The Manliness of Manual

This won’t be the first time I’ve written about driving a stick (really, no pun intended, but I’m sure some of you, oh faithful readers, are already chuckling under your breath). And why do I choose to write about driving a manual transmission once again?

Because this week I’m in an automatic — and I’m bored.

Manual transmissions offer an incredible connection with the car you’re driving, even if it’s just a standard Mazda3 hatch like I had last week. There’s something engaging about the process, something that keeps you focused and in tune with everything around you; and that’s why I think everyone should drive a manual.

I write for a few other blogs, and on one particular blog I wrote about the benefits of manual and why it was so much better (based on performance, connection with the car, fuel consumption, etc.), and a commenter brought up an interesting point about manual that I hadn’t thought about before:

Driving a manual transmission makes you concentrate more.

I thought about it last week while I was driving the manual Mazda3 and realized this random guy was spot on (thank you random guy). When I drive an automatic (like I am this week) I tend to get really bored with the whole ordeal (unless of course that automatic is a Porsche Panamera Turbo), my mind wonders and I’m left being a rather average and uncoordinated driver.

Thank goodness I have my manual Subie WRX to keep me from being just another woman behind the wheel.

However, when I drive a manual I am on the ball all the time. I’m aware of my surroundings, aware of my gear changes and my speed, and most importantly I’m constantly surveying the road around me; in case I have to brake suddenly and slam the clutch or downshift for more speed. Manual makes you a better driver, and it makes you want to be a better driver.

Perhaps that’s why it’s considered the “manlier” transmission.

Most of my girlfriends can’t drive a stickshift (I promise I’ll stop giving you dirty puns soon enough), and that makes me a little sad. I always offer to teach them and they usually nod vigorously and say they’d love to — then nothing ever happens with it.

I taught my best friend the basics of standard in a parking lot in a bright orange Mazda MX-5. She did really well — in the parking lot. I think, had we been on the street, there would have been multiple stalls and perhaps a burning clutch more than once. But, she understood the principle behind the manual transmission and that’s the key. I have faith that if she’s faced with a situation where she has to drive a manual transmission, she could at least get the car to move and all the way up to 3rd gear.

For all you ladies out there (and guys too, I know there are some of you), there’s no reason to be afraid of a manual transmission. Think of it this way: If you can watch a television show, paint your nails and update your Facebook account at the same time, you can drive standard. I promise you.

And once you learn, you’re set for life. It’s like riding a bike; you never forget and no matter what bike (car) you drive, you’ll always know how.

And doesn’t it make all you automatic drivers out there a little bit peeved to know that you’re charged approximately $1,000 more on the price of your car for not wanting to shift gears yourself?

I think that’s a heavy price to pay for being lazy.

Drive on,
– M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on July 21, 2010.

197 Responses to “The Manliness of Manual”

  1. I just recently traded in my 2000 Hyundai Tiburon with a 5 speed manual for a 2009 Hyundai Sonata with an automatic with manual over-ride. I miss my manual, I really do.

    • Hey Amanda,

      Thanks so much for the read! I miss my manual every time I have an automatic tester — unless of course it has a sport tiptronic system!

      You’re going to have to borrow a friend’s manual every now and then so you can feed those primal stickshift needs!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  2. Actually car manufacturers have almost perfected the automatic/manual fuel efficiency to where the two are running neck and neck. I read in Newsweek a few weeks ago that starting in 2011/12 car manufacturers in the US would not be offering manual anymore due to the above mentioned note and that more teens are driving and texting.

    Have a great day.

    Chad

    • Hey Chad,

      Thanks so much for the read! I definitely agree that some manufacturers have perfected the sport shift mode (such as Porsche with their PDK system). And yet I still don’t feel it will ever be as responsive or “connected” as a real shift knob and clutch. I’m just a stickler for a raw kind of drive.

      And they should NOT be making things easier for teens to text and drive! We should be making it harder so they never, ever touch their phones while they drive — ever.

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • Agreed fully. I think that with the technology we have today that someone can some up with some kind of in-car system that would interfere with the ability of a phone to text. That’s just a raw idea I am sure. Of course you like to have your cell phone in case of an emergency (i.e. car accident) but teens just don’t seem to learn.

  3. I can’t drive yet, but I’m really hoping to learn how to drive stick. I do like the appeal of performance, as well as being more engaged with the car. Automatics just seem bland.

    • Hey TaylorGooderham,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Definitely learn how to drive standard, you won’t regret it! Even if you chose not to purchase a manual car, at least you’ll have the knowledge. But, I think as soon as you get the feel for stickshift (and in a good performing car), you won’t look back!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  4. U go girl

  5. I’m a big fan of manual transmissions. My first car (’89 Cavalier Stationwagon) was an auto and my dad had an ’85 Mazda Rx-7 that he taught me to drive stick on and I haven’t looked back. 5 Cars later and every single one of them has been a manual tranny. Love my speedy little hatch now. (’08 Mazdaspeed 3)

    • Hey Prafeston,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Yay, another Mazda lover! I adored the Mazdaspeed3 — it was a joy to drive. So zippy and responsive, and the manual is great to drive! Enjoy!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  6. Harder to use one hand to hold a phone when one hand is needed for shifting and the other steering – that alone would make people better drivers. But if you really want to feel connected to your car and become a better driver – find a car with manual steering and manual brakes. You will never tailgate again.

    • Hey The Gate of Lodore,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I think that might be the main reason I love manual; you really do have to devote all your attention (and limbs) to the act! I think it’s a brilliant way to stop people from being distracted on the road.

      I drove a Ford Model T once, and I can tell you: I would never tailgate in that!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  7. Driving a stick is like accepting a voluntary challenge, like trying to win a video game without killing anything. It ramps up the difficulty of holding a Big Gulp, a Big Mac and texting all at the same time while driving. Sadly it is an art that only a few can master although most wrongly conclude that they can.

    Last night on the way home from work I was third in line at a red light on a hill. Car #1 was a stick. Vehicle #2 was a pickup. The light turned green and car #1 choked under the pressure. I would have been angry but I was having too much fun watching the guy in vehicle #2 flipping out. It was quite a show. I think it is important to put his reaction in context. After all he was delayed a whopping 10 seconds or so.

    And, in closing, how’s this for some topsy-turvy? The last stick I owned did NOT have a tach. Now I’m driving an auto and it DOES have a tach. Is that weird or what?

    • Hi Shoutabyss,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I love the analogies all my readers are coming up with! Like trying to win a video game without killing anyone – brilliant!

      I always offer my sympathy and give stalled manual drivers as much time as they need to get going. I even held a manual driver in place on a hill once. She rolled right back into me (a test vehicle actually) and instead of freaking out, I stayed on the brake and motioned for her to go. She’d already tried 3 times and stalled, so she clearly needed a helping bumper to get out of the situation.

      I always found it strange that my auto had a tach too – and it was always larger than the speedo! Strange design elements in some cars.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  8. I’ve never owned a car with automatic—I simply won’t consider it. My first car was a ’67 Dodge Dart with a 3-speed column shift (“three on a tree” instead of “four on the floor”). I wasn’t the fastest to learn how to shift—ask my cousin, who was with me when I stalled the International Scout repeatedly on a steep hill at a traffic light, with a long line of cars behind me—but it’s long since been second nature. For me it’s not so much concentration as a kind of being in rhythm with the engine.

