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Edited 4 months, 13 days ago

Poll: Can you drive a manual transmission vehicle? (336 votes)

I can and do drive a manual transmission 57%
I can drive a manual, but I currently drive an automatic 24%
I cannot drive a manual, only automatic 15%
I cannot drive 5%

Just curious, I've noticed that vehicles with manual transmissions seem to becoming rarer and you mainly see automatics, that and a good number of people I know don't even know how to drive a manual. My Challenger has a 6-speed manual, and given a choice will always opt for a manual transmission in vehicles.

Sorry if there is already another of these polls, I didn't find one, but maybe I was searching the wrong terms.

#1 Edited by Bollard (5552 posts) -

I feel like there was a discussion about this not too long ago, maybe because it was even mentioned on the bombcast. Not sure though. Also I presume you're American, given your observation.

EDIT: A google search says the most recent thread about this I can find was a year ago. 56% manual. Not as recent as I thought though.

#2 Posted by jaycrockett (451 posts) -

I can and do, but my wife refuses to learn, which is really aggravating in instances where we need to swap cars for whatever reason. Because of this my next car will probably be an automatic.

#3 Posted by SgtSphynx (1389 posts) -
#4 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (533 posts) -

I drive a manual. Honestly, the next vehicle I get will probably be an automatic. No sense in making the drive home in heavy traffic each day worse than it needs to be.

#5 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (3395 posts) -

of course how else can I become Drift King?

#6 Edited by Nightriff (5085 posts) -

I can't and I am not a weaker person because of it

#7 Posted by Bollard (5552 posts) -

Mmm, automatic is definitely the more popular in America, but Europe is mostly manual.

#8 Posted by kindgineer (2726 posts) -

I use to have a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire, before a jackass tail-swiped me in the middle a snowy night and sent me rolling off the highway, down a hill. After that, I upgraded to a Scion xD (awesome car), but now drive a Cross-Country Minivan because I have two kids. It's automatic, and it kills my VERY SOUL.

#9 Edited by planetfunksquad (439 posts) -

Being from England I have no idea why anyone would ever drive an automatic. That shit is booooring.

#10 Edited by Jesus_Phish (799 posts) -

I drive a manual, because I live in Ireland and I've never even seen an automatic over here. But automatic transmissions sound like they take the fun out of driving. Do you want your car to automatically use its pedals too?

#11 Posted by CaLe (3985 posts) -

Uhh.. I've never even seen an automatic car. Pretty sure you have to pass your test in a manual car, or at least I did.

#12 Edited by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

Once upon a time I sorta knew how to drive a manual, though you probably wouldn't have wanted me to drive your car unless it was an emergency, like you'd lost both your legs in a terrible canoeing accident and been blinded during a rabid beaver attack and the ambulance to show up would show up too late to save you.

All my cars have been automatic, though, so I have long since forgotten what little I knew.

#13 Posted by Sterling (2309 posts) -

I can. But I voted for "I can not drive". Because I can't drive right now, legally. Why? Because I was a jackass in my 20's.

#14 Edited by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@planetfunksquad said:

Being from England I have no idea why anyone would ever drive an automatic. That shit is booooring.

@jesus_phish said:

I drive a manual, because I live in Ireland and I've never even seen an automatic over here. But automatic transmissions sound like they take the fun out of driving. Do you want your car to automatically use its pedals too?

Like, that would actually be kinda rad? I don't know what "the fun of driving" is. It's not like you can have any fun driving around the suburbs during the day anyways. If there weren't cars anymore and instead we had crazy mag-cars on mag-rails like in Minority Report that just zip around, and instead of having to have my hands and feet busy I could just do fucking whatever and play some 3DS, that would be great. Or if it were Mad Max and you could just fucking gun it wherever you want because fuck it, that would also be great.

Driving a sports car around a closed track (a birthday present) was fun as hell, but day-to-day driving around streets is boring as fuck, and a manual transmission does nothing to change that. Could not possibly be any farther from understanding the mindset you two operate under where apparently day-to-day driving is this thrilling enterprise.

