZF 9-speed automatic and it was a pain in the ass, rough shifting and sometimes hunting for gears. In other words, the automotive press is right about both of them. Shifting a lot is only a problem if it’s actually annoying or actually affects your drive. Yeah, the 8-speed will gradually go from 5, to 6, to 7, to 8 when you level off speed from a spirited start, but it does so smoothly, and you’d only notice if you were watching the gauges or had the radio off. Can’t say the same for the 9-speed, but it’s not because it has one more gear, it’s because it’s just not a well-designed or programmed transmission.

  • avatar
    ronhawk62

    I love the control of driving in the rural areas where I drive. There is nothing more fun on four wheels than driving the north Georgia mountains in a Mini in sport mode.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Had 13 cars, 11 manual.

    They’re more fun to drive, generally more durable (in a street car), and I can change the fluid in my garage.

    I have an auto now and it’s kind of driving me nuts.

    I go on Autotrader and filter for manual trans sedans and hatchbacks all the time just to see what dealers have.

    I started checking out the Kia Forte5 turbo and found out that for 2017, a 7 speed DCT is standard, and a 6 speed manual is a $2,200 option!

    I better get something soon, because when Kia has DCT standard on a little hatchback, and seems to discourage people from getting a manual, it really does seem like the end is coming quicker than I thought.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “I have an auto now and it’s kind of driving me nuts.”

      A lot of people fight that boredom by constantly texting. Apologies if you’ve already tried this.

    • 0 avatar
      tmport

      I just went to the Kia website to check that out. It’s a little confusing, but you don’t pay more for the manual–it’s just that getting a manual requires that you add the tech package (which costs $3600). The manual itself takes $1400 off the price, so the net increase is $3600 (tech package) – $1400 (6MT) = $2200. So, in a way, we should applaud Kia for offering a 6MT on the very highest package!

  • avatar
    JimZ

    nothing really. I’ll usually go for it if it’s offered on the car I’m interested in, but it won’t sway me towards a particular vehicle. I’ve had several manual trans vehicles (diesel Ram, SRT-4, and two Mustang GTs) and due to real life intruding I’ve had to slim down to one four-wheeled conveyance which is my Ranger. The bikes live in the garage so I simply have no room to deal with two cars.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    Imo – the biggest advantage of a stick is throttle response. It’s bologna when you press the gas on an automatic and then the car starts downshifting when all you wanted to do was pick up a few MPH to clear a yellow light.

    And subjectively, nothing puts a smile on my face like rowing through the gears and revving out a motor.

    But turbo motors are taking both from me. Frankly, I think I’d be most happy with an electric.

    I tend to have a preference for manuals but in some cases, the manual transmissions give owners more trouble than the automatic transmissions (e.g Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe 5 speed) and not all manuals are worth saving. I really regretted the manual in my Hyundai, but I thoroughly enjoyed the manual in my Honda.

    I’d bet that an alert driver gets better MPGs around town in a manual than a regular driver in an automatic, but I’m convinced that CVTs get the best milage for every driver. And my chief complaint with manuals is that most of them (esp. ones from Japanese manufacturers) are geared poorly for the freeway. A Honda Fit manual turns 4k RPM where the automatic Fit turns 2.5k. I wish other manufacturers would do like GM does, make an N-1 speed transmission with the Nth gear being a serious freeway gear.

    But manuals worked better in old-school cars – 2WD, N/A, light. You need to beef up transmissions to take AWD abuse, handle Turbo Torque, and deal with 4000 lb ‘sport sedans’. It makes for unfavorable clutches and heavy, imprecise shifters. A Fiesta ST? Love me a manual. An Evo X for the track? The DCT makes a lot of sense.

    I don’t begrudge people from moving away from manuals – as much as I begrudge people from moving away from cars that show you why manuals used to be more popular. People drive CUVs and trucks they struggle to afford in some sort of arms race around seat height and mass. But regulations make it hard to give people new, cheap, light cars. If you have to buy an expensive, heavy car, may as well pay a few extra bucks each month for cargo room, ground clearance, and safety. After all, if you don’t show up to work, it’s the bank’s car anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> But turbo motors are taking both from me. Frankly, I think I’d be most happy with an electric.

      Yup. For me, it’s either a manual, or an electric car. Automatics are interim technologies that will eventually go the way of the do do bird. :)

      I share all the opinions of those who prefer stick here. In addition, the automatic does nothing to draw me in. If TTAC posts a similar QOTD asking “What keeps you in an automatic?” the answers I bet, would be much like driving an automatic — less entertaining.

  • avatar
    iwasntspeeding

    I enjoy having the complete control. Flappy paddles do not have provide complete control, they only dictate the gear, not speed of clutch engagement. I control the precise speed at which the clutch engages. That can be coordinated with brake and throttle application with infinite variability, and good results are quite satisfying while imperfect results represent a challenge for future improvement. Plus I can skip around the gearbox in a way automatics can’t, and engine brake with more subtlety due to precision clutch engagement. That relationship between me and the gearbox make driving fun. I’ve driven so many miles of stick shift that heavy traffic presents no deterrent, it’s second nature. It’s gonna be a sad, sad day when manual transmissions fully obsolesce. How soon, maybe 4 years away? What’s the last new stick car going to be? Corvette? Some econobox?

  • avatar
    TTCat

    Everything the “pro stick” folks here have said applies to me as well, as automatic transmissions turn cars into mere mobility appliances – Even after 40+ years on the road, I still like to “drive”…

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Started driving with manual trans (a German insect car). Stayed with the stick through next two. In those ancient times automatics were rather inefficient and often leaked. As those troubles were overcome, 2 and 3 speeds became 4,5 and 6, things looked a lot better for the automatic.
    The next van I bought had an automatic as my S O was not very happy with a stick.
    Then we bought her an SUV with a 4 speed auto that had several buttons to change the shifting including the common OD on-off. Which just makes it a 3 speed. The other things; PWR supposedly for more power (Scotty) and Hold, which made it start off from a stop in 2nd for slippery conditions, were never used.
    I still have one beater van with a 4 speed manual. Works fine even with a zillion miles on it. I do maintain things including trans oil changes.
    As others mentioned, it is getting a little tough on the clutch leg.

  • avatar
    Duaney

    Since I’m a mechanic and understand how it all works, I can make a stick shift and the clutch last forever. Automatics can go out just because they feel like it! Also on all of the older vehicles, sticks perform better and return better fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      eManual

      For those of us in snow country, a clutch can immediately disengage the drive wheels when in a skid. I learned this the hard way when my automatic equipped FWD Minivan had the back end start to wander. I released the throttle, putting drag on the front wheels, making the skid worse. On previous manual cars, my immediate reaction is to clutch in and then steer into the skid. All four wheels are then equivalent.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The same effect is possible to achieve in an automatic by jamming it into neutral.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          That’s true, but what if you go too far… Reverse, or even Park!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You have to try to shift it all the way to Reverse and really try to make it to Park with all the automatic shifters I’ve ever experienced. All that I have ever used are conceptually two hills with a valley in the middle. Neutral is at the bottom of the valley and you can shift from drive, one step up the hill to the South by simply pushing the lever in that direction. Since Reverse is one step up the north hill you have to either push the button or pull back on the lever to allow the shifter to make that up hill movement. To get to park you have to push the button/pull the lever even further to get up and over that north hill and down the other side into park.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “my automatic equipped FWD Minivan had the back end start to wander.”

