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Old 6th August 2014, 08:53   #1
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Default Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Just came across this article:

http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20140...t-not-dead-yet


Good to know; Having said that, I must admit I have found the more powerfull the car/engine is the more auto boxes come into their own.

Years ago I had some serious heatlh issues, part of it due to huge mileage per year in the car. Essentially a very bad case of RSI. The company doctor prescribed treatment including a different company car, orhopedic chars and a mandatory autobox to relief stress on my shoulder and neck. Since then all my company cars have been equipped with autoboxes.

And I must say for all what I would call, business related driving, be it on the motorway's or in town centres a good autobox is a joy I find. It's just so easy. When we lived in the USA all of our cars had autoboxes, even my wife's. Inititially she was not looking forward to an autobox at all. But within half an hour of driving her little Ford Focus with autobox she wouldn't look back. And now she blames me for getting her a another Ford in the Netherlands with a manual.

My own Jaguar has a beautifull autobox as well and honestly I wouldn't want it otherwise. But I still own several (classic) cars with manual stick shift and I find it very appropiate for those particular cars.

Love giving my Alfa Spider the beans and work the gears myself.

Much of the con's for autobox has been overcome by technological advantages. They are extremely reliable, as effecient as regular boxes etc. There is a thread on the forum where this is discussed in some more detail.

Still, I always get the impression that those who call themselves "real car enthhousiasst" believe they can outshift and outperfrom an autobox. Truth be told, very few of us mere mortals can. Especially when it comes to these high powered sort of cars. I once owned a company BMW 525 with manual box and a colleguae had an identical one with an autobox. Guess who was faster of the line in most cases and didn't even have to think about it.

Jeroen
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Old 6th August 2014, 09:29   #2
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Default re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Still, I always get the impression that those who call themselves "real car enthhousiasst" believe they can outshift and outperfrom an autobox. Truth be told, very few of us mere mortals can. Especially when it comes to these high powered sort of cars. I once owned a company BMW 525 with manual box and a colleguae had an identical one with an autobox. Guess who was faster of the line in most cases and didn't even have to think about it.

Jeroen
Well said! I see the same phenomenon in my wife's 2003 Santro AT. At stop lights as the light turns to green, and even after 11 years, it can leave the drivers of 2014 model Santro with manual shift red-faced.

In defense of stick shifts, there's that feeling of one-ness with the car, when one changes gear
It's the satisfaction of hearing the gears engage, and the revs suddenly translating into all that extra torque - while the car surges ahead for a moment. That's the joy of a stick shift... not the kind of thrill one would get from a refined and urbane autobox.

But yes, completely agree for the commute, and run-abouts nothing beats the autobox.
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Old 6th August 2014, 09:56   #3
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Yes auto transmissions have come a long way with technological advancements. It can challenge majority of the drivers with manual shift. It is more convenient. It could be faster off the mark.
Having said that, after you use AT cars and enjoy those advantages for sometime, when you drive a MT, there is this pleasure, satisfaction and a feeling of being connected. The feeling of "I" drive (not iDrive) this car. I've used both MTs and ATs. It's after using auto boxes for a while, I realized why enthusiasts brag about manual shifts. It is classy. Just like you prefer an enfield over a new gen. bike, a thar over a new age jeep, old land rovers over the new ones, it is addictive and a class apart.

I prefer driving an auto box in the mad traffic but it's mainly due to convenience than better pick up or mileage. I love driving my MT (if not for city commute) as much as the AT. Both are enjoyable in its own ways.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 8th August 2014 at 10:24. Reason: Please add para space for better reading.
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Old 6th August 2014, 12:29   #4
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Default re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Well said! I see the same phenomenon in my wife's 2003 Santro AT. At stop lights as the light turns to green, and even after 11 years, it can leave the drivers of 2014 model Santro with manual shift red-faced.

In defense of stick shifts, there's that feeling of one-ness with the car, when one changes gear
It's the satisfaction of hearing the gears engage, and the revs suddenly translating into all that extra torque - while the car surges ahead for a moment. That's the joy of a stick shift... not the kind of thrill one would get from a refined and urbane autobox.

