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Automatic vs. stick-shift

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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby mifflander » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:49 pm

narcoleptish wrote:And the loud locks....


The few cars I've had with a remote lock/open feature all have the ability to mute the noise and headlight flash is so desired. Maybe some folks don't realize they can turn that off if they choose. Doesn't everyone read their owners manual from cover to cover whenever they acquire a new vehicle?

As far as auto/stick, my last two cars had those auto-stick, 4-matic type trannys where you could just put it in D and go or choose the shift option. I usually just put it in D and go. Those trannys just seem like a half-hearted effort by manufacturers to try and appeal to driving enthusiasts while still putting an automatic in every car since that seems to be what most people prefer.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby jjoyce » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:58 pm

I never learned to properly drive a stick when I was growing up, mainly because there wasn't one in the family. I would attempt to learn on friends' cars until they demanded I get out of the driver's seat. There was also a memorable shift at the wheel of a Volkswagon on the way to D.C. where I startled my two passengers awake at every toll booth. The car's owner relieved me of my driving duties on the way home and assured me that no grudge would be harbored.

Then shortly after college, I bought a friend's Civic hatchback. He gave me a quick tutorial around the block in his Chicago neighborhood and then it was up to me to get it back to Madison. I nearly wrecked the thing at every stoplight and tollbooth between there and here and was pulled over near O'Hare for driving erratically. The mustachioed Chicago cop didn't write me a ticket, but wasn't very pleasant.

The day after I got it home, I jerked it out to Lot 60 and told myself I wasn't going to leave until I got it smoothly out of second 20 times in a row. So I chased a herd of geese around that lot for like an hour-and-a-half before assessing myself as competent. I loved that car, despite its lack of a reliable heater or stereo. Women lucky enough to go on dates with me during those years were offered a Pendleton wool blanket and the job of switching tapes in the boombox. I often thought that I'd be able to live happily ever after as long as all of my possessions could fit in that Civic.

The car I drive now -- a money Mazda Protege 5 -- also has a stick and I love it just as much as the Civic except for those rush hour trips to big cities, when I feel like my lower back muscles might give out completely and force me to pull off the highway.

I heard the guys on Car Talk giving some advice to a guy who was trying to teach his kid to drive stick. They said stick it in first and instruct the kid to get it moving without using the accelerator, just by feathering the clutch.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby kurt_w » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:07 pm

mifflander wrote:
narcoleptish wrote:And the loud locks....


The few cars I've had with a remote lock/open feature all have the ability to mute the noise and headlight flash is so desired. Maybe some folks don't realize they can turn that off if they choose. Doesn't everyone read their owners manual from cover to cover whenever they acquire a new vehicle?


Yeah, I have mine muted. The only sign I'm clicking the locks is ... a faint click.

Except -- if I accidentally hit the "lock" button on the remote while one of the doors is open, then the horn lets loose. Doesn't happen often, but it's embarrassing when it does. Usually it's not that I'm trying to lock the car with one of the doors open; it's just that I'm getting in or out of the car with my keys and coffee and map and briefcase and whatnot clutched awkwardly in too few hands, and the button on the remote accidentally gets squeezed.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby donges » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:22 pm

Almost all manual for me starting with a '70 Beetle as a first car. Just felt more fun even if the car was a complete dog.
A lot of fun cars that way through the years - 68 VW camper, Opel Manta (with no brakes and self installed plywood floorboards), Opel GT (still my favorite car - wish I could find one now!)....
Now it is a Mini which is incredibly fun even though I don't drive that much any longer.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:50 pm

Always had a manual transmission. I like the feeling of controlling the car. I also feel it forces me to pay attention more to my driving because of that control. There are times when it's less convenient. As stated, stop and go traffic does suck, but I found I've gotten used to it. Also, eating in the car, but I've learned how to do that pretty damn well.