        Snow tires? Curing ass-wander, particularly during turns, is the main reason I buy them.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Yup a big advantage in the snow and slippery stuff. I still remember when I was a kid with my dad at the wheel of our family truckster when he found out that stopping with chains on was a big pain. The fronts would lock up while the rears kept pushing the car forward. He quickly learned that you really had to shift to neutral to stop safely in those conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      100%!!!

      When I turned wrenches for a living, I opened up gearboxes strictly for modification purposes; an LSD upgrade for example. To this day I have not cracked one open due to an internal failure. Manuals out live the engines they are mated to 2 / 3 times over and outlive the shell as well.

      Occasionally, I’d get a high mileage manual in need of a new clutch kit & flywheel re-surface; however, 95% of the clutch jobs were done purely for performance reasons. Sure, slave or masters failed here and there, however, their failure rates and replacement costs are incredibly low.

      Automatics on the other hand!!! I remember constantly trying to source low-mileage replacements from our network of junkyards. Many times I would find them out of state or from importers. It was much less expensive to R&R with a low mileage example rather than a much more costly, longer turn around time, rebuild.

      For many customers the death of their automatic transmission signaled the end to their ownership. I would purchase the car at a discount, fix it, and sell it for profit. Often times the cars were gifted to me. Thank you automatics!

      Manuals, regardless of manufacturer, are much more reliable & durable than their cousins.

      • 0 avatar
        eManual

        I’ve had one clutch replaced at 120,000 miles, otherwise the other 3 have gone over 150,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        My Taurus SHO had a manual transmission fail at about 85,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar

        I have had more manuals fail then autos. And I have put more miles on autos. My xj used to eat slave cylinders. My Toyota lost 5th gear at 150k miles. Pulsar lost a syncro at 170k miles. So far the most I’ve had to do to any of my autos is adjust a kickdown and change a cooler line. I doubt that will last forever though. I have heard that certain modern manuals are less reliable then the autos, the ones that cone to mind are Hyundai and Jeep patriots.

      • 0 avatar
        Wildcat

        Jeesh, the manual in my one car was in the shop every year or two while I owned it, due to a leaking transmission. At one point, it had deteriorated to where it needed a new input shaft, which had a 4-week lead time. So I was without a car for a month. I was easy on the clutch yet it was all done around 90,000 miles. On the car I owned prior to that one, the shifter always had problems in cold weather. Dumped that POS after two years.

        The automatic in my 19 year old car, in contrast, has only cost me the fluid changes. Almost 290k miles. And I’m the original owner.

        Might want to rethink those reliability claims…

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    As the article said: “… the stick shift take rate at less than 3 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S.”

    When car shopping, I have always looked at stick shift vehicles (cars AND trucks) first, and I consider an automatic ONLY as a last resort (I won’t consider a CVT at all). Fun, control, rarity, and simplicity are all of my reasons. Plus, I prefer “real” driving.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    For me, I prefer a manual transmission for safety, enjoyment and hopefulness.

    Let me explain:
    Hopefulness: If all first-time drivers were required to have a manual transmission car the opportunity for distracted driving would go down drastically. It would also create something called “situational awareness” in that you might have to actually comprehend proper speed, cornering ability, grip and inputs needed to safely drive.

    Enjoyment: I prefer the tactile feedback and interacting with the vehicle while driving.

    Safety: Being able to hold a gear in certain situations, better using weight transfer to load the suspension where you want it or the like is vastly safer than an auto hunting gears or shifting at insane moments.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “If all first-time drivers were required to have a manual transmission car the opportunity for distracted driving would go down drastically.”

      assumes facts not in evidence.

      “Being able to hold a gear in certain situations, better using weight transfer to load the suspension where you want it or the like is vastly safer ”

      this has practically no bearing on on-road driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Considering there’s people who struggle even with automatics, a world of manuals would only lead to more bashed bumpers and expensive clutch jobs.

  • avatar
    Mathias

    I prefer a manual, but I’ve owned plenty of both.

    The only time I bought an automatic where a stick was available was a 2007 Silverado. I test drove a stick — the local dealer actually stocked them — and found it was a comical exercise on bad roads, with one hand and one foot in the air while the car bounced around.

    My next car will likely be an automatic, as I’m running out of choices. This is probably OK. What galls me is that even today, most automatics are too reluctant to downshift, and when you finally put your foot down far enough to make it happen, chances are you’re now screaming along at 5,000 rpm and your passengers are wondering where the anger came from.

    Happened to me recently in a rental GTI. Good car, bad transmission. About the best “automatic” I’ve driven was a beat-up ’16 Focus. It was very pleasant to drive, and felt intuitive.

    In the old days, I liked the GM 305/3spd auto combination. Hard to be in the wrong gear when you have plenty of torque and only three speeds to choose from…

  • avatar
    05lgt

    In the price range I swim in, the auto’s aren’t good enough to make mid corner balance adjustments, and are too likely to up-shift when I want to engine brake. In a CUV, van, pickup or SUV? auto. Sport, pony, or rally? manual. Doubly true with the “no fast shifting” dial, moostable, push button etc. stupid shifters. It’s getting really hard to rotate some of these beasts in smaller spaces than the turning radius and … just every once in a while … I’m willing to make some noise to move quickly.

  • avatar
    crm114

    Whenever I hear someone complain about driving a manual in traffic or up hills, I can’t help but think they just need more practice.

    • 0 avatar

      Hills I agree practice. Traffic can be just plain annoying. If your commute consists of sitting in stop and go traffic for 45 minutes a day a manual is just an annoyance until traffic breaks up. When I commuted on rural roads I loved my manual. Quick commute, great, driving around new England awesome. Sitting in traffic an hour or more every day give me an auto.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      Maybe they need more exercise. After about half an hour to 45 minutes of going about 5 miles down the 405 in my stick-shift car my left leg gets tired and I get a cramp.

  • avatar
    Wodehouse

    My 1st generation Miata and ACR Neon (rope-a-dope cable shifter notwithstanding). Driving either of them is 83.74 times more enjoyable than stomp, steer, then, yawn mode of driving in the auto equipped Camaro, CTS and pickup in the garage.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Every time I think, ‘oh, maybe I could live with an AT’ then I drive one, I decide ‘nope.’ Last weekend I had a new Mini Clubman loaner (with the old Aisin 6AT, not the 8) and it didn’t do anything to change my mind.
    – This trans automatically neutrals when stopped to minimize brake drag and vibration, but you still have to keep your foot on the brake to prevent creeping. This feature extends to an option to coast at speed; the engine drops to idle when off throttle at speed.
    – Catching the thing in the wrong gear. I’ve yet to drive an AT that’s always in the right gear when getting back on throttle at speed after, say, off-throttle through a turn. Well, the ZF 8HP doesn’t seem to be terrible.
    – Having to press the brake pedal to do FOCKING ANYTHING WHATSOEVER. OK, so that’s a post 60Minutes/floormat/Toyota DBW safety nanny issue, not entirely to blame on the AT.
    – The combination of AT with start-stop is really annoying. Yes, start-stop can be shut off, an on the Mini, once it’s off, it actually remembers unlike many. When its on, in stop/go, the motor shutting off all the time is annoying, and can’t be good for the engine (the owner’s manual warns against it as well). On the MT, leaving the clutch in disables it. I know work is being done about this ’cause I was invited to a focus group dealing with this exact issue.

