Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Discussion in 'Technical' started by V8stangman, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. #1 V8stangman, Apr 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    s the manual transmission dead? Die-hard auto enthusiasts may shout out: “No way” but is anyone listening? If you’re in the market for a new car, a manual transmission might be a good idea, for a few key reasons.

    Even as automatics are becoming more advanced than ever, as shown with lightning fast dual-clutch (DCT) setups or fuel-friendly continuously variable transmissions (CVT), manual transmissions have their place in the automotive world too. If you strive for the maximum level of engagement with a car, there’s no better transmission out there to give you that feeling of total control. Here are a few other reasons why you should consider a manual transmission car.


    Manual transmission cars are more affordable than automatics. That’s a fact, and is reflected in the price tag of practically every car out there. Expect at least a $1,000 increase in price when you opt for an automatic transmission, making the choice of a manual transmission car easier on your wallet.

    “Cost which is by far the biggest reason that people choose manual,” says Viraf Baliwalla, President of the Automall Network, a car buying service. Viraf conducts new car buying seminars, and helps new car buyers with new purchases, to ensure they don’t have an unpleasant or confusing experience.

    “Those that are buying their first car or even a subsequent car and want to do so within a smaller budget should consider buying a manual,” Baliwalla says.

    Additionally, manual transmission repairs are considered to be less costly. Where an automatic transmission rebuild or replacement can cost thousands of dollars, a manual transmission usually just needs a new clutch, which costs from $600-$1500 to repair. Of course, how often you need a new clutch depends on how you drive, and while some manual transmission drivers can go through clutches more often, many can last 100,000 miles or more.

    Speaking of budgets, fuel economy is another key reason why manual transmission vehicles are considered. When it comes to cars where fuel efficiency really counts, like the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, the manual transmission gets two more miles per gallon of fuel than the automatic model. Other models see this trend too: the manual equipped Chevrolet Spark, Toyota Yaris, and Dodge Dart all see better fuel numbers than the automatic models.

    The benefit might be short lived though. Newer automatics are becoming geared for better efficiency, and have smarter shift-logic which can result in the auto getting better fuel numbers. The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ are a prime example of this: thanks to different gear ratios than the manual models, the automatics earn better fuel economy numbers with 28 mpg combined versus 25 mpg in the manual.


    Another key reason to get a manual transmission car is not only to save gas and money, but your actual car. Let’s face it, not everyone knows how to drive a stick-shift, thieves included.

    “Of the insurance total losses we processed last year that were related to theft, only 14% were manual transmission” says Baliwalla.

    Yes, the three pedalled setup is known to stump would-be thieves, and many reports have found cars abandoned by criminals who can’t drive them.

    Finally, even though new automatics are faster than even the most skilled driver, there is an old-school, tactile feeling of doing something yourself. There’s a sense of accomplishment with the perfect upshift, a rev-matched downshift or just knowing a skill that others don’t. Many manual drivers find the extra level of engagement, well… engaging!

    There’s also a feeling of total car control when driving a manual transmission car. A car is placed into a gear, and won’t change unless the driver makes it. It means that you will always know what gear your car is in, unlike an automatic, which might have geared up once or twice, and won’t deliver power when you need it.


    There are, of course, some drawbacks to manual transmission cars. Your friends or family might not know how to drive your car. While that sounds more like a blessing, it could turn out to be a problem if an emergency occurs and no one can drive your car in a pinch.

    Baliwalla explains that transmission topic comes up often with couples looking for a shared car.

    “Men tell us that they would be fine with either manual or automatic cars,” he says. “However, for the benefit of their wives that will be driving the vehicle, they would prefer we search for an automatic.”

    There are a few more disadvantages to buying a manual car. Often, manuals transmissions are reserved for the most basic trim package. This means if you want a manual transmission, you’ll be left without many luxuries. For example, if you want power front seats, a 5.8-inch touchscreen, leather seats, bi-xenon headlights and other goodies in the 2014 Mazda6, you’ll have to sacrifice the six-speed manual transmission. Many other cars get this treatment, such as the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Focus which must be equipped with an automatic in order to get higher trim models.

    When it comes to resale value, a manual transmission can be a blessing or a curse. Buyers of that particular car may not want to row their own gears and if you’re trying to unload just such a car, it could be a long wait. Conversely, with fewer manuals on the market, your stick-shift ride could be a hot commodity for the right buyer, who might even pay a premium to get it.