    • Hey Jenny,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I love that: Being in rhythm with the engine. That’s precisely what it is and that’s a great way to put it.

      And I think the hill haunts every manual driver at some point. I too suffered “the hill” the second time I was out in my very first car (manual). I was on a very steep hill at a light, in traffic, in busy downtown Montreal. At that moment, an ambulance chose to careen up the hill towards the light and I was directly in its way. Thankfully my first car was an Impreza (not the WRX I have now), and the AWD saved me some embarrassing wheel squeals, but it didn’t save me the overall embarrassment of holding up an ambulance after stalling more times then I’d like to admit.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  9. Hey Miranda

    Going to try and make a long story short here…

    I had never driven a standard but always wanted to and I always knew in my head I could do it without any help.

    Sure enough once the opportunity arose I jumped into a 1998 Cavalier z24 and without any help or guidance from the passenger and owner of the car, off I went. I lit those tires up as best I could and it was a feeling I will never forget.

    Cheers!

    • Hey Lookitsbray,

      Thanks for the read!

      That’s amazing! If I could give you a proper handshake, I would – so here’s a virtual one. I’m uber impressed. And I hope you’ll always drive manual cars from this point on, clearly you were meant to!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  10. The stick is SOOO much more fun but my challenge lies in the cup of coffee I like to drink on my commute to work !So for now I’m stuck with my automatic!

    • Hey Matchmadness,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Ah yes, the coffee conundrum! I too suffer from this when I’m driving the WRX. I plan my sips accordingly, when I know the traffic is flowing nicely and no shifts will be required. πŸ™‚ I also keep the Subie in first through stop-and-go and often just move forward with the friction point and very little gas, which also saves my right ankle a bit.

      I think coffee companies should come up with a straw apparatus to facilitate coffee drinking for manual drivers … could make millions.

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • Your right that would be genius! I had to trade my fun mini-coop manual for a boring automatic because my dry cleaning bill was getting too expensive!

      • Oh no, not the MINI Coop! My fave car ever – must have been so hard to give up! And your dry cleaner must have been upset too, he lost a valuable customer! πŸ˜‰

        Drive on,
        – M.

  11. Wow Sensationally written. How true all of the above is. I learnt to drive a manual 33 years ago and have had only had an auto vehicle twice…boring!! its like driving a giant arm chair. Both of my children were made to learn on a manual (thats all we have) to give them the knowledge but also because you never know when the situation may arise that you have no choice other than to drive a manual. In Australia here if you learn on a manual you can drive an auto at any time. If you learn on an auto however you must then sit an extra test if you wish to drive a manual.

    Love changing gears
    carol

    • Hey Carol,

      Thanks so much for the read – you make me blush! πŸ™‚

      I absolutely love that you made sure your children know how to drive a manual transmission. Good on you! And that’s fascinating about Australian driving tests. We don’t have that same rule in Canada. You can learn either or. I believe we should be required, like you, to learn both. Even if you never own a manual car, to know how to drive it could prove useful at some point – and might even bring you to love driving if you really give it a shot.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  12. I really miss my stick other than those days where I’m stuck barely rolling along in a traffic jam. Not too long ago I had the pleasure of driving a maserati that is available for under 50K in my home town – and I was hooked again. Feels great to be in charge and actually drive a car again instead of just steering one – the fact that it was a maserati with an amazing sounding engine made it even more exciting. I’ll be back to read your blog again. thanks

    • Hey Robert,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      It’s hard not to be hooked on a manual car when it’s a Maserati! Sounds awesome – and for that price, wow! Can’t wait to hear about your other automotive tails – sounds like you might have a few more!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  13. Great post.

  14. You are probably right, I just don’t know if I could learn the coordination to drive a stick…is that LAME, sorry…my sons who is 21 and my husband swear my the stick shifts exactly as you say as if they are ONE with the machine! I just don’t know if I in my blondness are to be trusted with this!! Or if I even want to!! Sorry!
    I’m why the Automatic was invented!
    evelyngarone.com

    • Hey Evie,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      And that’s not lame at all! It’s common to feel like there’s too much going on to really master the manual, but trust me it can be done. If I, in my blondeness, can do it then so can you! If you do choose to learn, go with someone who doesn’t stress you out. Often, girlfriends or wives choose not to learn with their partners because it can be stressful (men aren’t always patient with us girls). So, maybe go with a girlfriend who knows how to drive stick and make sure you get them to teach you the friction point first! It is, perhaps, the most important lesson.

      Just have confidence that you can do it, and you will. πŸ™‚ It’s an awesome skill to have and I guarantee you’ll love to drive after you do! And let me know how you handle your first hill when you get to it.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  15. A motorcycle to a manual is like a GT-R to a WRX

  16. I’ve been driving manuals for about 30 years, everything from motorcycles to 18-wheelers. I agree it makes for better drivers. Both my sons learned to drive in cars with manuals. Both of their wives can drive manuals. Whenever I’m forced to drive an automatic it makes me antsy, as if there’s something missing. What’s missing is feeling that I have total control. Knowing exactly what my vehicle is capable of doing. Unfortunately, it seems I’m gonna have to somehow hang onto my old Chevy Siverado till I’m too old to drive. I’ve learned that Chevy is no longer offering a manual transmission in new trucks. Then again, maybe I’ll get my butt in gear and restore the 1985 Mazda RX7 that’s been sitting in my garage. It was two years old, with only 2100 miles, when I got it.

    • Hi Marilyn,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Wow, that RX7 sounds heavenly. You must restore it and send me pictures of the progress and the end result! (Not that I’m demanding or anything.) I love that you’re hanging on to the manual way of life.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  17. I don’t understand automatics at all, I don’t think any of us (the British) do.

    I think you’re right, it must be to do with the connection to the car mainly. With everything else in the world, if it helps you out, you use it, I find it interesting that most of Europe just seem to prefer manual.

    For me, with manual I take my foot off the throttle and it slows immediately without the brake which I find reassuring, automatics just seem to keep going, not a feeling I enjoy…

    • Hey Dadav,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I think it has more to do with the fact that in Europe manual is the norm. Cars are made to be manual and often aren’t offered in an automatic transmission, so you lot have no choice! Unfortunately, here in North America, we have way too many autos and often it’s harder to get a manual and requires a special order.

      I agree with the braking too – and for us Canadians winter driving is so much better with a manual. I have so much more control over my engine, the power and braking in the snow. It makes a huge difference over an automotive transmission.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  18. It’s amusing how americans talk about “stick” cars. In the UK, it’s what the majority learn to drive in, and end up driving (unless you’re made of money and have a nice automatic BMW or something). Yeah, you do have to concentrate – and it’s a pain when it comes to roundabouts or traffic lights, and lots of starting and stopping, especially in a location you’re unfamiliar with.

    If you learn in a manual, its an easier transition to automatic. I think fair play to americans who give the stick a go!

    • Hey Eimear,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I wish we had fewer auto models here. You Brits know what it’s all about when it comes to driving and cars. Plus, you get all the fancy models that we don’t here in North America! πŸ™‚ If fewer auto models were available, or if they were that much more expensive, I think more people would drive manual and therefore be more attentive on the road. But, I think I ask for too much sometimes…

      Drive on,
      – M.

