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The Future Of The Manual Transmission



  • 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. ;)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    HEAR HEAR! SO well said! :-)

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

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    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 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 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
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    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

    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.
  • 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.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Yeah, but you're still talking about a market segment that doesn't like manuals all that much. Still, with the right gearing, and with the engine's ability to take regular, if they can get the MPGs up to where the CVT is they could get maybe 10% take on the manual. Maybe even 15% if they're lucky. That would probably be enough to be worth it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They have a 6 speed manual in the diesel model overseas, that transmission should be able to handle the 258 lb-ft of the turbo.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited January 2013
    I think this whole debate may have been avoided if you just started off with "I have a bad knee that prevents me from driving a manual". Instead of claiming a CVT or other automatic is just as sporty or engaging and that those of us who disagree and prefer to drive sticks are just "old school" purists?

    I fully respect that some people may have physical handicaps that prevent them from driving a stick. Or preferences that result in their choosing not to drive a stick. That's a personal need or choice. But when it's suggested to me that I'm the one at fault for not agreeing that flipping paddles or pushing buttons on a CVT is just as engaging as rowing your own, I can't idly agree. You turned your physical limitation into a debate about "engaging" "sporty" and "better", not me.

    For what it's worth, I played a softball game on Labor Day weekend, 2011, that made it on Nightly News. And humbled me for life. I won't tell you who I am in the video, but playing against guys like Greg Reynolds is perhaps why I don't give much credibility to able-bodied drivers that proclaim to be enthusiasts but contend driving a stick in traffic is too hard.

    Wounded Warriors Softball

    Sorry about your knee. If you need a good orthopedic surgeon, I have one on my speed dial. If not, I wish you the best on whatever you decide to drive. Really.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Frankly it shouldn't matter. Given that you look upon anyone who chooses to drive anything other than a clutch pedal with utter disdain because somehow they are less of a true driver somehow is your problem. The fact that you only respect someone else's choice when they're apparently physically forced into it frankly makes it worse. Not only that you were utterly and completely prepared to assume that those who do not drive a clutch pedal do so due to laziness or disdain for the act of driving before any other possibility, like physical infirmity, family requirements (such as a family member who doesn't know how to drive a stick) or simply personal preference.

    Maybe you'd better think about your level of respect for others if you expect some for yourself. Because frankly you do act like one of those "old school purists" who simply look down upon new technologies. Which means the people you're looking down upon are not going to treat you very well in return.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,950
    The future of the manual transmission isn't getting any rosier.

    And that folks, is the topic of discussion.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Oh, I thought we were here to share recipes. :shades:

    It really isn't rosier. Between advances in technologies, and the fact that Americans generally prefer automatics, you have to work with what the market will accept. Plus, like I said, manuals have fewer advantages than they did before, and the take rate wasn't all that high on them previously.

    Frankly DCTs and CVTs haven't caught on widely in the US either, there seems to be a very strong preference for slushboxes. It's just a matter of culture, Asia loves CVTs for the most part. Europe was a bastion for the manual transmission but is shifting to DCT, and that doesn't bode will for the clutch-pedal style manual.
  • A journalist would like to speak to car/truck shoppers who are looking for vehicles that don't have new technology - or a minimum of it - such as touchscreens, phone connectivity, joystick-controlled infotainment systems etc. If you are looking to buy a gadget-free car or truck, please send your daytime contact to no later than Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • I have a vintage car that has a stick/three-pedal arrangement and carburetters, but for a daily driver I'm sold on the Audi DSG (DCT). Having owned classic and modern cars over the years, I think the only reason for the old school stick/three-pedal manual over the paddle-shift manual is an odd sense of superiority for being able to operate a clutch pedal.

    Beside the Audi DSG (have owned one, just bought another), I recently drove a 2013 Boxster S with PDK and in both cases these gearboxes simply blow away the old manual clutch arrangement. Speed, economy, convenience. Finally a car I can enjoy on the open road and slip into 'D' mode for the downtown gridlock. And it is a full-on manual, controlled by your fingers -- no torque converter, no surprise downshifts in a corner.

    I like the old three pedal cars, but they're kind of like rotary telephones. I know how to use one, but there really is no point.

    And yeah I know cars are too tech'ed out now, but if I hear one more guy in his ABS, traction control, drive-by-wire, direct injection, stability control, etc., -equipped car tell me he needs three pedals so he can feel in control... seriously, for the love of pete...
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    edited January 2013
    you said: "Speed, economy, convenience. "

    Well there's the problem. I don't care about any of those things particularly, when I drive....I don't care how fast I can shift, I don't really quibble about 1 or 2 mpg, and convenience is the last thing on my mind.

    Shifting with your left foot and your right hand is more fun than pushing buttons.

    why do people still ride horses (at great expense I might add)? For speed, economy or convenience?

    Of course not--there is an elemental experience to it.

    why do they paddle canoes? I mean, why not use a jet-ski?

    I keep a manual transmission to BE retro and behind the times and primitive---that's the whole point! :P
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    And yeah I know cars are too tech'ed out now, but if I hear one more guy in his ABS, traction control, drive-by-wire, direct injection, stability control, etc., -equipped car tell me he needs three pedals so he can feel in control... seriously, for the love of pete...

    You may be in the wrong forum thread. :shades:

    I happen to agree with you, my predicament is that I only really have parking for one car, and the thought of insuring two cars doesn't excite me when I'm one person. My car needs to do everything I might ask of it, and I can't play with a clutch pedal all that long before my knee starts giving me trouble...and an hour commute is all that long and then some.

    On the other hand, one can still have a blast driving with two pedals, with a properly dialed in DCT or automatic, or a really REALLY well-programmed CVT.

    I know people start 'poo poo'ing that notion, but an AWD Juke with the CVT in manual mode is an absolute blast, and the thing performs its simulated "shifts" instantly.

    No one can tell me a Mazda3 isn't fun, even with the slushbox. Which, being a Mazda slushbox, isn't actually slushy at all, it's very crisp.

    And of course, if someone wants to call the VW GTI with the DSG "not fun" or "not engaging" I think the Farfegnugen-ites might want to take that person around back for a few kind words. :shades:

    I do find that I have a preference for a +/- gate on the shifter versus paddles. Just something cathartic about that lever. Though granted paddles are much more convenient, and keep both hands on the wheel. And either one is better than those silly toggles that they put on shifter heads. Almost as silly: putting the manual gate on the RIGHT, moving the shifter AWAY from the driver for manual shifting. Hyundai does this, and it's dumb. ;)
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