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Non-Road Boards => Off-Topic => Topic started by: US 41 on February 11, 2019, 10:02:23 PM

Title: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: US 41 on February 11, 2019, 10:02:23 PM
I bought a new car 6 months ago. I had been driving an automatic, but I really wanted a manual. My dad's old car was a manual and I missed driving stick. However I had to drive to Indianapolis (1.5 hrs away) to even find a manual. They seem to be going on the endangered list. However I definitely prefer the manual over the automatic. I for one really like to drive, so driving a manual gives me more control and more of a challenge which I really enjoy. I recently drove it to Key West and it did great. I also am getting 40 mpg. It was only rated for 36 mpg, but I tend to drive a lot easier than most people so that's probably why I'm getting better mileage. I also know that when something goes wrong with a manual they are generally cheaper to fix since they are less complex. I also like that most people my age don't know how to drive one, so no one ever wants to borrow my car. The sad part is that in another decade or two I doubt I will even be able to buy one anymore unless I import it from Europe (where 80% of the cars are still manuals).
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: wxfree on February 11, 2019, 10:19:44 PM
I prefer manual.  When I was younger it was more fun.  I never really cared about the extra control.  Automatics shift fine and manuals give you more control to make bad shifting decisions.  A lot of people don't realize that different cars have different shift points and tend to over-rev.  My car likes early shifts if I'm accelerating gently, as I often do.  My cousin once had a sporty car that lugged easily and needed to be kept at higher RPMs.  That awareness is what I now like most about manuals.  I do like having the extra movements (driving an automatic is boring) but, even more, I like how it makes you feel what the car feels and adapt to the different driving conditions.  It also teaches you about how a car likes to be driven, as demonstrated by the difference between my car and my cousin's.

Around here, in Texas, a lot of the kids in rural areas know how to drive them, particularly males.  A lot of them don't know how to change a tire, change the oil, or even change the air filter, but they learn to drive with a manual transmission, probably because that's a skill that's more easily shown off.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: oscar on February 11, 2019, 10:44:37 PM
I grew up driving automatics, but at least one of my cars was a stickshift for about two decades, from 1988 or so to 2008. The two manuals I drove in those two decades accumulated about 375,000 miles before each bit the dust.

It was fun while it lasted (especially the two unsuccessful attempts to steal my car, by thieves who didn't know how to drive a stickshift), except for having to work the clutch all the time in my daily commute. The stress on my left ankle probably contributed to the mysterious and sudden fracture of that ankle (both tibia and fibula) in 2006, which required surgery and left me essentially house- and wheelchair-bound for several weeks. That made me fall out of love with my stickshift car, and when it was totaled by a drunk driver in 2008 I replaced it with a Prius (which I still own) for which a CVT automatic was the only available transmission.

My current road-trip ride is a Subaru compact SUV. I could've gotten one with a stickshift rather than a CVT if I tried hard enough, but decided I was too old to go back to a manual.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Max Rockatansky on February 12, 2019, 12:06:49 AM
Automatic; for one I hate driving manuals in traffic and secondly they generally have become the better preforming variant.  I "prefer" a multimatic like my Challenger has but I don't miss it that much in a daily driver like my Impreza. 
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: texaskdog on February 12, 2019, 01:05:08 AM
Automatic.  My first car though (1988-1990) was a stick and I bought it without knowing how to drive one.  My Porsche 1999-2001 also was and I remembered how to drive it quickly.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: corco on February 12, 2019, 01:13:54 AM
I prefer manuals to the point that I'd rather drive a 1995 Toyota Tercel than a new Ferrari - for me the joy of driving a performance car doesn't come from the shift speed or the paddles, it's from manipulating a big powerful engine with the clutch pedal while banging through gears with a physical shifter. So I'm really sad that this doesn't seem to be the preferred option anymore.

I have one manual car and one automatic car and much prefer the manual, which I use as my primary vehicle - I intend to keep a stick-shift car as my primary driver as long as it is possible to do so, fully knowing that I'll probably need to order my next new car (and pay the corresponding premium) in a few years.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: CNGL-Leudimin on February 12, 2019, 03:55:50 AM
I've only ever driven manual, so I cannot give an unbiased answer. They are far more common in Europe.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 12, 2019, 07:30:09 AM
Iíve never owned an automatic, although my wifeís Acura has a nine-speed automatic. I donít mind the manual in traffic, Iím sure in part because Iím used to it; I find my right leg gets more tired from riding the brake than my left leg does from riding the clutch. In the automatic Iím nervous about the unfamiliar kickdown feature, and when I drive hers I use the paddles more often than she does, either to pass on a two-lane road or to force a downshift on a hill or the like. Iím more comfortable controlling the downshift than I am letting the car do it, and on hills Iíve found many automatics try to hold too high a gear and I suspect this is why many drivers slow down too much going up anything more than a minor gradient.

(I will admit the TLX is a fantastic roadtrip car even with an automatic, though.)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 12, 2019, 09:13:58 AM
I don't even know how to drive a manual, so...automatic.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 12, 2019, 10:15:15 AM
Depends on the situation. My main car (an Acura TL) has a 6-speed automatic with a manual mode, but I also have a manual Honda Prelude that I drive from time to time.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 12, 2019, 01:17:08 PM
Manual, but I haven't owned one since 2005.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: vdeane on February 12, 2019, 01:24:55 PM
Manual - I've never even owned an automatic, in fact (and have no plans to).  My Mom used to prefer manual as well, but traded in her manual Civic for an automatic Ford Edge last year.  The automatic transmission and additional height from being a SUV are easier on her knees.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: MikieTimT on February 12, 2019, 01:47:16 PM
The 2 vehicles that I claim in my household are manuals, 2000 Dodge 3500 turbodiesel dually 6-speed manual and 2013 Subaru WRX 5-speed manual with factory STI short shifter and factory cat back dual exhaust as the only options.  My wife's van, a 2006 Honda Odyssey, is a 5 speed auto.  I don't claim it, though, but she seems to like it.  She can drive them all, though, as well, as long as the truck is never placed in reverse.  We've fixed more cars for other people that way...
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 12, 2019, 01:52:04 PM
I should say that it's rather difficult (impossible?) to find a seven-passenger vehicle with a stick shift.  We have a family of five and we (1) haul stuff on a regular basis and (2) travel with others to Mexico on an annual basis.  Basically, other priorities top that of having stick shift.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 12, 2019, 02:01:56 PM
In the automatic Iím nervous about the unfamiliar kickdown feature, and when I drive hers I use the paddles more often than she does, either to pass on a two-lane road or to force a downshift on a hill or the like.

Kicking down is really easy when it is a request for increased power:  just put your foot down and hold it there.  But the transmission has to be maintained in order for kickdown to be consistently smooth.

When the transmission kicks down, there should be a brief pause (often the PCM is configured to retard ignition timing to ease the torque transfer across different wet clutch combinations), then an increase in engine buzz as the engine spins up to the higher RPM, and a gentle "springing forward" sensation of increased acceleration as the driveline winds up and the added power starts reaching the wheels.  If the fluid is old and thin, as happens when the transmission is not maintained properly, there is often a slam as the gears change, which has the effect of frightening drivers.

Iím more comfortable controlling the downshift than I am letting the car do it, and on hills Iíve found many automatics try to hold too high a gear and I suspect this is why many drivers slow down too much going up anything more than a minor gradient.

My suspicion, as someone who has climbed hills using an automatic, is that most drivers try foot-feeding their way up hills and react far too late to avoid speed drops once their vehicles bite into grades.  To avoid significant speed drop, you almost have to start accelerating for the hill before you reach it.

For mild to moderate grades, solenoid-actuated cruise control is generally better at responding promptly to speed drops as the car starts ascending.  In my Saturn, which has working cruise control with TranSynd in the transmission sump, I can set the cruise control for 65 at the bottom of I-70 just west of Denver, move into the far left-hand lane, and pass everyone else on cruise control all the way up the grade (about 6%).  The transmission just bounces from 4th to 3rd and back again (shifting smoothly each time) as required to correct small speed drops.

The Saturn is 1990's tech.  2000's tech includes hill detection logic, which can hold speed within even tighter limits and, to an extent, control speed on downgrades without driver intervention.  The hill detection logic on my 2005 Camry works so well that when I go over the Fred Hartman Bridge in Houston, I move to the far left-hand lane, passing everyone else that slows down for the climb to the top of the navigational envelope, and then move to the far right-hand lane, being passed by everyone else, with cruise control maintaining set speed of 60 throughout.

Bottom line:  most drivers don't have reflexes good enough, or pay close enough attention, to outperform control logic when attempting to hold a steady speed through changes in vertical alignment.

P.S.  I suspect many drivers may have a preference for trying to foot-feed their way up grades that was learned during the 1980's, when vacuum-actuated cruise control was state of the art.  With vacuum actuation it does make sense to change over to foot-feeding because it is almost impossible to make the vacuum diaphragm big enough to pull hard enough on the throttle cable when the engine is under heavy load and intake vacuum is minimal.  This is especially true at high altitudes (e.g., I-70 over Vail Summit), because ambient air pressure is so much closer to manifold absolute pressure to begin with.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 12, 2019, 02:29:00 PM
^^^^

I know what the kickdown feature is. Iím just not used to it because Iíve driven manuals for 30 years. There have been times when Iíve accidentally kicked down in various rental cars and the like just because I wasnít thinking about it.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on February 12, 2019, 03:10:28 PM
I have never driven a manual. I do find the idea of constantly babysitting the car to become annoying if I did try to drive one.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 12, 2019, 03:23:13 PM
I know what the kickdown feature is. Iím just not used to it because Iíve driven manuals for 30 years. There have been times when Iíve accidentally kicked down in various rental cars and the like just because I wasnít thinking about it.

You have to think about what combinations of gear and speed the car "likes" with automatics, just like manuals, and it takes time to do this with a given car.  As an example, my Saturn usually shifts from 3rd to 4th at around 33 MPH, so if I accelerate to 35 and then allow it to slow down so the cruise control picks it up at just above 30, some of the time it will continue rolling in 4th and other times it will kick down to 3rd, and kickdown can be elicited with the merest pressure on the throttle pedal.

But in heavy power request situations, such as climbing a hill or merging onto the freeway, the response should be straightforward, and it has been in the automatics I have driven, which have had up to five forward speeds.  (I haven't tried automatics with six or more forward speeds.)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 12, 2019, 03:29:39 PM
I actually find myself babysitting a car with an automatic more than a car with a manual on steep hills:  that's because it never seems to shift when I want it to, so I need to fiddle a bit to get it more in line with my wishes.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 12, 2019, 04:25:45 PM
I should say that it's rather difficult (impossible?) to find a seven-passenger vehicle with a stick shift.
One would have likely have go to back to at least a 1960s vintage bare bones full-size station wagon for such (3-on-the-tree in an H pattern) in order to find such.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 12, 2019, 04:54:17 PM


I should say that it's rather difficult (impossible?) to find a seven-passenger vehicle with a stick shift.
One would have likely have go to back to at least a 1960s vintage bare bones full-size station wagon for such (3-on-the-tree in an H pattern) in order to find such.

I've seen a Dodge Caravan with a stickshift before, but that was in Germany in the 1990s
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Jim on February 12, 2019, 05:11:35 PM
My second car was a 1980 Buick Skylark near the end of its lifespan, and it was a manual transmission.  I learned to drive manual on that, which is no easy task living in a city built on hills.  But I really enjoyed it, and when I bought my 1994 Saturn SL2 and later my 2001 Audi A4, I was in a position to buy new and was able to get manual transmissions.  I put about 380,000 miles combined on the two cars.  My most recent two cars have been great, but unfortunately are automatic transmissions.  It made more financial sense to buy a used card each of those times (I refuse to have a car payment), and the manual transmission wasn't enough of a priority to pass up what were otherwise very good fits for me.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: corco on February 12, 2019, 05:22:03 PM


I should say that it's rather difficult (impossible?) to find a seven-passenger vehicle with a stick shift.
One would have likely have go to back to at least a 1960s vintage bare bones full-size station wagon for such (3-on-the-tree in an H pattern) in order to find such.

I've seen a Dodge Caravan with a stickshift before, but that was in Germany in the 1990s

There's a few of the first and second generation Chrysler vans out there with a stick. You could also get a Ford Aerostar with one.

I believe the Mazda 5 is the most recent seven passenger vehicle available with a stick though.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: US 81 on February 12, 2019, 06:20:59 PM
...
Around here, in Texas, a lot of the kids in rural areas know how to drive them, particularly males.  A lot of them don't know how to change a tire, change the oil, or even change the air filter, but they learn to drive with a manual transmission, probably because that's a skill that's more easily shown off.

