Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





The Future Of The Manual Transmission

1314315317319320338

Comments

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Define "real driver engagement."
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,417
    My biggest issue is that the manuals that are left are going to six speeds and I really got used to and liked a 5 speed.

    My old '82 Tercel was "peppy" but certainly no sports car. Really enjoyed the MT in that little car.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    One of the MT's problems is the increasing number of speeds. It's rough trying to squeeze them into a shift pattern reasonably, and it becomes a lot easier to miss shifts. People miss shifts with a 6+R, can you imagine an 8+R? 10+R?

    Whereas paddles or a +/- gate don't have that problem. ;)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited January 2013
    Define "real driver engagement."

    If I have to define it, you probably don't get it. But sucker that I am, I'll try anyway.

    (1) You use your left foot, coordinated with your right hand, instead of your thumbs.

    (2) You get to feather the clutch, or hold it in neutral, blip it more or less than the computer would, or do whatever the heck YOU want. Try that with just your thumbs.

    (3) You get to make mistakes and know that it's YOU that missed the shift. And try to do better the next time. Isn't that why we all golf??

    The manual's advantages of sportiness and efficiency have been overshadowed by the DCT and CVT respectively.

    OK your turn. Please define "sportiness"? Because as best I can tell, you'd rather be watching ESPN in the comfort your living room than lacing up some metal cleats and sliding into second head first yourself. I'm not trying to be sarcastic (OK, maybe a little). But it's just that I keep hearing about how the new technology is "better" because it requires us to do less to et the same - or sometimes better - results. I don't want to do less, when it comes to rowing my own gears.

    BTW, don't take any of this personally. You should see the crap I give my buddies who insist on buying a new $500 titanium driver every year that looks about the size of a VW Beetle, brag about how much better it is than last year's model, and then cry like little babies when I tell them we are playing our match from the 7,200 yard tips. They are willing to pay $400 to play Pinehurst #2 and then complain that they will lose more balls if forced to play the whole course.

    What they really need is more balls in their pants.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    But sucker that I am, I'll try anyway.

    (1) You use your left foot, coordinated with your right hand, instead of your thumbs.

    (2) You get to feather the clutch, or hold it in neutral or do whatever the heck YOU want. Try that with just your thumbs.


    So one must use a clutch pedal to truly feel "driver engagement," which is defined as "having a clutch pedal." Well, you said "sucker," not me. :shades: That's called a "circular argument" and it generally translates to "epic fail."

    "Sportiness" is a combination of power and responsiveness in handling, acceleration, and braking. A clutch pedal has nothing to do with it.

    New technology doesn't "require us to do less." It frees us up to do MORE. I'm not trying to hit a sliver of a shift gate, I'm concentrating on my tail-slide, I'm focusing on my steering, and dodging that jerk in the left lane hypermiling in the Prius by the skin of his bumper because I can concentrate less on SHIFTING and more on DRIVING.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    I think habitat's point was that the car is doing more things FOR you---and your argument is that yes, that's true, and that allows me to concentrate on other things.

    However, the flaw I see in that rather neat rebuttal is that a clutch pedal doesn't really prevent you from doing the other things, it just requires more effort.

    I don't see "involvement" and "making things easier" as compatible. Some might argue that they are polar opposites.

    ON THE OTHER HAND...ahem....one could argue that driving say a 3-pedal Model T is not more "driver involvement", but rather just a pain in the butt. :P

    Have you ever considered that there is a reason why motorcycles are not all automatics, and the ones that are, are wimpy little thingies?

    MODERATOR

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    edited January 2013
    However, the flaw I see in that rather neat rebuttal is that a clutch pedal doesn't really prevent you from doing the other things, it just requires more effort.

    ON THE OTHER HAND...ahem....one could argue that driving say a 3-pedal Model T is not more "driver involvement", but rather just a pain in the butt.


    Exactly. And can you imagine the "purists" of the time, when the Motel T's successors came out? WHEEL brakes? We never needed those before! It'll decrease driver involvement!

    And then there were padded dashes. And then automatic transmissions. And rack and pinion steering. Disc brakes. Synchromesh! Front wheel drive. Power steering. ABS. All-wheel-drive. Think having manual-locking hubs increased driver involvement?

    Next up is some further transmission advances. Like every advance before it there will be the "purists" that feel they are obligated to preserve the past way of doing things as the only proper way. But eventually most of the market just leaves them behind.

