Although stick shift cars are nowhere near as popular as they once were, accounting for less than 7% of new cars sold this year, plenty of diehard fans still exist, eager to defend manuals as superior and more desirable than their automatic counterparts. Unfortunately, many of the reasons devoted drivers use to support stick shifts never were, or no longer are, accurate.
The following are five common stick shift myths:
- Cars with manual transmission always get better fuel economy than cars with automatics. While this is generally true, many automatic cars now offer similar, if not better, fuel economy than manuals as a car’s fuel-efficiency is dependent on several factors, not just its transmission.
- A car with a manual transmission costs less than the same model with an automatic. Today, many manual and automatic vehicles cost about the same; that is, if you can even find a manual version of the vehicle. More than 64% of 2012 models on the market are only sold as automatics.
- The coolest sports cars only come with manual transmissions. Many sports car manufacturers, including Porsche and Lamborghini, provide customers the choice of an automatic or a manual. However, several other carmakers like Ferrari only offer automatics in certain models.
- If your dream car comes with a standard manual transmission, you can always get an automatic as an option. Just like myth #3, this is not true either. A small group of cars, mostly sport vehicles, only offer manual transmissions, including the Ford Shelby GT500, Mazdaspeed3, and Volkswagen Golf R. It’s best to research available transmissions before falling in love with a new car.
- Teenagers really, really want to learn to drive stick shifts. This is definitely not the case anymore. Since manuals are not as common, teenagers have little need or desire to learn how to drive one.
Stick shifts may not be as popular or as desirable today, but one factor remains the same…they are without a doubt fun to drive! Plus, knowing how to drive a manual is still an important skill, particularly if you are caught in a situation where the only car available is one with a stick. So while myths abound concerning stick shifts, fans still have reason to love the manual.