Driving a manual transmission vehicle was never high on my list of things I wanted to do in my life. In fact, when reviewing my “must-haves” for my first car, I remember telling my dad, under no uncertain terms could it be a “stick.”
So what did I end up with? What was, back then, referred to as a “four-speed on the floor” and some impromptu lessons on how to drive it.
I still drive a manual transmission today and I love it. In fact, I’ve owned more stick shifts in my life than automatics. Why? Well, for several reasons, actually.
Control is a big factor. I like to be able to choose the gear that best suits the situation in which I’m driving. Especially since I drive in all different kinds of climates, terrains and traffic conditions. Plus, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I tend to be a bit of a spirited driver, so the ability to gain a little extra horsepower with a quick downshift of the gear is awesome.
Something that has been a factor in previous purchases is the fact that manual transmission vehicles are typically a bit less expensive. When you’re on a tight budget, saving anywhere from a few hundred to $1,000 can make a difference.
One of the most touted attributes of a manual transmission vehicle is better fuel efficiency. While it has been said that you can achieve anywhere from 5 to 15 percent better fuel economy, there are external factors that impact that as well. Driving habits, lack of experience, etc. are all things to consider here.
When I was younger, I loved that no one ever asked to borrow my car because very few of my friends could drive it. In perusing some message boards before writing this post, I noticed that today’s translation of this is manual transmission vehicles are less likely to be stolen for similar reasons. Either way, I guess the end result is, when you own a manual transmission, you’re more likely to be the sole driver of your vehicle.
While I love my manual, I will admit I learned the hard way that it’s important to have at least one automatic in the family. A manual transmission requires coordination of both legs and arms to drive. When a limb is out of commission due to injury, it takes driving a stick to a whole new level of difficulty.
If you’re learning how to drive a manual, or on the fence about purchasing one, I encourage you to “stick” with it. It’s an experience everyone should have at least once.