cars: manual (stick) or auto

shootthebandit

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May 20, 2009
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Im from britain and ive only ever driven a manual (stick shift) and automatics are most unliked. It got me wondering about america as you guys are the opposite not many drive a manual. Also we tend to prefer small hatchbacks where as you guys prefer a big saloon or 4x4

Is this true? Do any yanks here drive a small manual hatch and do any of our brits drive a big automatic saloon. If so is there any sort of stigma attached to the car you drive e.g people in britain with an automatic are sometimes seen as people who cant drive a "proper" car or if you drive a big saloon or a 4x4 you seen as a [insert chosen swear word]
 

MrWunderful

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May 27, 2013
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I'd say the majority here drive an automatic- unless they are into performance driving. With that said, there are so many vehicles here in the USA it would be impossible to say "most" of us drive one or the other. There are Tons of small, efficient vehicles here in California, while just as many huge 4x4's, old jalopies, high end luxury, etc.
 

shootthebandit

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MrWunderful said:
I'd say the majority here drive an automatic- unless they are into performance driving.
even this is unusual for us brits we drive manuals even if its not for performance

Also do you guys need a seperate license for a stick. In UK if you got your license in an automatic you are prohibited from driving a manual
 

MrWunderful

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May 27, 2013
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shootthebandit said:
MrWunderful said:
I'd say the majority here drive an automatic- unless they are into performance driving.
even this is unusual for us brits we drive manuals even if its not for performance

Also do you guys need a seperate license for a stick. In UK if you got your license in an automatic you are prohibited from driving a manual
no special license needed in California.
 

Vegosiux

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May 18, 2011
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Having driven both, I prefer to go with manual. It makes driving a lot more pleasurable, since there's more interaction. Plus, it's better fuel efficiency and it's not hard to learn.

Oh and I've driven large cars with manual, too. I didn't really notice any difference from small cars, at least not related to shifting gears. Now parallel parking, that's entirely another story.
 

Abomination

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Dec 17, 2012
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I frequently have to navigate Auckland City and the extra considerations one must make, the stopping and starting, hills combined with unexpected one-way-streets, parallel parking make having a manual slightly impractical.

I prefer manuals for long-distance trips but on my commute I tend to need an extra hand free to deal with some work related issue.
 

Saladfork

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Jul 3, 2011
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Well, I've never driven a Standard before, but I'm going to have to learn anyway because I intend to get a motorcycle at some point and the only automatic bikes are quite new and thus quite expensive.
 

Jamieson 90

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Mar 29, 2010
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I'm a Brit and drive an automatic since I've never really understood the logic in making things harder for yourself, I mean I want to drive and get from A to B not have to be constantly changing up and down, sure if you're that into performance then you'd want a manual but for daily commuting and getting stuck in rush hour an automatic is a godsend, but in the end I guess it just comes down to personal preference.
 

Berithil

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Mar 19, 2009
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I learned on an automatic, and it took me a couple years before I finally got around to trying out a manuel transmission. But I can drive both.

Also, no special license required to drive either/both. Just a regular drivers license, at least here in Oregon.
 

an annoyed writer

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Jun 21, 2012
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I'm from the states, and for the most part I've driven automatics, including my current vehicle, an SUV, or 4x4 as you Brits call it. We don't really have a separate license for manual vs. automatic vehicles, since manuals were eclipsed by automatics during the 60s here. We have bigger, wider roads here, so most of our vehicles are a bit bigger in North America, and that is across all sectors. The big rigs here are usually of the conventional pattern due to aerodynamics, as opposed to the cab-over pattern that most Euro-Trucks, or lorries, due to our lack of your length regulations. The states are also the birthplace of the Full-Size SUV, which is bigger than the average 4x4 elsewhere in the world. Our small 4x4s are regarded as "Full-size" in places like Asia, India, Europe, and most South-American countries, though seeing some of our bigger trucks in those places is not unheard of.

As Mr. Wunderful said, manual-transmission vehicles are usually more popular in performance-driving circles, but they're also popular in delivery driving companies as well. It's very rare to find a lorry or a work truck with an automatic transmission, for example.
 

