A shift has been under way for years in automotive culture — the move from manual transmissions to automatics.
At the Denver Auto Show, Jaguar was so proud of offering a car with a manual transmission that they plastered that fact on the door.
I made the shift myself about five years ago. I used to love manual transmissions. The old story was that you could squeeze more performance and fuel economy out of your vehicle with a manual transmission. Now it’s the opposite for many newer vehicles.
And there’s the drawback of the pain of shifting in stop-and-go traffic. My last two years in Nairobi, Kenya taught me that it’s no fun to keep shifting over and over in heavy traffic. I almost vowed to never get a manual transmission again.
Then again, if someone offered me a new Mazda Miata with a manual for free, I would not turn them down.
Tip: One way to save fuel with an automatic transmission is to pop it into neutral while going down a mild hill. (Use this tip at your own risk. Results may vary. Some users have been known to have increased blood pressure.)