Mason's Monolog

I’d like to discuss the age old debate in the car world: automatic or manual?

Of course, it all comes down to personal preference, but there are elitists, so to speak, on both sides of the debate. I personally prefer driving a car with a manual transmission over an automatic, but I currently drive an automatic.

When I first got my driver’s license, I had no idea how to drive a stick (manual). My first experience driving a standard was in a 1996 Mazda MX-6. I had the fundamentals explained to me and then I took my first drive in a parking lot. I admit, with it being my first time driving a stick shift, I killed it a good amount of times, but slowly I started to get the hang of it.

I’m lucky enough to have a couple of friends that drive five speeds, so I had plenty of time to practice and get comfortable with it. When I was first learning, the main thing I had issues with was getting a smooth rolling start. Getting that clutch to gas ratio when you’re taking off is kind of difficult when you’re first starting out. There was one drive that really helped me get that ratio down and that was a PT Cruiser. The clutch in that car left absolutely no room for error, which is what helped me get the hang of driving a stick shift. After that, I had little error in any other car I drove.

There is a learning curve when you drive a manual car, but it’s such a great experience. Whenever I’m behind the wheel of a five speed, I enjoy every bit of the drive. I’ve gotten to the point where it just feels natural.

Some people may not like a manual because they don’t like shifting or because they can’t get a handle on a smooth shifting pattern.

Same goes for an automatic...some people may not like them because they like shifting or maybe feel automatics don’t require as much skill to drive.

I think everybody should know how to drive a stick shift because you never know when you’re going to need it, and because it’s a more involving experience, so to speak. With a standard transmission, you’re spending time rowing through the gears, shifting up or down, paying attention to your clutch to gas ratios, rev matching when down shifting, among other things.

In an automatic, you use the gas to speed up and the brakes to slow down. The driving experience is less involved.

There’s no good or bad...right or wrong...just personal preference in the driving world.


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