Because of my manual transmission preference, my kids 'inherited' manual tranni's as their first cars. My daughter said that in high school, lots of boys asked her out on dates because they were impressed that a girl could -- and even preferred to -- drive stick.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: hbelkins on February 12, 2019, 07:27:13 PM
Automatic. Why make driving more difficult than it has to be?
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 12, 2019, 08:43:44 PM
Automatic. Why make driving more difficult than it has to be?
Because quite a few people enjoy driving for its own sake, and a manual transmission adds another element of skill to that.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: formulanone on February 12, 2019, 08:59:47 PM
I prefer manual, especially on a curvy road and over hill-and-dale, but if someone is going to be stuck in a lot of city traffic, I can understand going to an automatic.

Automatics have come a long way in recent years. Many now have 6 gears or more, and aren't widely spaced like the 4-speeds of the past. Manual overrides which don't hesitate, will hold a desired gear up and down the rev range, and paddle/manumatic shifting is an vast improvement over slap-shifting. Speeds between shifts are no longer sluggish, can handle lots of power, and many will come with some sort of "SPORT" or "ECO" switch to switch between driving styles.

There's a few maddening shift-logic autos out there which insist on 3rd gear starts or seem to jump into the highest gear at anything over 25 mph, which is just to there to impress the MPG numbers. Most CVTs are not to my liking, although it seems to work well in some applications, if nothing too racy is asked of them. Some of them seem to have limited lifespans.

I believe the Mazda 5 is the most recent seven passenger vehicle available with a stick though.

Unfortunately, 2015 was the last year for it. My wife wasn't going for that, besides...the GT package with sunroof, 17" wheels, and leather seating was only available in auto. It's not a bad slushbox in that van, to be honest. Dynamically speaking, it's a sharp handler for a minivan, at the expense of $700-800 for tires every 35K miles.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 12, 2019, 09:14:11 PM
I should say that it's rather difficult (impossible?) to find a seven-passenger vehicle with a stick shift.
In the US, yeah, probably, unless thereís a seven-passenger SUV with a stick shift that Iím not aware of.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 12, 2019, 11:57:04 PM
Automatic. Why make driving more difficult than it has to be?

Agreed.  The machinery knows when to shift.  I drove my first 500 thousand miles in manuals, and then got an automatic, and I see no reason to go back, and have driven 600 thousand miles in them.  If I need to shift manually for engine braking, I can still do that.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 13, 2019, 01:25:38 AM
Manual, for several reasons:

* it's fun!
* it's cool (ladies love a good handbrake turn)
* I like the control, especially in snow or traffic
* theft-prevention (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b04YW3r5xhg)
* more money in the used market (depending on the car and buyer)

My first car was an auto, but I've been driving my manual Golf for almost four years now. Wouldn't have anything else.

Automatic. Why make driving more difficult than it has to be?
Agreed.  The machinery knows when to shift.  I drove my first 500 thousand miles in manuals, and then got an automatic, and I see no reason to go back, and have driven 600 thousand miles in them.  If I need to shift manually for engine braking, I can still do that.

I do wonder if old people like you and HB are at least partly responsible for the death of the manual. Younger people (who prefer manual more frequently than older people) cannot always afford new cars. Those that can afford new cars are usually older, and find that there's no novelty or usefulness to the manual, so they go for the automatic (especially if they prefer higher-specced models which are usually automatic). So, new manual sales continue to decline, despite a (seeming) continued popularity in the used market.

It's sort of like how Gen-X'ers don't like wagons because their parents owned them. As they grew old enough to buy new cars, they didn't buy any wagons (because they weren't cool), so they've started to die out. Now they've suddenly become (at least a little bit) cool again, as there's a whole age group who lived in the SUV-era, who want something that's both practical and fun to drive.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 13, 2019, 06:23:52 AM
Automatic. Why make driving more difficult than it has to be?
Agreed.  The machinery knows when to shift.  I drove my first 500 thousand miles in manuals, and then got an automatic, and I see no reason to go back, and have driven 600 thousand miles in them.  If I need to shift manually for engine braking, I can still do that.
I do wonder if old people like you and HB are at least partly responsible for the death of the manual. Younger people (who prefer manual more frequently than older people) cannot always afford new cars. Those that can afford new cars are usually older, and find that there's no novelty or usefulness to the manual, so they go for the automatic (especially if they prefer higher-specced models which are usually automatic). So, new manual sales continue to decline, despite a (seeming) continued popularity in the used market.

Technological improvements have steadily eliminated any advantage for manual transmissions, even for the older cars on the road which are nearly 2000 or later.

Automatics now have quicker shift times, more gears for better acceleration, quieter and more-efficient highway cruising, shifters that allow manual gear selection in an automatic transmission, and lockup torque converters that improve fuel economy by reducing that irksome slipping when you step on the accelerator, says Seredynski.  Modern automatics have at least six speeds, and many have seven or eight.  Ford is developing a new 10-speed automatic.  It's not clear how a driver would ever shift through that many gears manually.  ďPeople tend not to buy a manual when economy is so much better in [an automatic].Ē

New automatically controlled continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) have the potential to get even better gas mileage.  ďWe saw a big drop in manuals when we introduced the CVT with much better fuel-economy,Ē says McHale.

Automakers are pushing to develop better and better automatic transmissions as they chase every last fraction of mpgs to meet ever tightening Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards passed by the EPA.  Automatics give engineers better control over how every drop of fuel is used in every revolution of the engine, and every molecule of pollution that comes out the tailpipe.  Every stick shift they sell that gets worse gas mileage than an automatic drags down their average fuel economy.  If they don't meet the steadily increasing targets on the way to an average of 39.4 mpg by 2025, automakers face big fines.


https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/best-cars-blog/2016/09/why-are-manual-transmissions-disappearing
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 13, 2019, 09:16:09 AM
Such is quite an about-face from when gas prices started skyrocketing and the original CAFE standards were first imposed during the 1970s.  By 1973, manuals were all but gone from the full-sizes and even on the mid-sizes (most muscle cars in this size segment either morphed into or were replaced by similar-sized personal luxury coupes) it was scarce to find one with a manual... even on a stripped-down, bare-bones model.

When many mid-sizes were downsized or some larger compacts became de-facto mid-sizes a few years later (1978); manual transmissions were re-introduced in this size category for fuel economy reasons.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: formulanone on February 13, 2019, 11:31:42 AM
I do wonder if old people like you and HB are at least partly responsible for the death of the manual.

Considering the automatic dates back to about 1940 (although like a lot good innovations, it takes 15 years for full industrial and societal adoption), that's a bit unfair. As people's tastes change over the years, they tend to drive less aggressively and have preferred comfort and convenience. The vehicle-buying public didn't demand it enough, so the market changed, as it always has. It changes at a slow pace for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that idea conception to production is 3-5 years, and keeps going that way because it's harder to turn the ship around (production, part suppliers, other pressures). Technology seems to march well when it makes tasks easier to perform.

The proliferation of SUVs and trucks also haven't helped the manual's cause either; a longer shift throw due to the location of the gear selector to the floorboard has always been clumsy. It's not an easy solution, other than to build a wall-like center console and a seemingly unresponsive shift linkage. As generations have rarely or even never had to use a manual transmission, you can see why it's disappearing. And as a lot of folks on the fence about their transmission choices have told me, "if it makes enough power, I'm fine with automatic". Power outputs and have increased, acceleration times have decreased, shifting times have sped up, and fuel economy differences are negligible, which has negated most of the manual's benefits.

But just as some people want a flip-phone or insist on paper maps, there's going to be some resistance for personal reasons. I enjoy the engagement of a manual transmission and the various manual controls and switch-gear in an increasingly tactile-free world.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 13, 2019, 11:35:58 AM
Such is quite an about-face from when gas prices started skyrocketing and the original CAFE standards were first imposed during the 1970s.  By 1973, manuals were all but gone from the full-sizes and even on the mid-sizes (most muscle cars in this size segment either morphed into or were replaced by similar-sized personal luxury coupes) it was scarce to find one with a manual... even on a stripped-down, bare-bones model.

When many mid-sizes were downsized or some larger compacts became de-facto mid-sizes a few years later (1978); manual transmissions were re-introduced in this size category for fuel economy reasons.

Automatics were still pretty primitive in the late 1970's, with most having just three forward speeds and none having lockup in any gear.  Four gears with lockup in top gear was common by 1985, and lockup in forward gears other than top gear was available at least in some models by 1995.  More than four forward gears began appearing on luxury cars in the mid-1990's and was common on midrange vehicles by the mid-2000's.  These are changes I have personally observed as an owner or principal driver of a 1978 Chevrolet Impala, a 1986 Nissan Maxima, a 1994 Saturn SL2, and a 2005 Toyota Camry.

In regard to Jakeroot's comments upthread about changing preferences among older drivers who can afford to buy new drying up the supply of manuals on which younger drivers can learn, the biggest difference I see between now and 20 years ago is the near-disappearance of manuals in daily-driver compacts and subcompacts.  The selling point for manuals in these vehicles was that they were cheap (automatics were a higher-cost option), economical (less fuel consumption), and reliable (less repair liability since the OEM ATFs in use at the time were conventional and sheared down rapidly, with consequent degradation in transmission performance and reduction of service life; current-generation OEM ATFs are semi-synthetic).  Manuals on these cars were a learning opportunity, as Jakeroot points out, but they were never oriented for a pleasure-driving market and some of them were quite bad ergonomically.

I suspect that manuals will continue to be available on cars that are oriented for driving for pleasure, though market share for automatics even on these will increase over time owing to fewer and fewer buyers knowing how to drive manuals.  And on these cars even the automatics will be tuned more toward pleasure driving.  On budget subcompacts the automakers have all kinds of little tricks they use to push you to spend more on a slightly bigger and more capable vehicle:  where transmissions are concerned, one of these is having the automatic downshift directly from 3rd to 1st when drawing up at red lights, which makes it very difficult to modulate braking to roll to a stop without dive.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 13, 2019, 04:31:00 PM
Automatics were still pretty primitive in the late 1970's, with most having just three forward speeds and none having lockup in any gear. 

Manual transmissions in American cars back then (like my 1975 Chevy Nova)  typically had no more than three forward speeds, so they would have been no less "primitive'.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 13, 2019, 05:16:56 PM
I do wonder if old people like you and HB are at least partly responsible for the death of the manual.

Considering the automatic dates back to about 1940 (although like a lot good innovations, it takes 15 years for full industrial and societal adoption), that's a bit unfair. As people's tastes change over the years, they tend to drive less aggressively and have preferred comfort and convenience. The vehicle-buying public didn't demand it enough, so the market changed, as it always has. It changes at a slow pace for a variety of reasons, the biggest being that idea conception to production is 3-5 years, and keeps going that way because it's harder to turn the ship around (production, part suppliers, other pressures). Technology seems to march well when it makes tasks easier to perform.

The proliferation of SUVs and trucks also haven't helped the manual's cause either; a longer shift throw due to the location of the gear selector to the floorboard has always been clumsy. It's not an easy solution, other than to build a wall-like center console and a seemingly unresponsive shift linkage. As generations have rarely or even never had to use a manual transmission, you can see why it's disappearing. And as a lot of folks on the fence about their transmission choices have told me, "if it makes enough power, I'm fine with automatic". Power outputs and have increased, acceleration times have decreased, shifting times have sped up, and fuel economy differences are negligible, which has negated most of the manual's benefits.

But just as some people want a flip-phone or insist on paper maps, there's going to be some resistance for personal reasons. I enjoy the engagement of a manual transmission and the various manual controls and switch-gear in an increasingly tactile-free world.
I say the blame for the death of the manual transmission is equally shared amongst everyone who knows how to drive a manual, but didn't teach the next generation how to drive one.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ce929wax on February 13, 2019, 06:27:47 PM
Automatic, although I have driven a manual on a semi truck.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: corco on February 13, 2019, 06:46:10 PM
Honestly I blame manufacturers as much as consumers- in the U.S. there are very few people who insist on driving a manual- not enough for a dedicated market.

There's a greater share of people who would prefer a manual, but are willing to settle for an automatic if that's what is on the lot with incentives. Those folks killed the manual by being willing to settle for an automatic car out of convenience. There's simply very little incentive for a dealer to stock them, and since dealer lot purchases represent the vast majority of cars bought there's no reason for the manufacturer to build manuals.

Same reason cars are all black, white and silver now- people are willing to buy them even if it isn't their ideal color.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 13, 2019, 07:38:04 PM
Honestly I blame manufacturers as much as consumers- in the U.S. there are very few people who insist on driving a manual- not enough for a dedicated market.

There's a greater share of people who would prefer a manual, but are willing to settle for an automatic if that's what is on the lot with incentives. Those folks killed the manual by being willing to settle for an automatic car out of convenience. There's simply very little incentive for a dealer to stock them, and since they represent the vast majority of cars bought there's no reason for the manufacturer to build them.

Same reason cars are all black, white and silver now- people are willing to buy them even if it isn't their ideal color.
Iím one of those. My TL wasnít available with a manual with the options that I wanted, and I was thinking about going to an automatic anyway. Had the option package I wanted been available with a manual, I might have held out for one, but even then theyíre very rare.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 13, 2019, 09:26:40 PM
^^^
I guess I didn't make it clear upthread. I 100% understand why "older" people don't buy manuals on technical grounds (worse fuel economy, slower, more cumbersome in traffic), but the manual transmission is no longer a technical decision...it's an emotional one (unless you drive in snow a lot, or climb rocks). Older people don't see it as cool, since it was so common for so many decades, whereas I do, since automatics are by-and-large the norm for my generation. But since the majority of new car buyers are older, more practical people, the manual transmission is quickly dying as it has no modern purpose, other than being fun.

