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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,181

    Probably had to fight LA traffic for two hours trying to get to the track. :D

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    Edmunds should have a foot masseuse on call for those poor testers--LOL! Except in heavy brutal traffic, a stickshift is much more useful to me than an automatic. At 75 mph, who is shifting much anyway?

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,294

    Subaru must do heavy clutches. The only one of many many sticks that ever bothered my was the 1991 legacy. Very stiff. A traffic jam in that was torture. The Mazda 626 I had at the same time? No problem. Ditto for my later accord. Spent many uneventful hours is traffic jams with that car.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765

    My guess without driving the WRX and in effect comparing it to other M/T's I have driven is the design for greater clamping force.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687

    For many years Subaru still did chain-operated clutches (like the '91 Legacy mentioned above) after others had switched almost exclusively to hydraulic clutches. Those were always bound to be stiffer and less smooth to operate. I remember the one in my '84 was that way.

    I would think that with the amount of torque this engine makes almost off idle you would need to have a very strong clutch which might necessitate it be heavier. I would still take it over any type of automatic. I just hope Soob has put the clutch chatter problems of the late 90s entirely to rest.

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

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,181

    "On the subject of transmissions, Gilles said: "Everyone is going to paddle shifts. We see that a lot. We recognize a trend, but that is not what the Viper is about. It really isn't.

    "The people who buy (the Viper) relish the manual, they relish the driver's car, the raw connections to the vehicle. That is what it is about. So we are not chasing rainbows here."

    A six-speed manual is standard in the SRT Viper."

    SRT Viper Follows Its Own Road, Skips Automatic Transmission

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,294

    Good.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,434

    I applaud the position the Viper takes.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    The Viper is retro. Paddle shifts would make no sense on a car like that. It's like putting paddle shifters on a 427 Cobra. If you did, you missed the point of the car.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687

    @Stever@Edmunds said: "On the subject of transmissions, Gilles said: "Everyone is going to paddle shifts. We see that a lot. We recognize a trend, but that is not what the Viper is about. It really isn't.

    "The people who buy (the Viper) relish the manual, they relish the driver's car, the raw connections to the vehicle. That is what it is about. So we are not chasing rainbows here."

    Gilles seems to get it. My dedication to the manual comes from my love of the connection with the car that it provides.

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

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,904

    yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 2

    I would agree with the sentiments of the last few posters. It would also seem that the 7 speed M/T is the new standard. This is especially true with the higher hp/torque engines One example is the new 14 Corvette Stingray, a 7 speed M/T Tremec STANDARD. It also makes sense on the diesel option to have the M/T option.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    How do you figure that very high torque engines need 7 speeds?

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 3

    The obvious would be why did Chevrolet put the 7 speed M/T in the Stingray ?Another way to ask, why not a 5/6/8 speed A/T or 6 speed manual options? I have also heard in passing (on MotorWeek) the Stingray is capable of 30 mpg. They just didn't mention what gear, and what speed.

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,192

    ~~~~

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: How do you figure that very high torque engines need 7 speeds?

    I'm with you. The case for more gears is stronger with low torque engines than with higher torque ones. The 7-speed manual in the 2014 Corvette has more to do with EPA mileage requirements and marketing, in whatever order, than need, in my opinion.

    If I were buying a new Corvette, it would be an automatic because 7 ratios are more than I care to row through. I know one doesn't need to use them all, but still, too many choices, when the 6-spped automatic is so good. Back in the mid-'50s, when Corvettes offered a choice between a 2-speed Powerglide or a 3-speed manual, and later, a 4-speed manual, the manuals made sense.

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 3

    Well then, I think you both partially answered the over all question why M/T's are in decline, an ever decreasing volume and percentage of the passenger vehicle fleet. If M/T "enthusiasts" are " less than supportive repeat customers, customers used to slush boxes are, can be and remain HARD sells? (aka dearth of religious conversions?) ;)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    Well, good point, but I can't be supportive of technology that I don't find useful to me--after all, I'm not in the business of supporting an automaker's experiments or marketing schemes. I don't need 7 speeds in a Corvette---obviously at least 2 of them must be overdrives, and I'm not planning on going 175 mph anytime soon. I barely need 6 speeds in my Mini and would be just as happy with 5. Four speed close-ratio and an overdrive 5th---boom, done!