    • 0 avatar

      Certain autos are worse then others. Most of my autos have been in domestic cars and honestly most have been great they are usually in the r right gear and shift smoothly. My auto Subaru on the other hand was awful that thing was actually tiring to dtive, the shifts were clunky the gears were never right, a real pain in the butt.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The take rate is meaningless when the overwhelming majority of vehicles in the US are auto-only, or limited in trim or configuration that is available with a manual.

    I simply prefer manuals. I have only rarely found automatics that don’t irritate me eventually – no matter how good they are, they can only be reactive, not proactive.

    Ultimately it is the automaker’s loss. I simply won’t buy a new car in a configuration that I don’t want, but I am perfectly happy to buy used cars. BMW would certainly have sucked another $55K out of me if they would sell me an F31 3-series wagon in RWD and a stick, but they won’t so I won’t buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      take rate is not “meaningless,” it’s the primary factor they use to determine whether to continue offering an option or configuration. Despite protestations to the contrary, automakers are dropping manuals *because* fewer and fewer buyers want them, not vice versa. heck, up until 2014 you could still get a Fusion with a stick shift. Why didn’t you (or anyone else) buy them? if you had, it would still be here.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Or is that fewer and fewer dealers want to carry them?

        This is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dealers claim fewer customers want manuals, so they resist carrying any, which makes it more difficult for potential customers to find a manual, which means less of them are sold, which means dealers claim fewer customers . . . . . .

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          Dealers don’t “claim” anything. they stock what sells. Trying to blame the car companies and dealers for being mean and taking your manual transmissions away from you is bass-ackwards. the simple fact is that the typical car/CUV buyer owns a vehicle as a means to get things done. a manual transmission is- to them- a needless hassle with no benefit whatsoever.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Plus dealers know that if they stock a manual it will sit longer than the same vehicle with an auto.

            It is surprising that for carmakers don’t offer special order cars for the US market that are available elsewhere with a manual.

            Perhaps it’s the lack of a global safety standard preventing this.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @JK it has nothing to do with safety regulations and everything to do with emissions regulations.

            A manual trans vehicle needs a different calibration than the same engine with an automatic. Doing that calibration and getting it right takes a lot of time and thus money. So you need a decent amount of volume to make it worth your while especially when many consumers think the manual version should cost less than the automatic.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        “heck, up until 2014 you could still get a Fusion with a stick shift. Why didn’t you (or anyone else) buy them? ”

        Hey, I did my part. The 2G Fusion was special order only with the 6MT, which is pretty self-limiting on take rate if you are never going to find one in dealer stock. I have what is probably the only Ginger Ale Metallic Fusion with every single factory option available with the manual transmission–sunroof, leather, nav, driver assist and tech packages, even the auto parallel park feature. It stickered for $32,700 (considerably less with X plan), replacing a 12 year old 6G Accord Coupe, also manual. It’s a blast to drive, feels a lot like an E39. 55K now and no complaints. It’s fun to have a unique version of a mass market car. That Ford made it available to USDM customers is IMO a nod to enthusiasts — also partly made possible because the take rate is much higher in every other market in which it’s sold.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      krhodes, you can’t special order an F31 wagon with a stick and do European delivery?

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    The VW Jetta 1.4T is still available with a 5-speed manual transmission. I think I’m going to get a manual this time for the following reasons:
    1) Better engagement and control of the vehicle, no fumbling with cell phones or drinks while driving.
    2) Perceived reliability of a manual transmission over an automatic transmission. I might wear out the clutch prematurely because I’m a newbie.
    3) The manual Jetta actually gets slightly better MPG than its automatic counterpart.
    4) Good practice for my trips to Europe, where most rental cars have manual transmissions.
    Starting on a hill will be difficult for me, though. I hope the Jetta manual has a hill holder feature.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Once you get used to driving your manual transmission, starting on a hill becomes second nature. What you want to do it to release the clutch until it just starts to engage, you’ll hear the engine slow slightly, then get your foot off of the brake and onto the accelerator, add a little throttle and continue letting the clutch out.

      If you’re not confident that you won’t roll backwards, before you’re ready to go, reach over with your right hand and grab the handbrake, put your thumb on the release button and hold it down, and pull up on the handbrake. Once you’ve got the clutch partially engaged and the throttle slightly open, put the handbrake back to the floor.

      • 0 avatar
        guardian452

        One of my favorite features of the mx-5 is the hill holder. When you stop facing uphill (or downhill and in reverse), it will hold the brake until you let out enough clutch to start moving forward.

        There is also a little meter on the dash that says what gear it is supposed to be in.

        These may sound like silly features to an experienced driver but they really are helping my wife learn to drive it.

      • 0 avatar
        Menloguy

        Your point about using the handbrake simultaneously to prevent the car from rolling back makes sense; it’s just whether I’ll be coordinated enough in traffic to go through all the motions with my feet and the handbrake. Both the Renault Clio and Renault Megane I rented had the hill holder feature which were very helpful in preventing me from stalling them.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          I find that modern fuel injection and engine management has eliminated the need to use the brake to prevent from rolling backwards when taking off from a hill. The clutch can either be slowly released letting the idle air control keep the engine from stalling or the clutch can practically be dumped with moderate throttle and the engine will not bog.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Nothing, anymore.

    I owned at least one stickshift car at all times from 1998 to 2015. I enjoyed the challenge of getting good at operating the stick, but the truth is that what really kept me with the stick was the terribleness of the automatics available during most of that time. Now, the automatics have gotten good enough that I can choose the right transmission for the segment. And my current fleet is made up of vehicles in segments (2 large luxury sedans, one plug-in hybrid) where a stick just makes no sense.

    At this point, I’ll buy a stick only for vehicles where driving dynamics are the highest priority. If I ever get the Boxster S or Mustang GT that I occasionally fantasize about, it will have a stick. But I have no wish for a stick in my LS460 or my C-Max, or to find a replacement with a stick for either one.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Driving dynamics are something I attempt to abate but stopping dynamics matter to me and since brakes have so vastly improved since the ’90s engine braking via an MT is rendered superfluous.

    Twenty years ago I was solidly in the MT chorus.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Good, thoughtful thread ~
    .
    I’m old so of course I grew up on non synchromesh boxes and still know how to drive them effortlessly .
    .
    However, gypsy cab kinda screwed the pooch for me when he ran me over at a traffic light .
    .
    I’d given up on every enjoying stick shifts again until I bought my Morris Minor and more recently my 1959 VW Beetle ~ even in dense Los Angeles rush hour traffic I find my self enjoying the action between matching the engines speed/load with the vehicle’s speed, the hills and so on .
    .
    Simply put : IT’S FUN =8-) .
    .
    I find that manually shifting the four speed slushbox in my old turbo charged Diesel Mercedes allows for fun and spirited driving when I’m out doing road rallies in the mountains and canyons ~ I seem to be easily able to pass almost all the other folks in their ‘ Sports Cars ‘.
    .
    Oops~ Demarkis says SWMBO called for breakfast.
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    Boff

    It’s quite simple, really…with an automatic I can’t pretend I am Gilles Villeneuve every time I get behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Let’s be honest: there are no real objective benefits to a manual versus automatic. A good ZF or DSG will shift faster and return better fuel economy.