Automatics were still pretty primitive in the late 1970's, with most having just three forward speeds and none having lockup in any gear. 

Manual transmissions in American cars back then (like my 1975 Chevy Nova)  typically had no more than three forward speeds, so they would have been no less "primitive'.

Sure, but they were dimwitted and slow. The manual three-speeds were always better in the fuel economy and speed categories because the automatic transmissions were, more or less, idiotic in their decisions.

I'm sure there were a few good automatics over the years. But largely, they were terrible compared to any equivalent manual gearbox. Though the automatic has been around for 60+ years, without a doubt it has only been perfected in the last 10. Automatics, in my family, have always been the minority choice. My grandparent's decision to buy manuals up until the mid-noughties was primarily based on poor experiences in the 50s and 60s...automatics may have had the same number of forward gears, but they were dimwitted and slow. At least with the manual, you could make the calls yourself.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 13, 2019, 09:33:20 PM
Manual transmissions in American cars back then (like my 1975 Chevy Nova)  typically had no more than three forward speeds, so they would have been no less "primitive'.
Sure, but they were dimwitted and slow. The manual three-speeds were always better in the fuel economy and speed categories because the automatic transmissions were, more or less, idiotic in their decisions.
Maybe your Nova had a great automatic. I'm sure there were a few good automatics over the years. But largely, they were terrible compared to any equivalent manual gearbox. Though the automatic has been around for 60+ years, without a doubt it has only been perfected in the last 10. Automatics, in my family, have always been the minority choice. My grandparent's decision to buy manuals up until the mid-noughties was primarily based on poor experiences in the 50s and 60s...automatics may have had the same number of forward gears, but they were dimwitted and slow. At least with the manual, you could make the calls yourself.

My 1975 Nova (see above) had a 3-speed -manual- transmission, shift lever on the steering column.  It was ok.

Put 305 thousand miles on it, replaced the clutch 4 times.  Never had to service an automatic except fluid changes.
 
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 13, 2019, 09:42:23 PM

My 1975 Nova (see above) had a 3-speed -manual- transmission, shift lever on the steering column.  It was ok.

Put 305 thousand miles on it, replaced the clutch 4 times.  Never had to service an automatic except fluid changes.

Sorry, mis-read. I edited my post.

That's one clutch every 76k miles. That seems excessive.

Many modern dual-clutch automatics are very expensive to maintain. VW's DSG is hilariously expensive to maintain, for example (and one of several reasons I went for the manual).
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 13, 2019, 09:51:08 PM
My 1975 Nova (see above) had a 3-speed -manual- transmission, shift lever on the steering column.  It was ok.
Put 305 thousand miles on it, replaced the clutch 4 times.  Never had to service an automatic except fluid changes.
Sorry, mis-read. I edited my post.
That's one clutch every 76k miles. That seems excessive.

How is that excessive?  For 1977 to 1991.  By what standard?

Many modern dual-clutch automatics are very expensive to maintain. VW's DSG is hilariously expensive to maintain, for example (and one of several reasons I went for the manual).

What is the maintenance other than a fluid and filter replacement every 60,000 miles or so?
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 13, 2019, 09:57:45 PM
My 1975 Nova (see above) had a 3-speed -manual- transmission, shift lever on the steering column.  It was ok.
Put 305 thousand miles on it, replaced the clutch 4 times.  Never had to service an automatic except fluid changes.
Sorry, mis-read. I edited my post.
That's one clutch every 76k miles. That seems excessive.
How is that excessive?  For 1977 to 1991.  By what standard?

Well obviously there's no standard, as manual transmission designs vary from car to car. But most clutches seem to last about 100k miles, from what I've read. Maybe that wasn't the case in 1977.

Many modern dual-clutch automatics are very expensive to maintain. VW's DSG is hilariously expensive to maintain, for example (and one of several reasons I went for the manual).

What is the maintenance other than a fluid and filter replacement every 60,000 miles or so?

$300-$500 every 40k for what you've mentioned.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: formulanone on February 13, 2019, 10:01:14 PM
My 1975 Nova (see above) had a 3-speed -manual- transmission, shift lever on the steering column.  It was ok.
Put 305 thousand miles on it, replaced the clutch 4 times.  Never had to service an automatic except fluid changes.
Sorry, mis-read. I edited my post.
That's one clutch every 76k miles. That seems excessive.

How is that excessive?  For 1977 to 1991.  By what standard?

Many modern dual-clutch automatics are very expensive to maintain. VW's DSG is hilariously expensive to maintain, for example (and one of several reasons I went for the manual).

What is the maintenance other than a fluid and filter replacement every 60,000 miles or so?

Lots of modern automatic transmissions do not even feature a dipstick, so a transmission pan service (replace the fluid, filter, and gasket) has to be performed. That seems to take at least two hours. Usually, the interval is much greater than before...I don't think I've seen a recommended 30,000-mile interval for transmissions in a long time; 45-100K is the new norm.

You'll get some that say they to never replace the ATF and others who swear by it.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 13, 2019, 10:01:25 PM
That's one clutch every 76k miles. That seems excessive.
How is that excessive?  For 1977 to 1991.  By what standard?
Well obviously there's no standard, as manual transmission designs vary from car to car. But most clutches seem to last about 100k miles, from what I've read. Maybe that wasn't the case in 1977.

I don't know what the stats were back then, but I seemed to do better than most I talked to.

Many modern dual-clutch automatics are very expensive to maintain. VW's DSG is hilariously expensive to maintain, for example (and one of several reasons I went for the manual).
What is the maintenance other than a fluid and filter replacement every 60,000 miles or so?
$300-$500 every 40k for what you've mentioned.

That is hard to imagine.  For my 2016 Buick Lacrosse, about $190 every 60,000 miles.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 13, 2019, 10:03:50 PM
Many modern dual-clutch automatics are very expensive to maintain. VW's DSG is hilariously expensive to maintain, for example (and one of several reasons I went for the manual).
What is the maintenance other than a fluid and filter replacement every 60,000 miles or so?
$300-$500 every 40k for what you've mentioned.
That is hard to imagine.  For my 2016 Buick Lacrosse, about $190 every 60,000 miles.

It's partly the design of the gearbox, being dual-clutch. Certainly you can understand why I chose the manual in this case.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 13, 2019, 11:02:41 PM
I'm sure there were a few good automatics over the years. But largely, they were terrible compared to any equivalent manual gearbox. Though the automatic has been around for 60+ years, without a doubt it has only been perfected in the last 10.

I would say automatics were perfected once shifting was fully electronically controlled and integrated with engine management.  This occurred in the early 1990's.  The first generations of both the Lexus LS 400 and the Saturn S-Series had automatics with full electronic control and spark retard timed to ease shifts.  All that has happened since is just refinement.  The transmission in my 2005 Camry is much more sophisticated than the one in my 1994 Saturn, down to solenoids designed to accept sine waves rather than square waves as input, but I don't feel I am missing out when I drive the Saturn.

Things were noticeably different with the 1986 Nissan Maxima, which had some electronic actuation but still relied on a cable for mechanical input of the throttle position.  I had issues with shift quality that I eventually had to address by adjusting the cable.

Lots of modern automatic transmissions do not even feature a dipstick, so a transmission pan service (replace the fluid, filter, and gasket) has to be performed. That seems to take at least two hours.

I have heard of dipstick-less automatics, as well as ones that seem purposely designed to force the customer to go to the dealer for a factory-approved flush.  Nevertheless there are DIY ATF drain/fill procedures for newer automatics (e.g., on Toyotas in the last ten years or so) that have just a drain hole, a fill hole, and fluid level check using only onboard diagnostics.  Manufacturing transmissions without drain bolts is the same old BS the Big Three have been pulling for decades.

Usually, the interval is much greater than before...I don't think I've seen a recommended 30,000-mile interval for transmissions in a long time; 45-100K is the new norm.

Many transmissions (including the one in my Camry) have no recommended fluid replacement interval.  I tend not to consider service intervals, if they are given at all, to be indicative of any design trends.  ATF is in a sealed sump, so it is not oxidized by blow-by gases like the engine oil (intervals tend to reflect estimates of the time/distance required to reach a safety margin above TBN 1), and it is oil- rather than water-based, so unlike water-based coolant, inhibition of corrosion on metal parts is not an important consideration in service life.  Shift quality changes over time as ATF shears down, but this is a gradual, subtle process and is slow enough with many OEM ATFs that I suspect many makers opt not to quote intervals at all because they see no meaningful reputational risk from really bad transmission performance at the end of a typical 100,000-mile service life.

In the case of transmissions that do have specified drain/fill intervals, it matters what type of ATF is used.  For a Saturn S-Series with a recommended 30,000-mile service interval, for example, it might be prudent to drain and fill generic conventional Dexron III fluid more frequently because it is thinner than Saturn OEM ATF to start with and shears down fast.  On the other hand, TranSynd--which meets the Dexron III spec but is nearly all API Group IV basestocks--is essentially lifetime fill.

You'll get some that say they to never replace the ATF and others who swear by it.

I am a fan of the butt test for monitoring transmission performance.  If you drain and fill the ATF and shift quality is subsequently better, then that is a signal you do need to maintain the ATF.  For the fluid you are using, you can then consider a repeat drain and fill, or further drains and fills at tighter intervals, until you navigate to a point where draining and filling essentially maintains current shift quality instead of bringing the transmission back from noticeably worse performance.

As for what "they" say, I maintain the fluid whether an interval is specified or not, because I have seen how shift quality changes for the better when old fluid is drained out and replaced with new fluid to the appropriate specification.  I notice that "they" who say not to maintain never say how long they keep their vehicles or show any ability to describe shift quality precisely.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 13, 2019, 11:37:08 PM
What is the maintenance other than a fluid and filter replacement every 60,000 miles or so?
$300-$500 every 40k for what you've mentioned.
That is hard to imagine.  For my 2016 Buick Lacrosse, about $190 every 60,000 miles.
It's partly the design of the gearbox, being dual-clutch. Certainly you can understand why I chose the manual in this case.

Manual transmissions need fluid replacement as well, at least every 100,000 miles.

I would rather spend $190 every 60,000 miles for maintenance, than spend $1,000 or so on a clutch replacement at around 75,000 or maybe 100,000 if it lasts that long.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 14, 2019, 12:11:30 AM
Manual.  You can alleviate some of the problems in traffic by leaving a safe following distance and costing as much as possible.  While cruising there's virtually no difference between the two now.  Both are on par with fuel economy with the uber new automatics getting better numbers than manuals.  But I like screwing with other drivers when I downshift to a stop thus never turning on my brake lights.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 14, 2019, 12:14:08 AM
Automatic. Why make driving more difficult than it has to be?

Agreed.  The machinery knows when to shift.  I drove my first 500 thousand miles in manuals, and then got an automatic, and I see no reason to go back, and have driven 600 thousand miles in them.  If I need to shift manually for engine braking, I can still do that.
Well, it knows based on a set of data and mathematical formulas when to shift to get the best fuel economy, at least in normal mode.  Auto boxes are only as good as the engineers behind them. 
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: MikieTimT on February 14, 2019, 06:03:32 AM
Manual.  You can alleviate some of the problems in traffic by leaving a safe following distance and costing as much as possible.  While cruising there's virtually no difference between the two now.  Both are on par with fuel economy with the uber new automatics getting better numbers than manuals.  But I like screwing with other drivers when I downshift to a stop thus never turning on my brake lights.

I like coasting to stoplights and down Interstate hills to save on gas, or engine braking rather than friction braking as there's a satisfying pop when the engine is running on vacuum.  There are few things about driving more satisfying than rev-matching shifts, which leads to less clutch wear as well.  I get well over 100,000 miles between clutches, and that is using engine braking as well, but rev-matching downshifts takes most of the wear out of the clutch when done right.  Plus the exhaust burble of a high-performance engine is better than anything that could come out of my speakers.  However, driving is much more than transporting myself, family, or cargo from point A to point B for me.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: qguy on February 14, 2019, 06:33:20 AM
I much prefer a manual. The car feels more like an extension of my arms and legs (like I'm the car and the car is me) and I'm much more "in touch" with the road.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 14, 2019, 09:48:36 AM
But I like screwing with other drivers when I downshift to a stop thus never turning on my brake lights.
Will you feel that way should someone accidentally rear-end you?
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Henry on February 14, 2019, 10:14:09 AM


I should say that it's rather difficult (impossible?) to find a seven-passenger vehicle with a stick shift.
One would have likely have go to back to at least a 1960s vintage bare bones full-size station wagon for such (3-on-the-tree in an H pattern) in order to find such.

