The Manual Tranny Finally Gets Its Comeuppance

I think that the modern automatic transmission long-ago (okay, maybe within the last decade) overcame the manual transmission in terms of economy and performance in most cases. Very glad to see this column.

My 2012 Hyundai and 2009 Grand Caravan both have complicated and intricate 6-speed automatic transmissions, and they’re not uncommon. The days when manual transmissions got better mileage or performance are all-but gone. Well, maybe with the very small under-powered econo-boxes, you might still be better with the manual. You’ll never consistently out-shift the auto.

Those of you driving VW Golfs like they were F1 cars, we’re looking at you. ;-)

Is it ethical to drive stick? – Salon.com: “In the past, the stick shift was an all-but-guaranteed fuel saver. But not anymore. As AOL Autos notes, computer technology has advanced to the point where “automatics have become so efficient that most of the time their fuel economy is on par with manuals — and in some cases even better.” USA Today notes that such a trend may eventually erase the long-term price differential between manual and automatic transmissions, meaning the manual will lose its frugal-chic appeal. Meanwhile, according to AOL, new technology also boosts automatics’ overall performance (read: speed), meaning many driving aficionados have come to prefer the automatic over the manual.

Thanks to all this, on the days I don’t bike to work and instead fire up my 11-year-old Saturn and shift it into first gear, I no longer feel so righteous or populist. I feel like part of the problem — not just because I’m driving a fossil fuel-dependent vehicle, but also because the manual transmission seems like a silly relic.”