#15 Posted by cheapandtacky (128 posts) -

@cale: In the UK you can only drive automatics if you pass your test in one. Pass in manual and you are ok in whatever.

I've only ever driven automatics a half dozen times amd have never felt safe doing it. I need a clutch.

#16 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1588 posts) -

What the hell is fun about a manual transmission? It adds a level of unnecessary difficulty to driving. I didn't even know they still made manual transmissions outside of England.

#17 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

In Europe, as far as I know, most cars are manual. Might just be Switzerland.

Learned in a manual. Love driving manual. Pretty much use the engine breaking effect exclusively. Feels so good. So much control.

#18 Edited by CaLe (3985 posts) -
@alwaysbebombing said:

What the hell is fun about a manual transmission? It adds a level of unnecessary difficulty to driving. I didn't even know they still made manual transmissions outside of England.

What the hell is fun about using a controller or mouse and keyboard? They add a level of unnecessary difficulty to playing games.

I'm saying automatic is the touchscreen controls of video games. Damn casual drivers.

#19 Edited by JMan240 (57 posts) -

@alwaysbebombing: Um, maybe having something do on a long car ride? Dumping the clutch and taking first up to 7000rpm? Listening to an exhaust note scream/roar? Not waiting while the automatic clutch lags? Having real control over what your car is doing instead of waiting on its systems to react?

It was always really helpful on the way back from late night jobs to keep me from falling asleep, plus if you drive right you can save more gas in a manual.

I've driven a '65 VW Beetle, a Pontiac Fiero, a VW R32, an '89 S13 Nissan 240sx and an '01 Honda Accord. I would kill for a manual transmission again. I had a pseudo manual in my R32, with tiptronic and paddle shifters, it was fun because of the 250hp and AWD in a Golf, but my 240 was always the most fun to drive. There's nothing like opening up the throttle and going instead of waiting on a slow ass control unit.

#20 Posted by EthanielRain (851 posts) -

My parents made me learn to drive using the worst manual they could find. Hated it at the time but now I'm glad they did.

#21 Posted by planetfunksquad (439 posts) -

@bisonhero: It's not like I'm like "Awwww fuck yeah, I get to drive to work today! DRIIIIVIIIING!!!" whenever I get into a car. It's more that driving is an inherently boring activity. You sit down, stare straight ahead and thats about it. Add a manual gearbox to that and you at least have something to do with your hands/something to think about while driving, if that makes sense? I feel like if I didn't have that extra level of complexity my mind would drift and I'd be a dangerous motherfucker to have on the road. I have a short attention span.

#22 Edited by Jesus_Phish (799 posts) -

@bisonhero: Driving around the country side is an enjoyable experience. City driving is for smucks.

#23 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@cheapandtacky said:

@cale: In the UK you can only drive automatics if you pass your test in one. Pass in manual and you are ok in whatever.

I've only ever driven automatics a half dozen times amd have never felt safe doing it. I need a clutch.

Were all six times during incredibly adverse weather conditions, or recklessly high speeds? I'm not aware of other situations where the differences between automatic and manual are particularly relevant to your safety.

#24 Posted by Tatsuyarr (68 posts) -

After trying automatic when touring the US now I hate manual but I don't have a choice because in Europe, where I live, if you want an automatic you have to be rich. I don't see the appeal of manual when you are constantly stuck in city traffic but apparently I'm in the minority.

#25 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

I drive an automatic because i like technological advancements. Using an outdated transmission type out of some sort of misguided pride is silly.

Also the "fun" argument is stupid. Shit is annoying and unnecessary, especially in heavy traffic. I know how to drive manuals but its just pointless. I especially dislike the idiots who think its unmanly to drive an automatic and that driving a manual makes them more of a man? Idiots.

The performance argument. Well in some specific cases, yes a manual CAN get better performance, but those cases are very rare. You have to be very good at it and driving the rigth type of car. Plus the performance increase is so negligible that it might as well not be mentioned.

Stop holding technology back people.

#26 Edited by deerokus (543 posts) -

@bisonhero said:

@cheapandtacky said:

@cale: In the UK you can only drive automatics if you pass your test in one. Pass in manual and you are ok in whatever.