I've seen a Dodge Caravan with a stickshift before, but that was in Germany in the 1990s

There's a few of the first and second generation Chrysler vans out there with a stick. You could also get a Ford Aerostar with one.

I believe the Mazda 5 is the most recent seven passenger vehicle available with a stick though.
I'm sure you could get a Chevy Astro with a manual transmission too.

In any case, I'm much more comfortable with automatics than I am with manuals. All of my cars so far ('88 Calais, '94 Explorer and '98 Tahoe) have had automatic transmissions, and it's likely that my next one will have that too, but with a manual-shift mode, which I would welcome, since it would combine the best of both worlds.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 14, 2019, 10:16:15 AM
I'm sure you could get a Chevy Astro with a manual transmission too.
Maybe for the cargo version.  I'm not so sure about the passenger version.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 14, 2019, 10:29:53 AM
But I like screwing with other drivers when I downshift to a stop thus never turning on my brake lights.
Will you feel that way should someone accidentally rear-end you?
They shouldn't rear-end me if they leave space.  I'm not required to use the brakes to slow the car down.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ClassicHasClass on February 14, 2019, 10:37:20 AM
I've never owned an automatic. Every car I've ever had was stick. (Currently on a 2018 Honda Civic Si Sedan.)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 14, 2019, 01:19:55 PM
Lots of modern automatic transmissions do not even feature a dipstick, so a transmission pan service (replace the fluid, filter, and gasket) has to be performed. That seems to take at least two hours.

I would not feel comfortable heading out on a 1500-mile vacation without being able to check the transmission fluid level first.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: hbelkins on February 14, 2019, 01:37:35 PM
Lots of modern automatic transmissions do not even feature a dipstick, so a transmission pan service (replace the fluid, filter, and gasket) has to be performed. That seems to take at least two hours.

I would not feel comfortable heading out on a 1500-mile vacation without being able to check the transmission fluid level first.

Sealed transmissions seem to be fairly common. My vehicle, and my wife's, both have sealed transmissions.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 14, 2019, 01:42:53 PM


Lots of modern automatic transmissions do not even feature a dipstick, so a transmission pan service (replace the fluid, filter, and gasket) has to be performed. That seems to take at least two hours.

I would not feel comfortable heading out on a 1500-mile vacation without being able to check the transmission fluid level first.

Sealed transmissions seem to be fairly common. My vehicle, and my wife's, both have sealed transmissions.

Do you mean to tell me it's impossible for transmission fluid to leak from a cracked hose or hard line?
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 14, 2019, 02:14:49 PM
I would not feel comfortable heading out on a 1500-mile vacation without being able to check the transmission fluid level first.

Details of fluid level check procedure will be in the FSM.  For recent Toyota automatics without dipstick tube, two methods have been possible:  (1) very rough DIY check by sticking your finger in the filler hole, accessed from below the vehicle; and (2) factory-approved check by warming up the transmission to operating temperature and then using the onboard diagnostics (the exact procedure will be in the FSM, but will be known to people who post on marque forums and will likely be Googlable on that basis) to report the fluid level.

There are two main reasons dipsticks have been going away.  First, it is pretty difficult to obtain a true reading off a dipstick even if you follow directions and know what you are doing.  This is partly because fluid splashes off hard parts inside the transmission and some of it gets on the dipstick above the actual fluid level in the sump, so it is hard to find the place on the dipstick that corresponds to fluid level.  (Engine oil dipsticks have similar problems, but usually you can count on a reliable reading on the first pull out of a cold engine.  With transmissions you can't because the standard procedure is to check when it is warm, idling in Park, after the selector has been worked through all gear ranges forward and backward.)  Second, one less thing to check is one less opportunity for a potentially serious mistake at a quick lube shop.

Do you mean to tell me it's impossible for transmission fluid to leak from a cracked hose or hard line?

Leaks of this kind can and do happen, but are usually evident on inspection from below.  You can also count on some weep or outright leakage around the seal if the transmission has a spin-on filter, like the Saturn TAAT.  (I think spin-on filters represent a compromised design for automatics because they are much more difficult to tighten to a no-leak point than spin-on engine oil filters.  Oil pressure inside the engine tops out at 90 psi, while spin-on transmission filters have to handle raw line pressure at up to 250 psi.)  Plus top cover gaskets can start leaking over time--also a problem with the Saturn TAAT--but I think this is often benign since the top cover is usually high enough that if it is the only leak point, seepage through its gasket will not run the transmission dry.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 14, 2019, 02:21:35 PM
All of that seems a lot more involved than checking to see if a dipstick still has plenty of fluid on it.   :-/
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 14, 2019, 02:25:13 PM
All of that seems a lot more involved than checking to see if a dipstick still has plenty of fluid on it.   :-/
It also sounds more accurate than checking a dipstick.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 14, 2019, 02:32:00 PM

All of that seems a lot more involved than checking to see if a dipstick still has plenty of fluid on it.   :-/

It also sounds more accurate than checking a dipstick.

Well, sure, and taking my car to the mechanic every time I go out of state would be a LOT more accurate.  But I'd much rather take 10 minutes with nothing but a tire pressure gauge and a screwdriverófor freeóand check my tires and all my fluids and my air filter in the driveway without having to even go under the car.

It might not be as accurate to check with a dipstick, but it's fairly easy to go by one very simple guideline:

If the dipstick is dry, you need to put more fluid in;  if the dipstick is not dry, then your car will get you to where you're going.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 14, 2019, 02:49:10 PM
All of that seems a lot more involved than checking to see if a dipstick still has plenty of fluid on it.   :-/

If the dipstick is dry, you need to put more fluid in;  if the dipstick is not dry, then your car will get you to where you're going.

Just pulling out the dipstick and checking for fluid at the bottom won't tell you anything meaningful.  Depending on the transmission, a quart one way or the other will have significant effects--too little can result in altered shift quality if not overheating, and too much will result in foaming.

But I'd much rather take 10 minutes with nothing but a tire pressure gauge and a screwdriverófor freeóand check my tires and all my fluids and my air filter in the driveway without having to even go under the car.

IME, air filter checks are a waste of time.  Fuel economy stays basically the same even if the air filter is so clogged it herniates inside the box.  And the engine overbreathes on a fresh air filter until it builds up enough dust load for effective filtration, so your fuel economy takes a hit for a while.

I'd just take the extra five minutes to change into yard clothes so you can actually get down on the driveway and look at things from below (no need to raise the vehicle on ramps or stands).  Another check that you can do is to look at brake pads using a borescope camera; in fact I would like to get such a camera for this purpose, having had the experience of having to have pads and rotors replaced on the road because I left without first ensuring there was enough pad thickness on the rear rotors.  (I haven't bought a camera yet and have left on long roadtrips without checking brakes.  I am fairly early in pad life on both vehicles, but I am also rolling the dice because I don't lube my calipers on a regular basis and frozen calipers will greatly reduce pad life.)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 14, 2019, 03:04:35 PM
IME, air filter checks are a waste of time.  Fuel economy stays basically the same even if the air filter is so clogged it herniates inside the box.  And the engine overbreathes on a fresh air filter until it builds up enough dust load for effective filtration, so your fuel economy takes a hit for a while.
For the cabin air filter, I just wait till the air being cranked out by the heater/air conditioner starts smelling bad.  As it relates to the engine air filter, for some reason, I can't install the air filter that allegedly corresponds to this engine (it's too big to get the cover closed), which means I have to pay to get it done when I get the oil changed, which really annoys me.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 14, 2019, 03:24:48 PM


IME, air filter checks are a waste of time.  Fuel economy stays basically the same even if the air filter is so clogged it herniates inside the box.  And the engine overbreathes on a fresh air filter until it builds up enough dust load for effective filtration, so your fuel economy takes a hit for a while.

For the cabin air filter, I just wait till the air being cranked out by the heater/air conditioner starts smelling bad.  As it relates to the engine air filter, for some reason, I can't install the air filter that allegedly corresponds to this engine (it's too big to get the cover closed), which means I have to pay to get it done when I get the oil changed, which really annoys me.

I've had some really nasty-clogged air filters over the years, so not being able to replace my own would be an annoyance.  JNW might not be taking into account that I often do substantial driving in the Mexican desert off-pavement;  I get a lot of dust in there over the course of a couple of years.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 14, 2019, 09:23:33 PM
As it relates to the engine air filter, for some reason, I can't install the air filter that allegedly corresponds to this engine (it's too big to get the cover closed), which means I have to pay to get it done when I get the oil changed, which really annoys me.

I have grown cynical about air cleaner designs, the dinner-plate cleaner in my 1978 Impala being the last I ever worked with where the filter could be removed easily simply by lifting a lid without further disassembly of the intake plumbing.  In newer cars there is usually a snorkel that, if not removed, keeps pushing the lid out of alignment when you are trying to put the cleaner back together after a filter swap.  And some filter designs, notably the OEM filters for the 2005 Toyota Camry, have sealing edges that are designed to be compressed when they are clamped between the two halves of the air cleaner.  This creates a feeling of poor fit when the cleaner halves are first put back together that does not go away until the screws are tightened.  (There are aftermarket filters for the Camry with rigid plastic edges that slide into the cleaner slot without difficulty, but I suspect they allow more side leakage compared to OEM.  They also tend to be single-layer while OEM is dual-layer, so more dirt passes through the filter medium.)

I've had some really nasty-clogged air filters over the years, so not being able to replace my own would be an annoyance.  JNW might not be taking into account that I often do substantial driving in the Mexican desert off-pavement;  I get a lot of dust in there over the course of a couple of years.

Yes--I was forgetting that travel on unpaved roads is a significant consideration for you.  The worst filter I replaced a few years ago was in the Saturn and I suspect it had been in there for close to a decade.  It was just very gray on the upstream side, but once its replacement was in place, the car was on a noticeable "oxygen high" before the PCM recalculated the trim tables.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: hbelkins on February 15, 2019, 01:37:37 PM


Lots of modern automatic transmissions do not even feature a dipstick, so a transmission pan service (replace the fluid, filter, and gasket) has to be performed. That seems to take at least two hours.

I would not feel comfortable heading out on a 1500-mile vacation without being able to check the transmission fluid level first.

Sealed transmissions seem to be fairly common. My vehicle, and my wife's, both have sealed transmissions.

Do you mean to tell me it's impossible for transmission fluid to leak from a cracked hose or hard line?

No, but if there's a leak, as someone else mentioned, you'll see fluid beneath the vehicle when you move it.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 15, 2019, 02:06:42 PM
Not necessarily if it's a slow leak, or depending on exactly where it's leaking.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 15, 2019, 02:15:09 PM
Manual gearboxes can leak, too. They are sump driven and pull fluid when they are in gear. Usually brake fluid.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ET21 on February 15, 2019, 03:24:55 PM
Auto for my commutes, but my next car I want a manual.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: US 41 on February 15, 2019, 11:00:15 PM
I have to admit, when I first started driving I absolutely hated driving a manual. I remember when I was 15 and my dad was teaching me how to drive one. I told him that manuals were stupid and I couldn't believe anyone would want one. Then I thought it was dumb that you could buy new cars with manual transmissions. I was in Spain my junior year of high school and thought it was so dumb that almost everyone in Europe was driving a stick shift. For those who don't know you can tell a car is a manual when they roll backwards on a slope before accelerating. Eventually I got a lot better with his Saturn SL. Then my car broke down and I needed a car to get to college. I was a horrible college student and often skipped (and eventually dropped out). So one day I skipped and drove his car to Vincennes, then to Indy, and then back home (5-6 hrs of driving). That was the day I gained a ton of confidence with a stick shift. Then a couple of years later his car broke down and would never be fixed again.

Last year I knew I needed a new car for my road trips I often take. I noticed that a lot of vehicles in Mexico were manuals when I drove to Mazatlan. I missed driving my dad's old stick shift so I decided to buy a new one (used, but had less than 5000 miles on it) in Indy. In 6 years time I had become the guy that despised stick shifts to buying one as my primary car. Now I am currently keeping my eye out for an older manual that I can drive around locally so I don't run up the miles as fast on my new one. In 7 years time I went from despising manuals to not wanting to buy anything but a manual. I wouldn't trade mine for an automatic any day. I absolutely love driving (it's my hobby) and it just makes driving that much more fun. I'm a pretty hard judge on myself and I still mess up (no one's 100% perfect with a manual), but even when I mess up my passengers don't even notice (that minor lol). Most of the time they can't even tell I've shifted at all.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: polarscribe on February 15, 2019, 11:34:09 PM
I've driven manuals a bit, but my car (2016 Mazda CX-3 AWD) is a 6-speed automatic with manual shift mode; it's the "SkyActiv-Drive" which uses clutch packs to bypass the torque converter in all six gears (basically the TC is used only for starting/stopping). Shifts really smooth, averages 28-30 mpg doing 80 on I-84 from Baker to Boise; but flick the Sport mode switch and it'll lock out overdrive, hold gears to redline and downshift under braking almost as snappily as a manual. I've been very pleased with it.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: sparker on February 16, 2019, 04:02:31 AM
Although my first car was an automatic, my 2nd -- and pretty much every car I owned from 1970 through 2001 -- had a manual transmission; the last two were small trucks with 5-speeds (and shells), used in my business to haul things such as speaker cabinets and electronic components (added adjustable air-shocks to handle the additional loads).  Got used to it -- but acquired a SUV (Kia Sportage) back at the end of '01; when it bit the dust a few years back purchased a Camry from a friend; both had automatics.  Was over 50 when I switched back to an automatic -- but I kept the last stick truck around for business until electrical issues (damn you, Mitsubishi!) doomed it back in 2010 (but it was a work horse for almost 19 years!).  My GF can't drive stick, so both our Toyotas are automatic -- and I don't think I'd switch back at this stage of my life -- although if I have to rent a truck or van to haul anything around, and there's a stick vehicle available, I just might snag one of those just to see if my skills are intact! 
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 16, 2019, 10:40:21 AM
.... For those who don't know you can tell a car is a manual when they roll backwards on a slope before accelerating. ....

