Why the manual transmission is still relevant

The manual transmission is disappearing from cars. These are the reasons it should be more and more common.

1y ago

As more advanced technology is integrated into cars, automobile manufactures think that consumers don't want the standard manual transmission. For the most part, they would be right. Studies show that the majority of people would rather have an automatic transmission. Manual transmissions still have many benefits that an automatic cannot provide.

1) Manual transmissions are cheaper.

With a simpler design, stick shifts can be produced for less than an automatic and those savings are passed on to the buyers. Interesting cars are harder to find at a cheap price but this gives your car the quirks it needs to peak others interests. Lower sticker prices leaves more in your budget to upgrade your ride to make it even more interesting.

2) It delivers a sports car feel.

Any quality racing movie will inevitably have a shot of the driver throwing their car into top gear. Even measly shifting into 2nd gear will make anyone feel like they are about to come out on top. You feel like the superior driver on the road.

3) More focus on the driving.

Tesla's electric cars are doing extremely well because people see self driving cars are more safe. Manual transmissions are safer than automatics by far. It is nearly impossible to text and shift at the same time. Eating and changing gears is very difficult. Since drivers are forced to pay more attention to what they are doing, they are less likely to become distracted and less crashes occur. This also creates a small sense of pride that you are focused and doing something less and less people are capable of doing.

4) Long term reliability.

There is no doubt that automatic transmissions are more efficient than manuals. Computers in your car can shift better than any professional driver can. The problem is that the new and efficient transmissions lose their efficiency after years of use. A manual transmission has the same efficiency as the driver. In a time where the most reliable car makers like Toyota and Lexus are selling millions of cars, consumers are looking for long term investments.

Manual transmissions are a simpler time in a world of computers and automation. The rise of self driving vehicles will usher in an era where driving oneself around will be a hobby and nostalgic.

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Comments (53)

    • 1 year ago
  • Been driving a manual for decades. It's still satisfying to execute a perfect shift, even on an otherwise boring commute.

      1 year ago
  • there are no self driving cars. Therefore there is no "era where driving oneself around will be a hobby". Maybe some time in the future, but that future is distant and as yet unpredictable.

    Manual transmissions are cheap. In a nice sports car, a manual transmission makes the drive more engaged. But in a car built to be cheap, the manual transmission is often of crappy quality and the feel is mediocre at best. I've driven my share of bad manual transmissions, and that grinding feel does not improve the driving experience one bit.

    While it is harder to text or eat and switch gears, that never stopped people from doing it. It just makes them clumsier and more confused.

    The manual transmission is a niche thing, it belongs to cars like Mazda Miata, Fiat 500, Mini and so on. Nice, sporty, light cars with not too much power.

      1 year ago
    • Well said. The self-driving car is illusory. Some of the nicest manual boxes can be found in small, modestly engined hatchbacks. Small and light components make for feel.

        1 year ago
    • Did THE James May read my article?

        1 year ago
  • you appreciate more about driving with manuals. it's like learning multiplication tables even though you use calculator in real life.

      1 year ago
  • Kind of funny to see Vin Diesel shifting gears on an automatic.

    Got to say, there's even more, just look at the old gearboxes without Sinchronisation, that wil require more forward thinking wile driving.

      1 year ago
    • I can't imagine driving a vehicle without a synchromesh system. Gotta either go into nuetral, let go of clutch, re clutch, shift, let go of clutch. Or... Do it veeeeeeery slowly if you don't wanna play with the clutch.

        1 year ago
    • Or just revmatch

        1 year ago