Most car geeks, including us here at Dillon’s Automotive, will tell you they prefer driving manual transmissions. It’s just more exciting, it gives the driver more control and when done correctly, it makes the car perform better. But over the past few decades, more and more people are flocking to automatic transmissions. In 1987, 29 percent of all cars were equipped with manual transmission. By 2013 that number had dropped to just under 4 percent.
So why have drivers exchanged manual for automatic? Some of it is auto myth, and some of it is just a sign of the times.
Which Transmission Has Better Gas Mileage?
The old belief was that manual was the way to go if you wanted more miles for your bucks, but as manufacturers improved the efficiency of automatic transmissions, these became the more popular choice. Many automakers contribute the shift to the gas prices and mileage. A popular compact car, the 2014 Ford Focus, boasts of agility and improved responsiveness, while under the hood, the automatic transmission provides better gas mileage over its manual counterpart. This is a clear win/win for many drivers.
Which Costs More?
For years, most manual variations of cars cost less than their automatic counterparts. But today, GM’s 2013 Buick Regal GS and the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V both offer automatic and manual transmission at similar price points. Most BMWs come with similar priced transmissions, but that option is dwindling with only 67 percent of 2013 or older cars being offered with a manual option. However, while the price difference remains, with the lesser number of available manuals costing less, there continues to be an increased demand for automatics.
Give Up Luxury?
It used to be that if you wanted to zoom around in a luxury sports car you had to know how to drive a stick, but not anymore. High-end sports cars like Ferrari and other luxury vehicles now include steering wheel-mounted shift paddles connected to a semi-automatic gearbox. Even Porsche, Lamborghini and McLaren have automatic transmission in super cars that were once manual transmissions. In today’s car market, you don’t have to downgrade to be able to downshift.
There is a belief that car thieves stay away from cars with manual transmissions, simply because not everyone knows how to drive a stick shift. But according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau that tracks car theft trends, there is no data to support this claim. The data does suggest it’s the degree of skill that determines what kind of car a thief will take, and many thieves are quite capable of making off with a stick shift.
So, Which Do You Choose?
Arguments can be made for either type of transmission but when it comes time to make a purchase; it all comes down to what is important to you in your car. (Though if you like to drive and have never tried manual, we recommend giving it a whirl.) Dillon’s Automotive is proud to offer Katy, TX drivers quality maintenance and repair services for automatic or manual vehicles. Need a check-up? Then schedule an appointment today.