Heh. I'm pretty good at avoiding rolling back, but way back when I first started driving and I had a 1977 Ford Granada I unintentionally rolled back a bit and bumped a BMW that was too close behind me. The woman driving it was outraged and seemed even more so when I told her it was her fault because I had a manual shift and she should have left room. (There's court precedent saying that, too, in many statesóthe driver behind has the obligation of leaving enough space because even the most experienced manual-shift driver may roll back on a hill.) Eventually she shut up because there wasn't any damage to either car. My Granada had a pedal-operated handbrake, so I couldn't do the "handbrake trick" to prevent the car from rolling back. I think I rolled back more often in that car than in any other I've ever had simply because that car was bigger and heavier and had a much longer clutch throw.

A lot of younger people in this country seem to have no clue that can happen. Sometimes if I see a driver's ed car approaching me from behind when I'm on a hill I'll deliberately roll back a little bit before the car gets close to me in the hope that the instructor will notice and explain it to the student.

In Montreal one time a guy behind me pulled up extremely close behind me on a fairly steep uphill. I could have done the handbrake trick, but I didn't really want to, so instead I leaned over, caught his eye, and gestured at him to back up a little. He must have realized what I wanted because he waved kind of apologetically and backed up. In the USA you'd probably be given the finger for that.

It's funny, a year or two ago I was driving in Florida with my brother-in-law and his son (who was then 13). His son asked what the handbrake lever was. He'd never seen one because his parents' minivan has a foot-operated brake. A different nephew in Fort Myers wanted to know what that stick I kept moving around was. I explained the idea of shifting gears yourself by analogizing it to how you shift gears when you ride a bike and he seemed to get it. Both kids seemed absolutely confounded when I told them my car has three pedals instead of two, however!

Regarding comments in this thread about "making driving more difficult," to me it's second nature. I think more about it when I drive an automatic because I have to stop my left foot from reflexively seeking the clutch. The only times I ever found driving a manual to be at all difficult were (1) when I was 15 years old and learning to drive and struggling with hills (my dad didn't teach me the handbrake trick until after he was satisfied I knew how to start on a hill without that trick) and (2) the first time I test-drove a 2004 TL and then the first few times I drove my own 2004 TL after buying it. In the latter situation it was because the clutch's bite point was a little indistinct until I got used to it. In the case of the handbrake trick thing, my dad explained afterwards that he didn't teach me that at first because he didn't want me to rely on it and then possibly encounter a car with a different type of brakeówhich proved prescient in the case of the Granada, which we did not have at that time (I bought it from a guy at his office when I was 16). I've driven at least one other manual-shift car that I can recall that didn't have a handbrake lever; it was a VW Passat turbodiesel I rented in Scotland and the brake was operated by a button on the dashboard.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: LM117 on February 16, 2019, 11:03:44 AM
I don't even know how to drive a manual, so...automatic.

Same here and even if I did know how to drive a manual, Iíd still prefer automatic since Iím too damn lazy.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 16, 2019, 11:47:01 AM
Just remember, there were 3-speed automatic transmissions on production cars into the mid-90s.. How good or bad were they?
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 16, 2019, 11:57:55 AM
In the case of the handbrake trick thing, my dad explained afterwards that he didn't teach me that at first because he didn't want me to rely on it and then possibly encounter a car with a different type of brakeówhich proved prescient in the case of the Granada, which we did not have at that time (I bought it from a guy at his office when I was 16). I've driven at least one other manual-shift car that I can recall that didn't have a handbrake lever; it was a VW Passat turbodiesel I rented in Scotland and the brake was operated by a button on the dashboard.

I don't think I agree with your father's philosophy.  I think that, instead of teaching hill-holding only, I would also teach that it is the driver's responsibility, before starting the engine, to research what arrangements the vehicle offers for holding it still when the clutch is disengaged.  Holding a manual on a hill without brake application requires other drivers to leave space for controlled roll-back, which I would not trust them to do given how many of them I see stopping astride railroad crossings.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: formulanone on February 16, 2019, 12:03:22 PM
Just remember, there were 3-speed automatic transmissions on production cars into the mid-90s.. How good or bad were they?

Terrible, if you cared about such things. Usually you had a tall gearing to eliminate any excitement and prevent it from shifting too much. If you just cared about driving from Point A to Point B, you probably didn't care.

In that case, the 4/5-speed was definitely worth the trouble if you wanted a bit more oomph, a few more mpgs, and maybe save a few Ss with lines through them. But some vehicles had no other choice, so that's what go got.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: sparker on February 16, 2019, 12:07:52 PM
The one thing that will likely disabuse anyone regarding driving a stick -- trying to get around San Francisco with one -- particularly if you need to access anything near hilltops (Coit Tower, Nob Hill, etc.).  Chances are a driver will need to "feather" their emergency/parking brake more than once when stopping uphill at cross streets.  Can get more than a bit harrowing before long!
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 16, 2019, 12:19:27 PM
Just remember, there were 3-speed automatic transmissions on production cars into the mid-90s.. How good or bad were they?

The last car we had with a three-speed automatic was a large car made in 1978 that left family ownership in 1995.  Its shifting behavior was unremarkable.  IIRC, three-speed automatics in the late 1980's/early 1990's were largely confined to budget cars, so performance was calibrated to maintain the budget-car feel, which then (as now) was about nudging you to spend more to get more.

The one thing that will likely disabuse anyone regarding driving a stick -- trying to get around San Francisco with one -- particularly if you need to access anything near hilltops (Coit Tower, Nob Hill, etc.).  Chances are a driver will need to "feather" their emergency/parking brake more than once when stopping uphill at cross streets.  Can get more than a bit harrowing before long!

San Francisco driving has always struck me as the ideal application for a beater compact with steelies, with or without wheel covers (alloys are just asking for tears).  But I can't imagine having to be obsessive about having to keep the parking brake adjusted.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: corco on February 16, 2019, 12:24:38 PM
The one thing that will likely disabuse anyone regarding driving a stick -- trying to get around San Francisco with one -- particularly if you need to access anything near hilltops (Coit Tower, Nob Hill, etc.).  Chances are a driver will need to "feather" their emergency/parking brake more than once when stopping uphill at cross streets.  Can get more than a bit harrowing before long!

I had to navigate Seattle/Tacoma with a stick for a couple years - you get used to it. The thing is that automatics roll back too because of how steep the hills are and a=honestly, I enjoy the feeling of superiority I get when I perfectly execute a takeoff from one of those steep hills with a manual.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 16, 2019, 02:30:41 PM
The one thing that will likely disabuse anyone regarding driving a stick -- trying to get around San Francisco with one -- particularly if you need to access anything near hilltops (Coit Tower, Nob Hill, etc.).  Chances are a driver will need to "feather" their emergency/parking brake more than once when stopping uphill at cross streets.  Can get more than a bit harrowing before long!

I had to navigate Seattle/Tacoma with a stick for a couple years - you get used to it. The thing is that automatics roll back too because of how steep the hills are and a=honestly, I enjoy the feeling of superiority I get when I perfectly execute a takeoff from one of those steep hills with a manual.

As a Lyft driver in Seattle with a manual transmission, I am quite used to the hills at this point as well. In fact, I find it easier than an automatic as you can feather the clutch & throttle when its raining/slick.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 16, 2019, 04:21:44 PM
I am surprised at how many people here have a car with a manual transmission, given that nationally in the U.S. it is only about 5% of market share.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 16, 2019, 04:28:06 PM
I am surprised at how many people here have a car with a manual transmission, given that nationally in the U.S. it is only about 5% of market share.

Heh. Counting my wifeís cars, in our house we have three manuals (two six-speeds and a five-speed).


(Edited to fix an autocorrect-induced capitalization error)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 16, 2019, 04:38:17 PM
I am surprised at how many people here have a car with a manual transmission, given that nationally in the U.S. it is only about 5% of market share.

We're probably over-represented in some demographic categories. I'm sure you'll find higher levels of manual ownership amongst middle-class driving-obsessed males.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 16, 2019, 04:42:27 PM
I am surprised at how many people here have a car with a manual transmission, given that nationally in the U.S. it is only about 5% of market share.
Heh. Counting my wifeís cars, in our house we have three manuals (two six-speeds and a five-Speed).

3 or 4 speeds were one thing, but I wouldn't want to have to shift thru 6 speeds, or even 7 or 8 like some of the latest cars.  Skipping gears is also discouraged.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ClassicHasClass on February 16, 2019, 05:01:19 PM
The one thing that will likely disabuse anyone regarding driving a stick -- trying to get around San Francisco with one -- particularly if you need to access anything near hilltops (Coit Tower, Nob Hill, etc.).  Chances are a driver will need to "feather" their emergency/parking brake more than once when stopping uphill at cross streets.  Can get more than a bit harrowing before long!

My 2018 Civic Si Sedan has an automatic brake-hold mode which is perfect for launching on hilly streets without rolling back. That said, driving in San Francisco in general just sucks, and I'm pretty sure the city makes it that way on purpose.

If I had to switch to an automatic, I think it's the clutch I'd miss the most, even if I had paddle shifters.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: riiga on February 16, 2019, 05:25:46 PM
Manual all the way. I can't stand driving automatics, it feels like I'm not in control. The transmission also doesn't change gears the way I want and not having engine braking is very strange to me. Now, electric cars usually have regenerative braking, so you'll slow down akin to having engine braking, which I found to be a much better experience than driving a regular car with automatic.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 16, 2019, 07:03:23 PM
I am surprised at how many people here have a car with a manual transmission, given that nationally in the U.S. it is only about 5% of market share.
Heh. Counting my wifeís cars, in our house we have three manuals (two six-speeds and a five-Speed).

3 or 4 speeds were one thing, but I wouldn't want to have to shift thru 6 speeds, or even 7 or 8 like some of the latest cars.  Skipping gears is also discouraged.

I believe all manual transmissions, minus a few Subaru's, are 6-speeds these days. Mine is. It's really not like you're changing gears any more often. The 6th gear is really for the freeway. The Porsche and Corvette 7-speed manuals (the most available in a manual) are mostly for top speed runs, IIRC. The 9/10-speed autos do change gear earlier than a manual would, but because they're mostly geared for fuel economy.



Manual all the way. I can't stand driving automatics, it feels like I'm not in control. The transmission also doesn't change gears the way I want and not having engine braking is very strange to me. Now, electric cars usually have regenerative braking, so you'll slow down akin to having engine braking, which I found to be a much better experience than driving a regular car with automatic.

This is a good point. I've noticed that regenerative braking the last few times I've driven electric vehicles. I could get used to it pretty quickly.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 16, 2019, 07:45:51 PM
It is not universally true that automatics don't offer engine braking in D.  It really depends on how the specific transmission is designed.  Some, like the Saturn TAAT or the five-speed automatic used in the second-generation Honda Fit, offer engine braking when coasting that is similar to manuals.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 16, 2019, 09:19:08 PM
It is not universally true that automatics don't offer engine braking in D.  It really depends on how the specific transmission is designed.  Some, like the Saturn TAAT or the five-speed automatic used in the second-generation Honda Fit, offer engine braking when coasting that is similar to manuals.
Every auto box I've ever had has had the ability to drop down into 3rd.  There's no Federal requirement to offer downshifting on the shifter, just that neutral must be in between reverse and drive.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: J N Winkler on February 16, 2019, 09:35:53 PM
It is not universally true that automatics don't offer engine braking in D.  It really depends on how the specific transmission is designed.  Some, like the Saturn TAAT or the five-speed automatic used in the second-generation Honda Fit, offer engine braking when coasting that is similar to manuals.

Every auto box I've ever had has had the ability to drop down into 3rd.  There's no Federal requirement to offer downshifting on the shifter, just that neutral must be in between reverse and drive.

