Why Manual Is So Much Cooler

gear changing
As I drive my automatic test vehicle this week (the uber big Ford Taurus SHO), I find myself looking longing at my manual transmission WRX as I pull out of the driveway each day.

And it’s not just the Taurus that gives me transmission envy; it’s every automatic vehicle.

There’s something about the control a manual transmission gives you that’s so much cooler than an automatic. I know, I know; automatic is easier in the city and often less stressful, but come on! You’re not really driving the car with an auto transmission, not by a long shot.

Manuals give you the ability to truly control the vehicle you’re driving. Not only are you controlling the power and the engine performance, but you’re able to feel the reaction of your vehicle so much better as well. Manual transmissions give you a connection to your vehicle that automatic doesn’t allow.

True, manual isn’t for everyone, but there’s something really appealing about it. And if you love to drive, like I do, then you should love to drive standard. I also think it should be mandatory for everyone to learn standard when they are learning how to drive. You might think this is a bit extreme, but hear me out.

Let’s say you’re stranded at a party with a friend who’s had too much to drink. They were your drive home. They have a car with a manual transmission. You can’t drive stick. You need to get home or you’ll turn into a pumpkin at midnight. What are you supposed to do?

That’s just one example, but learning how to drive standard is a great asset to have and something I think every driver would benefit from. It’s not only a driving skill but a general lesson in cars overall. You need to understand the inner workings of your vehicle to drive manual well, and so it brings about a greater awareness of you and your vehicle — something a lot of drivers on the road today could stand to benefit from.

Which do you prefer? Manual or automatic, and why?

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20 Comments on "Why Manual Is So Much Cooler"

  1. Lemans

    I drive an automatic (Audi A6) at the moment but miss driving a manual. An automatic thinks too much about what it wants the engine to be doing which, while ensuring a smooth ride, introduces lag. Even in semi-auto mode the Audi will override my gear selection if it thinks it should be in a higher or lower gear for the revs/load.

    Nothing makes a drive feel better than stirring a stick!

  2. Auto's Suck

    Auto's Suck for several reasons

    slower to 60 in a staight line

    makes you slower in the corners

    weighs more

    uses more fuel

    more expensive to buy

    higher failure rate than manual boxes

    Worst of all = boring to drive!!!

    • J3's

      Everything you said in your post is true but automatic transmission a far more confortable in rush our traffic (where almost everyone spends the most time driving)if the world was made of non congested highways and no speed limits i would trade my auto right now!

  3. Katie

    My theory has always been that you need to know how to drive stick in case you ever run across a lamborghini with the keys in the ignition and a sign that says "free to the first person who drives off with me".

    But other than that, I drive stick because it's how I learned (my parents are purists), and I just feel more in control.

  4. Sel

    I live in South Africa, where it is mandatory to do your licencing in a manual. In fact automatics here are rare but becoming more common and are still rather frowned upon.

  5. Mike

    I agree, everyone should learn to drive a stick. My first vehicle was a stick, and to this day, i can tolerate driving an auto, but a stick is what I am buying next time. If i'm not mistaken, other countries make it mandatory to drive a stick. But, one thing about it, someone went to steal a car, and got caught bc they didn't know how to drive a stick. That's great!!! lmao at the idiot. If you don't know how to drive a stick, don't drive. Nothing like something with a big v8 in it, and a 6 speed, power power power. And you can control that power. Automatic, not.

  6. European

    In my country in Europe, there is no way of getting a driver’s license if you don’t learn manual in car schools. It is not difficult nor extreme. It is mandatory to drive a car. Automatics are for 70year+ people.

  7. Joseph

    Made both my kids learn manual – my feeling, kids pay much more attention to the road when needing to shift. Keeps them off the phone and focused.

  8. I agree – people do pay a lot more attention to the road in a stick. I think they're safer.

    I think we in America should make manuals standard, but a lot of car makers don't even offer manual anymore. It's a damn shame.

  9. Kijo

    I'm from Europe, Bulgaria. Here if you get your driving test on automatic, in the driving license it is written that you can drive only cars with automatic transmission.

  10. bob

    In England, as with most places in Europe, manual is far more common. You can get a license for automatic, but most people prefer manual, and only the elderly or those who shouldn't be on the road tend to go for an automatic.

  11. bob

    In England, as with most places in Europe, manual is far more common. You can get a license for automatic, but most people prefer manual, and only the elderly or those who shouldn’t be on the road tend to go for an automatic.

  12. Rich

    Another English driver here, by FAR the manual is the standard and the automatic for people with disabilities, diminished reactions and mopeds. It gives you a much greater feel for what is going on inside your car, you know how it feels pulling off in 1st, you can just tell when the gearbox is feeling a little different and you can solve it before it becomes detremental. On top of everything else, the feeling when you’re trying to match Motorway speed on a sliproad as you post it into 4th is pretty great!

  13. daylight

    Niki Lauda (driving a Mercedes 500 IIRC) always said that he preferred an automatic as long as the car has enough power…

  14. Outsource2me

    Only lame white people even make automatic transmission vehicles. In India, we *only* have manual transmission – no choice, end of story.

    I challenge any of you namby pambies to come and drive in peak traffic in Mumbai or Delhi – beats playing sissy video games any day – YOU GET ONLY 1 LIFE!

  15. Lucas

    Aqui no Brasil é 98% manual. Todos aprendem a dirigir na auto escola no carro manual, muitas mulheres nunca aprendem, heheheheeh
    Automático é muito bom no transito, mas na estrada, nada melhor que o manual.

  16. Ashley

    I live in the US and only drive manual. I learned to drive on a '93 Jeep Wrangler. My first car was a '96 Saturn Wagon and now I have a '98 Chevy Cavalier 2door. There is just a connection that you get when you drive a manual vehicle. My parents did not allow me to got for my license until I had mastered it fully.

    • Mee Khing Lim

      I am driving around with my European standard Merc 230E. it is a very reliable car with its manual transmission, you feel the whole car is under your command. Person who really drive take only manual shift gear.

  17. Ace

    i drive a manuel. buut its a bike. but to the point a couple of the guys i run with have the same brand of truck amd the same basic model. both dodge 2500s ones a manual ones an auto. the manual almost never breaks down compared to the automatic

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