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Americans / Canadians: Manual Transmissions and You

My Thoughts on Manual Transmissions:

  • I greatly prefer to drive standards

  • I’m proficient in driving a standard but don't care to do so

  • I don't know how to drive a standard but would love to learn

  • I don’t know how to drive a standard and couldn't be bothered to learn!


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I find it interesting that it's so hard to find any vehicles with a manual transmission (outside of sports cars) here in the States / Canada. I just completed my quest for a new car and found the pickings were VERY slim - Why is that?

While automatic transmissions have improved a good deal over the years, I don't prefer to drive anything else because, IMHO, standards:

  • Provide immediate control of engine speed / torque
    • Require much less use of breaks
    • Outperform in snowy conditions
    • Remind me the new way isn't necessarily the better way
    • Like straights, I can be in complete control of everything
    • They're so much more fun to drive in general!


I would like to hear your honest opinions. Is it that you don't know how to drive one of these, or is it simply an inconvenient task?
 

August West

Moderator Emeritus
Due to vast improvements in fuel efficiency using automatic transmissions and the reduced demand for manuals.

Even the big rigs are all going automatic.
 
The paddle shifters supplied on a lot of cars are fun to use to control braking, if you want to. You can't rock an auto trans in snow or mud, really? I can seem to be able to do it. Semi auto trannys ( paddle shifters) are very efficient and have been standard in formula one racing cars for years.

The only reason to use a manual transmission these days is to kick it old school for the fun of it. They are a PITA to use in heavy stop and go traffic though.

Just not enough reason for me to use a manual transmission these days.

Bob
 

August West

Moderator Emeritus
The paddle shifters supplied on a lot of cars are fun to use to control braking, if you want to. You can't rock an auto trans in snow or mud, really? I can seem to be able to do it. Semi auto trannys ( paddle shifters) are very efficient and have been standard in formula one racing cars for years.

The only reason to use a manual transmission these days is to kick it old school for the fun of it. They are a PITA to use in heavy stop and go traffic though.

Just not enough reason for me to use a manual transmission these days.

Bob
Never had a car or truck with a paddle shifter. Sounds like a blast. I was referring to rocking a tractor trailer out of the snow with an auto tranny. Can't seem to master it. Cars are a breeze.
 
I prefer a manual transmission, but my wife has no interest in learning how to drive one. So, my latest car is an automatic. I got it on the off chance that she might need to drive it. 12 years later I think I can count the times she has driven it on one hand. My next car may be manual depending on what is available.
 

emwolf

Contributor
I switched to automatic when the kids started learning to drive. I miss manual trans every day I get behind the wheel.
 
The paddle shifters supplied on a lot of cars are fun to use to control braking, if you want to. You can't rock an auto trans in snow or mud, really? I can seem to be able to do it. Semi auto trannys ( paddle shifters) are very efficient and have been standard in formula one racing cars for years.

The only reason to use a manual transmission these days is to kick it old school for the fun of it. They are a PITA to use in heavy stop and go traffic though.

Just not enough reason for me to use a manual transmission these days.

Bob
+1

Paddle shifters, 9 speed dual clutch trannies, technology that allows for faster shifting than even the most seasoned manual driver can do, all with the reliability of a standard are leading to the demise of the standard clutch shift transmission. It's an old technology whose days are numbered. Sure I like a manual as much as the next guy, but they are becoming a thing of the past. Try getting a Ford truck with a manual...
 
My daily commuter is a M/T, ever since I learned to drive a M/T, I've driven one for over 25 years now. My wife also drove a M/T when she was younger but with our kids growing up, she switched to an A/T.

Fast forward 17 years and last year my son got his DL and we were all helping him find a first beater car, by luck we found an older Pathfinder in great condition with low miles and got it for a dance. One small detail, it's a M/T, so we thought great, he will learn it and enjoy it like we do ours, well.............. he did not care for M/T and kept finding excuses not to learn it, meanwhile borrowing my wife's A/T SUV while my wife used his truck as a daily. After a week of that, my wife fell in love with the M/T so much that she told him to keep her newer SUV and she highjacked his Truck!

I personally go out of my way to find a M/T vehicle every time I'm in a market for one, would not have it any other way, unless my commute was bumper to bumper everyday, which thankfully it's not.
 

oc_in_fw

Contributor
I can drive manual transmissions, but for everyday commuting I prefer automatic. Were I ever to buy a performance car, it would be manual.
 
They are a PITA to use in heavy stop and go traffic though. Just not enough reason for me to use a manual transmission these days.
Bob
I never knew Thunder Bay even had heavy rush hour traffic. Must be all those wild Moose hogging the passing lane! :lol:
 
My wife can't drive mine, so my next vehicle will be a auto most likely. Her car was out of commission from M-F last week, so I had to drop her off, and pick her up from work everyday. I used to have a old half ton 4x4 that she could use in a pinch but the transmission went on in and I sold it for $700
 
I only have Stick shifts in my household. I live in a City of over 1M people, with dozens of driving schools and while recently registering my daughter for driving lessons, I only found 1 school (Alberta Motor Association) that even offered driving instruction with the Manual shift option.

In fact, during the 3 full day in-class driving instruction portion, the teacher made fun of Manual drivers with her main objection being that it takes too long to learn standard transmissions, so why bother? My response, why bother teaching new drivers anything. Lets just let them loose on the roads once their feet can touch the pedals and explain that automobiles work much like the go-carts at Disney World.

What is interesting to me is that most of my Daughters friends drive standard transmissions, which as we know is highly unusual in North America, but you should see the beautiful array of Porsche's (new and vintage), BMW's, Corvette's and John Cooper Works tuned MINI Cooper's that these new drivers are pulling into my driveway with. There's your incentive kids, learn to use a stick and Dad will trust your skills enough to let you drive his Porsche to your friends house or maybe even buy you one of your own.
 
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