Myth-Busting Manual Transmission Cars

The stick shift for manual transmission vehicles hasn't quite gone the way of the dodo, passenger pigeon, the dinosaurs, or even something more grounded, like the horse-drawn carriage.

In the U.S., it's considered an endangered species, with only 3.9% of new cars sold as manual transmission for the year of 2013. In Europe, it's more prevalent, and in Asia, it's the norm. With that in mind, here are the myths about stick shifts you should know about.

The Myths Themselves

  • Manual Cars Have Better Fuel Economy

In the past, this is true. It's a given that stick shifts are more fuel-efficient than their automatic counterparts exactly because it takes more fuel to shift gears automatically.

However, as automatics became more advanced and garnered improvements like additional gears, the reverse is becoming true. This truism or adage is fast becoming a modern myth.

    2010s auto transmissions that are eight-speed ones are now readily available and known for their amazing fuel economy. This myth continues to be true in some models, like in the case of the Chevrolet Cruze Eco.

    However, the six-speed auto version of the 2014 Ford Focus has the auto transmission performing better fuel-wise than its manual counterpart; ditto with the 2014 Nissan Versa and BMW 328i Sedan.

    • Manual Cars Cost Less Than Automatics

    In the majority of cases, the manual transmission version of a car will cost less than the automatic version of the same car because you're paying extra for the automatic transmission.

    There are exceptions to this rule such that both auto and manual cost the same, which is undoing the rule's reputation as being true as cars become more and more advanced.

      For example, GM vehicles such as the 2013 Cadillac CTS-V and the 2013 Buick Regal GS cost the same whether you're buying the automatic or manual version, which encourages people to simply go automatic instead since there's no cost advantage anyway. With BMWs, the manuals cost the same as the automatics as well.

      • Sports Cars Usually Come with Manual Transmission
      This myth typically roots from the fact that many classic sports cars were manuals and the advent of the auto transmission car is a relatively recent phenomenon. This is also changing as of late as more modern sports cars are catching the eyes of their rich clientele, such as the 7th Generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

        More and more vintage sports cars are being released with automatic transmission versions as demand for automatics continue to go up For example, the so-called "baddest" Porsche on the block, the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3, is only available with the dual-clutch auto transmission.

        This is also the case with the 2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, the 2013 Maserati GranTurismo, the 2013 Lamborghini Aventador, and the 2014 Jaguar F-Type.

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