    CVTs may take a shot at replacing slushboxes, but slushboxes are popular in the US, whereas CVTs are popular in Asia, and DCTs are popular in Europe. Eventually DCTs will all but replace manual transmissions in all but a few specialized applications. That's just progress.

    Anyone claiming "driver involvement" can get back to me after they've removed the power steering, power brakes, fuel injectors, headlights, and windshield wiper motors from their car. Oh, and the synchromesh from their manual transmission....can't have any of that advanced technology muddying up the "driver involvement" after all. :shades:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,434
    Every time I get in a car with paddle shifters, whether it's my wife's auto manual Infiniti or my friend's GT-R with dual-clutch thingy, I find myself letting it shift for itself after about five minutes.. Paddle shifting doesn't keep my attention, and if it will shift on it's own, then it's an automatic in my book..

    I am getting used to six gears, now, but can't imagine going to seven, like the Porsche. (Though, would be willing to try). ;)

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    The new Corvette also has a 7-speed manual. I'd choose the automatic, especially with all that torque.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Paddles, how many speeds again?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,434
    Yeah, I drove a Z06 with 6-speed, and figured I could get by with just 2nd and 5th.

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Anyone claiming "driver involvement" can get back to me after they've removed the power steering, power brakes, fuel injectors, headlights, and windshield wiper motors from their car. Oh, and the synchromesh from their manual transmission....can't have any of that advanced technology muddying up the "driver involvement" after all.

    Actually, I think there are a few of those purists that wil be showing up at Pebble Beach later this year to have a road rally race with some nice vintage sports cars. Caught something on the History Channel or whatever network airs "Chasing Classic Cars". The idea was that there shouldn't be a garage queen "winner" that can't actually be driven the way it was designed.

    Look, you can go to the extreme of saying that I need to go out and buy a horse and buggy with wooden wheels and a whip in order to make any claim of preferring driver involvement. And I can tell you that you should get a better day job so you can just hire a chauffeur to carry you and your thumbs in the back seat of a limousine. My 28 year old neighbor that has a beautifully restored 1974 911S that doesn't have power anything, but puts 230 hp to the rear wheels of its 1,900 pound curb weight and never came in worse than 1st place in 10 years of vintage racing at Summit Point would call us both spoiled wimps for debating sportiness and engagement. If he wasn't so damn polite, that is.

    The fact is that I have continued to drive a stick because there is an element of involvement and feedback that I enjoy. And yes, I probably am not very polite to those that promulgate the notion pressing buttons or flipping paddles on a PDK steering wheel is just as engaging. It's easier, yes. It can be more fuel efficient, yes. It can produce faster 0-60 times and even Nurburgring laps, yes. But more engaging, no. If you don't agree, then let's agree to disagree.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,417
    edited January 2013
    Yeah, I drove a Z06 with 6-speed, and figured I could get by with just 2nd and 5th.

    I could just about get by with 1st and reverse in the newest one. :shades:

    image

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    We're going to have to agree to disagree, because there's no WAY you can tell me that a nice Mazda3 with a Mazda-designed automatic transmission is not an enjoyable and involving drive, whether or not you might find it "more" involving with a stick (I personally would be annoyed with it the first time I got stuck in traffic with it).

    My next purchase is looking like a 2014 Forester XT, which basically translates to a lifted, somewhat heaver WRX (always wanted a WRX but I hoped Subaru would source a DCT). If I want the Forester XT I have to accept that it comes with a CVT, though luckily they programmed in some simulated gears and manual shifting modes, which is an improvement.

    Anything I buy is my single car and is a daily driver on a 55 mile commute on a highway that sometimes gets very VERY clogged. I have to factor that into any car purchase, and a clutch is going to be a ROYAL pain in that traffic.

    Let me know how involving that horse and buggy is. You know, I figure when they introduced steering wheels, someone complained that they reduced driver involvement compared to the tiller. :shades:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,434
    If I want the Forester XT I have to accept that it comes with a CVT

    That is a travesty..... :(

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    If I want the Forester XT I have to accept that it comes with a CVT

    That is a travesty.....


    They should really offer it with a 6-speed manual option, but apparently the take-rate is pretty low. And frankly their standard is a 5-speed manual: the only 6 speed they have is off of the STI, and comes with the driver-controlled differential. Which they probably don't want to put into the Forester. That might be what's taking the next WRX so long too, come to think of it: the CVT might be the only tranny ready for it yet, and a WRX absolutely should not be offered in CVT-only, there should be a manual tranny option.