    For the majority of us, the manual transmission is just enjoyable in the right car. My ’16 GTI is great with the manual, but I’ve driven the 2014-2015 Audi A4 and S4 with the manual and it just never felt right – the DSG fit that car’s personality better. Same with my wife’s ’15 Grand Cherokee – the 8 speed ZF is outstanding and I don’t even bother trying to paddle shift.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Driving experience, nothing more really. I don’t track often enough for me to consider the faster shifts of a DSG to be of any benefit and it wouldn’t be worth the few tenths I’d get on the very occasional track day to lose the connection to the car I get from driving my manual transmission cars (2015 Accord and E36 M3) day in and day out. I know I’m an oddball but I’ll remain that way until they no longer make them!

  • avatar
    OzCop

    “For an enthusiast, driving a car is a very tactile and subjective experience. To date, whenever I drive an automatic I struggle to connect to the personality of the car, especially when compared directly to its manual counterpart. It’s like if someone made a car with the best handling in the world, but to do so they had to remove the steering wheel. Would you enjoy that? I would not.”

    ^^^^ This pretty much sums up my preference as well. I learned to drive on a 1949 International 1 ton wrecker with 4 forward gears. I have been an enthusiast since my teenage years beginning in the late 50s. I’m soon to turn 74, and still an enthusiast, participating in several autocrosses and track days every year for the past 32 years, and drag racing for 20 plus years prior to that… All my performance oriented cars, with a couple of exceptions, have been stick shift cars over the years. I have my truck with automatic, and my lovely spouse has her SUV with automatic. But for myself, my daily driver and track car will always be stick shift until they are no longer available. I plan to continue my auto enthusiasm well into my 80s if health allows…I’m certain by then, unless I purchase used, the manual will not be available. As someone else mentioned, I stay more engaged and attentive while driving a stick shift…at my age, that is a definite plus…

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I only return to stick just learn the skills, don’t want one as a daily driver. I’ve specifically stuck to automatics after 2 manuals.

    I’m not under any pretenses that driving a stick “keeps me physically fit”, “makes my crappy undesirable car unstealable”, “makes us all great drivers”. No, it is simply a preference, nothing more.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    “For an enthusiast, driving a car is a very tactile and subjective experience. To date, whenever I drive an automatic I struggle to connect to the personality of the car, especially when compared directly to its manual counterpart.”

    ^^^^ This pretty much sums up my preference as well. I learned to drive on a 1949 International 1 ton wrecker with 4 forward gears. I have been an enthusiast since my teenage years beginning in the late 50s. I’m soon to turn 74, and still an enthusiast, participating in several autocrosses and track days every year for the past 32 years, and drag racing for 20 plus years prior to that… All my performance oriented cars, with a couple of exceptions, have been stick shift cars over the years. I have my truck with automatic, and my lovely spouse has her SUV with automatic. But for myself, my daily driver and track car will always be stick shift until they are no longer available. I plan to continue my auto enthusiasm well into my 80s if health allows…I’m certain by then, unless I purchase used, the manual will not be available. As someone else mentioned, I stay more engaged and attentive while driving a stick shift…at my age, that is a definite plus…

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    Ever since learning to drive a manual (71 3 spd Vega, & a 66 4 spd 396 Chevelle!) I refused to drive any 4 cylinder car with an automatic. Now, I realize that with the advent of turbo’s and other improvements, they’ve become able to get out of their own way, but as has been stated already, I ENJOY my manual. When I test drove a Honda Fit w/ paddles, I quickly realized that the (for me) paddles were a toy, and the car would more often that not remain in Drive. If I’m going to “shift”, I prefer full enngagement! My 2012 Fit Sport 5 speed manual offers me the opportunity to cruise around, and also to drive spiritedly! :-)

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    * I see MT as an active winter driving safety feature. The ability to not only choose exactly when to shift, but also how gradually the power is applied/reduced can not be matched by an auto tranny;

    * Winter driving fun – more applicable to older models before the throttle by wire killjoy;

    * The Guilty Pleasure of Coasting in Neutral.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I prefer manual transmission vehicles for the same reason that I prefer to have sex without a condom. No matter how good it is at its job, any additional layer between us is a loss of sensation.

    BTW, I’m married and loyal, so don’t go thinking the above statement is just a crass joke about casual sex. However, I will drive anything with a stick!

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’ve had 7 cars, all stickshift. I’m thinking of going automatic with the next one. I have an increasingly serious sim racing rig + a motorcycle with a godly commute, so I have plenty of outlets for speed and engagement. I only buy used anyway so it’s not like I’m fighting the good fight. Plus I think engagement prompts me to drive a little recklessly.

    Next go round I’m thinking about something like a TLX or Golf TSI… something quick enough but isolating and comfortable. Maybe my lizard brain is slower than others but for me a Forza 6 online lobby is more than enough fun. Plus my current ride doesn’t even have Bluetooth… I want some toys and a better stereo in my daily.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    For me anything sporty should have a stick. A flappy paddle gearbox is quicker around the track but quicker != more fun. My commuter could be a stick since I only have a couple stops on the way to work.

    I like manuals so much I upgraded from a Logitech Momo to a G27 just so I could drive the old cars in GT Legends (and proper manuals in newer cars/sims ie Viper) with a proper gearbox on the computer.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I’ve always kept a manual in the garage… usually something low to the ground. My DD is a manual.

    The first manual I drove was an old ranch pickup when I was 11. That thing was a beast with a stiff clutch.

  • avatar
    rolando

    To keep my wife and kids from driving it; as well as the joy

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I have read up on how to change a clutch on my ‘tranversely mounted engine’d 4wd vehicle, so I know manuals have one downside. But I have two working arms and two working legs, and I hate changing brake pads anyway.
    I have driven an electric car, so I aknowledge that a seamless accelleration can be more comfortable and simple than having to constanyly manually adapt the ratios to suit my driving style to my environment, but even on long hauls I rarely shift up more than a couple of dozen times a day,so there is no measureable time to be saved with a double cluch, and to me it’s less than a hazzle for me to use a clutch occassionally than the constant applying of brakes and having to change gears even to park, and change gears to start again. Not to mention the sudden lack of power, or lack of silence or continuity when the darned thing magically decides that my current rpm’s are not matching the standards set by the manufacturer for the speed and incline I am in/on at the time leaving me suddely pumping oil or whatever when I was expecting to deliver power to the wheels. (#no swearwords, #proud of myself)

    Disclaimer; My current car was made late in 2002, and I doubt I will ever really want a newer car than this one, but I’m fairly sure that outside the US there will still be proper cars available for a few more years.
    I’m also depressingly predictably always wrong when Im ‘sure’ about things…

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Over the course of my driving career I’ve fallen in and out of the stickshift camp. Many of the cars I really liked weren’t available with manuals, and, honestly, who could imagine a Buick Roadmaster with a 5-speed manual? Or a big Caddy? It would just seem odd.

    After we had our first kid, the 1997 Altima with the manual was sold. And then a year later it was my 1994 Nissan truck. And then it was years of automatics until my wife had a hankering for a used 2004 BMW 325i with a stick. After that, I had to relearn the old techniques (which came back quickly). Her next car was a Mini Cooper S with a 6-speed so I took over daily duties with the manual BMW. It was a great car, especially compared to the 2001 Accord (ugh that soul-sucking auto!) I was driving before.

    My problem with automatics: lack of engagement. My eyes and concentration tends to wander more when I’m not driving stick. This makes me a worse driver.

    The last auto I drove – a rental Mini Countryman – had an unnerving lag when I pushed the throttle down. It was like a full second or two before I started to go as the transmission had to figure out how many gears to drop. Also there was a weird sloppy shudder when going up gears – a familiar feeling I get with all automatics but this seemed a little worse than normal.

