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The Future Of The Manual Transmission



  • That's why I've become a DCT convert for daily drivers - it is like having two cars in one, and shifting F1-style feels very natural. Once you live with it, going back to three pedals feels like a lose-lose.
  • Well, I love horses, but they aren't transportation anymore. So an elemental experience isn't going to assure the future of the manual clutch/manual transmission.

    As far as speed, economy and convenience, I'll concede those don't apply to a lot of cars I like (would kill for a Ferrari Daytona...), but among consumers who buy cars I think you'll find almost everyone values those, various order of priority, more than "being primitive". I also love classic cars -- saw a stunning Merc 280 SL on the freeway yesterday -- but again, that's a niche, not a new car market.
  • scwmcanscwmcan Niagara, CanadaPosts: 389
    Well there is still the lower cost ( both initial price and maintenance) which is important to some people, I have both a manual and a smt type transmission, and still have more funin the manual, not that the other car can't be fun too, I have no problem driving either in traffic, but know that others prefer not to and that is fine too. I think championing CVTs especially is hurting your case, not that the car can't be fun, but the transmission itself isn't sporty, imitation shifts or not.
    DCTs are probably the best of he auto transmissions, but they are still not a manual, you can still find yourself in the wrong gear at the wrong time ( not that you can't with a manual, but then it's your own fault, not the cars). Also it seems despite the EPA ratings showing autos( of many cars) getting better fuel economy, real world results often seem to be the other way around. In any case I won't look down on anyone for buying an automatic, but will contine to drive a real manual when it is offered on the car I like while I still can ( and at least up here in Canada we can get more models at higher trim levels with a manual).
  • spiritintheskyspiritinthesky Posts: 207
    edited January 2013
    I also recently drove the 2013 Boxster S PDK, along with a 2013 911S PDK and a Panamera 4 PDK at a recent Porsche track event.

    While I agree that the PDK is an impressive auto-manual transmission and infinitely superior to the old 5-speed Tiptronic (i.e. "Chick-tronic") that it replaces, I also agree that for those that really enjoy "rowing your own" it's not going to replace the satisfaction of having a manual transmission.

    The Porsche event was for a small group (15 +/-) and I took along my brother who has private driving privileges at this track. When the other attendees saw us pull up in his Ferrari 430, they all kind of did a "nice car" flip of their hat. But when a couple of the Porsche racing team instructors saw that it was a (rare) 6-speed manual transmission, they practically hi-jacked the car at the end of the event to get a hot lap with my brother at the wheel (he's a former BMW race team driver). Everything gets turned off - ABS, traction control, stability control. The grins that were plastered on the faces of the Porsche drivers as they climbed out of the passenger seat were every bit as wide as those that came out of the rest of us after a hot lap in the 911S.

    You can state your personal preference for a PDK or DSG or manual or 2-speed automatic and no one should hold that against you anymore than challenging your preference for salmon over steak. But the insistence of some who prefer the new PDK or DSG automatic technology on trying to further justify their preference to the world by maintaining that a PDK or DSG is just as involved or engaging or fun for the next guy?? That's unnecessary. And for many, incorrect.

    Just drive what you like and don't try proclaim it as something it isn't. I like salmon, but I don't feel compelled to try to promote it as a steak to red meat lovers.

    P.S. This post wasn't meant to be directed at Billymay or anyone else in particular, more the forum in general.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I'd generally prefer a DCT myself..I was hoping Subaru would make one for the next WRX, but it's not looking that way. Seems like CVTs have a little more penetration in the US than DCTs, but that's probably due to Nissan. Ford hasn't deployed DCTs beyond the Fiesta and Focus...and while doing so, co-developed a 6 speed slushbox with GM. Might be nice to see Chrysler go DCT the way Nissan has gone CVT, replace their slushboxes wholesale.

    CVTs tend to be faster than anything else. There's ZERO shifting and the engine is always at the ideal RPM. It's not a matter of being sporty, because they are when you look at the numbers. They just don't feel sporty in their default mode, they're rather blah and drone-y, you don't get that sensation of the engine climbing in RPMs and taking you along with it.

    That's why fake "gears" are popular, Honda includes them by default actually. And just like a slushbox, implementation matters: some will shift really fast and crisply, others you might wonder why they even bothered. As I've mentioned, I'm impressed with Nissan and Subaru CVTs, they're programmed to implement manual shifts in a very sporty manner (when present anyway). Haven't tried the Honda one yet, and frankly probably won't because I hate the local Honda dealer.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    You can state your personal preference for a PDK or DSG or manual or 2-speed automatic and no one should hold that against you anymore than challenging your preference for salmon over steak. But the insistence of some who prefer the new PDK or DSG automatic technology on trying to further justify their preference to the world by maintaining that a PDK or DSG is just as involved or engaging or fun for the next guy??