Catfood220

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I learned to drive in a manual and thats what I drive in my personal life.

However for work I drive automatics as the gear changes tend to be much smoother than a manual.
 

SSJBlastoise

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Vegosiux said:
Oh and I've driven large cars with manual, too. I didn't really notice any difference from small cars, at least not related to shifting gears. Now parallel parking, that's entirely another story.
You can notice a hell of a difference when you haven't driven much in a manual haha I drove a Hyundai Excel for a week when my car broke down and then 6 months later I had to drive the work Transit van which was a pretty different experience haha

I can drive manuals but I'm not confident enough to go out of my way to buy one, well not at this stage, maybe in the future.
 

TehCookie

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Sep 16, 2008
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I learned how to drive a manual but I haven't driven one since, and there is no way I would drive one regularly because I'm terrible at uphill take off. Automatic is a lot easier and for someone like me who doesn't like driving in the first place easier is better.

Being from the Flint/Detroit area a lot of people drive GM or Ford, and a lot of those vehicles tend to be on the bigger side.
 

Ryotknife

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Oct 15, 2011
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Even though I and all of my friends drive stick, I would say that the majority of Americans drive automatic. I don't even think you can rent a manual car. Also, it appear fewer and fewer new cars have a stick option. Although, I would say the older generation, particularly men, mostly drove stick or at least learned how to drive stick.

I do find stick to be a lot more fun (and more control). That said driving a stick SUCKS in traffic jams. Especially if you are going at a speed in between gears.
 

yeti585

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Apr 1, 2012
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I'm from the states and am studying cars. Most people here drive an automatic, and fewer people know how to drive a stick as time goes on. I could go out on my street and maybe find one standard/stick/manual transmission car.

The main people who drive stick are car enthusiasts. You'll find these people driving muscle cars, jeeps/off-road vehicles, and tuned imports. Though there is the rare occurrence that you find a stick in a '96 volvo sedan or the like. Many of our big pick up trucks (read: overcompensation mobiles) don't actually come in a manual transmission.
 

Heronblade

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Apr 12, 2011
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US here, almost the only manual transmissions I've seen locally were on high performance vehicles and vehicles for use other than personnel transport (IE tow trucks, tractors, a few of the ultra heavy duty trucks)

I do know how to drive a stick, mostly because I've had to use several of the latter category above, but that ability is relatively rare around here.

As far as stigmas go, there's nothing of the sort attached to using manual. If anything, its a positive. Nor is there one for driving smaller vehicles, at least by default.

There is however a stigma attached to using a vehicle with very little power of any kind behind it, regardless of its size. The local culture likes vehicles that can heft a large load, and vehicles that go fast. vehicles that kind of putz around are somewhat ostracized, even if they are more efficient. Its an attitude that I find rather annoying a good portion of the time, especially when it leads to some schmuck roaring around in a hummer that has never even seen a dirt road.
 
Mar 26, 2008
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Manual all the way. I feel I might as well be driving a go-kart if I don't have that extra control over the vehicle. However in Australia they seem to be passively steering people away from manual transmissions.

Captcha: fuddy-duddy. Yes I'm aware my attitude may be a bit old fashioned!
 

FoolKiller

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Feb 8, 2008
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Canadian here. A lot of people drive automatic. And I must admit when stuck in rush hour traffic, it is preferable. I hated spending an hour shifting hundreds of times to only go a couple of kilometers.

However, I always like manual as it always has better performance than its automatic peer as well as better fuel efficiency and control.
 

TheWanderingFish

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May 1, 2013
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I much prefer driving stick. It is a thousand times more fun, and in the Canadian winters, the control you get with a manual is unparalleled for driving in snow.
That being said, because everything in North America tends to be spread out more, long distance driving can be easier with an auto. I mean, the nearest city of over a million people is 2 hours away. Manual can get tedious when you make that kind of journey frequently.
 

Woodsey

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Aug 9, 2009
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Abomination said:
I prefer manuals for long-distance trips but on my commute I tend to need an extra hand free to deal with some work related issue.
That just sounds like a euphemism for wanking at the wheel.

OT: British, so learnt with a manual and will very likely drive a manual in 300 years when I can afford an automobile.