    And I’m also old enough to remember when “real” performance cars came with manuals. That thought is still ingrained in me, even though I’ve owned some very fast automatics.

    • 0 avatar
      philipwitak

      re: “…who could imagine a Buick Roadmaster with a 5-speed manual? Or a big Caddy…”

      i could imagine it. my best friend during high school drove a brand new 1965 pontiac catalina convertible, with a full-width front ‘bench’ seat and a factory-installed floor-mounted hurst four-speed manual transmission. this was the very first car i ever found truly appealing.

      for someone of my age and limited automotive experience, it was a wild ride and an absolute adventure – in the very best sense of the word – to drive.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    “… a stick shift often delivers that connection to the physical world we all need to remind ourselves that we’re human beings, damn it”

    Says it all.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    The only benefit I can see is easier modification. People putting RIPP superchargers on Pentastar Wranglers had a lot of trouble with the 5-speed transmission not shifting correctly or at all. The transmission is controlled by the engine PCM on that vehicle. They end in reflash hell and sometimes cannot drive from Kansas to Colorado due to elevation change. What’s strange, the engine continues to run fine while supercharged, and drivers of manual transmission Wranglers are generally happy with the supercharger.

    Other than the mods though, I see no good reason to prefer a manual gearbox. People who don’t believe into automatics ought to drive something like Mazdaspeed 3. There’s not even need for a Ferrari TheFerrari to understand it. Although most cars have terrible automatic transmissions, it is not inherent in automatics.

    As far as “connection to the physical world”, I have a vehicle where I have to pump primer to start and then adjust gasoline mixture ratio while in motion. I don’t need anachronisms on my car too.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’m about to put a deposit on a 2017 SS with a manual and trade my auto 2015 SS. Someone talk me out of it.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Simple…freude am fahren…

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    As a 49 year old American, I have owned a lot of cars and pickups and driven even a whole bunch more, both autobox and stick, and the vehicles that I remember most fondly are all stick shift cars.

    My first new vehicle was an ’88 Nissan D21 2wd pickup. With a 4-speed stick it got me through 170k miles of fun. Next vehicle was a ’93 4×4 D21 and then a ’94 Ford Probe GT and then a ’97 4×4 D21. All sticks. ’97 Passat VR6, meh an autobox. Didn’t keep the VW very long. 2K Jeep Wrangler, stick.

    All of the vehicles which I have considered the best I’ve owned have always been stick-shift. Highly engaging and fun. My third car now is a ’17 Versa stick and I love it. Our Sonata Hybrid although a much nicer car overall feels like an appliance and even more so than the ’15 Legacy 2.5 does.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Put it this way: Our ’99 Chevy Prizm (120-hp 1.8-liter Corolla engine) was purchased new with a 5-speed and was fun to drive for more than 10 years. With either the 3- or 4-speed automatic, it wouldn’t have been.

    (Two of our three current cars are stick. I’ll miss them when they’re gone, or when I am.)

  • avatar
    Syke

    One of the points we’re missing on new drivers learning on manuals is that current manuals aren’t all that terrific a transmission for a beginner to learn on.

    I was fortunate in learning to drive a manual on a 1937 Buick Special. Talk about an easy clutch with a very wide take up point. Since then, I’ve driven about 12-14 pre-1950 automobiles, and all these cars had transmission/clutch combinations that were about a far from a ‘performance’ attitude as you could get. A clutch that engaged gradually and evenly, a transmission that shifted slowly and deliberately. It’s like these transmissions were designed to be amenable to the kind of person that needs to own a car, but who’s driving abilities are such that you really wish he/she would take public transportation. And they were designed that way, back in the days when the manual was the only choice.

    In comparison, a modern (1966-up) Toyota Corolla stick is virtually competition setup, which can go off the dealer’s floor into amateur autocross without any kind of workover.

    Manuals today are built for driving efficiency, and a certain level of competence. Back then, manuals were built so everybody could drive (and buy a car).

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      though modern cars with manual transmissions often (if not always) have “anti-stall” logic in the PCM which can save a bad launch, up to a point.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “Back then, manuals were built so everybody could drive (and buy a car).”

      This is an entirely new-to-me factoid that is fascinating, utterly logical and that answers something I’d long wondered about.

      The oldest vehicle I have MT experience with is a ’53 GMC 1/2 ton. By the time I began learning on it all was slop. I just assumed the clutch was soft, easy and long-throw by exhaustion, not design.

      The shifter, which had to be held in 2nd lest it drop to neutral, *must* have been a wear issue. I don’t know… I was 13 and I was driving, albeit on rural gravel & blacktop. That was enough.

      Very cool comment.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Go drive any new Mini. By far the easiest and most forgiving manual/clutch I’ve ever experienced. Would make a great car to learn on….

  • avatar

    I simply enjoy the process and skill of driving in whatever style I want at that time. I choose the speeds and rpms of each shift, including sometimes skipping one or more gears going up or down. Sometimes I am driving for smoothness where the gear changes are less noticeable than even on the best automatics. Sometimes the gear changes and rpms are chosen for performance, and the 3% to 5% advantage of a dual clutch shifter is irrelevant without timing things with a stopwatch or seeking lower lap times on a track. I have something like 1.1 million miles of driving experience, the majority of it with manual transmissions. If models I like become unavailble with manuals, I will likely just buy well maintained classics.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I’m reading through the responses and a couple of things stick out/prompt questions:

    – Are people driving 1 car/vehicle? If so, I can understand wanting a stickshift. But if not, one extreme ride (like a Miata or motorcycle) and an auto daily driver/foul weather car seem like the move. I’m a lifelong stick guy, but with my motorcycle and sim racing hours I almost need a break from driving engagement. I’m always plugged in.

    – What are people’s commutes like? Down here in NC my commute is godly- just today I *had to* bypass the highway and take the long, twisty, sweeping road way to work. Even if I take the highway there are some fun twisties I just can’t avoid :). By contrast if I lived somewhere with an awful commute I would probably get an automatic.

    – Do you get to do any driving outside of commuting? Again this further puts things in context…. I don’t do any pleasure drives; I have Forza for that. And again I can commute by motorcycle ~9 months out of the year on a pretty fun route. By contrast, if you only have one car, and you do a lot of real world “for fun only” driving, then yea a stickshift makes sense.

    A lot of people like to pound their chests with regard to how dedicated to stickshifts they are, but I think for many people it’s a combination of wanting driving engagement and being constrained by circumstance. For example I don’t think anybody would buy a stickshift mainstreamer if they could have a sports car instead.

    For me personally the prospect of an auto daily driver is something I’ve already resigned to seriously considering:

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/10/ask-bark-g37-is350-335i-chrysler-two-hunnert/

    but only on the stipulation that I keep a motorcycle and the Forza rig grows ever more serious. I like the idea of having a wide operating range of vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      A strolling player

      For my part, I only have one car, my commute is unexciting but short, and I use my car for road trips as well. I don’t do much of any pure pleasure driving, not planned at least, but I will go out of my way for a fun route if I have some time to spare on a drive I’m already making. So, for that, it really doesn’t “work” unless my practical car is also my fun car.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    I have an E46 and E39, both manuals. The ZF 5-speed Steptronic of the era was definitely inferior to the manual, but if I were to buy a new car it’d probably be an automatic unless it were a Miata or Toyota 86 or the like.