Driving a manual tranny(ha) in the snow is a whoooole lot easier. You can really control the traction on your car. Two other fun feature: Driving down the highway with friends and taking the keys out of the car(dumb high school trick. Turn the key back and it's as if nothing happened) Also, you can "pop the clutch" I used to leave my lights on as a young lad and kill the battery. If you hold down the clutch, have the ignition on, and then have someone push you, at about 5 miles an hour or so you can release the clutch and your starter/alternator(not sure which one) gets the battery charged and going. It's been a while since I've done this so cars may not have that ability anymore.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby HawkHead » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:59 pm

Our dad bought a stick-shift in the early 80s so that all of the kids would learn to drive stick. He hated stick-shift and would only drive in 2nd and 4th gears. It made for some interesting trips in traffic with him driving.

All the cars I have bought have been automatic. I might get a stick again when my son is old enough to drive.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby Mean Scenester » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:09 pm

I learned on a stick and with one short-lived exception always drove them up until it was time to give in to minivandom after the whole procreation stage of my marriage. I always felt odd driving an automatic. When you're used to driving stick it feels too easy to just be using one foot and have your hands idle most of the time. I still think manual is more fun to drive and engages the driver more. I'm with Stebben on that point. You just can't space out driving a stick as easily as you can when the car is shifting for you.

That said, there's really no practical reason to go out of your way for one anymore. It used to be you could potentially realize better mileage with a manual, but in the age of computer-regulated fuel injection, that's no longer the case. And the transmission systems themselves are better engineered and longer lived than they used to be. The drive train warranties offered by many manufacturers are pretty much proof of that.

Like JJ said, the clear advantage of an automatic comes into play when you find yourself creeping in Chicago rush hour traffic. At such times, it positively sucks to be driving stick.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby mifflander » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:16 pm

Mean Scenester wrote:It used to be you could potentially realize better mileage with a manual, but in the age of computer-regulated fuel injection, that's no longer the case.


And in real world applications these days I would venture that some people who would seek out a manual might tend to hot ass it a bit more, reving those rpms, thereby reducing their mpgs compared to an automatic.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby jjoyce » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:20 pm

mifflander wrote:some people who would seek out a manual might tend to hot ass it a bit more


I started hot assing it in the '80s and haven't looked back since.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby Mean Scenester » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:27 pm

You know what's ultrafucking stupid? Those automatics that allow you to shift into pseudo-manual mode to make up for your genital shortcomings.

I had a Nissan loaner with that feature and I couldn't make sense of the thing. Might have been smart for the rental guy to say something along the lines of, "Oh and the gearbox is the dumbest fucking setup you'll ever find on four wheels." I hit the beltline at about 50 per wondering why the tachometer was screaming at me before realizing I was in first gear in "manual" mode. "What kind of dope buys into this idiotic shit?" I wondered aloud.

Meh. Loaner. What the fuck did I care, right?

p.s. That Nissan was a shitbox of engineering from the rubber on up. Absolutely horrible design and driving experience. Don't think I'll ever consider that brand as a result.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:34 pm

Mean Scenester wrote:p.s. That Nissan was a shitbox of engineering from the rubber on up. Absolutely horrible design and driving experience. Don't think I'll ever consider that brand as a result.

Too bad. Loving my new (automatic-only) Nissan, and already hankering for another when it's time to put the other car to pasture.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby Mean Scenester » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:52 pm

This one was a Maxima, I think. Your miles may vary.

Heh.

I do like the look of that little Datsun throwback they make. The 250z or whatever. Way out of my price range though, I'm guessing. But then, thanks to Goobernor Walker, a fucking Radio Flyer is rich for my blood these days. A French Tickler has a better chance of stimulating the local economy than I do.
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby jjoyce » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:58 pm

Mean Scenester wrote:A French Tickler has a better chance of stimulating the local economy than I do.


Folks!
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby The Center Square » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:11 pm

...but can you drive 3 on the tree?
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Re: Automatic vs. stick-shift

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:49 pm

Mean Scenester wrote:When you're used to driving stick it feels too easy to just be using one foot and have your hands idle most of the time. I still think manual is more fun to drive and engages the driver more.


Agreed. My first 3 cars were manual, and after the last one (Kia Spectra) was totaled I ended up with an automatic out of expedience as the dealer didn't have a stick in the model I was looking for (another Kia spectra) on the lot. The first month with that car I think I nearly ripped the gear lever out 5-6 times trying to shift, and I'm shocked I didn't put my left foot all the way through the floor board.
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