  19. Yeah, I kinda like being a lazy driver… my parents tried to teach me how to drive manual many times but I just didn’t have a knack for it. I know the benefits it has, but my car is an automatic and I don’t know how to drive the stick either.

    • Hey Sarahnsh,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Hmm, I suggest you give it another shot, maybe with a friend and not your parents. As I was telling another ready (Jenny I believe), sometimes teachers can make learning manual very stressful. They might not mean to, but they do! You need to take it slow. I suggest sticking to a parking lot the first few times so you can really get a feel for the clutch and get comfortable with the mechanics of it all before you go into traffic with other distractions.

      If you choose to give it another shot, let me know how it goes!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  20. Ha, I always find the stick shift so difficuly, but what works for one, might not always work for the other…
    Anyway, great writing!
    -Noor
    http://noor724.wordpress.com/
    πŸ™‚

    • Hey Noor,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Stick isn’t easy, I’ll admit that! And I guess it’s not for everyone, but if you’ve given it a solid effort then I commend you! πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  21. I just traded in my automatic Hyundai Elantra for a 2010 manual Suzuki SX4 because I missed driving my old Mazda Protege (that, sadly, got totalled in an accident with some 18 year old driving an SUV). I agree that I feel more engaged and focused when I’m driving stickshift and I don’t feel like just another woman on the road. I feel more confident, cooler even! I also feel safer since I refuse to use my cellphone or multitask while driving my car. I enjoy driving for the sake of driving. In my automatic car, driving was a chore and I hated it. Good post, Ms. M. I couldn’t agree more!

    • Hi IntrepidSpoon,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I love that you enjoy driving for the sake of driving – that makes me happy! And I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, hope to see you back here again soon.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  22. I totally agree with you! I have a 2008 Honda Fit that’s a manual and I love it! When I have to drive my husband’s automatic, I get so detached from the car and tend to speed. The only thing that’s been frustrating is that hubby doesn’t know how to drive a manual. He’s got a friend who’s willing to teach him, but he lives in Cleveland and we’re in Columbus. So if he needs to drive at all, we have to drive an automatic. Sooo boring!

    • Hey Pirogoeth,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I think it’s time to moonlight so you can send your hubby off to Cleveland for a weekend to learn the ropes! And I’m actually pleased to hear of this marital arrangement – usually it’s the other way around and the husband gets roped into an auto purchase because of the wife!

      My friend eventually bought himself a manual car and left the auto to his wife so they could both be happy behind the wheel!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  23. I learned to drive on a manual, and I’ve always driven one…until the car I have now. I love manuals because they make you concentrate more and I like the control I have over the car, but the traffic I sit in every day makes an automatic less stressful.

  24. I taught all my kids to drive manual. Boys and girls.
    Women friends often show some surprise to see me drive a stick mentioning that they thought only guys drove them. I like to reply,”Yes,it is kind of a guy thing.”

    I am happy to drive anything that starts and goes.
    But I always end up with the leftovers usually a stick.
    Nice post,
    http://gmomj.wordpress.com/

    • Hey Gmomj,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      If you love to drive and you have a manual, then it’s never really leftovers. You can make it a stellar ride! πŸ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

  25. You know it really should be the first type of car that EVERYONE learns on. It would give young drivers a much better understanding of what they are undertaking (both in the technical/mechanical sense and the concentration/responsibility required).

    And don’t give me the ‘too stressful for a young driver to figure out shifting crap’. I learned to drive manual in southern Italy, on a rainy night, with two tired and cranky kids in the car, after an overnight transatlantic flight.

    Okay it was a rental car…that helped a lot πŸ™‚

    • Hey Natalie,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I love your learning to drive manual story – that’s one for the memory books! You’re a superstar. And I think the aversion to teaching our teens to drive manual because it’s “too much” is something I should bring up in a future blog … something about coddling and sheltering our already spoiled-rotten offspring … but I digress.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  26. I thought my friend was a terrible driver until I realized that he was smoking while driving stick. If he had a free hand, I would have given him a high five.

    • Hey Scandalousmuffin,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      It’s funny what you learn about someone when you watch them drive standard. I learned how to talk on my cell phone (before it was made illegal here in Montreal) and shift with precision in my Rex – it’s something I like to show off every now and then (or rather, I did before it was made a big no-no here). πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  27. Right on! I’m one of the few among my friends who drives stick and everyone is always amazed. I’m pretty sure I’ve snagged a few guys (including my current gear-head bf) in a large part because I know how to drive manual. I love picking up my truck at Toyota or driving people somewhere and getting the sudden “YOU (as in you a female) drive stick? Wow…” with sudden respect.

    I hate driving automatic…it does make me fail to concentrate. I had to drive one for my driver’s test years ago, then I had to follow my bf on his motorcycle once in his automatic…what a disaster! I lost him on the highway because he could zoom ahead and I could barely accelerate not being used to not being able to shift and got stuck behind the 18-wheeler he easily passed.

    Glad to see another woman proudly driving manual :^)

    • Hey Psychandlawlessness,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Love it! You and I, we’d get along just fine! I also love the amazed look on people’s faces when they see me driving a manual, it kinda makes my day sometimes. It also makes my day when I meet another chick like yourself who appreciates the automobile and the fine art of a standard transmission.

      Drive on girl,
      – M.

  28. I’m 18 and I’ve always wanted to try driving manual, but I don’t know anyone that owns a manual. Do you think there would be any driving schools that teach you stick?

    • Hey Thelaundryupdate,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      For sure there are driving schools that teach manual. Just call up your local school and specify that you want to learn on one of their manual cars and someone will be happy to teach you! Try not to get frustrated with it and just “feel” the car. The engine will say a lot to you, as will the clutch. If you book lessons on a standard car, let me know how it goes!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  29. Hey Miranda, I still have my 3yr old Mazda CX7 Turbo – with tiptronic… one of these days I oughta learn how to drive it manually! My nephew Julien LOVES driving it manually!
    Drive on, girl!!!!
    Linda

    • Linda!!

      Thanks so much for the read!! πŸ™‚ It still makes me blush when I think of people I know reading this thing. Hehehe The CX-7 is a great car (as you know, I love Mazda) and the turbo edition is stellar! Tiptronic is a great way to drive “manually” without worrying about stalling out or burning the clutch. Get Julien to teach you the ropes, I’m sure he’d love to!

      I’ll keep driving if you do. πŸ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

  30. I have only owned one car with an automatic transmission and the whole time I had it, I dreamed of dropping in a 5-speed (it was a 67 Firebird. I didn’t want to bastardize the original car. And I also never had the money to do it).

    On the rare occasion I get to go to Cali to see my mom, she always laughs at me when I drive her car. I am always stomping on the floor looking for the clutch.

    Beth

    • Hey Calidreamgirl,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      You know, I do the same thing after I’ve had a few manual test vehicles and I suddenly get an auto – I’m constantly mashing my left foot down, especially when I start the car. Hehehe Once you go manual, it’s hard to go boring…

      Drive on,
      – M.

  31. its nice to hear from women who appreciates manual transmissions very well. i have observed they usually prefer automatic.

    • Hey Elmer,

      Thanks for the read!

