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Stick-shift or Auto-shift ?

Which car is better - one with a manual transmission or the one with auto transmission?

New to cars
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

My favorite car is a motorcycle.

J. D. Trollinger
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Which is better out of a gui or a command line? Depends what you want to do.

Matthew Lock
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Define "better".

Stick shift is often less expensive when you buy the car. But, if you go looking, you'll find it much harder to find a car on the lot that's got a standard in it.

Stick's more fun to drive (personal opinion) but it's a lot more annoying in typical city stop&go traffic.

If you're going somewhere with people in your car, having a standard means you'll probably end up being the one doing the driving; in my own peer group there's only two of us who know how to drive a standard.

Standards are mechanically simpler; wether that translates into fewer repair bills I have no idea. I did just sell a car with a standard transmission which had 184k miles on it; never had a single transmission problem with it.

So, like any other engineering problem, there are tradeoffs. Do you know *how* to drive a standard? If so, you probably know what you like to drive. Go with it. If you don't know how to drive a standard, buy an automatic.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

My instructor's car was a standard one. Initially it was very difficult to drive - especially shifting to the 1st gear. I also drove an auto-shift car.

Though I didn't have to have one hand on the shift and the other on the steering-wheel in heavy traffic (like a standard one), the feel was different.

As the car picked up speed, I often felt that the "gear shift" was not happening as I would normally do with a stick-shift. The other point is if I bought a stick-shift, I would have to do most of the driving.

How about mileage, resale value?

New to cars
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

race cars are stick for a reason

Mario Andretti
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

better milage for sure with the stick, all other things being the same.

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

go with a stick-shift. in that way you will learn how to drive cars with manual tranmission and you'll be able to drive any type of car.

stick-shift is more fun anyway

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I live in a big city and drive a stick shift, mostly I wish I had an auto, but I ride a motorcycle, so any car bores me.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Hm. It depends of the traffic.

Small towns with light traffic, standard transmission.

Big cities with traffic jams and so on, automatic.

I have to travel 20 kilometers (that's about 12,5 miles) every morning in my car, and I get stuck in traffic very often. (I was there :-))

Leonardo Herrera
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

If you like to eat while driving automatic is best, as it frees up one hand that you would otherwise use for the gear stick.

Not that I condone eating while driving. ;)

(P.S. I have seen a few crazy people sending SMS while driving, I assume they have auto also.

Matthew Lock
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Stick shift - because it's more 'engaging'.
Remember those coin-ops game, Sega Rally or that type? With two similarly skilled driver, stick-shift always win.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Here's a fun one where technology is winning.

I don't like computers (hydraulic or otherwise) making decisions for me... unless I can override them.

Race cars use electronically controlled gearboxes now, fixed gears for efficient power transfer plus electronics for control. They're activated with (ergonomically appropriate) electronic switches, and are way way faster than shifting by hand.

Conventional cars use sophisiticated shifting algorithms now.

Combine the two and in a few years we may have normal cars with computer-controlled transmissions, where the computer decides how to shift and does it. You can easily override such systems too. The only problem is repair is now incredibally difficult. And it's less fun.

Or maybe continuosly variable transmissions will come back into vogue again.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

mb: "Or maybe continuosly variable transmissions will come back into vogue again. "

I know there are a couple cars out now with them (Hondas?) and the technology seems intelligent, but I've never seen any long-term reliability information about CVTs. Do you happen to know how they hold out in the long run, and how expensive they are to repair, etc.?

Troy King
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Troy -

Re the CVT's, I can recall when they were all the rage on the covers of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science back in the '60s (I think it was), possibly early '70s, along with the Stirling and Wankel engines.

It was quite a chuckle for me when I saw Honda coming out with the CVT -- not criticizing it at all, simply because my reaction was "Well, I remember those things, guess they're finally here -- only took 30+ years." And the knowledge that probably most folks today would think (wrongly) they were a new idea.


Thursday, November 14, 2002

Personally, I have no idea what to do with my left foot when I'm driving an auto. And I don't feel properly in control of the car.