    And as I mentioned, I'd still buy the CVT. It's got a sport program that simulates a 6 speed automatic (with manual shift capability) and a sport sharp program that simulates an 8 speed automatic (again with manual shift). A CVT frankly can shift even faster than a DCT if programmed right. Big "if" of course, but the Impreza shifts impressively fast with it's CVT in manual mode.

    PS - the 6 speed in the BRX is Lexus/Toyota derived, and not AWD ready.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,853
    ..."be aware that this is NOT a good way to try to figure out automatic vs. manual inventories of new vehicles."....

    I have not used cars .com in ANY references to "try to figure out automatic vs. manual inventories of new vehicles". What made you even think I was unawares? ;) :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    edited January 2013
    "Anyone claiming "driver involvement" can get back to me after they've removed the power steering, power brakes, fuel injectors, headlights, and windshield wiper motors from their car. Oh, and the synchromesh from their manual transmission....can't have any of that advanced technology muddying up the "driver involvement" after all"

    You have actually just described my 1966 MGB! :P

    I'd be very happy in a car without power anything, but I'd like headlight and wipers please--- I mean, those were around in 1915, so hardly advanced technology.

    If I could somehow remove all those things from my MINI COOPER I'd be very happy. My level of "driver involvement" goes all the way down to SMELL and NOISE.

    But yeah, I need a heater, lights, horn, wipers. In the San Francisco Bay Area, AC isn't necessary either, and with a small light car, drum brakes are just fine.

    But I'm not pooh-poohing hi-tech automatics or manumatics or DSGs or whatever.....they certainly have a place, like for postal delivery trucks for instance. :P

    MODERATOR

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Oh come on, drum brakes? Real men don't need brakes, they just completely destroy that driver involvement. :shades:

    Heater, lights, an you call yourself a driving enthusiast! Why don't you just tack a US Postal Service sign to your ride too? ;)
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,853
    edited January 2013
    I have one vehicle with (rear)"drum" brakes. Evidently what you say is true for women also. Three women put the majority of the miles on this. The mechanics laugh when they checked it @ 120,000 miles and told me these will last INXS of (to)275,000 miles. Most new cars with rear DISC brakes have short wear issues. Specifically I read a lot of posts between 15,000 miles to 50,000 miles. This if if they are lucky enough to have front disc brakes last 75,000 to 100,000 miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    Yeah well I just like a heavy flywheel car---I like that pause between shifts, and I like to short-shift and skip-shift. On one of your fancy pants transmissions, if you try to short shift on the same side of the dual clutches the little darling does slow down.

    In terms of human evolution, my genes will survive while the genes of everyone driving DSGs will eventually perish (this presumes we all reproduce of course) because they won't know when they're doing something incorrectly. ;)

    MODERATOR

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    HEAR HEAR! SO well said! :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    edited January 2013
    the only 6 speed they have is off of the STI

    Not true, they put a 6-speed manual in the Outback. Soob is just super slow to update its cars mechanically. They like to keep the Impreza line cheap. But I'm sure the reason they have delayed introducing the new WRX is because they were waiting on the 2.0 turbo to be ready.

    It will be a great shame if they offer a CVT AT ALL with the WRX. The CVT-only issue with the Forester XT will hopefully limit sales enough to convince them to introduce the manual in that model too. As for me, I can't imagine what would ever persuade me to buy a car with a CVT, by far the least tolerable of its automatic breed.

    The thing that kinda sucks about Subaru these days is they are beginning to succumb to Toyota-itis and Mazda-itis: the only manual available is on the cheap stripped trim line of each model. This is evident in the new Impreza - none of the Limited trims have a manual available. It's also true of the Outback. Now the Forester XT is the next evidence of that. I was counting on Subaru to hold the line against the onslaught on manuals, but apparently the accounting department has begun to take control there too... :-(

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited January 2013
    If I want the Forester XT I have to accept that it comes with a CVT, though luckily they programmed in some simulated gears and manual shifting modes, which is an improvement.

    That makes me nauseous - that anyone would accept a CVT - perhaps the worst transmission choice for any real enthusiast on the planet - to get their butt in a Subaru Forester?? And you are questioning my definition of driver engagement? There are manual transmission bicycles I'd rather ride 55 miles to work than be stuck with a CVT anything. Even Edmunds in the pre-release review voices their disgust:

    "Sluggish CVT saps some of the driving fun from turbo model."