      I’d have to agree with you. Actually, all the women I know only drive autos and I get frustrated. A few of them could drive manual if they really made an effort, but they just don’t want to. One day I’ll convert them — one day.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  32. I have been beating this drum for years. Glad to see another do it.

  33. Amen. I am 24 and all of the cars I have owned have been manual. A 1964 VW Bug, 1999 Chevy Cavalier, and now a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid. I can’t ever imagine owning an automatic. I don’t feel like I am paying enough attention in an automatic. When I am in my car I am always paying attention, especially in traffic. And like you said once you learn you can drive any stick shift. Yay for girls who can drive a manual!

    • Hey Sadiemharrison,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I love that you love your standard hybrid! Now, I have to admit, I am not a hybrid lover (hangs head in shame), but I’ll be checking out your blog and maybe you can convert me. πŸ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

  34. Miranda,

    This is the first of your blogs that I have read (but it won’t be my last!) and I couldn’t agree more. My first driving experience was with a stick shift and I’ve never looked back. I notice every day driving in the Washington, DC metropolitan area how people driving automatics are not connected with their driving experience. Right now I’m driving a 2004 Civic with only 115 HP, but every person who has ever been in the car with me (and many of the cars I beat off the line) can’t get over the performance of that little engine. I can do 0-30 mph in first gear, then all the way up to about 58 mph in 2nd gear. With ratios like that, it’s hard not to love driving a stick.

    Road Rager

    • Hey Road Rager,

      Thanks so much for the read! And I hope you enjoy the rest of the blog. I feel like I’ve set such a precedent now … gotta keep up the good work for all of my new faithful readers! πŸ™‚

      Civics are crazy good cars. There’s a reason so many people own and drive them. It doesn’t seem to matter how small the horsepower number is, they just go!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  35. Love your post! I love manual transmission – I learned how to drive with a manual, and every car I’ve had in my 20+ years of driving has been a manual (except for 2, and they were not my choice!) I’m a woman, by the way, and driving a stick is really not that hard. It definitely makes driving more interesting and fun.

    • Hey Dawne,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Manual definitely makes driving more fun and interesting, and don’t you like the shocked look on the boy’s faces when they discover you love to drive your manual car? πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  36. Hey Miranda,

    Great post. I dont own a car now, but i love a good stick shift (no pun intended). And yes, random guy is right, it does help you to concentrate more (try driving it in the horrible traffic on our narrow Jamaican roads…lol. You have to concentrate and keep focus.

    Great post!

    • Hey Jamlok,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I can’t even imagine what that would be like (traffic in Jamaica). I had heart palpitations when I was a passenger in Nairobi traffic last year!

      When you eventually own a manual car (because I have a feeling you will), let me know what it is! πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  37. Couldn’t agree more M. Stuck with autos mainly out here, and look forward to the days of actually using my left foot (RHD) again. It’s a baroness wasteland down there in the footwell without a clutch pedal.

    • Hey Tokyo Car Club,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Love the description and couldn’t agree more: Baroness wasteland down there in the footwell without a clutch pedal. Well said, well said.

      Sometimes I can almost hear the wind howling across the empty car mat…

      Drive on,
      – M.

  38. Amen! Don’t forget better mileage and better long term durability as benefits of manual. Spread the word — manual is disappearing b/c dealers don’t think people will buy.

    • Hey Cparente,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I agree, especially in North America; dealers don’t think people will buy manual cars anymore, and because of that manufacturers aren’t producing manual cars for the North American market OR they’re creating auto versions of cars that were typically only manual (case in point: the new Ford Fiesta which is also going to be offered in a nasty sedan version here in NA — bleh).

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • It really is getting quite scary how hard it is to buy an affordable manual car (subcompact especially). When my husband and I went to buy my car, we found so many that we liked, but no one had manuals! All we wanted was a 5-door hatchback car with manual transmission. It was as if we were playing “Stump the Dealer” because none of them had what we wanted in the price range we were willing to pay. We glanced over at the Subaru dealership in our area just to see if the higher end cars had more to offer… no luck! I ended up having to compromise on the hatchback part and got a 4 door sedan. It was maddening, but I am happy with my choice!

  39. I agree with the awareness factor I just need one hand to pass drinks, snacks, and DVDs to the backseat as Dad the driver so stick won’t work for me.

    • Hey Slamdunk,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Dad the driver does have a bit of a conundrum, but what if you set everyone up with the necessities before heading out? πŸ™‚ (And by that statement, I’m sure you can tell I don’t have children yet, hehehe.)

      Drive on,
      – M.

  40. Thanks for the great stuff.

  41. I love your learning to drive manual story … I like it.

    • Hey SUNL,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      There’s so much more to my learning process behind the wheel of a manual car — I’ll have to write a blog about it someday soon. Make sure you check back for it. πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  42. My mother drove stick, she’s a terrific driver, my dad drives an automatic and has five cars (all of which ended up totaled). Haven’t learned to drive yet, want to drive stick, it looks more fun.

    • Hey Lookingforsomethingtofind,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Manual really is more fun, I’m not going to lie. πŸ™‚ And even if you discover you don’t want to own a manual car after you learn, at least you’ll know how and that’s just stellar.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  43. i recently sold my soon-to-be-antique ’97 model honda civic and bought what has been one of my dream cars for many years… the honda civic type-r (i guess i’m not a BIG dreamer). i’ve always driven manual cars except for a 4-year stint with the old civic. my feeling is that if the car has traces of sportiness and the tranny is willing, then manuals are the thing (like the 5-speed e36 318is i used to drive). otherwise it might as well be an automatic.

    everybody i know told me i was crazy to go for a manual in dubai, what with the traffic jams and all. pah! i don’t get stuck in traffic too often, and when an open road stretches ahead, the joy of rowing through the short-shift, well spaced, smooth-shifting gears is liberating (among other things).

    it’s a dying breed though, the manual-trannied car. we should cherish the better examples while they’re still around.

    • Hey Kinkminos,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      The Civic Type-R is a rockin’ car! Awesome choice. πŸ™‚ And I adore the BMW 3 Series cars — you have great automotive taste. And I’m a bit jealous that you get to drive on open Dubai roads.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  44. Great post.I like a car in picture.

    • Hey Oasis,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      The car in the pic is the new 2011 Ford Mustang GT500 — great car to drive. And, yes, it was a manual!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  45. Great post! I never would have had the courage to learn how to drive a stick without the unwavering support of diehard manual enthusiasts. It’s tough to suck it up through the embarrassing stalls and unpleasant noises in the beginning, but with enough support (and someone magnanimous enough to risk his or her transmission for a friend), everyone has the potential to adore it. I’ve converted half a dozen people over the years, all who now drive their own stick (ha) and pay it forward.

    • Hey Katie,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I agree; having the right teacher (and car for that matter) is key! I was grateful enough to have a patient boyfriend (now husband) teach me. Initially I learned the basics (friction point, etc.) on a Civic SiR. And when I was ready for the road, my husband sucked it up and let me learn the road ropes on his (at the time) brand new Subaru WRX (which is now our family car).

      You’re right; everyone does have the potential to adore it, they just have to give it a chance and recognize the potential!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  46. drove my grans manual the other day. enough said?

    http://fightforthewrite.wordpress.com/

  47. Thanks infomation

  48. I prefer a manual transmission, but driving an automatic makes it so much easier to do your make up, and eat, while you drive.

