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Beginning of the end of manual transmissions in cars

Recent cars launched like the Scorpio N, XUV700, Skoda Slavia etc manufacturers have shown step motherly treatment towards manual transmissions.

BHPian Gypsian recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Is it the beginning of the end of manual transmission stick shifting in cars ? Will the "stick" be put to rest in the near future?

These doubts arise if one peruses the engine and transmission specifications of the new cars and their model line up. Recent cars launched like the Scorpio N, XUV700, Skoda Slavia etc manufacturers have shown step motherly treatment towards manual transmissions.

For instance, the Mahindra Scorpio N top variant is not equipped with manual transmission and if an enthusiast desperately wants to opt for manual transmission, he will loose out on other features and gizmos of top end vehicles. Similarly, the Volkswagen Virtus or Skoda Slavia with their 1.5 litre petrol turbo engine are equipped with the DSG gear box. What precludes these manufacturers from providing top trims with manual transmission? Or has the auto industry conspired to slowly but surely make us prepared to get rid of manual transmission? Will the stick shifts fade into obscurity?

Hope the manual transmission does not join the automotive fossil record even before the internal combustion engine.

Here's what BHPian Rajeevraj had to say on the matter:

Of course that is the case. The shift towards automatics has been slowly and surely happening over the last several years. Most people out there just want a car for a point A to B hassle free commute. If an automatic is given without too much of a budget or mileage impact( which is what has happened with the advent of AMTs and more efficient TCs, CVTs and DCTs), most people are preferring that. Not to mention the insane traffic across most cities.

Also, I don't think being an enthusiast is only about the transmission. Even within this forum, if you look at the AT vs MT threads, you can see the marked shift in preference towards ATs. In most cases a fast automatic with tiptronic or paddle shifters is good enough to satisfy an enthusiast from a drive perspective.

MT variants for any model will keep reducing and and some point it will make no economic sense for the manufacturer to keep it running and it will get killed. Will take time, but definitely will happen.

Here's what BHPian shancz had to say on the matter:

MTs will end when EVs/Hybrids(like the City) become mainstream.

Till then the MTs will happily exist in mass market/budget cars. Expensive cars might end up with the MTs only in their base versions as the target audience for those is primarily cab and fleet operators.

Or looking at VW/Skoda like you mentioned, this has already begun.

Here's what BHPian harshbhat had to say on the matter:

Very interesting thread. I recently bought a new car with DCT transmission. I already own an MT car and I was actually looking to buy a manual car again. When I test drove DCT car, discounting the convenience of not having to shift the gears(which was not a concern for me), I felt the shifts are very quick leading to smooth and quick acceleration which led to sportier driving experience. Clubbing it with cruise control, car automatically downshifts when it needs to pick-up speed for the set speed. As others mentioned, now people don't mind paying small premium for automatics.

However, I really enjoy driving manuals also. There is connection to the drive when you're shifting gears. I think both manuals and automatics should co-exist as they offer different driving experience. I don't think automatics are "upgrade" or replacement to manual. They just offer different driving experience unless you don't know how to drive a manual or a knee problem in left leg.

Here's what BHPian Laidbackakki had to say on the matter:

So I was a "manual head" for the first 12 years of my driving. Drove a few AMT's and just hated them. The shifts were jerky and absolutely no confidence while quick overtaking. I still hate the AMT's. Maybe I am unable to get the timing right while shifting the gears in manual mode( Having not spent enough time driving AMTs I suppose) but when the opportunity to own a skoda TC came, i pounced on it, reason being I was just blown away by the smoothness and the quick response. The more I drove it the less inclined I became to drive the manual car in my garage. So in my case my enthusiastic needs were taken care by the sports mode of the TC. So recently drove a Tuscon auto on a ghat section and my love for the manuals came back. I actually lacked confidence while doing some overtakes. So what I think is this- if you want to be absolutely confident while driving a friends car while on trips etc manual is the best to have your general confidence while driving. The confidence while driving autos purely depends on how good a auto gearbox is. So I feel MT is going to stay for the forceable future. So OEMs going the EV/Hybrid route will see manuals phased out.

Here's what BHPian GForceEnjoyer had to say on the matter:

Unfortunately, the future of the manual is definitely not at its brightest right now. Automatics have improved so dramatically in the past decade that they have a significant edge over manuals performance wise. They can also be fun in their own way, for example the brutally fast shifts from our Superb's DSG is are absolutely incredible to experience.

A topic I don't see discussed much is how manuals seem to be becoming worse (not as a whole, but as a significant proportion of the total). Rev hang for example; an extremely infuriating characteristic engineered into them to prevent the revs dropping too fast and causing the air fuel mixture to run rich. It makes shifting smoothly extremely difficult, and makes you wait an age to be able to rev match upshifts.

Quite a few cars have also had clutch delay valves for a while now, which prevents inexperienced drivers from letting out the clutch too fast at the wrong time and shocking the drive train, but do interfere with enthusiastic driving. It doesn't help that many manuals are geared insanely tall to meet fuel economy and drive-by noise regulations, all of which sours the experience.

The manual will probably be kept alive for a while for cost purposes as well as for some niche driver centric sports cars, but it has certainly fallen away from being the default choice of transmission. The saving grace becomes the competence of modern automatic transmissions, which allow you to have loads of fun regardless of the fact that you aren't changing gears yourself. And for the purists, modifications (read, deleting the clutch delay valve and coding out rev hang) do exist.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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