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Friday Poll: Manual or Automatic Transmission?(25 posts)

Friday Poll: Manual or Automatic Transmission?torquer
Oct 17, 2003 6:39 AM
I was looking at the local BMW dealer's ad listing model year '03 demonstrators on sale (purely academic interest, mind you) and noted that every one was an automatic. Now granted, these were demos, and some models only come with automatics (7-series), but you'd think they'd have a Z-4 or an M-3 with a stick! Ultimate driving machines indeed; ultimate posing machines, more like it.

Anyway, I got to wondering if those who frequent this site are any different from the norm (something like 90% auto/10% stick).

Was the last car you drove an automatic or a manual? Why did you choose that option (assuming you bought/leased that car)?

As you might have guessed, I drive a stick; lower initial cost, better performance and gas mileage are the left-brain reasons, but even more significant for me was the tendency to remain more "engaged" in driving, as opposed to zoning-out while piloting an even more automated appliance.

Extra credit question: any owners of "automanuals" ("Tiptronic" auf Deutsch) out there who actually use them to go through the gears, or do you just set it to fully-auto mode and forget it?
A little bit of bothTJeanloz
Oct 17, 2003 6:54 AM
When I'm driving around Boston, I prefer the automatic for dealing with heavy traffic. If I'm heading right out of town, I'm more likely to drive a manual.

Best of both worlds is the F1 shifting, which I have on one car, fully-auto in the city, manual when you're out of town.
real men are secure enough to let the car shift for themDougSloan
Oct 17, 2003 7:11 AM
[I recall that line from the "Real Men" book days]

I just have automatics now. Anything bent toward luxury, comfort, towing, needs an automatic.

Performance cars should have a stick. However, a performance car with a ton of torque, like a Corvette, works pretty darn well with an automatic. High strung engines with low torque need a stick.

The "Tiptronic" style is a reasonable compromise, but you still don't get quite the control of a stick, as there is no clutch you can control.

Doug
just convertedmohair_chair
Oct 17, 2003 7:11 AM
I drove manual for many years, but my current car is an automatic. Actually, it only comes as an automatic, but I would have gotten the auto anyway. I got tired of being "engaged," as you call it. I got tired of trying to drink something and shift. I got tired of manipulating clutches with knee injuries and ITBS. After 20 years of shifting and clutches, I figured I earned myself a break.
sports car=manual, family/utility car=automatic (nm)ColnagoFE
Oct 17, 2003 7:19 AM
Stick or deathMR_GRUMPY
Oct 17, 2003 7:25 AM
Automatic's are for sissies. Stick also prevents most people from driving your car. If I could get my car with a 6 speed, I would.
???DougSloan
Oct 17, 2003 7:29 AM
I prevent most people from driving my car by not giving them the keys. ;-)
It gives you a good excust to say....MR_GRUMPY
Oct 17, 2003 8:46 AM
"I'd drive to the race, but if I crash, you couldn't drive my car home. I guess we'll have to take yours."
DO'H.........excuse...nmMR_GRUMPY
Oct 17, 2003 8:48 AM
Six Speedfiltersweep
Oct 18, 2003 6:57 AM
I love my 6-speed- and yes, there was a recent thwarted car-jacking when the hood rats couldn't drive a stick. Ha!

My wife is from Europe- were only GRANDMAs drive automatics (Seriously, there is a certain amount of shame associated with them). She refuses to drive an automatic- so we purchased yet another stick two weeks ago.
5-speed manualSpoke Wrench
Oct 17, 2003 7:41 AM
Crummy old pick up trucks with no power need a stick so that you don't get stuck in some funny gear when making tight turns. Other than that I guess that it must drive pretty much like TJeans' sports car.
re: Friday Poll: Manual or Automatic Transmission?cmgauch
Oct 17, 2003 7:53 AM
If it were up to me, I'd buy a stick every time, regardless of the type of car. I like it for all the usual reasons, lower cost, better mileage & power delivery, more fun, more engaged, better deceleration when you "let off", better handling since you can choose the right gear & adjust your line w/your right foot. I don't even mind it in traffic because many times you can just chug along in the proper gear while automatic drivers have to ride their brakes.

Also, there is the fact that you are often not stranded when your battery, alternator or starter decides to crap out on you, as you can "pop start" a vehicle w/a stick shift.

My reality is, that although my wife is ABLE to drive a stick, she has no desire to do so. Having 2 interchangeable vehicles is more important to me than driving a stick, so for our daily-driven vehicles, it's automatics for us.

Regarding tiptronic, autostick or the like, I would use that feature on occasion, but would rather just use the automatic selector (shifter) to accomplish that task.
re: Friday Poll: Manual or Automatic Transmission?loki_1
Oct 17, 2003 8:07 AM
Used to have two stick vehicles. My wife doesnt mind driving them.