I've only ever driven automatics a half dozen times amd have never felt safe doing it. I need a clutch.

Were all six times during incredibly adverse weather conditions, or recklessly high speeds? I'm not aware of other situations where the differences between automatic and manual are particularly relevant to your safety.

Engine braking is one such circumstance where you are certainly 'safer' with a manual, everything else being equal. At least in Scotland, where everything is so hilly that it's one of the first things you get taught, but I gather that isn't the case everywjere. You can't really do it with an automatic, obviously. Going up steep hills is also a bit easier to do safely as well.

I assume Americans mostly drive automatics because they have two types of road - long, empty straight roads that go on for 100s of miles, or choked-up inner-city traffic at 2mph. In both cases, manuals are a nuisance. In most cities in Europe (even the less 'progressive' UK) there is no need or desire to do much driving in city centres very often unless you are flamboyantly rich and like walking long distances from a parking space you had to kill someone for. Also our roads are the bendy, hilly pleasures Americans only see in video games.

I can happily drive both but an automatic is always less engaging and more frustrating. The automatic I drive most often has dangerously slow acceleration.

#27 Edited by 6n00bkilla9 (152 posts) -

@clonedzero: sorry to kill your argument but i have had a manual for over 2 years and it is still has so much fun factor and, I drive over an hour a day. The thrill of being in complete control of the car is so enjoyable I love it and never want to drive another way.

#28 Edited by Avanzato (87 posts) -

After trying automatic when touring the US now I hate manual but I don't have a choice because in Europe, where I live, if you want an automatic you have to be rich. I don't see the appeal of manual when you are constantly stuck in city traffic but apparently I'm in the minority.

Yep, I want to replace my car with an automatic but the price premium they charge in the UK for an auto box makes it difficult to justify the extra cost.

#29 Posted by Mister_V (1286 posts) -

Manual for me. Driving an auto is like playing a sports videogame with the simple controls. I mean technically your playing but c'mon.

Online
#30 Posted by GnomeonFire (745 posts) -

@cale said:

Uhh.. I've never even seen an automatic car. Pretty sure you have to pass your test in a manual car, or at least I did.

That probably depends on where you live.

#31 Edited by tourgen (4501 posts) -

@clonedzero:

  • heel-toe control
  • engine braking
  • dumping clutch at 6k while throwing beer cans out the window
  • 20% performance increase / fuel mileage increase over a automatic
  • much, much simpler mechanical system that can be rebuilt in a few hours
  • can roll-start on a hill, can push start on flat ground
  • clutch is optional - can still drive with busted clutch by matching rpm's

you are quick to call people idiots when you are talking about something you know very little about

autos are nice for city-only drivers. stop-and-go slipping the clutch all evening on the way home from work is not fun but don't extrapolate that driving experience to everyone else.

#32 Edited by Lego_My_Eggo (1053 posts) -

I learned because i know someone who has a manual and we sometimes go out to bars, and since i don't drink and he does i figured i would learn in case i needed to drive, also because i just wanted to learn how. Im not that great, but i can get from A to B and probably not stall it. And i will never buy a manual, because its just more things to keep track of with little gain in performance on American roads.

#33 Edited by pinner458 (785 posts) -

In Europe it's pretty much a given that you're going to be driving a manual. North Americans are noobs at driving, lol.

#34 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -
@tourgen said:

@clonedzero:

  • heel-toe control
  • engine braking
  • dumping clutch at 6k while throwing beer cans out the window
  • 20% performance increase / fuel mileage increase over a automatic
  • much, much simpler mechanical system that can be rebuilt in a few hours
  • can roll-start on a hill, can push start on flat ground
  • clutch is optional - can still drive with busted clutch by matching rpm's

you are quick to call people idiots when you are talking about something you know very little about

autos are nice for city-only drivers. stop-and-go slipping the clutch all evening on the way home from work is not fun but don't extrapolate that driving experience to everyone else.

I never called you an idiot. Read. I called people who negatively judge others because they prefer automatics idiots. Because they are. Quit being so defensive.

Also, 20% increase? Bullshit. Maybe 20 years ago.