That is a completely separate issue.  What Riiga and Jakeroot are talking about is what happens when the transmission is left in D and the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator pedal so that the car coasts with no power request.  Some automakers design the transmission so that lockup engages in all forward gears, so when the pedal goes up/throttle shuts, there is a solid connection between the engine and the wheels and there is engine braking.  Others, like Toyota, design the transmission so that in D a one-way overrun clutch prevents the wheels from applying torque back to the engine crankshaft.  As a result, the car coasts like it is in neutral (or the clutch pedal is down) while the engine settles down to an idle.  (Toyota's designs generally reserve engine braking for the L gear ranges, where the one-way overrun clutch does not engage.)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: vdeane on February 16, 2019, 10:52:14 PM
I believe all manual transmissions, minus a few Subaru's, are 6-speeds these days. Mine is. It's really not like you're changing gears any more often. The 6th gear is really for the freeway. The Porsche and Corvette 7-speed manuals (the most available in a manual) are mostly for top speed runs, IIRC. The 9/10-speed autos do change gear earlier than a manual would, but because they're mostly geared for fuel economy.
My 2014 Civic LX is a 5 speed.  I don't know if Honda has switched to 6 speed since or not.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 16, 2019, 11:05:16 PM
It is not universally true that automatics don't offer engine braking in D.  It really depends on how the specific transmission is designed.  Some, like the Saturn TAAT or the five-speed automatic used in the second-generation Honda Fit, offer engine braking when coasting that is similar to manuals.

Every auto box I've ever had has had the ability to drop down into 3rd.  There's no Federal requirement to offer downshifting on the shifter, just that neutral must be in between reverse and drive.

That is a completely separate issue.  What Riiga and Jakeroot are talking about is what happens when the transmission is left in D and the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator pedal so that the car coasts with no power request.  Some automakers design the transmission so that lockup engages in all forward gears, so when the pedal goes up/throttle shuts, there is a solid connection between the engine and the wheels and there is engine braking.  Others, like Toyota, design the transmission so that in D a one-way overrun clutch prevents the wheels from applying torque back to the engine crankshaft.  As a result, the car coasts like it is in neutral (or the clutch pedal is down) while the engine settles down to an idle.  (Toyota's designs generally reserve engine braking for the L gear ranges, where the one-way overrun clutch does not engage.)
Never experienced that on an automatic.  GM's 4T-40/45-E gearboxes always stayed in their highest gear until a change in engine load occurred.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 16, 2019, 11:20:38 PM
I believe all manual transmissions, minus a few Subaru's, are 6-speeds these days. Mine is. It's really not like you're changing gears any more often. The 6th gear is really for the freeway. The Porsche and Corvette 7-speed manuals (the most available in a manual) are mostly for top speed runs, IIRC. The 9/10-speed autos do change gear earlier than a manual would, but because they're mostly geared for fuel economy.
My 2014 Civic LX is a 5 speed.  I don't know if Honda has switched to 6 speed since or not.
They switched to a 6-speed manual on the base Civic for 2016, yes. The Si has had a 6-speed as the only transmission choice since 2006, as has the Type R since 2001 (it was finally introduced in North America in 2017, but has been around in Japan and Europe over the generations since the 96-00 body style).
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 17, 2019, 10:05:52 AM
I am surprised at how many people here have a car with a manual transmission, given that nationally in the U.S. it is only about 5% of market share.
Heh. Counting my wifeís cars, in our house we have three manuals (two six-speeds and a five-Speed).

3 or 4 speeds were one thing, but I wouldn't want to have to shift thru 6 speeds, or even 7 or 8 like some of the latest cars.  Skipping gears is also discouraged.

Ehhh, it's all a case of what you get used to. Prior to my 2004 TL, I had a 1997 Accord that had a five-speed. I often wished that car had a six-speed because I drove faster than I do now and at 80 mph it really needed another gear. Sixth gear in my TL makes an astonishing difference in fuel economy in long-distance highway runs. Get on the Interstate and leave it in sixth the whole time. I've averaged over 30 mpg for a tank with an average speed of 73 mph coming up I-95 from Florida (late enough at night that there wasn't much traffic), which isn't bad for a 3.2-litre V-6 that averages around 19Ė22 mpg in city driving! (As noted in a different thread, my wife's 2015 TLX with a 3.5-litre V-6 and a nine-speed automatic averaged 34.8 mph on a tank coming back from Florida this past December, but it's not really appropriate to compare straight-up due to other features on her car like cylinder deactivation and auto idle stop that extend the range. I probably hurt the fuel economy a bit too using the paddle shifters to downshift on some of the hillier segments of I-26 around Columbia.)

When I first drove a six-speed, I figured it was no big deal because I was used to five-speeds and you're just adding another forward gear below fifth in the shift pattern. The only thing that concerned me maybe a little bit was the downshift from sixth to third because it's a different movement than anything you do with a five-speed; I was initially a little concerned that it'd be too easy to overshoot third such that you'd be trying to shift into first (a bad idea). But that proved not to be the case. The shift levers want to center themselves as you move through neutral anyway, so you just use that to guide you into third, and it quickly becomes second nature.

In my TL I tend not to use sixth gear much in local driving because on most Northern Virginia roads other than Interstates I don't generally get going fast enoughóI find sixth is too high a gear unless I'm holding a sustained 65 mph. My wife's RSX is a totally different matter. It has a 2.0-litre inline-4 and you shift up a lot sooner than you do in the TL. In that car, I'll be in sixth at 50 mph. It could really use seven or eight speeds, but the only cars I've ever heard of with a seven-speed manual and a conventional H-gate shifter are Porsches and Corvettes, and the RSX certainly isn't remotely comparable to either of those (other than, perhaps, in the raw statistic of horsepower per litre; it puts out 100 hp per litre without turbo- or supercharging).
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ClassicHasClass on February 17, 2019, 08:35:30 PM
I agree, it really is very easy to go from 5-speed to 6-speed. When I got my first 6-speeder (2008 Civic Si Sedan), it was second nature by the second day. I will say, however, that I'm usually cruising in 6th: it's 5th I rarely use, mostly as a quasi-overdrive.

Where I have an issue is going back to a 5-speed. I keep trying to throw my father's Honda Fit 5-speed manual in reverse when I'm driving it!
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: US 41 on February 18, 2019, 07:20:40 AM
My 2017 Nissan Versa is a 5 speed. I drove my friend's 6 speed Dodge Dart when he first bought it since he couldn't drive stick. It was pretty easy to drive.

I'm currently looking for a second car that is a manual just to drive it back and forth to work without running up miles on my newer car.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: yand on February 18, 2019, 10:00:17 AM
A 1-speed electric motor or a good cvt-like beats any multi-gear transmission any day.
The added workload is unnecessary when a hands-off design can do the job better. Added workload is added workload - feels like second nature until it isn't.
I do see some value of driving manuals in terms of having the skill set (bragging rights, having more options).
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: MikieTimT on February 18, 2019, 10:29:41 AM
A 1-speed electric motor or a good cvt-like beats any multi-gear transmission any day.
The added workload is unnecessary when a hands-off design can do the job better. Added workload is added workload - feels like second nature until it isn't.
I do see some value of driving manuals in terms of having the skill set (bragging rights, having more options).

While an electric motor is probably the best option for the future and certainly can be used in the most power-hungry heavy duty vehicles like they already are in locomotives and huge mining trucks, CVT transmissions are a stopgap measure at best.  When I see them in heavy duty vehicles, I may change my mind about them, but until then, I have longevity and towing capacity concerns about them.

Manual transmissions are good for emergency situations like on-the-ground towing and roll starting when starters go out.  I tend to drive vehicles much longer than average, so emergency situations may be more likely in my case than others, but they can and do happen on occasion and it's good to be prepared.  Manuals are far superior for engine braking, which is an everyday occurrence in the terrain I live in.

No automatic is as good for passing scenarios on the short passing zones you get in the northwest half of Arkansas.  I can get around a car in 4 seconds and not many feet by dropping my WRX from 5th to 3rd, something that just cannot occur as quickly in any automatic.  Even my old 1 ton diesel with a 6 speed manual with dropping from 6th to 4th (rolls a fair amount of coal doing it, though) is better at passing than our Odyssey with a 5 speed auto(although VTEC helps a little).  It's pretty much why I don't claim the van, even though my wife loves it.

Personally I'd love a Tesla Model X or maybe a Pacifica Hybrid to replace the van in the future when it wears out, but the pricing is going to have to change significantly before that'll be possible.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 18, 2019, 11:10:19 AM
Five speed manuals will always have reverse over to the right and down.  Six speeds seem to do it every which way.  Some use a yoke that you have to pull up and then move left or right.  Some keep it over to the right and down next to 6th.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 18, 2019, 11:38:18 AM
Five speed manuals will always have reverse over to the right and down.  Six speeds seem to do it every which way.  Some use a yoke that you have to pull up and then move left or right.  Some keep it over to the right and down next to 6th.

That first sentence is not accurate. I drove a VW Passat five-speed rental that had reverse up and to the left of first. (So the top ďrowĒ on the shifter had R, 1, 3, and 5 in that order left to right; the bottom row had 2 below 1 and 4 below 3.)

I understand at least some BMWs are that way too.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 18, 2019, 01:38:04 PM
^^
Yep. As far back as I can think, VW has had 5-speed manuals arranged as so,

R  1  3  5
    2  4

I drove an older Vanagon a few months ago...same layout. Reverse is still left-and-up even today. Although it lacked a 5th gear.

There were some early 2000s Audi's that had the reverse as right-and-down but I think the arrangement was short-lived.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 18, 2019, 01:41:07 PM
^^
Yep. As far back as I can think, VW has had 5-speed manuals arranged as so,

R  1  3  5
    2  4

I drove an older Vanagon a few months ago...same layout. Reverse is still left-and-up even today.

There were some early 2000s Audi's that had the reverse as right-and-down but I think the arrangement was short-lived.
I believe the original VW Beetle was a four-speed manual with reverse in the above position, but unmarked.  I knew someone in high school who owned one and, for the first several months after buying one, didn't even know it had a reverse gear.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 18, 2019, 01:43:51 PM
As far back as I can think, VW has had 5-speed manuals arranged as so,
R  1  3  5
    2  4
I drove an older Vanagon a few months ago...same layout. Reverse is still left-and-up even today.
There were some early 2000s Audi's that had the reverse as right-and-down but I think the arrangement was short-lived.
I believe the original VW Beetle was a four-speed manual with reverse in the above position, but unmarked.  I knew someone in high school who owned one and, for the first several months after buying one, didn't even know it had a reverse gear.

I had a 1968 Beetle, and that is my clear recollection, like the above minus the 5th, and the reverse was marked.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: US 89 on February 18, 2019, 01:54:36 PM
Many automatics these days have paddle shifters or a +/- option to manually change the gear (though of course, without a clutch pedal). That solves at least some of the issues people have with automatics (you can gear down to pass someone, or for engine braking). The only thing it doesn't solve is the issue of "doesn't change when I want it to", but as someone who's never driven a stick myself, I don't really have a problem with that because I don't know any better. Ignorance is bliss I guess...
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 18, 2019, 02:17:00 PM
As far back as I can think, VW has had 5-speed manuals arranged as so,
R  1  3  5
    2  4
I drove an older Vanagon a few months ago...same layout. Reverse is still left-and-up even today.
There were some early 2000s Audi's that had the reverse as right-and-down but I think the arrangement was short-lived.
I believe the original VW Beetle was a four-speed manual with reverse in the above position, but unmarked.  I knew someone in high school who owned one and, for the first several months after buying one, didn't even know it had a reverse gear.

I had a 1968 Beetle, and that is my clear recollection, like the above minus the 5th, and the reverse was marked.

I modified my post. The Vanagon did not have a 5th gear, but it was still arranged the same. So, identical to those older models as well.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 18, 2019, 02:17:37 PM
As far back as I can think, VW has had 5-speed manuals arranged as so,
R  1  3  5
    2  4
I drove an older Vanagon a few months ago...same layout. Reverse is still left-and-up even today.
There were some early 2000s Audi's that had the reverse as right-and-down but I think the arrangement was short-lived.
I believe the original VW Beetle was a four-speed manual with reverse in the above position, but unmarked.  I knew someone in high school who owned one and, for the first several months after buying one, didn't even know it had a reverse gear.

I had a 1968 Beetle, and that is my clear recollection, like the above minus the 5th, and the reverse was marked.
Well, this person I knew might not have been the brightest light in the harbor.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 18, 2019, 02:20:45 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.