    • Hey LaboriousLiving,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      The last bit of your comment makes me cringe because I see people doing that all the time on the highway. Freaks me out! We have a law here that bans the use of cell phones on the road, I’d like to see that law extend to mascara brushes, lipstick and compacts.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  49. This might sound very gay, but there is nothing better than a stick πŸ™‚ No automatic for me. I want to drive the car, make it shift just at the right moments. It’s funny that in the US this is something special and something not everybody can do. But in Europe almost everybody rides manualy, although automatics are beginning to emerge. Great post.

    • Hey HR Brandboy,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      It only sounded a little gay. πŸ˜‰ Hehehe

      Maybe if enough of us push the awesomeness of manual cars there’ll be a revolution in North American cars and manuals will take over like they do in Europe. We can dream, right?

      Drive on,
      – M.

  50. When my daughter is of age, she will cerainly be taught to drive a manual!

  51. Funny that you mention that it’s the ‘manlier’ transmission. When I learned to drive, I learned on a manual–my beloved first car, a 1992 Mazda MX-3 that was brutally and cruelly taken from me when someone set it on fire after a football game–and I drove that car for six years. I adored driving it and wish I could find another one in great condition.

    When my husband and I went to buy a new car this year, we were down to a choice between a Mazda Protege 5 (standard) and a Hyundai Elantra (automatic). Even though the Mazda was a little shady in its records, my husband went for it because he knew I missed my Mazda so badly. But, my husband didn’t know how to drive a stick! And it was January so the roads were snowy and icy. I ended up teaching him how to drive it in the Target parking lot with snow piling up by the minute. He still gets nervous when I’m in the car with him since I drive the car better than he does; even though he’s huge on car efficiency, he isn’t a manual convert yet. I think I’m going to send him your blog!

    • Hey GreenGeekGirl,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      That’s a horrible story about your MX-3! Who would do such a thing to such an awesome little car?! Those bastards!

      I think I intimidate my father every time we get into a manual and I drive. He can drive stick, but he never wants to drive when we’re together. It’s an odd kind of power thing, but I have to admit I kinda like it.

      And send your hubby along! If my blog can help make a convert out of him, then all the better!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  52. Yea, after driving a stick driving an automatic gets boring. I sometimes find myself feeling for the clutch and stick when there isn’t one.

    • Hey Lonnie,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I do exactly the same thing, especially in bad situations. If I suddenly have to brake severely in an auto, I end up slamming my left foot on the invisible clutch and grabbing the stick shift that’s useless in an auto. It’s a bit sad really.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  53. More power to you, miranda.
    Manual is the only way. Accept no substitutes.
    To pay more so that a great part of the driving is taken away from you just doesn’t make sense. It is like paying extra at the restaurant so that you can watch someone else eat.

    I want to do the driving myself, not leave it to a computer.

    • Hey Mundabor,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Love the analogy — I may have to use that at some point. πŸ˜‰

      And I try my best not to accept substitutions, but like I mentioned to another poster, the Porsche automatic PDK transmission is hard not to love …

      Drive on,
      – M.

  54. Agree entirely! I drove an automatic once and I didn’t enjoy it at all but then I guess it depends what type of driver you are.

    And, of course, I’d swap my manual for an automatic when stuck in seriously heavy traffic jams!

    Simon

    • Hey Simon,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Driving a manual in traffic can be a bit annoying, but think of it this way: When you’re at a dead stop you don’t have to sit there with your brakes engaged, pressing your calipers against your hot, recently used brake pads — so they’ll last a bit longer in a manual ride.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  55. I have a little Chevy S-10 pickup, so I’ve got the “manliness” of manual and of driving a (albeit small) truck. I frankly get confused in an automatic–wondering where that other pedal is. And, for driving in winter and wet weather conditions, the stick feels safer for dealing with slippery spots and reducing speed without jamming on the brakes. (I know many automatics have D1 & D2.)

    The only annoying thing is the anti-lock breaks, which IMHO make it harder, not easier, to control the vehicle at a slippery intersection. I learned to drive in Vermont and South Dakota–extreme weather states. It’s all about engagement and mastery of your vehicle–I don’t need a “dumbed-down” truck!

    • Hey Flyingtomato,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I totally agree with your winter driving comment. When I have automatic test vehicles in the winter, I loathe driving them. There’s no control and I’m never too sure how the car is going to react to any given situation — not good at all. Which is why I usually leave it parked in the driveway and hop into the Subie. πŸ™‚

      Good on you for sticking to the manual!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  56. In Europe (I’m in Switzerland) EVERYONE drives a manual and specifying an auto adds a considerable premium to the price. My wife has an automatic VW Golf and I have a six-speed VW Touran TDI (don’t laugh – 900km between fill ups, 150bhp and will cruise the autobahns at 190kph…) and I hate driving automatics because:

    1. Firstly I hate the erratic change down that make mountain driving hard. Driving a mountain pass in an auto feels weird.
    2. Snow driving in an auto is a bit trickier as you want a high gear with low revs and that’s easier to control in a manual.
    3. I totally zone out driving an auto. In fact, I zone out using cruise control…
    4. Drive a 911, with ESP and ETC turned off with a manual transmission up Le Route Grand St Bernard punching down to third to fishtail it around the bends and you wonder why autos are made at all…

    The shame is that American manufacturers make some of the sweetest engines on earth and you don’t get an opportunity to red-line ’em!

    Sorry for the long comment – great blog BTW.

    • Hey MrShev,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I would never laugh at a diesel car. I wish we had more here in North America. We’re totally missing out on the benefits. I absolutely adored the BMW 335d I had as a test vehicle — despite the fact that it sounded like a tractor.

      And wow, I am eternally jealous of the 911 on Le Route Grand St Bernard. I have GOT to get to Europe to do some driving. One day… one day…

      Drive on,
      – M.

  57. Have to agree. Even my week little 4-banger 1996 Saturn SL is great to drive with it’s manual tranny. I think i’m losing my clutch though because it’s harder and harder to get it into 1st gear these days and sometimes, even with clutch fully disengaged, I get a bit of grind and clunk when I throw it in 1st.

    Ahh, old blackgold has served me well. About 10 trips between Fort Bragg and Michigan back in my army days, honeymoons, family vacations, four kids and only one accident. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and buy a new Mazda at 0% financing. πŸ™‚

    good post…and congrats on making it to Freshly Pressed!

    paul

    • Hey Paul,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Sounds like that Saturn has had a good, long life and seen some great roads and great passengers. Retiring a car like that is pretty hard to do. But, I don’t think you’ll regret the Mazda if you do choose to pick one up. Let me know what you get if you do! πŸ™‚

      And thanks — I was pretty shocked to see my face up there on the homepage and it’s been non-stop hits and comments ever since. I’m loving it!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  58. When my ex and I got our first car (a manual), I tried really hard to learn to drive it. On my first venture out alone, I managaged to crash into the car in front of me, while I was trying to got out of my parking space. I marched back into the house, threw the car keys on the counter, and told my husband that was the end of my driving a stick shift car. That was 40 years ago, and I’ve made good on that declaration.