    Nissan had a good thing going with my old 1995 Maxima SE 5-speed manual. It actually was a pretty decent "4 door sports car" at the time, with a reasonable 3,000 lb curb weight, sport suspension, free revving V6 and real manual transmission. It beat out the BMW 328i for Car of the Year awards in 1995. Then they got too cute and decided people would rather make audio sounds of shifting rather than row their own and eliminated the manual and automatic in favor of a god forsaken CVT. They got exactly what they deserved - sales dropped by well over 80% and instead of being cross shopped against BMW, they were cross shopped against Buicks and Oldsmobiles. It isn't considered an enthusiast's car by grandmothers. This was arguably one of the biggest examples of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory in recent automotive history.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited January 2013
    Anything I buy is my single car and is a daily driver on a 55 mile commute on a highway that sometimes gets very VERY clogged. I have to factor that into any car purchase, and a clutch is going to be a ROYAL pain in that traffic.

    Now I'm doubly nauseous. Yeah, long commutes in traffic jams are a pain, regardless of what you are driving. But either you need to work out more or just get a different attitude if you think the left leg muscle saving indignity of driving a rubber band CVT is going to make that clogged commute any more fun. And when the road in front opens up, all you have to enjoy it with is a "sluggish CVT" in the words of Edmunds (and any of the few million suckers that are stuck driving the abhorrences).

    My 5'1" wife, all 105lbs of her, drove 105k miles through the streets of DC from 1996 to 2005 in an Isuzu Trooper 5-speed manual. Everything about our 2005 MDX made her happy, other than the unresponsive mushy automatic transmission. Everything about our 2012 X5d makes her happy, including the much more responsive automatic transmission....except, had known that I also was considering a Cayenne V6 6-speed manual she would have probably arm wrestled me to get it. Maybe even won, as it was a tough choice.

    Perhaps you need to do a few more push ups or leg presses. Or just get a better attitude. Driving in a traffic jam with a manual transmission is no big deal. Really, really. But getting a CVT transmission and then having a sluggish car all the time is just plain pitiful.

    I am not sure what is also on your shopping list besides a Subaru Forrestor, but if they are going to shove a CVT down your throat, maybe I'm not the only one that should be feeling nauseous right now.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited January 2013
    What made you even think I was unawares?

    Perhaps I am mis-remembering, but I though you referenced cars.com when I asked for your source of nationwide vehicle inventories that you were often quoting relative o nationwide dealer inventories of various makes and models in other posts/forums.

    What I have found in my Porsche shopping is that many (50%+) Porsche dealers do not have their current inventories listed on cars.com period, and of those that do, a similar 50% can't seem to call the PDK an automatic and leave the 7 speed manual description to the 7-speed manual transmission.

    If you were getting your inventories form another source, my mistake. And I didn't see you specifically quote manuals vs. automatics, but just in case, don't use cars.com.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,417
    edited January 2013
    We have a view inventory feature under the New and Used Cars tabs here. After you pick the make/model, then you can search by automatic or manual transmission.

    I bet you get some false positives though, since there's likely someone categorizing the cars by hand back at the dealer, and they may not know how best to categorize it. That's probably the same issue you found with cars.com.

    And when you find one, like a base Cayenne, the only way to verify that it's a manual (other than calling about it), is to hope they have a photo of the shift lever.

    Can't get a direct link to work, so you'll have to drill down on your own if you want to play with it.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Ok let me correct myself, the only 6 speed they have that can handle the torque is in the STI. :shades:

    I don't see a problem with offering the CVT as an OPTION in a WRX. Frankly the take rate on manuals for the Forester XT were horrible, well under 10%. But yes, i would like to see a manual OPTION for that also. I really think choice is a good idea if it can be done feasibly, because it has the potential to expand the customer base.

    Frankly, expecting a model to be clutch-pedal only almost sounds snobbish to me.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Dude, I have a bad left knee. So allow me to skip the rather foul language I'm tempted to aim at you right now and simply say that your snobby attitude is making me feel nauseous.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    the take rate on manuals for the Forester XT were horrible

    I remember driving a 2004 XT with the manual, and WOW! That thing was quick. Car & Driver hit 60mph in 5.4 seconds.

    That was the most shocking test drive I ever took. I knew it was quick, but MAN was it quick!

    Biggest complaint was range. With ultra short gearing, a smallish gas tank at the time (it got bigger for 2009), and the way it encouraged you to drive ... well. You can imagine.

    Now that Subaru downsized to a 2l turbo, but added DI, and with the potential for a 6 speed manual, I'd like to see them try again. Fuel efficiency is better, and the gas tank is bigger now, gear it right and the take rate will be much higher.
Sign In or Register to comment.