#35 Edited by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@deerokus said:

@bisonhero said:

@cheapandtacky said:

@cale: In the UK you can only drive automatics if you pass your test in one. Pass in manual and you are ok in whatever.

I've only ever driven automatics a half dozen times amd have never felt safe doing it. I need a clutch.

Were all six times during incredibly adverse weather conditions, or recklessly high speeds? I'm not aware of other situations where the differences between automatic and manual are particularly relevant to your safety.

Engine braking is one such circumstance where you are certainly 'safer' with a manual, everything else being equal. At least in Scotland, where everything is so hilly that it's one of the first things you get taught, but I gather that isn't the case everywjere. You can't really do it with an automatic, obviously. Going up steep hills is also a bit easier to do safely as well.

I assume Americans mostly drive automatics because they have two types of road - long, empty straight roads that go on for 100s of miles, or choked-up inner-city traffic at 2mph. In both cases, manuals are a nuisance. In many cities in Europe (even the less 'progressive' UK) there is no need or desire to do much driving in city centres very often unless you are flamboyantly rich and like walking long distances from a parking space, and our roads are the bendy, hilly pleasures Americans only see in video games.

I can happily drive both but an automatic is always less engaging and more frustrating. The automatic I drive most often has dangerously slow acceleration.

It's true that most people in North America chose to populate more level areas for a host of reasons, including "having their pick of an enormous, sparsely populated land mass", but there are certainly hilly areas outside of urban centers. The particularly flat regions in the middle of the continent are largely used for agriculture, and have much lower populations than the other states and provinces in their respective countries, so visions of hundreds of miles of 2-lane highway going through desert in the American southwest is not really indicative of a common day-to-day driving experience, unless you're a traveling salesman who can't afford a train ticket or airfare. Similarly, due to the existence of mid-sized cities and suburbs, it's possible to have "city driving" that isn't as bad as downtown Manhattan, but still obviously has some intersecting streets and isn't just winding countryside roads, and these small cities/large towns don't have the budget to justify very good public transit. Surely this is the case in the UK as well, unless I'm to believe that you've got London, Manchester, Liverpool, and then nothing but quaint country villages the instant you leave the city?

So I think the two extremes you suggested are an oversimplification, and aren't really the factors that led to the widespread adoption of automatic in North America.

#36 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5488 posts) -
#37 Edited by deerokus (543 posts) -

@bisonhero said:

Surely this is the case in the UK as well, unless I'm to believe that you've got London, Manchester, Liverpool, and then nothing but quaint country villages the instant you leave the city?

So I think the two extremes you suggested are an oversimplification, and aren't really the factors that led to the widespread adoption of automatic in North America.

Oh it's definitely an oversimplification, but I like my oversimplifications! :D

England is quite densely packed but yes, there's countryside. Roughly the same size as Florida with a population about three times as much. Scotland, where I am, is a bit different, very empty (2/3rds the size of England, 1/10th the population, or in American terms, basically South Carolina (but with like half of it being taken up by mountains). Not much outside the populated section in the middle but hilly and twisty. We have motorways between cities of course but they're not exactly like American highways or the glorious German autobahns.

#38 Edited by Pr1mus (3911 posts) -

I sorta can i suppose. Never owned one and only learned while working in car dealership years ago. I can probably manage it but i just find manual to be tedious and uncomfortable in cities and irrelevant on the highway for hours.

#39 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@deerokus said:

@bisonhero said:

Surely this is the case in the UK as well, unless I'm to believe that you've got London, Manchester, Liverpool, and then nothing but quaint country villages the instant you leave the city?

So I think the two extremes you suggested are an oversimplification, and aren't really the factors that led to the widespread adoption of automatic in North America.

Oh it's definitely an oversimplification, but I like my oversimplifications! :D

England is quite densely packed but yes, there's countryside. Roughly the same size as Florida with a population about three times as much. Scotland, where I am, is a bit different, very empty (2/3rds the size of England, 1/10th the population, or in American terms, basically South Carolina. Not much outside the populated section in the middle but hilly and twisty. We have motorways between cities of course but they're not exactly like American highways or the glorious German autobahns.