    • Hey Lifeintheboomerlane,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Sounds like a pretty scarring experience, but you can’t let it throw you off the manual wagon forever! I think you should give it another go and let me know how it goes. πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  59. I can’t drive a manual – the whole ‘phantom leg’ thing disquiets me. Manuals are sort of ‘retiring’ – they like to pootle around and aren’t very engaging. Give me the stick any day (but not in kinky way – jeezuz! I know what the author of this blog means by trying avoid all the puns and innuendoes!)

    Stick driving is safer, more responsive and makes for a more authentic driving experience – as in having the feeling that your arse is actually close to scraping the ground!

    • Hey Barry Manana,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      It is a bit hard to avoid the sexual innuendos when you talk about mastering a stickshift … maybe that’s why people like to talk about it so much. πŸ™‚

      Love that you love to drive a manual. Good on you!

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • I’m in the UK – so it’s pretty much the norm to drive a stick – though over the years I’ve noticed manuals becoming more popular. I think that’s why the UK isn’t doing so good – we’ve all lost our Va Va Voom! We need more red-blooded, redlining on the dials!!

      • Ha! red-blooded redlining — fabulous!!

        – M.

  60. No offence, but there’s only three reasons people drive manual: a. it’s cheaper; b. it looks cool and they can brag about it (like this post); c. some cars, especially the fun ones, only come in manual. Seriously, cars are just a form of transport. The only time you “feel” connected to the car is when you’re pushing it to the limits. Otherwise, it’s just really an extra chore. And on the “helps you concentrate better”… you’re either a good driver or a bad driver. Maybe it does take something extra for some to focus and drive better, but really, when you’re experienced enough, it’s so routine that you should rarely remember your trip (even in manual). Just an opinion, not soley mine either.

    Is that the new Cobra? Very nice.

    • Hey Sebastien,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      No offense taken! πŸ™‚ Everyone has an opinion (what a blogs for, right?) so I’m glad you gave yours. I know a lot of people who feel this way about cars (only transport) and I think I understand that “connecting” to your car isn’t for everyone. But for those who are truly passionate about driving (even if it is just to the corner store for some milk and bread) then a manual transmission is the way to go — in my opinion. πŸ™‚

      And the picture is the new 2011 Ford Mustang GT500. Savage car. I loved it.

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • I don’t think you have to be passionate to drive a manual, or drive a manual to be passionate about cars.

        Until they banned it a few years back, Formula 1 cars were all automatic, and you can not tell me those guys are not passionate about cars/driving. Have you ever seen footage of Mark Webber driving a regular car to a Grand Prix? It was automatic.

        Conversely, I have a friend who drives a Honda Jazz in manual, and I can guarantee you she couldn’t care less about cars. No doubt it’s a good skill to have, but I think your opinion is somewhat flawed. Example, everyone is Europe and the UK drive manual, but doesn’t mean everyone is “passionate” about cars/driving/racing, as you suggest. And this is from someone who LOVES Formula One, especially as an engineer.

        Oh yes, the Shelby GT500. Nice looking car, but American cars… never could trust one. And neither could Jeremy Clarkson, after his Ford GT disaster.

      • For sure F1 is automatic; there’s no way they could shift as quickly as they need to, it’s humanly impossible. And in that case I totally agree with an auto transmission.

        And I also agree that driving a manual doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a gearhead through and through — I’ve met those who drive stick and hate driving, for sure.

        But I think if you make a concious effort to purchase a manual and go out of your way to buy a certain car in a certain trim with a stickshift, then you have some care for your car and how you drive.

        But cars and driving definitely aren’t for everyone! I will agree wholeheartedly with you there.

        And I’m normally leary of American cars – not the best build quality in the world. But driving the GT500 was qutie thrilling, especially on the track.

        – M.

  61. Here in Ireland, and anywhere else I’ve driven (which isn’t many places) manual gears are the norm.

    I think I know one person who has an automatic car and that’s because they’re older and possibly don’t have the dexterity to change gears.

    I drove an automatic car once, and it scared the crap out of me. The car just felt out of my control and it was very unnerving. Didn’t help that I missed a turning and had to do a turnabout on a secondary road!

    • Hey Donncha,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I agree, some elderly people might not have the ability to shift properly … or drive properly for that matter (which I think I may have to blog about sometime soon), they’re “allowed” to opt for the auto. πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  62. Manual is the way to go! Automatic is boring (unless we are talking about the song by The Pointer Sisters.) No way to control it, it’s totally automatic…

    • Hey Thejamminjabber,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Nothing should ever be “automatic” because that means it’s lost all the excitement and passion. No good!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  63. a friend of mine taught me how to drive a stickshift in her z28 2yrs ago. i fell in love in with it — the whole driving a stickshift thing. i actually *wanted* to drive. i like being able to concentrate on my driving and not have my mind wander off.

    when i first learning how to drive a car i, like most people, were stuck into automatics…and my mind ALWAYS wandered off (which is pretty bad even when you’re learning how to drive for the first time). i always got bored/distracted with driving automatics to the point where i would avoid driving because i hated being bored/distracted. i don’t own a car (as i’m a poor/broke college student), but when i eventually do i’d buy a car w/ a manual trans.

    sadly enough both my parents don’t like the fact that i know how to drive a stickshift (despite being 2yrs out of some form of practice). my dad thinks i need to become more “familiar” w/ an automatic, which makes no sense because you don’t even have to think when driving an automatic. these days, my parents are trying to force me drive their cars….i always say “no” because i simply don’t want to drive an automatic.

    sorry for the little rant, but you’re one of the very few who i can relate to about driving a stickshift.

    • Hey Antonette,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I think you need to take your parents out in a car with you while you drive manual and prove that you’ve got it down! Show them that you’re capable and make them understand the benefits of a stickshift (better fuel mileage, longevity of the car etc.).

      And if they still don’t buy it, just keep thinking that as soon as you are no longer a poor/broke college student, you can buy your own manual car and they can’t tell you not to drive it!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  64. Speaking as a European: What is the big deal? I do not even recall the last time I was in an automatic—and even beginning drivers seem to manage a manual stick.

    • Hey MichaelEriksson,

      Thanks for the read!

      Well, you Europeans are the lucky bunch because you haven’t been plagued by too many automatics on the road! Manual is a way of life there and something you just do from the moment you learn to drive a car. However, here in North America we’re quite the opposite about our cars and driving. We tend to like big, easy-to-drive, comfortable, lazy automatics in favor of sporty, fun-to-drive manuals. It’s a shame really.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  65. Women can drive. I have seen Iranian women drive cars with manual gear shift.

  66. I have always wanted to learn to drive a manual…but when you don’t know anyone with a manual its sort of difficult.

    • Hey Swgeorge,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Call up your local driving school and tell them you want to learn how to drive a manual. Or rent a manual car for the weekend and see if you can give it a go. πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  67. Im amazed so many readers, talking about the manual and automatic. Well after fixing the rust on the newly bought 13 yr old manual Mitsubishi space wagon, soon to sell the 15 yr old automatic beamer, I invite you to my blog, where som other real things happen today. And hey,,, dont be bored, you dont need to, just give the children at La Unica A hand.

  68. Excellent article! You are absolutely right about paying attention. As a cop who does a lot of traffic management, I wish everyone would drive manuals which would cut down on the whole cell phone/texting multi-tasking distracted driver thing. I learned to drive a stick in Haiti of all places, which is about as easy as learning in San Francisco – all up & down mountains. Now THAT was an experience!