Comment for the Beetle drivers: did you have to push down to go into reverse? The van was like this, as is my modern Golf.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 18, 2019, 02:21:55 PM
Many automatics these days have paddle shifters or a +/- option to manually change the gear (though of course, without a clutch pedal). That solves at least some of the issues people have with automatics (you can gear down to pass someone, or for engine braking). The only thing it doesn't solve is the issue of "doesn't change when I want it to", but as someone who's never driven a stick myself, I don't really have a problem with that because I don't know any better. Ignorance is bliss I guess...
The car also isn't going to let you do something that would be harmful to the engine and/or transmission (downshift to a gear where you'd be redlining, remain in a particular gear while redlining, etc.).  It's a happy medium that's absolutely pointless.  I have this feature on my car that I've owned for almost six years and I've never used it.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 18, 2019, 02:23:21 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.
I meant that the person that owned the Beetle that was probably approximately the same model year as Beltway's may have been too dim to notice that reverse was marked on the shifter or gearbox.  It wasn't me, nor was it anyone on this forum, and I never looked at the shifter or gearbox in his Beetle.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: US 89 on February 18, 2019, 02:42:43 PM
Many automatics these days have paddle shifters or a +/- option to manually change the gear (though of course, without a clutch pedal). That solves at least some of the issues people have with automatics (you can gear down to pass someone, or for engine braking). The only thing it doesn't solve is the issue of "doesn't change when I want it to", but as someone who's never driven a stick myself, I don't really have a problem with that because I don't know any better. Ignorance is bliss I guess...
The car also isn't going to let you do something that would be harmful to the engine and/or transmission (downshift to a gear where you'd be redlining, remain in a particular gear while redlining, etc.).  It's a happy medium that's absolutely pointless.  I have this feature on my car that I've owned for almost six years and I've never used it.

The issue there is exactly what constitutes "redlining", which will likely vary across different makes and models. But of the two cars I've ever driven that had this feature, it's given me enough leeway that it hasn't really been a problem.

The one thing I really want a transmission to do is let me go down a 30-35mph hill in third gear, which is enough engine braking to avoid the choice of 1) go down at 40mph and tap the brakes every once in a while, risking a speeding ticket, or 2) ride the brakes every time and replace the brake pads 10,000 miles earlier.
Anything beyond that is a bonus (real-life example: going down the same hill in first gear in a bad snowstorm, where the road was completely covered. Didn't have to touch the brakes at all, and maintained about a 10mph speed.)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 18, 2019, 02:57:22 PM
I recall on my brotherís 1974 Beetle I had to push down to shift to reverse. I donít remember for sure where reverse was except it was on the left. EDITED TO ADD: I did a Google search. To the left and down (next to second gear). Itís always made sense to me that reverse should require shifting towards the rear of the car.

On my 1977 Granada, reverse was to the left and up and you had to lift the shifter to get to reverse.

I once had to help someone find reverse in a manual-shift Volvo 740 wagon. I donít remember where reverse was, but the thing he wasnít getting was that the shifter had a sort of collar above the boot and below the knob. You had to lift that collar before shifting to reverse.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: RobbieL2415 on February 18, 2019, 03:14:21 PM
Five speed manuals will always have reverse over to the right and down.  Six speeds seem to do it every which way.  Some use a yoke that you have to pull up and then move left or right.  Some keep it over to the right and down next to 6th.

That first sentence is not accurate. I drove a VW Passat five-speed rental that had reverse up and to the left of first. (So the top ďrowĒ on the shifter had R, 1, 3, and 5 in that order left to right; the bottom row had 2 below 1 and 4 below 3.)

I understand at least some BMWs are that way too.
Actually, now I remember test driving a used '00 Jetta TDI with a 5-speed (and with R in that spot) and had a tough time shifting it.  I don't know if the gearbox was broken or not but I had trouble getting it into 1st and then from 1st to 2nd.  I stalled it two or three times and felt  embarrassed for myself and the owner.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 18, 2019, 03:26:14 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.
I meant that the person that owned the Beetle that was probably approximately the same model year as Beltway's may have been too dim to notice that reverse was marked on the shifter or gearbox.  It wasn't me, nor was it anyone on this forum, and I never looked at the shifter or gearbox in his Beetle.

Are you insinuating that reverse was marked on their Beetle? I don't think there's any way to know that for sure, especially as they may have owned it after the plate indicating the layout fell off, or gear-knob markings were rubbed off.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 18, 2019, 03:32:08 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.
I meant that the person that owned the Beetle that was probably approximately the same model year as Beltway's may have been too dim to notice that reverse was marked on the shifter or gearbox.  It wasn't me, nor was it anyone on this forum, and I never looked at the shifter or gearbox in his Beetle.

Are you insinuating that reverse was marked on their Beetle? I don't think there's any way to know that for sure, especially as they may have owned it after the plate indicating the layout fell off, or gear-knob markings were rubbed off.
He told me that it wasn't marked and that he had no idea that his Beetle could reverse until someone told him how to put the car in reverse.  This was pre-Internet and presumably he didn't check the owner's manual.

This is far more effort than I wanted to put into recapping a conversation I once had 2 years ago.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kevinb1994 on February 18, 2019, 03:35:07 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.
I meant that the person that owned the Beetle that was probably approximately the same model year as Beltway's may have been too dim to notice that reverse was marked on the shifter or gearbox.  It wasn't me, nor was it anyone on this forum, and I never looked at the shifter or gearbox in his Beetle.

Are you insinuating that reverse was marked on their Beetle? I don't think there's any way to know that for sure, especially as they may have owned it after the plate indicating the layout fell off, or gear-knob markings were rubbed off.
He told me that it wasn't marked and that he had no idea that his Beetle could reverse until someone told him how to put the car in reverse.  This was pre-Internet and presumably he didn't check the owner's manual.

This is far more effort than I wanted to put into recapping a conversation I once had 2 years ago.

Thatís what she said.  :bigass:
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 18, 2019, 03:41:11 PM
Comment for the Beetle drivers: did you have to push down to go into reverse?

Yes -- on the 1968 Beetle
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: 1995hoo on February 18, 2019, 03:48:49 PM
Regarding shift pattern markings on the Beetle, I seem to recall my brotherís had the pattern duplicated on the dashboard, I think on the front of the ashtray though I donít recall for sure.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Beltway on February 18, 2019, 03:55:15 PM
Regarding shift pattern markings on the Beetle, I seem to recall my brotherís had the pattern duplicated on the dashboard, I think on the front of the ashtray though I donít recall for sure.

Yeah, I do seem to recall that...
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Brandon on February 18, 2019, 05:03:50 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.

Comment for the Beetle drivers: did you have to push down to go into reverse? The van was like this, as is my modern Golf.

When I drove a Beetle in Mexico (rental) it was push down, left and up to go to reverse.  It was the same as the manual transmission in our 1981 Dodge Aires.  The Caliber I had was down and to the right, no pushing or pulling anything.  The Renegade I have currently has a collar you pull up then go left and up for reverse.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 18, 2019, 05:40:19 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.

Comment for the Beetle drivers: did you have to push down to go into reverse? The van was like this, as is my modern Golf.

When I drove a Beetle in Mexico (rental) it was push down, left and up to go to reverse.  It was the same as the manual transmission in our 1981 Dodge Aires.  The Caliber I had was down and to the right, no pushing or pulling anything.  The Renegade I have currently has a collar you pull up then go left and up for reverse.

I'm fairly certain that left-and-up is the "proper" European thing to do, although there are some exceptions (a few Audi's, Saab's, and a couple others). Your Renegade is Italian, so it gets the left-and-up treatment. The new Wrangler JL, oddly enough, switched to left-and-up from the JK's right-and-down, despite going from a Mercedes-sourced gearbox to a Japanese (Aisin) gearbox. So it's obviously not always true.

As far as entering reverse, BMW's have always struck me as odd. No lock-out feature requiring pushing or pulling. Just a strong pull to the left, or (what I used to do) going into 2nd, and then pushing left-up in a diagonal direction.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kevinb1994 on February 18, 2019, 05:42:15 PM
^^
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that, although I will say that I don't remember any markings indicating the gearbox layout in the Vanagon I drove.

Comment for the Beetle drivers: did you have to push down to go into reverse? The van was like this, as is my modern Golf.

When I drove a Beetle in Mexico (rental) it was push down, left and up to go to reverse.  It was the same as the manual transmission in our 1981 Dodge Aires.  The Caliber I had was down and to the right, no pushing or pulling anything.  The Renegade I have currently has a collar you pull up then go left and up for reverse.

I'm fairly certain that left-and-up is the "proper" European thing to do, although there are some exceptions (a few Audi's, Saab's, and a couple others). Your Renegade is Italian, so it gets the left-and-up treatment. The new Wrangler JL, oddly enough, switched to left-and-up from the JK's right-and-down, despite going from a Mercedes-sourced gearbox to a Japanese (Aisin) gearbox. So it's obviously not always true.

As far as entering reverse, BMW's have always struck me as odd. No lock-out feature requiring pushing or pulling. Just a strong pull to the left, or (what I used to do) going into 2nd, and then pushing left-up in a diagonal direction.

Must be a Bavarian tradition.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: catch22 on February 18, 2019, 10:31:13 PM
Just remember, there were 3-speed automatic transmissions on production cars into the mid-90s.. How good or bad were they?

My wife had a 1986 Mercury Lynx station wagon, with the 1.9L engine and a three-speed auto.  I hated driving that car.  The gears were spaced really far apart.  Passing at highway speeds was an adventure.  If you nailed the gas hard, it downshifted into 2nd (like most autos) but that left the engine screaming near red-line (and with little increase in speed).  Stone slug of a car.

In contrast, her current car is a 2018 Ford Escape. 2.0L turbo, with a very smooth six-speed auto.  That thing is a rocket even though it weighs a good 800 pounds more than the Lynx.  Gets better mileage too.



 
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: yand on February 19, 2019, 07:27:09 AM
A 1-speed electric motor or a good cvt-like beats any multi-gear transmission any day.

While an electric motor is probably the best option for the future and certainly can be used in the most power-hungry heavy duty vehicles like they already are in locomotives and huge mining trucks, CVT transmissions are a stopgap measure at best.  When I see them in heavy duty vehicles, I may change my mind about them, but until then, I have longevity and towing capacity concerns about them.

Which is why I specify "cvt-like", as in something that achieves the effect of a CVT (engine rpm independent of wheel rpm), which in my book includes electric transmissions used in locomotives.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: hbelkins on February 19, 2019, 11:33:44 AM
Thatís what she said.  :bigass:

This line is getting old, to the point of not being remotely funny anymore.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: abefroman329 on February 19, 2019, 12:23:09 PM
Thatís what she said.  :bigass:

This line is getting old, to the point of not being remotely funny anymore.
That's what she said!  :bigass:
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 19, 2019, 12:35:34 PM
Thatís what she said.  :bigass:

This line is getting old, to the point of not being remotely funny anymore.
That's what she said!  :bigass:
ďThatísĒ
-she
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: kphoger on February 19, 2019, 02:45:11 PM
My most nerve-racking experiences with roll-back were...

(1) Test-driving a Ford Focus with a stick-shift here in Wichita.  This being a test drive, it was literally the first time I had set foot in the car.  It was parked on a down-slope with a concrete-filled post directly in front of the bumper.  Other than an old Ranger from probably 1990, I'd never even driven a Ford with a stick to know how the clutch would be.  I managed to back out with no problem, but I could just picture myself rolling into the post with the dealer sitting in the passenger seat.

(2) Driving my mother-in-law's Ford Mustang across Branson.  The hills in Branson are no joke, and I found myself driving a car with a clutch that was almost completely shot.  I mean, you had to let your foot almost all the way off the pedal before the clutch would grab.  Then I ended up stopped at a red light on one of those Branson uphills and the driver behind me not leaving much room.  Again, though, I pulled it off without a hitch.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 19, 2019, 11:16:44 PM
A 1-speed electric motor or a good cvt-like beats any multi-gear transmission any day.

While an electric motor is probably the best option for the future and certainly can be used in the most power-hungry heavy duty vehicles like they already are in locomotives and huge mining trucks, CVT transmissions are a stopgap measure at best.  When I see them in heavy duty vehicles, I may change my mind about them, but until then, I have longevity and towing capacity concerns about them.

Which is why I specify "cvt-like", as in something that achieves the effect of a CVT (engine rpm independent of wheel rpm), which in my book includes electric transmissions used in locomotives.

I think it would only include electric (or hybrid) vehicles. Gas or diesel vehicles with CVT's are just atrociously loud and, well, not fun at all. It might net you an MPG or two better, but it definitely ain't worth it.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: yand on February 20, 2019, 02:04:30 AM
A 1-speed electric motor or a good cvt-like beats any multi-gear transmission any day.

While an electric motor is probably the best option for the future and certainly can be used in the most power-hungry heavy duty vehicles like they already are in locomotives and huge mining trucks, CVT transmissions are a stopgap measure at best.  When I see them in heavy duty vehicles, I may change my mind about them, but until then, I have longevity and towing capacity concerns about them.

Which is why I specify "cvt-like", as in something that achieves the effect of a CVT (engine rpm independent of wheel rpm), which in my book includes electric transmissions used in locomotives.

I think it would only include electric (or hybrid) vehicles. Gas or diesel vehicles with CVT's are just atrociously loud and, well, not fun at all. It might net you an MPG or two better, but it definitely ain't worth it.