Ah, fair enough, Scotland does sound like it's quite a different set of circumstances in terms of population distribution. Still, I stand by my assertion that I guess England specifically isn't that different from some American states or Canadian provinces in terms of the needs of their automobiles based on geography/topography, and those needs probably weren't the factor that led to the starkly opposed transmission preferences.

#40 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@fredchuckdave said:

@bisonhero: I was curious so I looked this up.

Man, is "built-up area" some kind of weird city planner term or something? Can't say I've heard of it before. Interesting that a lot of the major urban centers aren't based around one city, but more of when there are 2-3 major cities in close proximity that have grown into one giant thing. I guess that'll happen in countries of that size. As a Canadian, I encounter that much less often.

#41 Posted by captain_clayman (3321 posts) -

I wish I knew how. I just recently got my first car and it was my grandparents 02 camry with automatic, and none of my relatives have manual so I've never driven manual. When I eventually buy my own car I definitely want to get a manual, especially if it's a nice car. I would actually like to be more engaged while I'm driving, and feel my vehicle be more responsive. Automatic feels so floaty sometimes.

#42 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1102 posts) -

I can go FAST with manual.

It also makes driving on slick or icy roads less scary.

#43 Posted by Jazz_Bcaz (271 posts) -

Couldn't imagine driving without a clutch. How do you get a feel for the torque without easing in from biting point? To me, shifting gears and smoothly easing in the clutch is the most satisfying part of driving anyway. It's a pain when you're sitting in traffic though and the weight of the clutch begins to ache, but I don't see how that would be better in an automatic.

Aren't manuals more efficient as well? Technology argument is moot when your priorities are in the right place, but what do I know about advancements? My car is old, and basically a lawn mower engine inside a tin can. It's absurdly economic though, because it's so light. It also has a choke valve, which I wouldn't recommend. Starting it on cold winter mornings is a nightmare, and I used to flood the engine when I didn't know what I was doing.

#44 Edited by Brendan (7811 posts) -

Wow, apparently all the progress we've made in being empathetic and approachable when it comes to games goes right out the window when we talk about cars eh? Well done, everyone in this thread.

#45 Posted by Wilshere (308 posts) -

Its manual for me. It just gives you more control and freedom. The satisfaction of developing the skills to control a machine.

#46 Posted by JimiPeppr (307 posts) -

I feel safer driving manual. My thoughts tend to drift when I'm bored so the added engagement of clutch keeps me more focused on driving.

#47 Posted by Kyelb22 (297 posts) -

My car is automatic, but 90% of my traveling is done on my bike, so I'm mostly driving a manual. Now that I'm used to it, I'm going to make sure to get a manual for my next car. It give you so much more control over what the engine is doing at any given moment.

#48 Posted by BaconGames (3423 posts) -

Can I? Not effectively at the moment if only because I don't like driving enough to care enough to learn. I also got my license with an automatic and that was that. I get people who enjoy driving a car from a mechanical perspective but I could do without the wankery at the expense of automatic drivers who don't care. Besides I'd prefer to walk or take public transport and jam on music in every situation if I could.

Although if you really want me to get excited about driving a car, let's talk about all electric cars. Fuck a gear son, magnets! Throw in a computer brain that drives for me and that's as much driving as I'll ever need. Cyber future let's go.

#49 Posted by bybeach (4831 posts) -

Automatics have eaten up much of the advantages manual drives used to have. And replacing clutches is a hassle.

Still, driving manual is just plain fun. So much so that the early model Acura (when Acura's were interesting cars) that I inherited from my Dad has a pretend shift system for just that reason. Sporty little thing, surprisingly.

#50 Posted by Korwin (2865 posts) -

Australian's are much like people from the UK, we love a manual transmission. It's a useful life skill as you aren't limited to one type of vehicle, very useful in an emergency like say having to rush someone to a hospital and they drove somewhere in a manual car and it's the only ride available. I actually feel a little... un-easy when I drive an auto for the most part as I don't feel like I have proper control over a vehicle, though I'll admit driving in traffic is much nicer .