    • Hey Soldier’s Mail,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Wow, learning to drive a manual in San Fran – kudos to anyone who does that! And kudos to you for doing it in Haiti!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  69. I am very clumsy with automatics. I started off with a manual, and up to now still love it. It requires you, as you rightly put it, connect with the car. You also have to master a certain rhythm by understanding your car. Driving a stick make you more coordinated, attentive and conscious of you surroundings. Personally, i find it fun. Don’t really admire, especially men, who drive automatic. I feel they are lazy. But, that is just me. For those who have to, i say why not. And for the ladies who drive manual transmissions well, i admire them. You go girl…

    • Hey Creativeking,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I’m discovering there are quite a few women who feel the same way I do about manual, which is just fantastic. πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  70. I wish I learned how to drive with a manual initially. I had a bad experience with learning later on. I got in an accident that ruined the motor in my car. The next car I got was a free POS to ensure I had a vehicle. Nothing is more stressful than trying to re-learn how to drive after a car accident. I was so scared and frustrated. My dad ended up trading with me.

    Maybe I’ll try again in the future but I really wish it was easier to figure out on my own so I could hide in a big empty parking lot and screw up without an audience. I get so anxious when people are around. It may be better for me to just stick to an automatic.

    • Hey Astitchintime,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      It would be hard for anyone to bounce back from a bad accident, even just to get back in a car. Kudos to you for getting out on the road again, and maybe one day you’ll find the perfect car and the perfect time and place to embrace manual again.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  71. I had to give up my 1994 Camry 5-speed and buy a 2010 Corolla LE automatic. Nobody in town had a manual on the lot (one dealer even told me it could take months to get one), and I was desperate so I bought the automatic. It’s so boring. My left foot has nothing to do! It’s been 2 months now, and I still find myself trying to shift — and I definitely notice that the car shifts differently than I would. I’ve been driving since 1982 and this is the first automatic I’ve ever owned. I miss my manual and, since I know so few people who drive them, nobody really understands why.

    • Hey Julie,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      If your friends don’t udnerstand, just send them to this blog post and tell them to read through the comments! πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • Back in the 1970s, a friend of mine owned a red Chrysler convertible with (get this!) a push-button shift. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen. I much prefer a stick.

        Thanks for the post. It’s nice to know other people like manuals, especially other women. For years I thought it was just me (and even my mother!) who preferred manuals.

  72. I stumbled upon your post from the WordPress homepage today, and just wanted to say how much I agree with you.

    My partner and I drive an SUV and small crossover (HHR – wagon maybe?), both of which are automatic. I REALLY miss my manual transmission from my Miata, and the many manuals I had before that. It does force you to concentrate more. I’m looking at a Wrangler as my next car and it MUST have a stick.

    I lived in Germany for a few years in the late 90s and I found it interesting that almost all the cars in Europe were manual. But no cupholders. I think automatics make you lazy behind the wheel.

    I, for one, do not like the auto-manual thing. To me it’s not really a manual if it doesn’t have a clutch and a gear pattern. Just MHO.

    • Hey Michael,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      If you’re getting Wrangler then you MUST get a manual! Especially if you’re planning on taking it off-road. πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  73. Driving manual just feels right. If you are use to manual, driving automatic will be boring.

  74. I had to reply to your blog because I absolutely agree and LOVE driving a manual.

    When I was 16, I learned how to drive a stick shift on an old Ford truck that had the gears attached to the side of the steering wheel ~ and ever since I have been a lover of all things manual.

    I owned two cars that were automatics when I was younger and yes, I was spacier and more apt to tune out my surroundings. When I drive a manual I always feel like I am in a race car and so I always pay attention to what is going on around me.

    I have never really grown tired of driving anywhere and I think it’s because I have mostly only owned manual cars. It’s just a blast!

    Besides, driving a manual is hot! I couldn’t even count how many guys have told me what a turn-on it is that I can drive a manual, and it only gets better when they drive fast sports cars ~ and I get to take them for a spin πŸ˜‰

    For the ladies out there that don’t drive manuals ~ get on it! It’s sooo much more fun and certainly more engaging:)

    Fun blog!

  75. I understand that an automatic transmission can be boring. But I requested that I husband quit driving a manual. That stick shift just made him want to rev and go fast and after two wrecks in two years and one totaled car… well, he’s bored now. But he hasn’t put it in a ditch yet.

    • Hey Brooke,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Sounds like your hubby needs to take a chill pill on the road. Enjoying standard is one thing, speeding to excess and being a dick behind the wheel is entirely another! I’m all for enjoying your time behind the wheel, but if you’re not respectful for others (or yourself and your vehicle!) then you shouldn’t be driving period.

      Glad he’s been accident-free for a few years now though! Good call on the auto for him!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  76. In Sweden you have to learn to drive manual, that is basic driving and what you will drive for your test. I love driving and I love the added “power” I have as a driver of manual. I drive on ice, gravel, in the forest with really old cars, and I go fast! No way this would be possible with automatic. Besides; with manual you can, in a tricky situation, make the car do things that nobody would believe – and yes, I most definitely am a woman, and yes, I go ballistic over shitty female drivers because it is all a belief.
    Ladies, don’t believe what you are told, a good female driver is awesome behind the wheel with a stick in her hand…apropos puns…
    Nice post.

  77. Very interesting post. It makes me wonder if there have been any ‘studies’ testing whether there are more accidents caused by “automatic” drivers vs. “manual” drivers. My hypothesis, given what you are saying here, would be that there is a correlation between ‘automatic’ drivers and accidents. We can’t say that automatic causes the accident, at least not scientifically speaking, but there’s a good chance that there is a relationship between the two variables (automatic and accidents).

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    • Hey The Intentional Sage,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I would love to know if a study has been done … now I’m curious and out to do some research on it! πŸ™‚

      Drive on,
      – M.

  78. I’ve always driven manuals my entire life, until my recent BMW fetish. Unless you’re driving an M3, they’re all automatic, which saddens me =( As beautiful and manly as my car is, it still lacks in…control, without a stick. And a 5-speed/automatic is NOT the same.

    • Hey Rossiongaz,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I’ve driven quite a few non-M3 manual BMWs here in Montreal and I’ve loved every one of them. My favorite is the 335d (so far) over the M3 of course. πŸ™‚ And at least the sport-shift mode inthe automatic BMWs is responsive andn ot as laggy as some.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  79. I learned how to drive stick last summer on my ex-boyfriends 06 mkv GTI – I’ve heard it’s probably the softest clutch I’ll ever drive, but the more exciting aspect to me was learning how to drive stick, and on that car it was a blast. Now the guy I’m seeing has an identical 06 mkv (not intentional, just happened to work out that way) but his is an automatic instead – it wrecks the car! Sorry, but paddle shifters just AREN’T as fun as a clutch and the knob…

    • Hey Akwart,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Sounds like you’ve got a bit of a VW obsession. πŸ˜‰ I find that certain guys are attracted to driving certain types of cars … looks like you’re a Vdub girl through and through. Love it!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  80. When at a car dealership, the salespeople always want to sell you an automatic, even though you specify a stick shift. “Why do you want a manual transmission?” they say. “What advantage can there possible be?” I have gotten so I tell them I drive one because I can, and if you don’t have one, say so and I will move on. I still drive my Toyota Celica 5 speed to work every day (60 miles round trip). Odometer sits at 310,000 miles.

