Just Offer Me a Damn Manual Transmission: The Skinny With Craig Cole

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

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The good ol’ standard transmission has largely been rendered obsolete by quick-shifting automatics.

Certain examples can change gears quicker than you can even think, often delivering superior overall vehicle performance in the process. Of course, stricter fuel-economy regulations and today’s indifferent motorists have also played major roles in the manual’s demise.

Automakers have no real incentive to offer lots of models with stick shifts… AND THAT PISSES ME OFF! According to IHS Automotive, they were only fitted to about 7 percent of vehicles built in North America last year, which should give you a rough idea how total the automatic’s dominance is, at least in the new world.

Recently, we’ve seen self-shifting transmissions gain multiple clutches and sprout seven, eight and even nine forward speeds, with more on the way.

SEE ALSO: Where Have All the Bad Cars Gone?

But guess what? I DO NOT CARE how quickly your latest and greatest automatic shifts, that it can be controlled with paddles, doubles the vehicle’s fuel economy, cures throat herpes or turns the Sahara into Eden. It’s just nowhere near as much fun as a good manual. Sorry to defecate in your bag of peaches…

In fact, I’d argue that rowing your own gears in a 155-horsepower Miata is more entertaining than driving some overly computerized automatic exotic.

We’ve been sliding down a slippery slope for decades. We enthusiasts are rapidly losing our God-given right to dance the three-pedal shuffle. But all is not lost; there is a possible solution to grim situation if automakers ever decided to implement it. For more details, make sure to watch the video embedded above.

Check other episodes of The Skinny

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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2 of 3 comments
  • Jamisonjon Jamisonjon on Jan 26, 2017

    Good rant, I'm right there with you. Go ahead and charge more, make it a custom-order option, whatever. Just don't delete the option and say "No one wants manual, so we don't offer it." Same goes with wagons! If you're already loading up boats to go from Hiroshima to Long Beach full of Mazda 6 sedans, let buyers have the option of waiting a bit longer and custom ordering a 6 wagon. I'm one of the unfortunate souls who wants both 3 pedals AND a large cargo opening in my car. And by "car" I mean a car, not an SUV, crossover, or whatever else is selling to my fellow (dumb) Americans these days. My wagon is 13 years old and with the new car options I see out there today... I'll be driving it for a while to come. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d072907e5dbc496998b6b26f6af15a3443af8e3e90ed68345a454b1be95db32d.jpg

  • Smartacus Smartacus on Jan 26, 2017

    ROFL, peach bag! i have one idea for saving the manual: I'm not sold on anyone else's 7th speed solution, but Aston's 7-speed dogleg layout is really close to perfect and should be adopted by EVERYONE. R is all the way to the left and up. 1st is ALMOST all the way to the left and down but far enough away from the rest of the 6-gate. Then maybe offer an 8th speed in the form of Volvo's old shifter-knob OverDrive switch.