This all comes back to a conversation I was having with my other half about spending money on cars. He can't see the point in spending much money on cars. But that's because he regards them as a seat on wheels for going places, whereas I regard them as something to have fun in - so I drive fizzy little cars round tiny country roads and enjoy the journey as well.

If its a seat on wheels, an auto (and cruise control) probably makes sense.

                                      * * *

"Eat while driving" ?!?!? Do you guys actually HAVE traffic police over there? Good grief!! That's a charge of "driving without due care and attention" here at best.

Katie Lucas
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Pork Pie and Mayonaise on the pants is de regeur for the average salesman driving the A45 though.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Boy do I miss pork pies down under, being an expat Brit.

We can get them but eveybody hassles you for the cold jelly in them. (Yum)

Matthew Lock
Thursday, November 14, 2002

I would prefer a good automatic transmission, but usually go with manual for economy reasons.
There are a lot of sad bastards out there that think driving stick is more "masculine". Sometimes I think there might be some analogy to the Linux culture... :-)

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Several people here have said driving stick is "more fun" -- could you please explain why it's more fun?

I'm just curious.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

I've had my stick shift for 11 years now and I'm really looking forward to an automatic.  What was fun 11 years ago is now an annoyance, especially in stop-and-go traffic (yet another sign I'm getting old).  On the other hand, I love the control a stick shift gives me.  Need/want some more RPMs?  No problem.  Plus, in snowy and icy conditions, a stick gives you much better control over wheel slippage.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

"traffic police"?  Who are they?  Are they supposed to be cops that watch for driving violations?  Never seen 'em around this area of Colorado.  That likely explains:

- Driving distractions.  Eating, cell phones, smoking, reading leading to weaving, driving slow, and all other manner of annoyances.

- Signals.  What are those?  My guess is that a good 3% of our drivers use them.  It's apparently an option for the rest.  Maybe they use telepathy?

- Left on red.  Yeah, that's what I said.  Apparently a new defacto rule is that it's ok to go left on red if you feel like it.  I see this about once a month in my area.

That said, I'm glad I've always driven automatic.  If I had to deal with manual under these conditions, I'd seriously start taking the bus.


Chris Blaise
Thursday, November 14, 2002

I know people think stick-shift is "sexy". I know many fellow engineers think it's cool to have more "control" over their cars. But I am from the lazy breed of engineers. I don't want to drive a car. I want to go somewhere. You mean I paid $20,000 for this thing and I still have to fiddle with its gears? I want the machine to do the work.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Depends on where you are and what you know.

I go to school in michigan: In the snows we have up here, I wouldn't want to drive anything but a front wheel drive auto. But my roomate here never has driven an auto through a winter: he knows his car and knows how to handle the lack of ABS and auto-transmission and such.

Back home for me is the suburbs of Chicago. Traffic there is not as bad as in the city, but it's much worse than the majority of roads up here in MI. That kind of traffic warrants an auto for me.

But don't get me wrong: If I had $1000 to drop on a car, I'd go get me a stick camero or mustang to work on and have fun with. But I don't, so I picked the one more practical for me.

Mike Swieton
Thursday, November 14, 2002

I live in Russia, so you almost don't have a choice - 95% of all cars here is stick-shift. My current car is stick but sometimes I wish I had auto-shift (in traffic jams). But on winter road stick shift is much better - you know for sure, the car won't shift gear when you turn (with front wheel drive it can cause rotation). And you can brake with engine. And first snow here, in St. Petersburg, was more than month ago. And auto-stick repair is much more expensive. For my current car (SAAB 9000) auto transmission repair can cost up to USD3000 and manual transmission only about USD 500.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Unless you really need to drive in extreme circumstances, go with an automatic. Note that in most US cities, "snow" doesn't count as extreme circumstances.

Or you could get one of those newfangled Volkswagens with their halfway-between-both transmissions. (I forget what it's called, but it's basically an automatic transmission, with an override option that behaves like a clutchless stickshift.)

