Stick vs. Automatic, Revisited

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by DGS49, May 29, 2017.

  1. DGS49
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    DGS49 Gold Member

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    Since I first learned how to drive, I have always been a proponent of manual transmissions. Our family car in the 60's was a Chevy sedan with a two-speed "Powerglide" transmission. It was slow and inefficient. It provided only two gears, ate up much of the car's limited power in a primitive torque converter, and it just bugged the hell out of me that when you were sitting at a stoplight, the transmission was always trying to push the car forward. Even a three speed manual ("Three on the Tree") provided better performance, better fuel economy, and allowed use of the cars compression to control speeds on long downhills.

    Until recently, a well-driven stick shift provided measurably better performance than even a "good" automatic in a sports car, as well as better real-world fuel economy. Again, the stick was superior.

    I am now fortunate to be able to drive a "state of the art" 8-speed, dual clutch automatic transmission car, and although I still prefer my 6-speed 350Z, I think the rational reasons to drive a stick have basically faded away. The fuel economy advantage of the stick is now almost theoretical. There is very little slip in the transmission, and left in "ECON" mode, the car is almost always in the gear that provides best fuel economy. My car actually shuts down at stoplights (something that I thought would be an irritation, but it turns out not to be), so the savings there is small but undeniable.

    Performance wise, only a professional driver could match the performance of a modern automatic, especially when running in "SPORT" mode.

    And you can't ignore the fact that the top-performing Mercedes', Porsche's, Ferrari's, and Jags are all sold with slushboxes, unless the buyer opts out and wants a stick.

    So again, it is difficult to rationally make the case for a stick. On a road course, I personally would rather choose which ratio to drive in at all times, as opposed to allowing the computer to make that choice. And only the driver knows when he is approaching a hill, so he can get in front of the gear change and not have to wait until the car figures it out (if it actually does).

    What about re-sale value? Will the used car market four years out shun the Corvette, Porsche, or Beemer that has a stick? What about Gen-X? I grew up with a stick, but they did not. Will any of them even consider a 7-speed Corvette or a 6-speed 911?

    But I hate to make my own choices based on what "the next guy" might want when I go to sell.

    All I can say is, I would still never buy a sports car with an automatic. It's like buying a three-wheeled "motorcycle." What's the point?
     
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  2. Iceweasel
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    Iceweasel Diamond Member

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    I started with manual shifts and was a fan of automatics a long time ago and didn't miss a clutch and shifting one bit. They are much more money to repair but I have never had to in 30 years.
     
  3. strollingbones
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    strollingbones Diamond Member

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    love a stick....but i am going out with next car...i will miss the control of a stick but damn the auto is so nice in the big towns
     
  4. ricechickie
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    ricechickie Gold Member

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    I miss a stick shift, there's nothing better for control in snowy or icy conditions.

    My car now has a manual option, but it's not the same. Still, in bad weather, I use it.
     
  5. MarathonMike
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    MarathonMike Platinum Member

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    I drove a stick about 20 years ago. Other than the fun aspect, there isn't much of a case for manual. I just bought my son a Mitsubishi Lancer with a CVT, Continuously Variable Transmission. It's getting about 30 mpg and has decent power.
     
  6. Mr Clean
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    Mr Clean Gold Member

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    Every car I've owned since 1968 has been a stick.

    My next car (if there is one) will be an automatic. As much fun as going through the gears is, sometimes I just want to sit there and steer.
     
  7. Billy_Kinetta
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    Billy_Kinetta Paladin of the Lost Hour Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I have one car with stick and one with auto. One is for tear-assing around on nice days scaring Mini-Coopers and the other for suburban meandering.
     
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  8. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    Control, the ability to double clutch into a curve and slow with compression, and then pull out of it with with the higher RPM's, in short, the fun of it.
     
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  9. jon_berzerk
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    jon_berzerk Gold Member

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    we have both

    the rv is auto

    the cruz is auto

    the cobalt is manual

    the dodge 2500 is manual

    the f150 is auto

    the dodge 1500 is auto
     
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  10. danielpalos
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    danielpalos Gold Member

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    I don't mind stick; but, prefer automatic in predominantly hilly areas.
     

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