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 3

    One more "speed" (7 speed), ala probably wider gear spread, aka double over drive with 5th gear being a 1.5 over drive) does not increased technology make !! ?? (yes statement and question)

    Indeed what might be almost totally overlooked (in the Stringray anyway, AND as I read it) is the so called REV matching feature IN the 7 speed M/T !!

    Now, YOU know the implications. BUT for the greater audience, what it CAN mean is the more elusive heel and toe techniques (which I know in past posts you have spoken about) is SYSTEM performed !!!!!!!! (or however one wants to say it).

    Again, as an "enthusiast," YOU say it best, nobody NEEDS 7 speeds (in whatever- my sic) and (you) barely need a six speed, and when you REALLY get right to the chase a 4 speed is (5th gear over drive being overkill?) bata bing bata boom !! BUT the M/T that does not meet the legislative " rules and regulations" GOING forward, does not get built (put on the market !! Needless to say this would be another factor that tends to DECREASE the markets for M/T's. So, add the speeds..... or ...... DIE !!!

    SO, if I might be permitted to take it to its logical conclusion. Why is a manual now WANTED at all ! ? The more compelling logic however are most folks have already DEMONSTRATED they are willing to pay the 1,500 + PREMIUM for the A/T OPTION, no matter how BAD !! ?????? Do A/T's have higher repair and maintenance costs? Yes. When the A/T does break, higher repair costs may propel some to many to replace the car, rather than fix the A/T. Do they switch to manuals because of the "poor A/T experiences? No, they once again pay more for what? ......another A/T? This of course adds a and ANOTHER HUGE profit. This of course is what "enthusiasts" may profess to "LOATH".

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    I think it all comes down to the old saying: "driving a slow car fast is more fun than driving a big car slowly". I'm perfectly okay with automated clutches and 7 speeds in high HP, big wide monster supercars. Crawling around in 1st or 2nd in a 550 HP large car in traffic is about ZERO fun, nor is driving one in sharp twisties at 30-40 mph particularly awe-inspiring.

    I think manual transmissions will soon be relegated to only certain types of cars---economy subcompacts, pickup trucks, "sport" hatches and "sport" compact sedans, and diesel turbo cars.

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 3

    Well for sure that is where the majority of M/T's are now. The last M/T I bought in 2003 was a 5 speed (I would have been happier with a 6 speed and the bigger (Euro) injectors) and now is hitting 181,000 miles; in turbo diesel car. Thankfully I think the 6 speed manual (or more) will remain a viable option (standard) in that oem's line up.

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,600

    [I think manual transmissions will soon be relegated to only certain types of cars---economy subcompacts, pickup trucks, "sport" hatches and "sport" compact sedans, and diesel turbo cars.](I think manual transmissions will soon be relegated to only certain types of cars---economy subcompacts, pickup trucks, "sport" hatches and "sport" compact sedans, and diesel turbo cars. "I think manual transmissions will soon be relegated to only certain types of cars---economy subcompacts, pickup trucks, "sport" hatches and "sport" compact sedans, and diesel turbo cars.")

    Economy cars? Maybe but DSGs might be more fuel efficient. Turbo diesel cars put out so much low end torque that a manual is pointless. I drove a Jetta TDI with a DSG and found manually shifting it a waste of time, the car felt as if needed only two foward gear,low and high.

    As for pick-up trucks, unless compact gas pickups make a comeback, I don't think a lot of P'up buyers are interested in shifting for themselves

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 3

    We have a DSG (6 speed) on a 09 Jetta TDI. It has over 68,000 miles. For lots of reasons, VWA extended the drive train warranty to 10 years/100,000 miles. For a host of reasons, while I would have still preferred the M/T (6 speed), the other 3 drivers would not have taken kindly to it. So they do "like" it. The other side to this is the M/T would NOT have had a 10 year/100,000 miles warranty (extension). BE that as it may, since I do NOT dislike the DSG, even as it took some time and miles to "like" it, the real world numbers are more like 3.5 happy drivers.