  • avatar
    manu06

    It really depends on the car and the application . Small sports car ? A manual all the way.
    A commuter in heavy traffic ? Auto. My guess is the Mazda MX 5 might be the last car with
    a stick.

  • avatar

    I’m fairly certain I have a job as an excuse to drive to work. Doing it with an automatic would turn that into a ride, and then it’s just a bother.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have had one manual transmission go out on me, a 4 speed manual on an 85 Mercury Lynx (replaced the manual with a used 4 speed manual from an Escort). I have had 6 vehicles with manual and 7 with automatics. I have had one automatic go out but it was under warranty. I prefer manuals having one of my three vehicles with a manual which happens to be my oldest vehicle. I doubt by the time I buy another new vehicle that a manual will even be available. I have driven an 2013 Focus with an automatic and hated it–would rather have a CVT than the constant downshifting.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    I live in Detroit. A manual is a darn near mandatory anti-theft system, what with staggeringly few people able to drive it.

    Wheels and windows are cheap compared to a car. (though it gets old swapping them)

  • avatar

    Oh my. Well, first of all, my mom taught me to drive and has never driven anything but manuals (excepting our short run of B-body wagons as a child). As the rebellious middle daughter I tried a few autos on for size but always came back to a good ol’ stick shift. Why? Control, the ability to push/roll start, the fact that they are less likely to be stolen, and the perks of not having friends ask to borrow your car are a few. As an enthusiast I realize I’m mostly preaching to the choir.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Another good reason to drive a manual, less likely to get stolen. Maybe in the future a non-self driving vehicle with an automatic transmission will be a deterrent to thieves because they will not be able to command it to drive since most people will not know how to drive. We might even lose the ability to open a door or flush a toilet. Many have lost the ability to think.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Oh for boring! How many times do we have to read about the impending death of the manual?

    I drive one because I can. It gives me something to constantly strive to be better at and helps me stay alert. I couldn’t give to flying f—s at a rolling donut for quick lap times, or being “one with the car.” I don’t pretend it makes me a better driver than those in self-shifters. I drive in relatively flat Minnesota and there really isn’t much here that could be considered “the twisties” and don’t really understand what constitutes fun in my A to B and back to C driving life.

    The one thing this car does better than the rest is forestall any friends asking to borrow it because most haven’t felt the necessity of learning even the rudiments of its operation. This is a good thing for me because I don’t get asked to borrow it.

  • avatar

    I will say that since a harrowing moto accident last year I’ve been borrowing my boyfriend’s auto-equipped CRV manually shifting my E30 hurts sometimes. I love my car and shifting but it really sucks that my favorite activity hurts my hand so much. I’m glad to be alive, though. So I guess you could say I occasionally drive an automatic for medicinal purposes? :)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Same with my older pickup. I do not have many requests to borrow my 5 speed manual for moving or picking up things.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Because I drive small, cheap, economical cars – there are good automatics out there, but they’re rather uncommon in cheap subcompacts. Generally, they’ll sap what little power there is in favour of middling fuel economy (good on the EPA cycle, sometimes irrelevant to real world performance). So far, the Golf is the only small car with an automatic I’ve driven that hasn’t been objectionable.

    In addition, in urban driving, I like being able to hold gears for the engine braking – in the ebb and flow of traffic, it’s nice to be able to shave off speed while coasting.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    For me, the difference is that between driving, and just steering. As long as it’s a choice, i’ll choose to shift by myself. I think for the foreseeable future, as long as you’re shopping for cars with a worldwide market, that choice will be available.

    I’ve had a couple of automatics among the 20+ cars I’ve owned (just 2, though), and every single one of my 20+ motorcycles have been manual, and that’s a situation that is never likely to change. My total elapsed mileage is somewhat greater on motorcycles than it is in cars, though, at least the ones I owned and drove. I’m fortunate to live in a place where my commute is short and never congested, and the alternate route to work is five miles farther and all mountain twisties. Since the garage is reserved for the two-wheel toys, the two vehicles in the driveway are an aging but ultra-reliable manual American pickup and a current-model manual American sedan, a nicely equipped CD4 Fusion. The latter was actively lobbied for by my other half, who is almost as much of a manual enthusiast as I am, so I’m lucky there too.

  • avatar
    Mc40

    Bump-starting and being able to roll a vehicle forward or backward using the starter are a couple of practical reasons. These save me more often than I should admit.

  • avatar
    mattwc1

    I like keeping a manual in my stable (if you consider the collective worth of my stable to be <$10k in value)because it is one of the last tangible things a driver can have these days. Now I will be the first to admit that a modern automatic has basically equaled or surpassed the performance of a manual in many circumstances. But, the tangible feeling of rowing your own gears cannot be duplicated. Furthermore, I am going to miss a shift or miss a properly timed down shift blip. That's okay! It forces me to focus on driving and be better at it. It also reminds me that cars can be more than just appliances (ala my daily beater Honda Hybrid) and that there is a connection between the vehicle and the driver. There is a reason in this digital/sanitized age that many people are rediscovering analog things. They were not perfect but they included you in the activity.

    I was happy to teach my daughter's boyfriend how to drive a manual and I plan on teaching her as well. I taught my wife years ago in an early 90's Pathfinder. I was taught in a 77 bright Orange SuperBeetle and a Datsun 510.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    Nothing. Yesterday, I purchased my first automatic-equipped vehicle in six years. Traded an Accord Sport with a manual transmission that I never liked. Besides not wanting to deal with a clutch all the friggin’ time anymore, a big factor in the decision to go automatic was that I really wanted a remote starter. I’m tired of freezing my butt off 4-5 months a year before the heater starts working. Besides, I’ve reached a point where a CUV better suits my needs and, unless you want a strippo Forrester or CX-5 (and I most definitely don’t), automatic is your only option.

    I regret nothing. Of course, it helps that I still have another manual in the garage for when the snow and salt go away.

    • 0 avatar
      A strolling player

      If I lived somewhere there was “winter”, I might be in the same boat. Or, I’d consider a two-car system with remote start in the winter car and a manual in the summer car.

    • 0 avatar
      Dudebro

      U’s can has remote starter on man-tranny cars. The latest have motion sensors so you can remote start it just like an automatic car. Many brands have them, I just installed an Excalibur in my man-tranny car. Works awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I’m not sure the stripper CX-5 is even an option. Mazda lists a CX-5 manual on their web site, but an inventory search for them turns up bupkis, at least in my area. If you want a crossover with a manual transmission, pickings are mighty slim.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    First they came for the carburettors and I did not speak out—
    Because I liked cars that started every morning

    Then they came for the benchseats and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a sunday driver.

    Then they came for the manuals, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was to lazy to row my own gears.

    Then they came for my ICE, and there was no one left to speak for me.

    (Sorry for sounding a bit like Bark there…)

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Now, if an American posted this you’d slam us for our historical ignorance, smug insularity and for trivializing the context of the original Niemöller quote.

      “I was to lazy”

      Too, not to.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Heck, I’d even slam myself for historical ignorance, smug insularity and for trivializing the context. Just looking at it and seeing how it reminds me of something Bark could do makes me want to go buy an automatic and just learn to live with the inconvenience and pain and shame and the weird noises and the lagging speedometer.
        I’m a horrible person when I’m annoyed on the internet…

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “I’m a horrible person when I’m annoyed on the internet”

          Yabbut your English is f*cking great for an alternate individual.

