I just got back from the Minnesota State Fair, so today’s post is going to be shorter, just my thoughts on automatic versus manual transmissions.
In the debate on automatic versus manual transmissions, I prefer manuals. Having said that, if I was going to build a car for just drag racing, I would definitely use an automatic. Unless you are the next Ronnie Sox, I doubt you can shift a manual as fast or as consistently as an automatic.
For a car that I was going to drive, and maybe take to the track now and then, I would choose a manual. I like the greater interaction with the car. I know they are more work in traffic, but I have driven a manual transmission equipped 2008 Ford Focus through traffic for three years, and if I had that commute again, I would pick another manual transmission car.
I know that manual transmissions are a dying option in cars. More and more people are choosing automatics. That plus the fact that the manufacturers can program an automatic to do better in the EPA fuel economy testing, means there is less and less incentive for manufacturers to produce manuals.
Another issue is the emissions. While they can get a manual to pass the emissions test, it is yet another expense. And having driven a 2008 Focus with a manual, the electronic throttle is kind of annoying. After doing some research on it, it turns out that the electronic throttle has a lag when you let off the gas to keep emissions down. In the car that I owned, it meant that I had to adjust my shifting to slow it down a touch so the engines RPMs would drop enough so I could shift smoothly. Not huge, but it was kind of annoying.
Even with all that, I still prefer a manual. I take pride in the ability to drive one, and drive it smoothly. I will say that it may take me a bit to get used to that particular car, since each has a different feel, but I can drive it.
Unfortunately it seems my preference for manuals is in the minority, and it means that when I want to teach my kids how to drive a stick, the most difficult part may be finding a stick for them to drive.