Why the Stick Shift?

Quite a few people who have read my Manual vs. Automatic article have wondered why anyone in their right mind would still use, drive, or even want a manual (stick shift) transmission in this day and age. They just don’t understand – after all, modern automatics are so much better (they say)… so much more reliable and easier and simpler and safer… you get the idea.

Instead of answering this question, I’m going to be coy and answer it with another question (actually several questions). So if you’re one of those people who wonders “why would anyone want to drive a stick shift?”, consider these questions as well, and maybe the answer will become clear to you:

  • Why do people still play aniquated games, when modern games are so much better looking, faster, more compelling, etc.?
  • Why do people still go hunting with bows & arrows, when modern firearms make it so much easier?
  • Why do people still fly prop-driven aircraft, when a modern jet engine is so much faster?

If you think about the answers to these questions, and still can’t imagine why anyone would want to drive stick shift (or why the stick shift is going to continue to be with us and relevant in the auto industry), then, well, I’m sorry – I can’t help you. But hopefully my questions have enlightened you to the reason why the stick shift hasn’t gone away, and why it’s not going to go away.

Simply put, the stick shift is no different than anything else – there will always be some people who prefer it. And there are many compelling reasons why people prefer it. Some people feel nostalgic for the “old” way of driving. Others prefer the challenge. Others like the control it gives them and the “feel” of it.

After all, as with most things, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to car transmissions. To some people, driving is just a way to get from point A to point B. For other people, the trip itself is what matters – and for many of those people, controlling the gear changes is just another part of the driving experience that they can enjoy.

Happy shifting!

Author: Keith Survell

A geek, programmer, amateur photographer, anime fan and crazy rabbit person.