But yes, completely agree for the commute, and run-abouts nothing beats the autobox.
I have driven the BMW 3 series Touring Automatic while I was on deputation in Switzerland:

http://www.bmw.com/com/en/newvehicle....html#id=start

I would say that, it was one of a kind experience driving this beast. With little push in the throttle, it cruised to 3 digit speeds in no time. I have driven the car to Freiburg, Germany and it performed real well in stop go traffic as well.

But somehow I don't know why, my preference has always been the manual shifters. Its something like "catching the horse's mane by the hand".
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Old 6th August 2014, 12:50   #5
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Default re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

The manual shift will take a long, long time to disappear from India.

Till we cling on to 'kitna deti hai?' (what's the FE?) as the primary criterion for deciding which car to buy, autoboxes don't stand a chance! Look at the way AMTs are being advertised - the focus is on better mileage than a manual 'box. Else very few would buy it!
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Old 6th August 2014, 13:04   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The manual shift will take a long, long time to disappear from India.

Till we cling on to 'kitna deti hai?' (what's the FE?) as the primary criterion for deciding which car to buy, autoboxes don't stand a chance! Look at the way AMTs are being advertised - the focus is on better mileage than a manual 'box. Else very few would buy it!
They are also trying to drive home the 'ease' of using it in traffic. If it were just about the ease though, it would fall flat on its face. But since it's combined with good *FE* people took notice. Whatever it is, if it gets people used to an AT there is no looking back. After being used to an AT, I am sure no one would want to go back to an MT.

With commercial vehicle manufactures, Volvo for ex, also bringing in the Autos for their buses, it seems only natural that ATs will slowly phase out the MTs. The only question is the time frame.
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Old 6th August 2014, 21:24   #7
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The manual shift will take a long, long time to disappear from India.

Till we cling on to 'kitna deti hai?' (what's the FE?) as the primary criterion for deciding which car to buy, autoboxes don't stand a chance! Look at the way AMTs are being advertised - the focus is on better mileage than a manual 'box. Else very few would buy it!
The main reason the manual will remain for the forseeable future is actually cost:- it is substantially cheaper. This becomes very important in low cost cars.

Regarding 'kitna deti hai', remember the Alto K10 was marketed (successfully) stressing its better fuel economy, rather than its better performance.

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Sutripta
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Old 7th August 2014, 10:08   #8
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Driving pleasure is about 'feel' and personally, I just don't derive much pleasure from automatics. Sure, AT technology has advanced so much that they're faster & more efficient than ever before. I couldn't care less. Choosing the gear I want, enthusiastically upshifting / downshifting and carefully playing with the clutch pedal remains critical to the overall driving experience for me. Manual is manual, period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
The main reason the manual will remain for the forseeable future is actually cost:- it is substantially cheaper.
Wouldn't entirely agree with this. Reason? The low-cost AMT. With the Celerio, the difference is merely Rs. 38,000 between the MT & AMT. Now, this is with a single car on sale (currently) offering the AMT which is imported. Bring in large-scale volume and AMT localisation, the price will drop significantly. It could become a 20,000 rupee option.

One major reason behind the low penetration levels of Automatics in India is the lack of diesel + AT in the mass market. Except for the Rs. 10 lakh Verna & Scorpio, there's no other diesel AT in the market (Zest will of course change that). Torque-converter petrol ATs offer poor fuel economy in the city. No B2 hatchback or C1 sedan owner is going to live with 7 - 8 kpl on petrol.

The AMT has the potential to become a game-changer. It's cheap, can easily be mated to diesels and offers good fuel efficiency. There are some manufacturers who are against incorporating an AMT portfolio, but its popularity will make them come up with diesel ATs of their own in the sub-10 lakh segment.
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Old 7th August 2014, 10:14   #9
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
There are some manufacturers who are against incorporating an AMT portfolio, but its popularity will make them come up with diesel ATs of their own in the sub-10 lakh segment.
Hi GTO,

Why are some OEMs against incorporating an AMT in their vehicles, i'm not sure if cost factor is the reason?