          Just please don’t judge us by anything baruthian. We’ve almost completely evolved away from that. Should be thoroughly cleaned-up by the time Gen Y’s kids are breeding.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If they come for my ICE but give me affordable big-battery electrics instead, they can have it.

      Electric motors are marvelous driving devices.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Depends on the timing of my commute. If I can beat the traffic, I want to shift myself. If I’m sitting in the 25 minutes to go 2.5 miles, please let me listen to podcasts with my left foot on the brake and the right foot ready to spool the turbo on the Volvo.

    I can also understand concepts like gears meshing and clutch engagement. In automatics, the best I can figure is I have a really complicated mess of fluid moving around that results in a $3000 repair bill if the fluid escapes.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I started driving stickshift cars back in the late ’80s at the age of 18 when I purchased a new V8 Mustang. Back in those days, the manual transmission was a far better choice than the automatic for three main reasons: 1- Faster, 2- Better fuel economy, 3- Less expensive, as the automatic trans was an expensive option. So to me, the manual was a no-brainer.

    Today, I continue to own and drive a manual transmission car because I love to ‘drive’ my car. It’s so much more fun and so much more rewarding than possible in any car that can shift itself. Even if the advantages from the old days are largely gone, I’ll continue to choose manual transmissions as long as they keep making them. And even if they stop making them, I’ll always have at least one in my garage.

    BTW, I’ve been reading/hearing about the demise of the manual for well more than a decade, yet there are still plenty of choices available, even with the 2017 models.

  • avatar
    athoswhite

    Downshifting to brake and hearing that whine. Enough said.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Like many here, I learned to drive on manuals. With me it was a VW Super Beetle – there was no automatic; the Automatic Stick Shift was a rarely-chosen, kludgy affair. If you wanted to drive a Beetle, you learned three pedals, that’s all.

    The Beetle went, but the habit stayed. I’ve mostly had manuals…apart from a wayward trip with several ChryCo minivans, with a mini-TorqueFlite and two Ultradrives.

    I got lucky on two of those three, in that the transmissions held up…but while I liked driving the 2007, with its upright seating posture and great view…the actual driving it with an automatic, made it about as involving as operating a Maytag. Point and press and search the radio for something to occupy the mind.

    I now have a Gen1 Tacoma as the only set of four wheels…hard times they be upon us. I have a manual, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Of course, eventually I will have to – unless I find myself on the government bus, and that might happen, too. But the death of the manual is a shame – and it didn’t have to be.

    Yes, there are problems with government ministers and functionaries, as regards two different transmissions…artificial reasons, but there they are. But it shouldn’t have been possible, with the wide variety of product lines, to have SOME that appeal to us lever-heads; and other models to Soccer Mommies and Valley Girls who don’t want to actually THINK about what they’re doing as they drive, since it distracts from their SmartFone and Facebook pages.

    But in the end, not enough buyers care. And too many buyers only think about trade-in value when buying…and the cars with the highest trade-in values are THE dullest, unimaginative piles of slag on the market. Four doors and Entertainment centers. And automatic transmissions, to go with the soulless, soul-crushing V6.

  • avatar
    ViktorKing

    I live in a town with a lot of hills, annual snowfall, with plenty of dirt roads on the outskirts, also of the hilly and snowy variety.

    Automatics just get beat up here. CVT, dual-clutch, torque-converter – they all suffer the same fate, and it’s not as if the entire town and its college visitors all don’t know to feather a throttle when stuck in ice or sliding about or lifting off to trick a computer into picking the right gear in a hill climb. Less than a decade in, they’re either on the gravel-lot at one of a pile of Buy Here/Pay Here dealerships or they all have the same pressure control valve, dry torque converter, half-melted catalytic converter issue getting Lamborghini gas mileage.

    Those automatics are nice – when they’re brand new.
    “Oh, if it had just one more gear, and a dozen more sensors, and an Intel Core i7 5960x under the hood, and everybody remembered to change the fluid biannually-”
    Would it be any better? Does anyone look forward to buying a used front-wheel-drive automatic? Of course bloggers and journalists are starting to come around, thinking ‘the automatic version is slightly better’. It’s the same thing you hear from people who trade in their S-Class within four years, they never see how all those gizmos and glide-matics age. When the computer doesn’t cooperate, what are you left with?

    Anton Yelchin dies because a new shifter doesn’t properly engage Park, every decade or so a model has a runaway speed issue, a fully-automated drive Tesla gets someone killed, and I’m supposed to gush over the superiority of computer-controlled transmissions? I’ll pass. I’ll pass every time. I don’t need a box of sensors, I was born with a few billion already – I’m good.

    I drive a commercial truck, I drive a manual BMW or Datsun when I’m home, I don’t know how the MotorTrend guys are driving, but I can typically average the highway mileage EPA rating for any manual transmission vehicle without impeding traffic or running between the eye-blink of Highway Partrol. I don’t need the help, I don’t need the repair bills that essentially make automatic vehicles disposable, I don’t need to wonder what sensor input keeps the car hunting for gears at the slightest percentage of throttle pedal input, I don’t care about the new 15-speed automatic in prototype testing out in Nevada.

    Drivers – If we want to #SaveTheManuals, we have to be willing to buy them new, there is no Take Rate on a used car.
    Automakers – if you really wanted to sell them, they wouldn’t come only with the weakest engine *and* the beige vinyl interior or only as part of a $70,000 engine and trim on a $30,000 car (Don’t spend $200M on a trim package 80% of your target audience’s age group can’t afford, yeah?). That is a self-defeating cycle in itself. Someone has to budge here, and we the driver are not allowed to build our own cars, and kit cars that can be registered and insured don’t come in four-door midsize sedan/saloon. Your front-wheel drive automatic with synthetic leather, chrome-colored plastic, and fancy Bluetooth headunit doesn’t stand out. Quit acting like we want used BMWs and Subarus just for the badge, or the Mustang sells because of marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      “Anton Yelchin dies because a new shifter doesn’t properly engage Park”

      Incorrect. Anton Yelchin died because HE failed to properly engage Park. I have the same exact 2015 Grand Cherokee and I’ve yet to fail to properly engage Park.

    • 0 avatar
      OzCop

      Ford Focus ST, stick shift only….Focus RS, stick shift only…Ford Festivia, stick shift only…It appears at least one manufacturer in the US market is giving us decent engine power and decent interior/exterior appointments in a compact car. Mini Coopers offer both in their non S, and their S models…not a bad little car, and most are well appointed. There are other pretty decent cars out there with stick shift options, including some sport model Hyundai’s FRS/BRZ twins, Mustangs, and even Challengers with Hemis. The Camaro is offered with all engine/tranny combos…

  • avatar
    Pete Skimmel

    Three of our four vehicles are automatics. I just ordered a new Colorado to replace my aging Silverado. Automatic, of course.
    Our old fun car (’97 Miata) is a 5 speed manual. Clutch action like an old VW Beetle, easy and smooth. I’m much more annoyed at the difficulty of ingress/egress than shifting the Miata. Of course, it is a 1000 mile/year pleasure driver, not a commuter.
    So I would say I like both manuals and automatics, as appropriate for the situation and use.

  • avatar
    Jamblastx

    Ask the same question in 20 years about autonomous cars. For me, it’s not driving if I am not using a third pedal and rowing gears. Yes I know that modern automatics are more efficient and faster but since I have no plans about trying to set lap records at the Nurburgring, I don’t care.