Now both have automatics for the following reasons.
- Havent found a minivan in a manual.
- On my truck, the tow rating was twice that of the manual with the automatic.
- I just dont care. Will drive either.
re: Friday Poll: Manual or Automatic Transmission?No_sprint
Oct 17, 2003 8:32 AM
~360 HP Automatic. Nearly a Vetter hunter... Soon...

I drive downtown traffic, no more manuals, been there, done that.

Put it in drive, OD for the Hwy.
Stick, baby.PseuZQ
Oct 17, 2003 8:59 AM
I learned on stick, I'll die on stick. (Well, at least until I get some big-*ss Benz or something..;-))

The only time I had automatic was when I lived in Chicago. Living in Nothern California makes having manual transmission lots more fun.
Four 5-speeds, 1 AT. I'm weakening, but my wife's hard core...Cory
Oct 17, 2003 9:04 AM
Four of our five cars (mine, my wife's, two kids' and a spare Suzuki Samurai) are five-speeds, and I'm sure the next one will be, too--the one AT we have was an anomaly, bought used from a friend for a good price. As traffic around here gets worse, I sort of lean more and more toward an automatic, because you really don't give up much anymore, but my wife won't consider it.
re: AT w/ electronic OD and Eco/Pwr switchjrm
Oct 17, 2003 9:05 AM
But then again this is on a 4runner and not a beemer. The last beemer i had was a 87 535I with a auto. It didnt seem to matter much cuz that car hauled as$ anyway.
3 sticks, two automoneyman
Oct 17, 2003 9:33 AM
Ford 3/4 t 4x4 used for towing / long travel is auto.

Honda CRV (wife)auto

Honda Accord (16 yr old daughter) stick

Honda Civic (college daughter) stick

Honda motorcycle (me) pedal (?) standard trans.

Benefit - as MR. GRUMPY said, sticks prevent people from borrowing cars. This is especialy beneficial when you have younger drivers. Other kids can't drive sticks, so they don't ask to borrow.

$$
About those kids, MM...torquer
Oct 17, 2003 10:25 AM
Since young Master Torquer will be driving in just a few more years, I've been thinking about the pros & cons of a stick for his first car:
Pros: 1. Learn to drive a stick, you can drive anything. 2. No need to get a new (used) car, he can drive whatever's in the driveway. 3. What you said about other kids (hadn't thought of that one).
Cons: 1. Easier to learn with an automatic. 2. Distraction factor: I've read some really scary statistics about how accident rates for young, inexperienced drivers go up exponentially (sp?) when they have other kids in the car with them. Seems to me the added responsibility of thinking about clutching, shifting & adjusting revs with the gas might have a similar effect.
How did your kids do with their Hondas?
simple, don't let 'em drive with friends in the car....Becky
Oct 17, 2003 10:44 AM
....until they've been driving for 6 months or whatever with no accidents. My parents made this rule for me when I was first driving (less than 10 years ago). I broke it once, my mother caught me, and I didn't see the keys for a *very* long time. Needless to say, I followed that rule from then on...
As for learning to drive on a manual- I learned to drive using an automatic just long enough to figure out braking and steering. Then it was nothing but stick....and I think it's made me a better driver for all the reasons that people mentioned already- being more engaged, more vehicle control, etc. I think that the pros outweigh the cons here for that first car...

Just my 2 cents....
Becky
yeah. What Becky said.moneyman
Oct 17, 2003 2:05 PM
Our rule is no passengers. Too easily distracted. The attention span of a 16 year old is not very long, so we just eliminate one major distraction.

The girls learned with automatics first, then went on to stick. They both picked it up quickly and now they don't like to drive anything else.

$$
Stick, Stick, Stick, Stick....The Walrus
Oct 17, 2003 10:38 AM
A manual trans means
i you're
driving the
i car
; an automatic means the
i car
is driving
i you.
Stick, Stick, Stick, Stick....PiedmontRider
Oct 17, 2003 10:54 AM
Going out on a limb here: people that have had some time devoted to learning how to drive on a manual transmission are more in tune with what the car can and can't do. Hence they are often more courteous on the road because they recognize the limitations of the car. If you are doing nothing but pusing down on a pedal and turing the wheel it is too easy to get distracted by other things than driving the "death-box" to the Wal-mart.
One of each.Turtleherder
Oct 17, 2003 11:27 AM
Four wheel drives work better with automatics, the wifes little rocket car is a stick.
Campychar
Oct 23, 2003 7:42 PM
Stick shift.
Downtube friction stick shifters.