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Oh, and to the person who doesn't know what to do with his left foot when driving an automatic: why, it's for the brake, of course. :)

(Yup, I learned to drive on a VW squareback, older than I am. If you didn't keep your foot on the gas at all times, you would need to restart the engine after every stop sign.)

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Chris Blaise: While I agree with you about poor driver behavior in general, are you sure that the left turns on red that you're seeing are actually illegal? To the best of my knowledge making a left on red (after stopping, of course) is legal in all 50 states if you are turning from a one-way road to a one-way road, and in a number of western states it's even legal (to my surprise!) to make a left on red from a two-way road onto a one-way road.

If you're talking about a left on red from a two-way road onto another two-way road I'd share your distress, though it's still less shocking than some of the stuff I used to see every day in Manhattan: u-turns on red, right turn across traffic from the leftmost lane, driving down the sidewalk for the length of a block to avoid the garbage truck blocking the street (and I don't just mean two wheels up on the curb -- I mean driving ON the sidewalk!).

John C.
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Katie: If you've never driven over here in North America come and try it! It's a whole different experience. The roads are straight, miles long and with hardly any traffic (compared to the UK). And the cars have about twenty cupholders each, so eating and drinking are pretty much the norm.

One hand on the wheel, one on the donut
Thursday, November 14, 2002

Hey, maybe this "New to cars" character is simply doing some research for a car company!

They are going to make a new car called the chevrolet "computer geek".

His/Her report reads...52% of geek drivers prefer an automatic for traffic/city driving, whilst most females geeks  prefer a stick shift despite the road conditions. Further opinions were...

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Slightly related link: Article:

Gord Schmidt
Thursday, November 14, 2002

John C,

The three instances in the past 3 months that I have been either behind or next to a driver who has made a left turn on red has been from a two-way road to another two-way road.


Chris Blaise
Thursday, November 14, 2002

"Do you eat your favorite snacks while driving and drop messy morsels all over your shirt and lap? Food is flying all over the place and you're more worried about getting a ketchup stain on your garb than watching the road ahead? Now what? If you were wearing this invention patented in 1989, you could maintain clean clothes and a clean driving record !

The Car Bib was designed for the motorist that eats on the go, catching the chow that misses their mouth. The inventor notes the device can also function as a serving tray for your eats. (Is that before or after the food has fallen from your mouth?) "

Matthew Lock
Thursday, November 14, 2002

I figured out some years ago my perfect 'car' for heavy US metro traffic:

A 1967 chevy 1/2 ton beat-to-hell pickup truck with a 327 cid V8 and a 3-speed stick-shift. Crappy looking on the outside, but mechanically perfect inside and under the hood. Remove any existing bumpers and replace with 6" dia 1/2" thick steel pipes filled with concrete, welded directly to the frame.

Then you can say things like "go ahead lady, keep jabbering on your freakin' just weave that nice lexus on over into my lane and bash against me... we'll see who spends more bucks in the body shop next week."

ok, not really, but with the amount of time I spend on the damned road commuting every day, I daydream some pretty wild stuff.

Though sometimes an M-1 Abrams tank would be handy against those stubborn souls who are apparently convinced that letting you merge is going to somehow demean them as human beings. ;-)

Friday, November 15, 2002

It is harder to sell a car that has stick, b/c few people know how to drive them.  A stick offers you more control, b/c you can anticipate a turn or a hill, and remain in a gear, or downshift in anticipation.  And automatic transmission can't.  Stick is for performance driving.  You don't need stick.  99.9% of people don't.  I hate my stick shift, esp. in traffic, but the car was $1000 cheaper. 

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Stick is much much more fun. You're driving, after all, so there isn't much to do: shifting is fun. Don't be a sissy, go stick.

stick pop stick
Sunday, November 17, 2002

Stick is great and it gives you something to do while you're driving

Monday, May 24, 2004

how is driving an automatic make u a sissy, just because u want to shift the car urself? arent u part of the car already by accelerating and breaking? are you not a part of the car because you dont have a stick to hold, and an extra pedal. does being a man mean that u have to hold a stick? id rather get head from my girl betch,

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

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