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Why People Still Buy Cars with Manual Transmissions

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I laughed when I saw reason #5. I'm more of a reason #2. #1 really isn't much of a true statement anymore.

by: Taras Trofimov, November 25th, 2015

We live in an age where almost everything is automated, as machines carry out tasks with more efficiency and precision than humans. So, when everything is taken care of so conveniently, is there even a reason to do things manually anymore?

Manual transmissions have been on a steady decline for a while now in terms of sales numbers. In fact, only five per cent of new cars sold in Canada had manual transmissions (as of July 2013). Even sports cars with manual transmissions are not doing as well – and we are talking about Porsches, Ferraris, Jaguars and Aston Martins here!

But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t drivers who search high and low for a ride that come with a gear stick. Here are their reasons to do so:

Reason #1: Performance

One of the main reasons to choose a manual transmission over an automatic one is superior acceleration. Manual transmissions don’t weigh as much, have shorter gearing and require less power to function because they don’t do any gear shifting themselves. If you are a beginner, this may not benefit you right away, but if you are an experienced driver, then a manual transmission can provide you with the performance boost you are looking for.

Double-clutch automatic and semi-automatic transmissions are an exception to this since they shift at the speed no living human being can match, but they are still rare. So, unless you procure one of those, then the manual transmission is still the best option.

Reason #2: Driver Engagement

There’s no doubt that driving stick can be a challenge for beginners, especially since most of us are accustomed to automatic transmissions. The challenge is learning how to use the clutch pedal in harmony with the gear shift to switch between gears, and while it’s not always easy, it’s very rewarding when you get to connect with your car on that level. Braking is also easier since manual transmissions don’t come with torque converters, which cause more torque to be transmitted to the wheels once the car is on the move.

Having this level of control makes manual driving more engaging because drivers get to feel “at one” with their cars.

Reason #3: Fuel Efficiency

In the past, manual cars have been more fuel efficient and the obvious choice for many drivers looking to keep fuel costs down. For instance, the base manual version of the 2015 Honda Civic Sedan, the EX 5MT, has a combined fuel economy rating of 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres, while the EX CVT gets 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres. As you can tell, the manual version is superior in this regard.

This is because the automatic transmission uses the torque converter, which is essentially the clutch pedal’s and gear shift’s automated cousin. While torque converters make automatics more convenient, a significant amount of power, and therefore fuel, can be lost to the torque converter as it shifts gears. That being said, as automatic transmissions become more advanced and gain gears, they are starting to surpass manuals in terms of fuel efficiency.

Reason #4: Lower Overall Cost

You can save around $1,000 by choosing a manual transmission car. And while that may not seem like much on a car with a sticker price over $10,000, that’s still an extra $1,000 that you can save.

Maintenance is also less expensive, as manual transmissions are less complicated than automatic ones, and therefore cost less to repair. Transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed as often, and since most driving enthusiasts are also car enthusiasts, they’ll likely have a good idea of what’s going on under the hood and possibly take care of small repairs themselves.

Reason #5: No choice!

Sometimes, like in the case of the Ford Focus RS there is simply no choice as Ford only sells it with a manual transmission. This is becoming more rare as manufacturers are increasingly moving to dual clutch transmissions and automatic transmissions as standard equipment.

Automated technology makes lives easier, but it also strips us of a certain measure of control over our lives. By choosing a car with a manual transmission, we reclaim some of that control.

Why People Still Buy Cars with Manual Transmissions
 

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Great thread St2focus, definitely driver engagement for me. There's just something about shifting your own gears, especially in a small balanced car like a fiesta st or focus st.
 

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#2 for sure.
 

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#2.
 

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#2 is the only one relevant lol. Dual clutch autos outperform and are more efficient.

I just like having something to do, and it adds a bit of drama. Plus my wife can't drive one so my wheels will be safe.
 

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#2 and #6 - so I don't have to let my wife borrow it.
#6? As in in the Number 6 dance from the movie Blazing Saddles?
 

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Hahahaha that movie is comedy gold. And yes it seems to fit the situation well. Who else is ready to #6 all over this sumb!tch, in our RSs.
 

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#2 for sure,

plus:
- Its a great security system!
- cheaper to fix (had to fix an auto trans on an 06 Mazda3 because of a bad sensor, sensor cost $600!)
 

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#2, i went from a manual to a semi auto, and theirs nothing wrong with it.. it just is missing that "it" factor, the stick in my 370z made it above and beyond fun for me, the BMW im not really getting that vibe, and its not the power or the torque, i have parts in the beamer, just nothing honestly replaces shifting it on your own :eek:
 

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#2 and #6 for me as well :) Wifey was initially irritated when I told her I told her I was buying a stick, but then I was able to fall back on #5!

Jim
 

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Sure #2 is true ...well, they all are. For me, my wife's Mazda 5 has sport mode on the tranny... You move it to the side and then you can switch gears by tapping up or down. I NEVER use it. There is definitely something to be said about switching gears into their respective slots versus tapping a handle up or down ....or even a paddle shift on the steering wheel - which I would also never use.

I was SO happy that this car was offered in manual. You have no idea. Manual FTW.

The only reason I would have bought manual was so that my wife could take it if I had to take her car to the shop. She won't drive my F150. ....alas, it wasn't an option. Not sure if I can get her to learn. Oh well. Hehehe
 

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#7 Theft Deterrent Not many peeps know how to drive manual these days (my kids do, fun bonding experience)

#2 is my real reason. I wonder how many calories are burned over a year, might shave a pound or two off the mid-line :)
 

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Im from Europe, so we all learn to drive a manual transmission over there. I also find it much more engaging.
 

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#7 Theft Deterrent Not many peeps know how to drive manual these days (my kids do, fun bonding experience)

#2 is my real reason. I wonder how many calories are burned over a year, might shave a pound or two off the mid-line :)
Sorry #6 has already been taken. You have been bumper to #7
 

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I'm going with #5.
Never owned my own manual so can't really speak to number 2, always enjoyed them when I've driven them though so it's not going to be an eye opener
 
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