The age old debate of automatic vs. manual transmission has become heavily one sided in recent years, with stick shift manuals only comprising under 7 percent of new cars sold in 2012. Manual-transmission defenders can be a die-hard lot, but some of their claims as to why are a bit more romantic than realistic. Here are a few stick shift misconceptions:
1. Cars equipped with manual transmissions costs less than identical models with automatics.
The manual version of a car will indeed usually cost less, but a growing number are priced about the same as an automatic. For example, with several 2012 GM models (Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS, Chevy Cruz & Camaro) as well as BMWs…both stick shifts and automatics are equally priced. Even if you specifically want a manual transmission….more often the option is simply not available. Sixty-four (64) percent of 2012 models for sale come as automatics only.
2. Cars with manual transmission always get better fuel economy than cars with automatics.
Maybe at one time, but not anymore…at least not always. Cars with manual transmissions are generally more fuel-efficient than their automatic counterparts, but not always, and not by much. For example the economy class manual version of the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco gets 33 mpg in combined driving…the automatic 31 combined. The manual saves you only about $100 per year in fuel, according to fueleconomy.gov.
3. The hottest sports cars only have stick shifts.
Depends on what you consider the “hottest sports car.” Porsche and Lamborghini offer a choice of either manual or automatic transmission in their product line. But if you prefer a Ferrari 458 Italia, California or FF…no clutch and stick shift for you…only a seven-speed automated manual transmission. Some people are still believe that a driver is faster with a manual stick and clutch…but at least some major performance-car manufacturers, like Ferrari and Jaguar, no longer even offer traditional manual transmissions.