    Despite advancements in automatics, there are still advantages to buying a manual transmission car. The savings in purchase price and fuel economy are a significant advantage, but so is the potential theft prevention. Of course, there’s also no greater feeling of man and machine in unison, like a manual car blasting down the street. There’s also a feeling of exclusivity, as not many cars out there are equipped with a manual transmission. With fewer cars being offered with a manual transmission option, maybe now is the best time to get one, since they might not be around forever.
  2. i can't think of a bigger meh that people make such a big deal over than requiring a manual transmission in their car. even if the ratios were identical between the 6 speed manual and the 6 speed automatic (yes, I know it's rare to have the same number of gears, let alone the same ratios) and the auto shifted faster than the human and the car was intelligent enough to know when to shift and what gear to be in when you're getting on it. its all "boo hoo, i cant move a little stick around with my hand, its not the same". get some crank windows while youre at it, mr "i need total control over everything".
  3. It's fun, thats why. I'm glad I didn't fork out a few extra grand for a lame 'tiptronic' DSG.
  4. Manuals are definitely more fun, and typically last longer. But I'm pretty resigned to the fact that my Mini is the last new car I'll ever buy that has a manual, just because so few cars are available with them.
  5. Depends. If it's a little city car or a sports car i would always go for a manual. If it were a long distance cruiser like an e-class or 5 series i would maybe go for an automatic.
  7. Well for me, it has become more of an annoyance with the knee. I do prefer my Legacy over the WRX. The WRX is fun when you push it around corners, curves and accelerations, but as a daily driver it sucks. Not comfortable, horrible sound insulation - can't be on a meeting at 120km/h over bluetooth, nobody hears a damn thing.

    I wouldn't mind a 3rd little car, with manual tranny to drive when the need to drive stick comes around because its indeed fun. The last time I had much fun was in a Yaris with sport exhaust, I had a smile on my face the whole time.

    But I'm mostly over manual trannies. What annoys me also is how people can't properly drive manual cars.. it makes me sick. Only v8stangman knows!
  8. Seems like everytime I go and sell a car it's exactly the opposite of what people want. Like my truck for instance. My best friends mother wants to buy it so bad, but it's manual. She hates manuals.

    Either way my next car is automatic with paddles. Whether it be a Camaro SS or some sort of hybrid. I drive too aggressive with a manual and burn waay too much gas. Plus sitting in city traffic sucks big time.
  9. same for me, manual turbo makes me oomph way too often. I often find myself touge'ing through potholes at excessive speeds
  10. Did I make you sick last time?<A BORDER="0" HREF=""><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/tongue.gif"></A>
  11. nope I don't remember <A BORDER="0" HREF=""><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/smile.gif"></A>
  12. +1
  13. that's why sony and microsoft have all those manual transmission simulator games I guess.

    to me, the fun comes from driving a car. taking turns, g forces, wind in the hair, feeling the restraint of the seat belts, hearing the tires chirp, etc. moving a lever vs pressing a button is of no consequence to me. i still control the speed of the car with my foot and i still control the gearing with a shifting mechanism of some kind. i dont need a clutch between me and the fun.

    dont get me wrong, the gto is a 6 speed. if it were a 6 speed auto with paddles i'd enjoy is just as much. pardon me while i go push in the radio's clutch to change stations.
  14. I have driven some really great automatics, like the 6-speeds in the last gen BMW 5 series. The response is very good, but there's still that incredibly annoying delay, however tiny, after you floor it that I just can't handle. I need that control to be able to accelerate exactly when I know I can and when I want to -- IMMEDIATELY. Surprisingly in these types of good autos, you'd think you'd have fun playing around with the manumatic gear selector but it's always such a gimmick because I feel it shifts smoother and faster in full auto mode.

    Shitty automatics like the 4-speed in a Ford Explorer... don't even get me started. I could floor it and count to 3 before it'll downshift. I have to pre-accelerate (floor it before I actually need the acceleration) on the highway to truly exploit gaps as if there was a huge ass turbo on it. OK, I'm obviously driving the Explorer a little harder than it ought to be driven but you get my point.
  15. lets compare apples to apples and assume that if immediate, lightning quick response to the throttle is of utmost import, this is not a concern in any vehicle except sports cars - least of all a ford explorer. <A BORDER="0" HREF=""><IMG BORDER="0" SRC="pitlane/emoticons/smile.gif"></A>

    manual transmissions are not immune to having to downshift. whether its a kickdown lag or the lag of you letting off the gas, declutching, selecting the right gear, releasing the clutch, and getting back on the gas, it's still a gear change. if you're in the wrong gear, you're going to have to wait, so immediate is already wishful thinking. the timing it's that different between a sports car automatic and a human gearchange.
  16. That manual radio sounds pretty sweet. Prob has a stage 2 clutch
  17. If you drive a manual tranny and you can't heel'n toe like Keiichi Tsuchiya does, you shouldn't drive manual.
  18. I can't heel-and-toe. I just let the clutch eat it. Or maybe it's the synchros...
  19. like 99% of people.

    How many boy-toy racers pledging for manual trannys have actually taken their car to the track ? 1% ?

    I did, and its indeed awesome. But for daily driving, an ZF autobox is the best.
  20. GM autoboxes disagree. For awhile they were even making them for ze Germans.
  21. Depends on the car and depends on the 'box. And even some good gearboxes have shitty software that messes with the driving experience. The most common problem being unnecessary downshifts even in paddle-shift mode.

    Let's put it this way: Would you have a torque converter auto box in a motorbike instead of a sequential gearbox?

  22. What the shit

  23. And hell yeah I want total control over most things in a car.

    Overprotective ESPs, numb steering, automatic braking, silly transmissions and all sorts of bings and bongs with "lane assist" and "attention assist" can really ruin a car.
  24. You didn't know this? GM made automatic trannys for BMW and Mercedes, I think, back in the 80's and 90's.
  25. GM made transmissions for BMW up until about 2003

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