It wasn't too long ago that we were
discussing the decline
of V6 and V8 engines in favor of more fuel efficient naturally
aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinder engines for mainstream
vehicles. However, we're also beginning to see the death of another
automative staple: the manual transmission.
According to the Detroit News,
than 91 percent of 2009 model year cars sold in the United
States came equipped with an automatic transmission. Advances in
technology are making the "fuel economy gap" that one
favored manuals over automatic transmissions disappear. And in many
cases, automatic or CVT-equipped versions of vehicles get better fuel
economy than their manually-shifted counterparts.
In the case of the 2011
Mustang V6, the automatic transmission achieves 19 mpg in the
city and 31 mpg on the highway. The manual transmission version also
achieves 19 mpg in the city, but gets a slightly lower 30 mpg on the
As for the Honda
CR-Z, the difference between the automatic transmission and the
manual is even more dramatic. A CR-Z with a CVT transmission gets
36/38 mpg (city/highway) versus 31/37 for the manual transmission.
High performance cars, often a sector
where you'd expect to only find a manual transmission, are ditching
traditional manuals for single- and dual-clutch automated
transmissions. Sports cars like the Mercedes-Benz
SLS AMG and Ferrari
458 Italia are only available with dual-clutch transmissions.
"Europeans tend to buy manuals on
entry models, while Americans view it as an option for enthusiasts,"
said BMW 5-Series project manager Willem Rombauts.
"Manuals lend a special connection
to the car, and that's highly appealing to our customers," said
Mini project manager Vincent Kung. "Looking at the next
generation of the Cooper, we'll continue to see a significant place
for the manual."
In addition to the fuel economy
benefits mentioned before, automated transmissions now often provide
faster acceleration as well. It's a win-win in the technical sense.
However, many people feel that they aren't "one with the
machine" if they don't have a third pedal on the floor and a
stick to row.
Others see the rise of automatic
transmissions as byproduct of America's laziness and penchant for
multitasking be it eating, talking, texting, or applying makeup while
driving. Whatever the reasons for uptick in automatic transmission
adoptions, it doesn't appear to be a trend that will stop anytime
soon -- at least not in the United States.
quote: The Mazda 5 isn't exactly a minivan... it's a high sided small car
quote: The Mazda 5 isn't exactly a minivan...
quote: I guess honestly my biggest problem with the Challenger and Camaro and similar offerings, is that they illustrate the failed American automakers business model. Retro retro retro, when the public is screaming for them to MOVE FORWARD!
quote: Look we get it, a bunch of old nostalgic guys had muscle cars 500 years ago and loved them. But so what?
quote: Notice how the Corvette has never tried to go back to 1950's styling, and it also has hardly ever had a year where they didn't sell like crazy?
quote: Retro retro retro, when the public is screaming for them to MOVE FORWARD!
quote: I agree that ALL new drivers should be forced to drive manuals. It would half the number of accidents.
quote: Most people just want to mash a pedal without having to think... and they might find it hard to text and eat thier cereal while trying to shift at the same time. (I am perfectly fine just not answering my phone while driving. If I think its important, I pull over. period.)
quote: Im sitting in my home in NYC to type this out.and I've been here hmm since 1990.
quote: what technical advantage ?
quote: One technical advantage automatic transmissions will never have on manual transmissions.
quote: remote start won't backfire if you forgot & left the car in gear; no safety switches required.
quote: In Germany, there are no cup holders. German drivers are focused on driving and not drinking coffee or soda.
quote: Accept that Automatic is the new manual, i wonder how many people will freak out when gearboxes no longer have to change gears!?
quote: How the hell do you bypass another car or go up the hill with an automatic transmission or just do anything? Do you press the accelerator and hope it works?
quote: Brakes? They're for sissies and amateurs.
quote: driving a auto is boring and sanitized.
quote: However, for a commuting car where you are in stop/go traffic for an hour everyday, a manual is tedious.
quote: there probably wouldn't be any stop-n-go traffic if people who couldn't drive a stick had to take the bus instead
quote: find me a study that shows the accident rates are higher for automatic drivers
quote: Here's an idea, find me a study that shows the accident rates are higher for automatic drivers as opposed to manual ones. I'm very sure you will find no such disparity.
quote: I *really* don't want anyone to take this the wrong way, because it is a tragedy and I am very sorry that it happened...but that famous case of the runaway car with the 911 call, that ultimately crashed and killed everyone inside? Yeah...that wouldn't have happened if it was a manual transmission.
quote: You can *easily* have your brakes overpowered by the engine, and they become ineffectual.
quote: Actually that's impossible. You don't know what you are talking about. This has been tested again and again, even traveling at high speeds and holding down the gas, NO CAR overpowers it's own brakes.
quote: Oh I get it. My statement is only false if we assume everyone is riding around with failing brake systems? You do realize in your example that was a brand new Camry right? I doubt it had worn pads, shot fluid, and fading rotors.
quote: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Well, maybe excluding reader1 and Pirks. A car can *easily* overpower it's own brakes - as your brakes heat up, eventually you'll boil the brake fluid and then they're gone. Your claim of such a test is a lie. Period. You are a liar.
quote: So I guess then that you think the Car & Driver guys were lying in the article I posted? Go talk to some racers and see what they have to say about brake fade & failure.
quote: ...anyway, it dawns on me that once again I'm trying to talk some sense into an idiot.
quote: You're wrong. Deal with it or don't. Shouldn't you be greasing up your hair anyway?
quote: All information on that 2010 Camry does indeed indicate that the brakes faded then failed in that one instance.
quote: Your information is not pertinant to real-world experience.
quote: Go eff yourself. And get back to work with some styling gel on that sweet Italian hair of yours. Seems to be what you do best.
quote: But to hold up everyone who doesn't do things his way as being reckless or less capable is just silly.
quote: ...automatic transmissions should be banned. If you can't manage a clutch, throttle, and stickshift, then I don't want to be on the road with you. Cars aren't appliances. You should be engaged with your vehicle. ...and if vast numbers of would-be drivers can't manage to drive a manual transmission, and therefore don't get driver's licenses, GOOD. Car-related injuries and deaths would drop immensely.
quote: Car-related injuries and deaths would drop immensely.
quote: My casual observation is NZ has more cars with automatic transmissions on the road now than at any other time in those 50 years.
quote: If you can't manage a clutch, throttle, and stickshift, then I don't want to be on the road with you.Cars aren't appliances. You should be engaged with your vehicle.
quote: If you don't believe me that most A/T equipped vehicles today (includes CVT!) are still just as inefficient as they were in the 90s, just try comparing the 0-60 times between the M/T and the A/T.
quote: Nissan has something called a GT-R that begs to differ... The Bugatti Veyron will also argue your point. I believe it's because these are "direct shift gearboxes"
quote: Unless these cars are equipped with DSG type transmissions