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Old 01-25-2009, 10:08 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,044 posts, read 7,130,882 times
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When I learned to drive, the only vehicles we owned were stick shift. The first automatic I ever drove was the Driver's Ed car.
now, my Jeep is a 6 speed manual. My truck is a 5 speed manual. Wife's Jeep Liberty is an automatic.
I think automatics are becoming more and more prevalent. Driving a manual is a disappearing skill, I think.
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:33 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
810 posts, read 3,524,324 times
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Stick shift all the way for me if given the choice, and flappy paddles simply don't cut it either when it comes to fun. My daily driver's an auto unfortunately, but I lament that daily. It upsets me somewhat how difficult it is to get most "practical" cars in manual, since I would like to own both my daily driver and "fun" cars in stick but unfortunately have to settle for only the latter. To think, I remember that manual used to be interchangeably called a "standard" transmission. Try that with most people nowadays, you'll most definitely be met with confusion from anyone who's not either a gearhead or older.
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:38 PM
 
Location: Maine
398 posts, read 1,135,063 times
Reputation: 219
It depends on what I'm driving, but overall if it's a luxury/comfort vehicle, then I want it to be an automatic. If it's a fun/sporty car, then it has to be a manual. My parents tried to teach me how to drive stick when I was 16, and I failed miserably. I think I finally learned about a year or two later when my ex-boyfriend taught me.

I've only had one manual transmission car as my daily driver, the rest have been automatics. We currently have a Jeep with manual transmission, and that's fun to drive.
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:45 PM
 
10,485 posts, read 22,598,158 times
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There have been some pretty interesting posts here. I have some more info to give now. If you are getting an older car (especially an economy car) you want a stick for sure. I drive a 1991 ford escort with a 5 speed stick. It is actually pretty quick and fun to drive. I had previously test drove another escort of the same year with the 3 speed automatic. Not even comparable, it was slow and dreadfull. Not only that, but the car was reving at 4,000 rpm's on the freeway since it only had 3 speeds. Now things have changed since then and that is the reason stick shifts are being phased out. The newer automatic cars have 6 or 7 speed transmissions that will actually make the car faster and more efficient than a stick. As much as I love sticks I am sure a new Mercedes with 400 horsepower and a 7 speed automatic transmission would be fun to drive LOL.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:02 PM
 
3,743 posts, read 10,957,262 times
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To answer the OP's question, only about 30% of Americans can drive stick (as opposed to 90% of Europeans, Asians, others), and only about 10% of new cars sold each year are manual anymore. Its a great skill that makes you a better driver, because you have to pay attention to driving. Even if you drive an auto, learning to drive a manual is good experience.

We've had automatics here for so long, many people just don't learn anymore.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Arizona, The American Southwest
51,104 posts, read 29,187,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleet View Post
I own three luxury cars and all are automatics. One of them is a limousine and it would be silly to own a limo with a manual transmission!

I've always preferred automatics. If I were to buy my favorite muscle car ('69 Dodge Coronet R/T 440-Magnum) I would get one with an automatic trans but add a shift kit.

I have never driven a stick shift car but I can drive a stick shift forklift.
I know at one point, they had luxury automobiles with manual transmissions, with the stick on the column of the steering wheel. I forgot when they quit making those, but I've never driven a manual on the column. I've always driven stick shifts on the floors ever since my father trained me to drive a stick shift with the 1971 Toyota station wagon he had back in 1974, when I was 17.

I have a 2001 Nissan Xterra SUV, with all of the luxuries, and it has a 5 speed manual. You won't see too many of those, and I'm sure I'll have hard time selling it because a large percentage of drivers prefer automatics because they don't know how to drive a manual. It's also silly to drive a true sports car, like a Corvette, with an automatic!

I think student drivers should also be taught how to drive a stick shift because it gives them more control of the vehicle than automatics, especially when going downhill. It teaches them to use the transmission instead of riding the brakes to control the speed of the vehicle.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,348,496 times
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Yes I drive a stick shift car, well actually a pick up truck...but the same difference right?

Not sure what percentage of Americans can drive a manual. It used to be a requirement many years ago. Now I think automatics have became the norm. Heck I'm surprised it wasn't a requirement for you to learn before getting your license.

Quite honestly, if you've never driven a manual, you're missing out on life. Nothing like banging gears at your consent. It gives you a more control feel over the car.

In fact, manuals are very useful when it comes to sports cars, 4X4 trucks and sometimes small compact vehicles....when the engine is gutless that an automatic would make it an even bigger slug to get going. Because it's a direct drive from the crank thru the clutch to the gears out the yoke to the drive shaft. And not thru a bunch of hp eating ATF.

Plus I think manual trannies last virtually forever, you just have to replace the clutch every so often, depending on your driving habits. Cheaper to fix too. And when you're battery goes dead...if you can manage to get a few buddies to push the car or if you can get it rolling down a hill, you can "pop clutch start" the engine. We used to do this all the time when our batteries would go dead.

Biggest drawbacks I can think of are stop and go traffic...it gets old fast...and those who are sitting on an incline and start to roll and panic. Which isn't a big deal to me as I've mastered it by now.

Biggest thing is knowing where the clutch takes hold, and not letting out too fast.

In a nutshell, I prefer an automatic for a luxury car, or a bracket car/drag car due to better consistency. But in a 4X4 or especially a sports car or even a muscle car, give me a manual any day!

Quote:
Originally Posted by acrylic View Post
You have to think about shifting all the time.
That is not true at all.

Driving a manual is like learning how to ride a bicycle. When you first get on a bicycle you have to learn to keep your balance. As soon as you've mastered how to do it, you no longer think about it, you just get on and go.

Same with driving a manual. I drive one daily and I never think about shifting. It's second nature to me.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,828 posts, read 39,526,936 times
Reputation: 48654
Love driving a stick. I got my current car in a pinch, really needed it at the price it was offered, so I bought it, despite the fact that it's an automatic and I'd been driving a stick for the previous ten years. I miss driving stick.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
5,802 posts, read 15,514,974 times
Reputation: 4272
Quote:
Originally Posted by city_data91 View Post
I don't see the point of learning to drive stick.
Oh, city_data91, you don't know what your missing! A windy road, a sporty Miata or Alfa Romeo Spyder...sweet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by city_data91 View Post
The only people I know that drive stick are old people that learned to drive when stick was popular and rednecks that think they're Nascar drivers.
Well then, you forgot about millions of truck drivers, and sexy Europeans driving Formula 1 racing cars!
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,348,496 times
Reputation: 2211
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum Mike View Post
I know at one point, they had luxury automobiles with manual transmissions, with the stick on the column of the steering wheel. I forgot when they quit making those, but I've never driven a manual on the column.
I believe mid 1971 was the last of those. We've been discussing it in the thread about personal luxury coupes on here.

I've never driven a "3 on the tree" but it's my understanding the shift pattern is something like this:

R----2
--N--
1----3

And I believe R is towards the sunvisor, 1 is towards the bottom of the floorboard/seat, and 2 is toward the windshield and 3 towards the pedals...does anyone know if this sounds right?

And I also believe to get the shifter into R or 1 you have to pull the shifter towards you in N.....

I'll just say this....for a long time I've wanted to find myself a 2000-2002 Z28 Camaro, but I swear every one I run across is an automatic.

And to the person who said autos bring more than manuals....I say that does apply to most cars...but I will also say out of all the Z28's I found, the autos were usually cheaper than the manuals. Probably because there's a major abundance of auto Z28's and not as many manuals. Same applies to 2000-2002 Trans AM's.
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