For most of us, buying a car is one of the biggest life decisions that we make. Coupled with that decision, unfortunately, are tens if not hundreds of questions and concerns about the car that we are about to purchase: what car type to take, what color to choose, which trim level is better, what engine type is more efficient. The list goes on and on.
Arguably though, one of the most vital decisions any car buyer should never fail to consider is the car’s transmission. Nowadays, buyers are faced with a two-faceted choice of whether going manual or opting for an automatic transmission. And although automatic transmissions are fast becoming mainstream on most of the cars that are manufactured today, a manual transmission provides numerous benefits that are usually passed up by the average buyer. On this article, we talk about why you should carefully consider opting for that stick shift.
Better Driving Experience
With today’s ever improving technology, automatic transmission technology employed on land vehicles are becoming more advanced than ever before. Superbly fast dual-clutch transmission (DCT) setups and fuel efficient continuously variable transmissions (CVT) are technologies available today that aims to further bridge the gap between automatics and manuals in terms of overall reliability, practicality and performance. Yet, if you love driving, or if you yearn for maximum engagement and total control with your car, only a manual transmission setup can give that to you.
And even if new automatics could sometimes be faster than even the most skilled drivers, there is a distinct, old-school feeling of driving a stick-shift. A sense of accomplishment could be felt by drivers everytime they make a perfect upshift or a rev-matched downshift.
If you are to canvass the prices of all the cars on the market today, you are surely to find out that manual transmission cars tend to be more affordable than their automatic transmission peers. According to some studies, at least a P40,000 ($1,000) increase in price should be expected should you opt for an automatic transmission, which means if you are on a tight budget when buying your next car, going for a manual one should be a bit easier on your wallet.
Repair costs of manual transmissions are also considered to be less costly. Compared to an automatic transmission rebuild or replace that could cost thousands of pesos, manual transmission repairs usually just requires a new clutch, which is at least 50% cheaper. Adding to this is the fact that clutches, depending on the driving condition and style, may last up to thousands of kilometers.
Lastly, fuel economy is generally much better in manual transmission vehicles. Usually, comparing the same car model but with different transmission types, the manual transmission variant gets at least 3-5 kilometers more than the automatic transmission variant. However, this might not be the case in the future, as newer automatics are becoming geared for better efficiency using smarter shift-logic and improved gear ratios.
With the limited amount of people able to drive stick-shift these days, having a manual transmission car not only saves you gas and money, it could actually save your car as well. According to Viraf Baliwalla, President of car buying service Automall Network, “Of the insurance total losses we processed last year that were related to theft, only 14% were manual transmission.”
Not Destined for Everyone
Of course, opting for a manual transmission have drawbacks as well. For one, some friends and family might not be able to drive your car should something urgent or emergency comes up. More so, car manufacturers today often reserve manual transmission for the most basic trim packages. As such, if you want a manual transmission, then most probably you’ll be left without many bells and whistles that the higher end models boasts of.
The resale value of a manual transmission vehicle is also a bit tricky. At times, selling a manual transmission vehicle is difficult since most people would not want the trouble of shifting gears by themselves. On the other hand, given that there are fewer manuals on the market, your stick-shift ride could be a hot commodity for some buyers.
Sporting a manual transmission on your next ride comes with a number of advantages despite the recent development and improvement of automatic transmission technology. Savings in purchase price and fuel economy should be carefully considered, as well as the in-built theft protection of stick-shift rides. More importantly, the overall driving experience is very much different between a manual and an automatic. In the end, everything still boils down to your own preference and which configuration works best for you and your needs.
Source: Auto Guide