If an engine is continuously operating at max power as a CVT allows, then it will naturally be louder than an engine cycling between power levels when going through gear shifts. Giving the driver more control over engine noise by forcing the engine to operate at lower (suboptimal) RPM is just a matter of software.
CVTs deliver more mpg, more power (speed and/or payload) and smoother acceleration. Economy, power and comfort matter a lot to transportation vehicles (most vehicles). "Fun" is somewhat subjective, some people think maximizing power and economy is fun. People who don't share these values can choose toys that do not prioritize efficiency  :sombrero:
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 20, 2019, 02:38:04 AM
Hey, don't get me wrong. I drive a small diesel hatchback with a 6-speed manual (better fuel economy choice at the time). According to Top Gear, I'm "tighter than two coats of paint" (I usually average around 42-45 mpg). I love getting great fuel economy numbers, saving money, etc. And there's plenty of torque from the diesel engine, and I can hold a gear for more power when necessary. Fun and efficient...two metrics we both agree on.

But, I cannot get behind CVT's. There is a fuel economy advantage, but at least for me, that doesn't overcome it's snowmobile-like noises, unimpressive 0-60 numbers, and difficulty towing (not least without overheating). There's also a reliability issue with CVT's that I'm not sure has been worked out.

Do keep in mind that there are other ways of achieving good fuel economy figures, such as advanced engine technology (turbo-diesel, hybrid, full-electric, etc).
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: yand on February 20, 2019, 03:20:05 AM
CVTs do have some issues, which is why in the quoted post I specify "cvt-like".
Examples of transmissions that have similar effects to CVTs without the downsides of belt-driven cvts include
"Non-direct" electric transmissions, which use the engine as a generator to power electric traction motors, and
"power split" or "electric variable" transmissions, eg. the planetary gearset transmission used in toyota hybrids

Of course, both electric transmissions and power-split transmissions can be implemented in hybrid vehicles. Turbochargers can be used to improve efficiency by allowing the use of a smaller engine. Diesel have the advantage of 1) better mpg/lower co2, and 2) biodiesel is better than ethanol. The best fuel economy is achieved by combining methods to improve fuel economy, including using cvts.

Cars equipped with CVTs typically have better 0-60 numbers than n-speed transmission variants using the same engine. re: the "snowmobile" noises, if you're referring to the droning engine noise that's just how an engine continuously operating at optimal power levels sounds like.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 20, 2019, 04:27:23 PM
FWIW, I saw this on-line car and Driver article that might be worth a read for anyone interested in buying a new 2019 car but wants a manual.
Every Car You Can Still Buy with a Manual Transmission in 2019 (https://www.caranddriver.com/features/g20734564/manual-transmission-cars/?utm_source=facebook_ign&utm_medium=cpm&utm_campaign=ign_g20734564_fb_d_i&fbclid=IwAR2n45KBJjUZewQ20IOvRubBcTlirwnja76hGCO1kjAR6dNxxhja7xNVuKk)

The article shows 41 models.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 20, 2019, 04:59:57 PM
FWIW, I saw this on-line car and Driver article that might be worth a read for anyone interested in buying a new 2019 car but wants a manual.
Every Car You Can Still Buy with a Manual Transmission in 2019 (https://www.caranddriver.com/features/g20734564/manual-transmission-cars/?utm_source=facebook_ign&utm_medium=cpm&utm_campaign=ign_g20734564_fb_d_i&fbclid=IwAR2n45KBJjUZewQ20IOvRubBcTlirwnja76hGCO1kjAR6dNxxhja7xNVuKk)

The article shows 41 models.

They forgot more than a few models:

* Subaru Crosstrek (hatchback)
* Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (raised hatchback, really the last SUV with a manual)
* Mazda3 (sedan/hatchback)
* Mazda6 (sedna)

The Kia Forte5 has not been updated for 2019 just yet, but it continues to be available for the 2018 model year with a 6-speed manual (which is available only in the upscale SX trim as $2k option). Given that the new Veloster and Soul (Hyundai/Kia) both have manual transmissions available, I don't see any reason that the 2019 Forte5 would drop its manual gearbox, especially since the 2019 sedan has one as standard.

There are several losses that I can think of:

* Fiat 500x and 500L
* RAM 2500/3500 (last HD truck with manual)
* Ford Focus (altogether)
* Chevy Cruze (plus its diesel variant!! NOOO!)
* Kia Rio (kill me now)



The Canadian manual transmission market continues to be a bit larger, with (among others) VW, Hyundai, and Kia all offering more manual transmission options across various trim levels, but there were a few losses for 2019 or 2018:

* Mk6 Subaru Outback is now auto-only (manual was still available in Canada)
* Mazda CX-5 lost its base-model 6-speed manual (as above, manual was still available in Canada with the introduction of the KF generation)

The Nissan Micra is the only Canada-exclusive car with a manual transmission that I can think of. The only other ones in recent memory were the Kia Rondo (Carens) and the Mazda5, both of which have been dropped in the last year or two.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 21, 2019, 09:37:14 AM
* Ford Focus (altogether)
I guess you didn't check the The Ford truck company thread (https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=22711.225) too carefully (Reply #233 in particular) prior to it morphing into a general CVT discussion.  Ford has dropped the Focus from the US retail market completely for 2019.
Disregard the above.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: formulanone on February 21, 2019, 11:11:51 AM
* Ford Focus (altogether)
I guess you didn't check the The Ford truck company thread (https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=22711.225) too carefully (Reply #233 in particular) prior to it morphing into a general CVT discussion.  Ford has dropped the Focus from the US retail market completely for 2019.

Plenty of new Foci and Fiestas still remaining.

Edit: it's one "i"
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 21, 2019, 11:19:44 AM
They kept the Fiesta for 2019, but I think any leftover Focii are 2018s.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 21, 2019, 11:41:31 AM
They kept the Fiesta for 2019, but I think any leftover Focii are 2018s.
Correct, plus the earlier-posted Car and Driver article was specifically referring to the 2019 models.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 21, 2019, 07:25:29 PM
* Ford Focus (altogether)
I guess you didn't check the The Ford truck company thread (https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=22711.225) too carefully (Reply #233 in particular) prior to it morphing into a general CVT discussion.  Ford has dropped the Focus from the US retail market completely for 2019.

What exactly did you think I meant when I said "altogether"? I mean the Focus is DOA, along with its 6-speed manual and excellent 1-litre ecoboost, for 2019. 2018 models are all that's left.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Hot Rod Hootenanny on February 21, 2019, 08:20:57 PM
FWIW, I saw this on-line car and Driver article that might be worth a read for anyone interested in buying a new 2019 car but wants a manual.
Every Car You Can Still Buy with a Manual Transmission in 2019 (https://www.caranddriver.com/features/g20734564/manual-transmission-cars/?utm_source=facebook_ign&utm_medium=cpm&utm_campaign=ign_g20734564_fb_d_i&fbclid=IwAR2n45KBJjUZewQ20IOvRubBcTlirwnja76hGCO1kjAR6dNxxhja7xNVuKk)

The article shows 41 models.

That same article showed up on my FB feed tonight. Team AAroads; who's feeding my road forum info to Zuckerburg?!  :poke: :popcorn:  :ninja: :hmm: :whip:
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: PHLBOS on February 22, 2019, 02:14:13 PM
* Ford Focus (altogether)
I guess you didn't check the The Ford truck company thread (https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=22711.225) too carefully (Reply #233 in particular) prior to it morphing into a general CVT discussion.  Ford has dropped the Focus from the US retail market completely for 2019.
Disregard the above.

What exactly did you think I meant when I said "altogether"? I mean the Focus is DOA, along with its 6-speed manual and excellent 1-litre ecoboost, for 2019. 2018 models are all that's left.
Earlier quote has since been modified.  My bad & apologies.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Zeffy on February 26, 2019, 06:19:27 PM
After driving a manual for almost a year now, I have no doubt I enjoy manuals far more. My car completely cheats because it rev matches downshifts for me, so I can downshift without a care in the world and it'll be smooth*. The CVT in my previous Civic was not bad by any means necessary, but as I figured, a manual is just far more fun.

Heavy traffic... it's annoying, but it gives your legs a good workout.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 26, 2019, 10:04:44 PM
Heavy traffic... it's annoying, but it gives your legs a good workout.

I personally appreciate the advantages of manual shifting in traffic. Does it get tiring after a couple hours? I suppose, though I rarely sit in traffic that long (not if I can help it). Being able to lock into second and coast along, or slow down without having the brake lights come on, is pretty nice.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Zeffy on February 26, 2019, 10:39:50 PM
Probably depends on how light your clutch is to determine how quickly it gets old when you're stuck in heavy traffic. My clutch is fairly light, but it does require some exertion to depress, and having to do it repeatedly starts to get to you after about 15 minutes. On the flip side, it's not too hard to get rolling just using the clutch so long as there isn't a hill.

Edit: Someone asked about Honda Civics having 6 speeds and the newest generation does (which is 2016 MY and up). This is what mine looks like in my car (2018 Type R):

(https://i.postimg.cc/vmPzBSxH/IMG-0158.jpg)
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ClassicHasClass on February 27, 2019, 11:52:22 PM
So *you're* one of the Type Rs. I like the engine, but that wing is just too ugly to drive to work. So it's another Si for me. (I saw a Type R in downtown San Diego the other day with the license plate "SI LOL." Hey! I resemble that remark!  :pan: )

The Si has been six speed since 7th gen.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: jakeroot on February 28, 2019, 01:27:47 AM
^^
My only issue with the Si is the body style. No hatchback availability, which is a walk-away moment personally. It's a hot hatch, not hot...sedan. Never mind the obvious practical benefits with the entire rear-end lifting up. Hence why I drive a Golf now. I can fit massive things in my car with the entire back-end opening up.

I'd be stuck with either the regular Civic hatchback, or the Type-R. Probably would go for the regular Civic hatch (with the 6-speed, of course), if only because I drive Lyft and would prefer to keep my passengers from getting sick. Well, and myself.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 28, 2019, 07:30:04 AM
^^
My only issue with the Si is the body style. No hatchback availability, which is a walk-away moment personally. It's a hot hatch, not hot...sedan. Never mind the obvious practical benefits with the entire rear-end lifting up. Hence why I drive a Golf now. I can fit massive things in my car with the entire back-end opening up.

I'd be stuck with either the regular Civic hatchback, or the Type-R. Probably would go for the regular Civic hatch (with the 6-speed, of course), if only because I drive Lyft and would prefer to keep my passengers from getting sick. Well, and myself.
It wouldnít even be that hard to make an Si hatch. The Si has a little more power (whether itís just a different tune or a different turbo, Iím not sure, but Civic 1.5T hatches can make Si power with a tune), a limited-slip differential, and adaptive dampers over the regular Civic. Iím not sure how difficult it would be to send those things to the Swindon factory if demand warranted. (Itíd certainly be more difficult to retool the Ontario and Ohio plants to add the hatch in, but thatís actually more likely to happen as Swindon is set to close when the next generation of Civic comes out in 2022.)

The Si has been six speed since 8th gen.
Fixed. Sorry to be pedantic, but the 7th gen (also the last Civic hatch sold in the US until this one) was still a 5-speed, due to pressure from Acura not wanting it to cannibalize RSX sales at the time. In Europe, that same car was sold (as a Type R) with a 6-speed and the same engine as the RSX Type S, but here it was limited to the 5-speed and the base RSX engine.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Zeffy on February 28, 2019, 08:44:17 AM
So *you're* one of the Type Rs. I like the engine, but that wing is just too ugly to drive to work. So it's another Si for me. (I saw a Type R in downtown San Diego the other day with the license plate "SI LOL." Hey! I resemble that remark!  :pan: )

The Si has been six speed since 7th gen.

The looks are not for everyone - as it goes for the tenth gen Civic in general - but I work in an office and I get so many compliments about my car like you wouldnít believe. I really like the 2 door Si, the lines flow extremely well, but I am one of the few that likes how the Type R looks.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: ClassicHasClass on February 28, 2019, 09:24:07 PM
The Si has a little more power (whether itís just a different tune or a different turbo, Iím not sure, but Civic 1.5T hatches can make Si power with a tune), a limited-slip differential, and adaptive dampers over the regular Civic.

It's possibly a little more than that. The 1.5T can get into the power range but apparently the part numbers are different, presumably for internals that can handle the higher boost pressures. The jury's still out on exactly what difference they make. https://www.civicx.com/threads/si-vs-non-si.22517/#post-380859

I wouldn't have minded an Si hatch for this go-around, since I do occasionally schlep stuff around. But the Type R wasn't what I wanted and there's not enough room in the 2 door Si for me to use it as a daily driver, so the Si Sedan it is. I had an '08 (eighth gen ;) ) Si Sedan before anyway, so this was a logical progression.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: Takumi on February 28, 2019, 10:27:54 PM
I like the Si sedan. I looked for them when I was shopping for what eventually became my TL last summer, but I couldnít find one in a color I wanted. Everything in reasonable distance was silver or red, the two colors I donít want, or the bulbous coupe.
Title: Re: Do you prefer driving automatics or manuals?
Post by: bugo on March 17, 2019, 07:11:10 PM
A standard transmission by a million miles. That being said, my last two cars have been slushboxes after driving several cars with manual transmissions in a row. You have much more control with a stick. You can drop down several gears at a time which is very useful when passing. Driving is much more fun when your left foot is involved.