    There is no doubt in my mind the 6 speed M/T is capable with way less effort of better MPG. This is not to mention that it would be a minimum of 1,100 dollars cheaper. I also got the normal dealer DSG oil and filter change service ($400.) done by a TDI guru.) But without the B portion( with the 6 speed manual) I have not been able to do the A/B test under like conditions. The swag portion would be a minimum of 2/3 mpg BETTER with a M/T. So given 39 to 42 mpg in a normal commute (DSG) a reasonable expectation would be 41 to 45 mpg. We do have a 5 speed manual TDI so it is not like this is a total swag.

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,706

    It's still possible to order a BMW 320i with a 6 speed manual for $32,750. Wonder if anyone has actually gotten one that way....?

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,294

    @benjaminh said: It's still possible to order a BMW 320i with a 6 speed manual for $32,750. Wonder if anyone has actually gotten one that way....?

    Probably a couple in circulation, but I doubt you will find any sitting on the lot. So if you want one, better plan ahead and order one.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,434

    @MrShift@Edmunds said:

    I think manual transmissions will soon be relegated to only certain types of cars---economy subcompacts, pickup trucks, "sport" hatches and "sport" compact sedans, and diesel turbo cars.

    Don't forget that the Miata fits none of those categories and has an extremely high take rate for the manual. Quick google shows that 63 percent of softtops were manual (only 41 percent of hardtops) in 2011. I know on the used market you pay about $1,500 more for a stick on a first gen (NA) Miata. Nobody wants the automatic.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    Not sure you'll be seeing the MX-5 around much longer, as U.S. sales are dropping year to year, from a high of 16,897 in 2006, to a 2013 figure of 5780. At this rate of decline, it'll be about zero in 2017.

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,294

    Isn't there a new design coming soon? That could give a rebound for a bit.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,765
    edited February 5

    They are almost "custom" made for roads like CA Highway One. However, getting there in one will beat one to death. Indeed if one has the time and inclination (most do not) from SoCal to WA Highway One, any part, to all of it is/are really the iconic highway for the Miata (others also).

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576

    I think the MX-5 has an image problem (undeserved, going by sales records) and I don't know how to solve it---maybe Mazda does. Jalopnik website thinks Miata owners fall into 3 categories 1) young guys going to, or coming from, an autocross, and/or completely stoned 2) old guys wishing they were like #1 above and 3) completely confused people who aren't sure why they bought it.

    Jalopnik insists it's not a woman's car anymore, and sales figures do back that up, but the public perception seems to deter that macho 'sports car crowd" who buys a car strictly for performance.

    I DUNNO --I've always respected the car immensely, and never had the slightest urge to own one.

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  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,434

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: Not sure you'll be seeing the MX-5 around much longer, as U.S. sales are dropping year to year, from a high of 16,897 in 2006, to a 2013 figure of 5780. At this rate of decline, it'll be about zero in 2017.

    Actually Mazda has confirmed that the next generation MX-5 (ND) will debut at next years Chicago auto show. Miata will share platform with the Alfa Spider. They have sold over 900,000 Miatas world wide since intro, so it is not such a niche vehicle. One problem with Miata is EPA 28 mpg highway (though it does much better) - worse than a Mustang or Camaro etc. - they will fix that in a large way with the next generation. Miata is not much of a primary car more of a weekend vehicle and people don't buy those so much in a recession, but we are hopefully rebounding.

    I have always admired them, but not had a real desire to buy one until I test drove the '95 my boss was selling ( only 26,000 miles). By far the most fun vehicle I have ever driven. It is basically a copy of the Lotus Elan - except it doesn't break down. 4 Wheel double wishbone suspension, RWD with a Torsen LSD, Longitudinal engine with a ton of space to work on it, 50/50 weight distribution (battery in the trunk). You just feel like you are driving an old British sports car. Even the exhaust note is right.

    Anyway I am now a huge fan, and they should be around for a while selling mostly sticks.

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