    • Hey denTexBrian,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I was met with similar shock and awe when I asked for my Impreza in a manual transmission. I think they just don’t like the reduced price — less for them in the end.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  81. I was in the Army for three years and everything I drove was manual except one truck. I also used to use the bathroom outside on occasion. When I left the Army I promised myself never to drive manual transmissions again and make friends with porcelain forever!

    • Hey Srapix,

      Thanks for the read!

      I totally respect your decision (especially the porcelain bit); and massive kudos for your time spent serving your country.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  82. I’m a bit of a nervous driver… and I have to say- automatic takes off some of the pressure…lol…

    • Hey Sayitinasong,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Automatic can definitely take some of the pressure off, but I’m also of the mindset that if you’re more confident behind the wheel (and manual can help build that confidence) then you begin to relax a little.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  83. Whats all this about driving with a stick, its a gear-lever as we call it in the UK and that’s all we dive over here, well there are automatics but they are few and far between. Once you have learnt it, its just like second nature, you dont even think about it when you get into the car. I did like reading the post though and the comments.

    • Hi Pommelstone,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I think I will have to make a concerted effort to call it a gear-lever from now on. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by – hope you check back again soon.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  84. curiously I don’t think most people are scared of residential and freeway driving in manual transmission. I acutally found that aspect of the stick shift to be rather simple. It was the Hills, and Ice, and Traffic and griding gears or killing it can be rather embarassaing.

    I agree with you it requires more concentration.

    See i just love driving though I dont get bored no matter what the transmission is…
    I WORRY
    for the future and the “automatic” cars…where you just ride. SHOOT ME, I’ll pass!

    • Hey nugschillinandgrindage,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      If you’ve ever been emailed that game-console, remote-control Volvo then you should be rightly scared!

      Drive on,
      – M.

  85. Great post! πŸ˜€

    [url=http://www.harovia.com/]Harovia[/url]

  86. I prefer manual transmissions, more enjoyment and are like one with the cars we drive

  87. Love this Information, thank you alot

  88. thank you for content

  89. curiously I don’t think most people are scared of residential and freeway driving in manual transmission. I acutally found that aspect of the stick shift to be rather simple. It was the Hills, and Ice, and Traffic and griding gears or killing it can be rather embarassaing.

    I agree with you it requires more concentration.

    • Hey Mankenlik,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      I think the initial embarrassment is what pushes you to be a better manual driver. I mean, you can only stall out so many times on a hill before it just becomes unbearable.

      Drive on,
      – M.

  90. I am in complete agreement.

    I learned how to drive using a manual transmission and have only owned one automatic car (for 1 year out of the 12+ years I’ve been driving) I’ve had my manual VW for 8.5 years now and it doesn’t get old. However, I must confess living in Los Angeles, CA and driving in this unforgiving city sometimes makes me wish my left leg didn’t get such a workout each time I go to the grocery store to get that loaf of bread I always seem to forget.

    • Hi Patti,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      Just think about the stellar muscle definition you’re getting in your calf from all the clutching. Just don’t forget to work out the right one too. πŸ˜‰

      Drive on,
      – M.

  91. I enjoyed this. A good quick read.

  92. I love your blog. I’ve added it to my favorite bookmarks and subscribed in a reader.

    Thanks

  93. Great post.It really contains valuable information.Thanks for sharing.

  94. Rock on! I am a female who also drives a WRX! *high five*! For all the girls (and men) who’d like to learn I feel that this is great information on manual transmissions or stick shifts, go here:

    http://learn-to-drive-stick-shift.com

    This is where I learned how to drive manual transmissions! πŸ™‚

  95. valuable post…

    You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about half an hour. I am a newbie and your post is valuable for me….

  96. Great article. I just purchased my first manual transmission car, a subaru wrx, and have had it for about 3 weeks now. I have to admit, the first couple of days were tough, but am starting to get used to driving it. Still getting the hang of starting out smooth with as little slip as possible, but I’ve heard you need to rev the WRX a little bit more when starting from a stop, but I guess all cars are different (my brother’s VW TDI is much more willing to move forward with just letting out the clutch with no gas).

    I think my hurdle now is learning how to drive in traffic and how to smoothly drive uphill after a slow turn, with minimal clutch slippage (ex. do I slow down in neutral, then go into first and let the clutch slip, or is it possible to go into the turn in 1st/2nd and press in the clutch while slowly climbing to prevent stalling). Thanks again for a great post.

    • Hi Paul!

      Thanks so much for the read — glad you enjoyed the piece! πŸ™‚

      Congrats on the WRX! Fantastic choice of vehicle. I’m not sure if I mentioned it in the article, but my personal vehicle is an ’04 WRX. Which year is yours? If it’s from that year or older you’re dealing with a cable clutch which makes it that much harder to master (at least, that’s what I keep telling myself). It’s a stiff system that requires a bit of finesse and a lot of connection with the car to get the hang of.

      Cardinal rule: Never put the car in first gear unless you are coming to a complete stop. You will never have a smooth shift if you’re tring to pop the gear into first while you’re rolling. You’re better off keeping it in second and pushing the revs up when you release the clutch. You can even leave a stop (rolling) in second gear if you wanted to, as long a the revs are up high enough for the car not to bog out and stall.

      While you’re on the hill, you can use your handbrake if you want. A lot of newer standard drivers do. Build your revs up a bit and only release the handbrake when you’re ready to go (that way your right foot is already on the throttle instead of having to hold the brake).

      I also find that rolling back keeps me happy on hills. I come into the hill slowly (usually braking ever so briefly to pop it into first gear) then I inch forward, roll back a bit, inch forward, roll back a bit … the momentum helps me catch the gear and I find it less intimidating than coming to a complete stop!

      It’s a bit hard to explain this whole madness of manual via a comment, but I hope that made sense!

      Good luck and enjoy the Rex — it’s a beast of a car, especially in the winter!

      Drive on,
      – M.

      • I bought a 2011 WRX sedan. Such an awesome car. I’ve always been a fan of subarus (I’ve owned 2 in the past), but never had a manual. I also love the fact that out of all the cars I’ve owned, only WRX/STi owners will wave at each other! So, on that note, if I ever see you on the road, I’ll give you a hearty wave πŸ™‚

        Much thanks for the driving tip regarding downshifting into 1st. I’ll keep it in mind. I usually only do it when I’m going slower than 5 mph, and only because I don’t like revving too high in 2nd (I have a phobia of too much clutch slippage and having to buy a whole new clutch in under 15k miles). I’ve read that all gears on the new WRX are synchro’ed, so it’s easier to pop it into 1st while moving (though there is a bit of resistance like you mentioned).

        Regarding hills, I don’t think I’m at the comfort level with the whole rolling back and forth bit. I’m at the point now where I’ll probably only stall about a few times in an entire week, and I’m well aware of why I did. I can’t wait to get the rex dirty in winter!

  97. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this blog post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Cheers,

  98. great read! i just bought a mazda 3….first manual and im 27….but i guess i gotta learn if i wanna drive it! terrified lol

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