    Uhh, this is a little contradictory. I happen to agree with the basic concept you start off with here, but when you get to the part of "justifying their preference to the world" how is someone maintaining their choice of whatever transmission is fun any different from a manual transmission fan maintaining that their transmission choice is fun?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    edited January 2013
    why do they paddle canoes? I mean, why not use a jet-ski?

    For some real fun we can rag on kayakers and how having an extra blade makes them wimps. (Twice the paddle, half the man, as the saying goes). And don't get me started on stand-up paddleboards - I've been doing that in open canoes for 35 years.

    Different strokes. :shades:

    In the big rig world, there's lots of reasons given for switching to automatics, but one I didn't expect to see was this one:

    "Straight truck and vocational segments are trending toward fully automatic transmissions, a trend that may in part be the result of the automobile industry not producing many manual-equipped vehicles, ultimately reducing the opportunity for drivers to learn the concept of manual shifting." (Fleet Owner)
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    I mean, why not use a jet-ski?

    Is the jet-ski a manual, or an automatic? :shades:
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,490
    edited January 2013
    WAY off topic, but for the extra efficiency, why don't canoe folks use kayak paddles?
    In effect if your joke is true, the same man can go twice as far, etc.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    edited January 2013
    You can and I have, but they have to be extra long since canoes are (usually) longer and wider than kayaks. And you lose a lot of leverage with certain strokes and it's harder to perform others (like a cross bow draw). More of a lake tool; be way too unwieldly for whitewater for me (think automatic commuting vs rowing your own gears on Highway One).
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    Ok I'll bite.

    I have driven the mazda3 with the automatic and will say that compared to the stick it is not fun.

    I suppose the next thing will be cars that have push button steering. Push for left or right and let the computer execute the turn. Traditionalists will be lambasted for preferring to turn themselves - after all the computer can execute a more efficient turn.

    There is no comparison between abs, power brakes etc and a manual transmission. The manual transmission requires involvement, the others operate in the background.

    As far as autos being faster and more efficient - jury is still out. Autos have certainly closed the gap, but look at an Accord stick - nearly a second faster to 60 than the CVT, same with Mazda 3 and most others (Porsche is rare exception). When actually geared for economy the stick still beats automatics for mpg - VW TDI, Mazda CX-5 and Chevy Cruze eco are good examples. In addition real world mpg shows that sticks usually beat epa estimates handily.

    Here is one more thing. Texting while driving is a problem. I will never let my kids drive an automatic because they will be too tempted to text. With a manual they need to use both hands while in the city (where they drive).
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,490
    edited January 2013
    Indeed I have canoe camped on the Finger Lakes in UP STATE NY. Basically it was paddle to each of 5 reserved camp sites and stay however long you had the reservation for each site. But we each had a single oar. Kayaks at this time were what Eskimos used in the Arctic.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    Oars are for row boats. You had a paddle.

    You know, one of those things that let you shift without moving your hands from the steering wheel. It's much safer being able to keep both hands on the wheel. :shades:
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,490
    I stand corrected. ;)
  • "No one can tell me a Mazda3 isn't fun, even with the slushbox"

    Please, allow me! :P

    Not to get too crazy about this, but "fun" might not be the same thing as "driving fast".

    The reason the driver of that Ferrari 430 shut everything off on the track (ABS, traction control, SC, etc, if all that's possible to do on that car) is this:

    The greatest thrill you can have in driving is NOT being totally in control---if one is always in control, one learns nothing, so you aren't "driving" the car, you are steering it basically.

    You might argue---"well, drifting is in control"----hmmm....not really, if you think about it.

    As the old race drivers used to say (and perhaps the new ones still do)..."if you are in control of your race car 100% of the time, you'll finish the race, but you're not going to win. "

    Of course, it is irresponsible for us to drive like that on public roads---but we can get edgy without getting crazy.

    Perhaps I'm being unfair to DCTs, because usually this transmission is combined with all kinds of other "nanny" gadgets.

    Maybe if I could buy a DCT with no TC, ABS, SC, lane-avoidance, self-parking and snooze alarm and armrests that Tweet, I'd be happier with the prospect.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    Now let's go boating in the UK where they call kayaks canoes, and canoes are called Indian canoes.

    We don't want to ask what they call the shifting mechanism under the bonnet, lol.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,490
    LEFT HANDED even !?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    edited January 2013
    This debate sometimes sounds like the Power Boat / Sail Boat argument doesn't it at the coffee shop? So someone can be "Captain Ed" and someone else the Commodore of the local yacht club. :P
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,490
    LOL ! Indeed.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,981
    I'm right handed but learned to mouse left-handed a few years back when my wrist started bugging me. So I think I could handle the stick on the left.

    Knowing me though, I'd then try to clutch with my right foot and wind up driving into the Thames. :D
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