Thanks

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Old 7th August 2014, 11:05   #10
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Originally Posted by amitpunjani View Post
Why are some OEMs against incorporating an AMT in their vehicles
From my interactions so far, engineers from Toyota, Honda, Hyundai etc. don't seem to be keen on offering AMTs. This might of course change if AMT takes off in a big way in India, but I'm making this comment based on their current attitude toward AMTs.
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Old 7th August 2014, 12:13   #11
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Using a manual requires more skill than an automatic. Driving without stalling the engine is a skill. Doing an incline, Doing a reverse in a sloped parking slot without hitting the vehicles front & rear is an art. There are people who love to do it and be proud of their skill. Manual gives a joy for those love such challenges.

The other aspect is that in manual drivers feel in charge of the vehicle. Auto boxes can be superior but it behaves with its own mind. There are Enthusiasts who prefer that the car behaves based on the drivers mind. I feel there may be only a handful of people who think that they can outperform an auto box.

For some, using the manual is macho while using an automatic is not. This of course will change over a period of time. This will go similar to how the kick start vs electric start went in the bikes. There were people who didn't want an electric start because it looked not so macho. Men will kick start their bikes! Now the electric start has permeated all over

Perhaps as an extreme example - imagine a 4x4 enthusiast trying to do an obstacle and wants to do in 1st gear. The auto box may have a mind of its own and easily clear the obstacle. The point is there are people who want the car to behave as they wish and it necessarily does not mean that they are trying to outperform auto boxes
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Old 7th August 2014, 12:33   #12
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
The manual shift will take a long, long time to disappear from India.

Till we cling on to 'kitna deti hai?' (what's the FE?) as the primary criterion for deciding which car to buy, autoboxes don't stand a chance! Look at the way AMTs are being advertised - the focus is on better mileage than a manual 'box. Else very few would buy it!
Agreed, the change will take years to kick in, but I believe the urban population is changing.

I myself preferred buying the Nissan Micra CVT, & it's doing very well for AT. Getting around 12-13 kmpl, which is same as my Manza Petrol.
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Old 7th August 2014, 12:52   #13
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

Automatics have definitely come a long way. On paper, they are actually better; quicker, smoother and more fuel efficient. As the years pass, they are also becoming more and more reliable. BMWs dual clutch automatic is an excellent example, then there's the new Corolla with which Toyota have managed to drastically reduce the pleasure-starving rubber band effect of an otherwise ingenious transmission technology (CVT).

However, this is where I feel manufacturers are going wrong. Concentrating on what figures come printed out on that sheet of paper after tests, just saps all the fun out of driving. I am not saying I can outpace an autobox in a straight line, but the reasons why I love a good old manual, is because it gives me more control and I feel like I am more connected with the machine. It's not merely the noise, feel of the road and the speed that the needle indicates im going, it's also the feel of the clutch, the slotting of gears through the gates and the resultant reaction from the motor, the blipping of revs and the resultant cocktail of adrenaline and a compulsion to grin

Big budgets, labs, tests, timing and figures are good but sometimes I feel they are playing too big a role in the process of developing a car today. If we just held back on using the wind tunnel so much, asking test drivers what they thought instead of always looking at the lap times, and providing automatics only to the busy folks who value convenience more than anything (since no amount of money spent will ever develop an autobox that can emulate the feel of a manual), then we'd have a lot more cars with soul out on the streets

Last edited by IshaanIan : 7th August 2014 at 13:03.
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Old 7th August 2014, 14:01   #14
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

It is the involvement that I love in MTs.

I never get the "kick" of driving in autos..

And in India, the mentality towards AMTs or ATs will take a lot of time.

Manual will still rule the roost for the near future as well.
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Old 7th August 2014, 14:28   #15
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Default Re: Manual transmission isn't dead yet

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Originally Posted by arnabchak View Post

I never get the "kick" of driving in autos..
Polo/Octavia tsi's ..for the "kick"
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