    I honestly think that there is a chance that the manual will be like vinyl. If you look at Alfa Romeo’s Facebook posts about the Giulia, about 40% of all of the comments are laced with anger in regards to the last minute decision not to sell the Giulia QV in the US with a manual.

    And one of the reasons why the take rate of manuals is so low is because they are hard to find unless you order it from the factory (which I have been doing for the last fifteen years). There is a percentage of people who would rather have a manual but it’s not a deal breaker and would rather get something off the dealers lot than wait months for delivery.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “For me, it’s not driving if I am not using a third pedal and rowing gears.”

      Agree. It’s moving the car, not controlling the machinery for maximum performance.

      But…you can’t fight nearly the whole of the market, which easily accepts the current regulatory climate and just gives a “meh” when told manuals are not available. So, I’ve just made up my mind…I’ll have to get my road-work in on two wheels.

      For as long as I can, anyway. I figure eight years before old-age catches up with me…

  • avatar
    sailwa66

    “What keeps you coming back to the manual transmission?”

    Because everything offered as an alternative is an answer to a question I’m not asking.

    It is not metaphysically possible for me to care more less-ly what metric is prattled out in defense of a non-manual.

    I want a stick. That is all.

  • avatar
    Monty

    I reside in a city that has snow cover 6 to 8 months of the year – from over 40 years of driving experience, in my opinion, nothing beats a manual transmission paired with FWD and snow tires for control in the snow.

    And I just like it better. I’ll take the manual version of anything for as long as my knee and ankle stay reasonably healthy.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      “I reside in a city that has snow cover 6 to 8 months of the year”

      By God, man, where?! Snow burdens drain tiles way less than effing rain.

      • 0 avatar
        Monty

        Winnipeg MB Canada. We’ve had snowcover (permanent until spring melt) as early as the second week of October, and remaining until the end of April or beginning of May. I can recall having to clear away snow melt from the back porch of the family cabin on the May long weekend. Already this year the accumulated snow in our yard is crotch high. We don’t get the amount of snow that Colorado receives in a year, it just sticks around longer.

  • avatar
    chazbet

    Small, light, naturally aspirated 2WD? Bought a 6-speed Scion (Yaris) iA, which is really a Mazda2. It may be the last manual I’m ever able to buy, but suits my needs, has enough room for a family trip with a pre-teen in a booster, and gets 42-43 highway mpg without a complex hybrid drivetrain.

    Speaking of complexity, last Mazda I owned was an MPV that I liked but with a 5-speed JATCO that cost $4000 to repair out of warranty at a time when I had little money to pay it. Don’t care if newer autos are better; simplicity is its own kind of efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I actually like the Mazda2-cum-iA, but for the front end. One of the only subcompacts I find decent to look at.

      Full disclosure, I have a current gen Mazda3.

      • 0 avatar
        chazbet

        Everyone on the internet complains about the schnoz, and I agree it’s like an unfortunate birthmark, but I can’t see it when I’m driving it.

        Mazda3, same sausage, different length :)

        • 0 avatar
          tankinbeans

          Honestly, from a distance I can’t tell the difference between the iA and 3 if only looking at the taillights. Toyota could do worse than to partner with Mazda (who make, in my opinion, some of the most visually appealing pedestrian cars). Toyota has recently made a lot that I can’t visually stomach.

  • avatar
    Funky

    The manual is more engaging. I personally don’t find it to be a problem in rush hour traffic or on hills (not even when I’m towing a trailer, with my Tacoma, under these conditions). It is, simply put, my first preference.

    Currently, on a day to day basis, I drive two vehicles which have manual transmissions. One is a 2016 V6 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport. The other is a 2017 Mazda 6 Touring (both bought new).

    For those who complain the manual is difficult to use in traffic, on hills, etc., I guess I’ll just say to each his own. And, I’ll state, once again, my opinion on this differs. Although I’ve spent many hours behind the wheel under a variety of awful bumper to bumper on hills (and, yes, even sometimes while towing) conditions, my opinion is not swayed.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I think there will be manuals for a few more years, who knows manuals might outlast CDs and DVDs. Maybe we will still see manuals offered on a more limited basis for the next 10 years but I wouldn’t bet on 20 years.

  • avatar
    adzam

    I’ve owned almost nothing but manuals my entire life. My current car, a 2012 Mazda 3, is a manual. It will likely be the last manual transmission car that I will own.

    There used to be a longer list of pros than cons when it came to buying a stick. Now the cons outweigh the pros. About the only thing sticks have over automatics is the fun factor, if you find rowing gears fun.

    Manual transmissions are going the way of the dinosaur. I doubt they will even be available in passenger cars in another 10-15 years.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Nothing. I traded in my manual car (2010 Challenger R/T) for the automatic 2015 version because the manual was more annoying than it was good whereas the automatic is excellent. I grew up on a farm driving all kinds of manual cars, pickups, tractors, heavy trucks, etc. and never had trouble finding a clutch engagement point till I had that Challenger with its engagement point that was randomly positioned anywhere from 10-50% of the way off the floor. And, that TR6060 wanted to grind into 2nd on the 1-2 shift until it was warmed up if the overnight low temperature was much less than freezing, which made it less than fun to drive between November and April. The last straw was when the clutch started sticking partially engaged with the pedal fully depressed under certain, hard-to-reproduce conditions and the dealer suggested a clutch replacement which was only a few $$ less than the last automatic transmission rebuild that I paid for 10 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Sounds more like an argument against buying another Fiatsler than an argument against manual gearboxes.

      • 0 avatar
        ptschett

        I’ve heard of the same kinds of issues on Camaros with the same gearbox. Meanwhile, the rest of the car was great. I’ll own a manual transmission vehicle again some day, but it’s more likely to be a motorcycle than a car.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          If you find yourself owning a “motorcycle” without a manual transmission…better check your testosterone level.

          You own a scooter. And a ticket into whatever non-traditional-sex-based angry-loud-androgynous-rabble-group is in favor, right now.

  • avatar
    Kobus1969

    Out here in South Africa, manual transmission cars are still commonplace, especially in the cheaper end of the market.

    I remember when my wife and I was dating and at university in the early nineties. She refused to drive my mom’s car which was offered to her on one occasion, because it had an auto box.

    She had never driven an automatic before and said she did not feel in control of the vehicle. I guess is is the lack of engine braking on deceleration, that put her off.

    I lately had a succession of company vehicles with automatic transmissions. I currently drive a Ford Everest – SUV version of the midsize Ranger pickup. Having read this article I suddenly miss driving a stick. Perhaps I will take my wife’s manual shift econobox out this weekend.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    Reasons for a Manual transmission: Well you can hold the gear you want and that’s probably the best part. You can really get to know the engine in that gear and keep it perfect. Mind you, newer engines tend to be tuned for a linear rising power curve which suits auto transmissions; as opposed to a heavy bump such as in Euro spec ’94 M3.

    I feel paddle shifting is efficient, but not pleasurable unless you are pushing hard. Newer units can hold gears, so you might say that either choice is a preference that can be acquired. I will say that the few paddles and push buttons (early Boxter buttons, yikes!) that I have used, have been plastic and lightly weighted and not at all satisfying to activate.

    I would also say console manuals are better because you are more active and involved in control of the car. It’s a nice bilateral movement. I don’t like being squished and dependent on the steering wheel.

    However, if you are like my Mother who learned to drive at an abandoned airport, you will shift through second, and then go directly to 4th gear so as to get shifting over with as soon as possible.

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