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



  • 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.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    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.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    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.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • 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...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    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

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 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. ;)
  • 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: 399
    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?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    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: 18,387
    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.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    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: 3,469
    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: 18,387
    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.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    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: 18,387
    I stand corrected. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    "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.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    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: 18,387
    LEFT HANDED even !?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    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

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 18,387
    LOL ! Indeed.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    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
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,588
    edited January 2013
    Actually I wouldn't mind a transmission where you used a regular shift lever but without a clutch pedal--the problem with this type of engineering (which has been done many times already) is that you cannot make the system able to shift quickly enough. But I really liked the old Porsches with the Sport o Matic.

    As comments to the article suggest, this transmission is often criticized by people who never actually used it. It's actually quite pleasant to drive and not all THAT slow.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

Sign In or Register to comment.