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Old 01-25-2009, 02:28 PM
32 posts, read 166,326 times
Reputation: 53


I recently traveled to Costa Rica and attempted to rent a car. After all the paperwork was filled out the man took me to my car. It was manual transmission! I told him I did not know how to drive a stick shift car. He acted like I was crazy and then told me that in this small tourist town, that was the only car they rented. They told me I would have to go to the Capital City, San Jose CR if I wanted to rent an automatic transmission. Even there only a few cars are automatic.

He acted like I was the only American he ever met who did not know how to drive a stick shift car. I am in my 50s and have driven since I was 16 years old.

Do you drive a stick shift car? What percent of Americans could drive one who have a drivers license?
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:36 PM
Location: AZ
1,448 posts, read 3,768,537 times
Reputation: 732
I've never driven a stick shift car, and I sort of refuse to. I don't want to ruin someone else's stick shift practicing. I also live in a very hilly city, so manual is not all that ideal. Only way I'd ever drive a stick shift is if I absolutely HAD TO, and I lived on flat terrain and never planned going up a hill again in my life. Plus, it just seems to be too much of a pain. You have to think about shifting all the time.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:58 PM
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 14,945,774 times
Reputation: 2269
I think stick is possibly the only way to go. I've owned 13 cars since I turned 16, I'm now 20. Out of the 13 I've owned, four were automatic. I just like the idea of better mpg and it seems like you have more contol of the car.
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:09 PM
1,003 posts, read 2,227,727 times
Reputation: 669
My step-mother is 64 years old, and has never driven a stick shift. Automatics are gradually taking over. I talked with a Chevrolet salesman at the auto show in Boston and he told me less than 20% of all Corvettes sold are manuals, and they hold less value...even for a sports car.

I've driven a standard for the past 25 years, and was in the process of transferring to an office with my employer to TX back in 2006, and they shipped my car (Honda Civic) ahead of me. They provided me with a Pontiac Grand Prix for a few weeks, and I have to say, driving an automatic for the first time in over 20 years was wonderful!! My next car will be an automatic, and yes, they do hold much better value than a standard shift. If you live in an urban area in particular, don't even consider a std shift, your left foot will go numb as mine has on many occasions driving in bumper to bumper traffic. Automatics are here to stay.
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:10 PM
Location: Charlotte
2,853 posts, read 2,978,616 times
Reputation: 1507
Stick is a lot more fun! Especially down-shifting!!!
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:30 PM
Location: Columbia, California
6,662 posts, read 24,997,342 times
Reputation: 5059
I have had about 16 cars with clutches. 6 with automatics, my current truck has a 6 speed auto.

In the past the manuals gave better mileage, not so anymore. The new automatics are controlled by the computer and keep the mileage equal if not better than stick.

Of course a clutch is cheaper to replace compared to automatics. A clutch assembly cost a couple hundred where auto transmisions can easily cost $5000.
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:31 PM
733 posts, read 1,670,199 times
Reputation: 441
I learned on an automatic, 3 years later I learned how to drive a stick. I much more prefer a sick to manual. I do own a manual, but that is because at the time we bought our car, it wasn't a choice.

I also ride motorcycles, so learning how to drive a stick actually comes in handy before you ride......
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:34 PM
10,485 posts, read 22,334,846 times
Reputation: 6603
It all depends on the car and your situation.

Stick shift....

better gas mileage

faster acceleration

Manual transmissions are made to last the life of the car, unlike automatics.

Cheaper maintainance

Can push start if alternator dies and dischages battery.


Easier to learn how to drive.

Better for hilly terrain and bumper to bumper traffic.

In conclusion...

To me a stick is always a better choice. Especially on an older car when you do not know the maintainance on the transmission. Automatics aren't cheap. I found out the hard way, that is the reason I only buy manual transmission cars from now on.
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:48 PM
2,289 posts, read 7,303,440 times
Reputation: 868
As far as I recall, in lower standard of living areas, most cars are manual because it's cheaper. I can drive one, but have not owned one. It's kind of fun too. There are some cars sold in the US market that are only manual, but mainly sporty cars.
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:15 PM
Location: Incognito
7,000 posts, read 17,993,439 times
Reputation: 5424
I learned to drive on a stickshift. I think EVERYBODY should be able to drive stick. There's no excuse not to.
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