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Manual transmissions : a dying breed

The act of shifting gears in a manual transmission is what many automotive enthusiasts (myself included) consider to be the one purest driving experiences you can have. I guess there isn't really anything that is much like it. When you are driving a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission not only do you get to manually select the gears. But your are also in control of the clutch engagement and how to engine and transmission interact with each other via the clutch pedal. Driving a manual may not be the most convenient way to operate a vehicle but few car enthusiasts would argue that is it the most satisfying!




Enthusiast do not drive the market

Sorry to burst your bubble but not everyone feels the same way about cars as you and I do. Let's be honest a lot of us "enthusiasts" are driving "old" cars off of friends and are not going to dealerships buying new cars . Yes we know they don't make them like they used to but they are selling a lot more cars the way they are being made now. I hate to break it to you but car enthusiasts and commuters are to two different types of customers. Could you imagine something like a brand new Honda Accord having bucket seat, coilovers, and a six speed. They would sell far less of them if they were made that way. But instead they are marketed with words like fuel efficiency, comfort, multi-way power adjustable seating, Climate control, and auto transmission. That sounds like a whole bunch of positives to most of the population. That is why they consistently sell millions of cars! Simply put most people are not automotive enthusiast.




The great compromise

Although enthusiast do not drive the market. Thankfully there are plenty of us in the engineering department. I don't know about you but I remember the dual clutch transmission being only reserved for rare/exotic cars and racecars. Heck even the Hyundai Ioniq is equipped with one. Not only can Dual clutch transmissions shift blazingly fast but they can be "manually" controlled via paddles behind the steering wheel. Now picture this, for the first time ever there is a commercially viable transmission configuration that not only can shift smoothly on its own. But the same driver can also take control of that same transmission and control those shifts with the utmost precision and at lightning speed!


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Conclusion

While it seems like the end of the Manual gearbox is upon us. I do believe it is ultimately for the better. For instance if you are a performance oriented driver. Instead of feathering the clutch and rev matching to a lower gear. You can focus more on your steering angle and throttle position out of the Apex. It seems like we are all afraid of a world of "boring" cars. But we are definitely a ways away from that. There are many changes coming to the way we drive and interact with our vehicles. Some are for the better some are for the "boring" What is your opinion of the current state of modern cars?



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