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?