In between pumping out articles here at EFTM HQ myself and our Dictator Trevor Long often debate an issue or two, sometimes three. But more recently there’s been one topic that frankly is giving me the shits.
You see Trevor hates cars with a manual gearbox, which is fine but it’s his argument as to why that gets up my nose, it’s because he is purely lazy.
This is what the dope offers up for an explanation.
Sure when I was younger I loved the idea of having complete control, shifting every gear, learning a bit of heel and toe, and I did it on short drives and long drives no drama.
But now, when I think of city traffic, let alone just leaving a packed car park – I couldn’t think of anything worse than having a manual car.
I drove the Mazda MX-5 recently, LOVED having the stick shift, but – that’s because I got to take it for a real fang.
Bottom line, I’m older, lazier and am moving more toward autonomy of cars – what can this thing do to make my drive easier. Simple as that. Don’t see myself ever buying a manual – unless I strike it rich and get to have a weekend sports car:)
I reckon that at the very least anyone going for their L-plates should learn to drive using a manual car. I firmly believe understanding some basics about how a car actually mechanically functions will make you a better driver in the long run.
First of all, learning to coordinate your feet across all three pedals at the right times in tandem with your brain and actually driving the car is no mean feat, for a learner driver.
Take for example an intersection, one that sees your car on an incline. A manual requires you to nail the perfect balance between not rolling back, not slipping the clutch, indicating, keeping an eye out for oncoming traffic or even pedestrians.
Once a young mind masters all of that I think the end result is a more confident driver. The other thing is car control and engine braking, a skill few probably have today but what harm is there in at least learning these techniques.
Having said all of this I very much doubt I’d buy a manual car, unless I was looking for a true sportscar or hot hatch, the Mazda MX-5 and Hyundai i30 N come to mind. Also, it’s fair to say that modern day gearboxes are so advanced you’re actually at a disadvantage when it comes to fuel savings for example. The Ford Ranger which is a ute has 10 gears and we have these dual-clutch European gearboxes getting around, that change gears quicker than any human could. Plus the emergence of electric cars may see the end of gearboxes as we know them all together.
There’s also one other problem, just about every new car I drive these days does not offer a manual alternative. It’s really only the aforementioned performance cars and the odd off-road vehicle that let you tick the manual box option.
So in closing I’ve either just had an argument with myself, or I’ve debunked Trev’s attitude. Let us know!