Few choices in the automotive sector divide opinion as much as the selection of transmission type. Both the manual and the automatic have a loyal following of fans behind them. While it is true each box has its own place, with associated strengths and merits, the choice is not always an easy one. As a general rule; however, gearheads are far more likely to consider opting for a stick shift than the “average” driver who is simply concerned with getting from point A to point B.
Champions of the manual feel any drawbacks are far outweighed by the additional benefits offered by a car fitted out with this, more traditional gearbox. Most people would agree a manual gearbox is little to no fun in start-stop urban traffic. However, get out of town and a manual can offer a driving experience that is simply a cut above the automatic when it comes to enjoyment. Here are eight reasons to consider choosing and living with a manual transmission in 2022.
8 They Are Far More Involving
Driving a manual transmission car requires far more driver input than an automatic. These inputs are frequent, and the driver is truly in control of the vehicle. Depressing the clutch and throwing the stick through the gears can be a very rewarding experience, and helps the driver and car connect.
By utilizing the driver’s perception and knowledge, factors that couldn’t possibly be taken into account by an automatic are factored into the driving experience. Helping extract maximum performance, a driver has the autonomy to hold on to a gear longer or shift down earlier depending on an upcoming pre-known road layout, whereas an automatic would simply respond to the conditions presented, potentially making unnecessary or inappropriate shifts.
7 Manuals Are Often The Cheaper Option
Manual gearboxes often come as the standard option in many cars. This is especially true in Europe, where even to this day the manual remains king. Visitors from North America will no doubt have noticed this when looking to hire a car on a vacation to the continent.
Despite being well established in the North American market, the automatic gearbox is still thought of as something of a luxury in Europe. Consequently, they are often several thousand dollars more expensive than the manual versions on offer. Given that most of the drivers in this market are used to driving manuals, they are often reluctant to stump up the extra money for an automatic when buying a new car. The price differential has definitely impacted their proliferation, but this is slowly changing and automatics are becoming more common.
6 Electric And Hybrid Powertrains Mean They Are A Dying Breed
With many governments around the world announcing the banning of conventional gas-powered cars within the upcoming decades, there is an ongoing shift to hybrids and electric vehicles. EVs do not require a gearbox and are therefore set up in a fashion most similar to a traditional automatic.
Similarly, hybrid vehicles must be supplied with an automatic box to manage the fusion of power between the combustion engine and the battery. Consequently, the manual will become pretty close to obsolete in the new car market. They should be enjoyed while they are still available.
5 Manuals Are The Best They’ve Ever Been
Having undergone years of research, development, and production, the manual of today is a world away from the manual transmissions of old. Materials have become more durable, and reliability has been enhanced.
Cars like the 911 Sport Classic showcase just how great the manual can be. The seven-speed box fitted in this car is the most powerful manual 911 on sale today. The setup even includes an auto blip feature, which helps to match the revs with the engine speed when shifting.
4 They Are Cheaper To Repair And Maintain
Manual gearboxes are comparatively far simpler than their automatic counterparts. While it is true that manuals have some parts which could be considered consumables such as the clutch, if they are driven sympathetically, they should last many thousands of miles. Given the additional technology required to allow a car to shift gears itself, there is a greater chance of a problem occurring in an automatic box. Should this occur, you can guarantee a repair will not be cheap.
As an additional consideration, many automatics require costly fluid flushes to keep them running well. Scrimp here, and it will almost certainly be a false economy. Vehicles fitted with Volkswagen’s DSG, dual clutch automatic must have such a service at regular intervals throughout the car’s life, manuals simply don’t require this level of maintenance.
3 Opting For The Manual Version Might Increase Future Residuals
Due to a few factors, buyers may find that opting for the manual version of a car results in a stronger future value. Firstly, the number of manuals available as a proportion of cars sold may be smaller than those fitted with the automatic. This makes them a rarer commodity, and buyers specifically looking for a manual as a used buy are likely to be inclined to pay a premium.
Secondly, looking at certain modern classic sports cars it is clear that the manual versions attract a certain premium. For example, the Ferrari 360 and F430 command a higher price compared to their automatic counterparts. In addition to rarity, people have now come to realize the automatic gearboxes available at the time of production were vastly inferior compared to a modern-day version. The manual is therefore the more rounded and reliable option.
2 Ultimate Control
With a manual transmission, the driver is fully responsible for the gear that the car is running in. While many automatic gearboxes often named “Tiptronic” or “Geartronic”, give drivers the ability to change gear manually often via steering wheel-mounted paddles, the car can still override the input. If the car reaches the redline for the selected gear, it will autonomously upshift, similarly if the revs are too low a downshift will take place. While this could be described as a positive feature, it does add a safety net to the driving experience which in some ways detracts from the experience.
Similarly, there are certain circumstances when a suboptimal gear is required. For example, when setting off in snow and ice a higher gear is often the best route to go down to minimize traction loss. Winter mode on an automatic would do a similar job but again takes the judgment away from the driver.
1 It May Act As A Theft Deterrent
While Europe is home to the largest collection of manual drivers, many countries, including the USA, are firmly in love with the automatic. Many drivers have simply never driven a manual and would be unable to without some level of tuition. For the uninitiated, it can be a trying experience.
Consequently, opting for a manual transmission car in certain countries can actually act as a handy theft deterrent. This is because there is a higher possibility that a potential thief would simply be unable to drive the car away. Similarly, an automatic is going to be easier to shift in such countries, so that is an additional obstacle a thief may not wish to contend with.