5-Speed or Automatic?

Inspired by this post in the thread about Mini Coopers.

I just bought a Jeep Wrangler with an automatic transmission (and air conditioning - yeah, it’s a convertable but I want cold ait blowing toward my nipples anyhow). I wouldn’t even consider getting a 5-Speed anything, because my commute includes stop-and-go highway traffic and I live in a hilly town. I guess a lot of purists say if you’re getting a certain type of car (most often sports cars, but Jeeps , too, I guess) you’ve got to have a manual shift transmission.

Forget that, I say. I want to push the pedal and go. I don’t want to mess with shifting. It’s just too much trouble. And before you go saying “Oh, Winston, you’re just saying that because you don’t know how to drive a stick…” save your breath. I do. Probably better than you, as a matter of fact.

So, how 'bout it? Stick, or auto?

I vote!

Purists can go have sex with themselves.

For me? Stick. Keeps things interesting; I feel much more involved in the driving process. Hills? No problem. A little stop-and-go traffic now and then is not the end of the world either, though I suppose if it happened for twenty minutes every damn day, I might get tired of it.

Last car was an Acura Legend with a 5-manual; currently own a Maxima w/6-manual. Stick definitely ain’t popular these days. There are a number of sports coupes and roadsters out there with a stick (and a few monster pickemup trucks), but man, if you want a sedan with a manual transmission, there ain’t many to pick from.

Minis have six speeds, not five. At least I think so; it’s been a while since I got to drive my own car. But these rental cars always feel like they have something missing, and that missing thing is sixth gear.

PS I love to drive a stick, but I don’t think that automatics are stupid. Just most Automatic drivers (I keeeed!)

You didn’t have a “depends” answer. For me it does depend on the vehicle. My daily car is an automatic - its great for everything, no worries in snow etc. However, I also have a Nissan 300zx, and its a 5 speed and I wouldn’t want it to be an automatic, because that’s part of the fun of owning/driving that car.

For little cars/pickup trucks, I prefer manual. There’s nothing worse than being in a little car that keeps shifting for no reason or bogs down when going up a hill because the transmission can’t make up it’s damn mind. For anything else I’d be fine with an automatic.

I don’t have strong opinion either way. If I’m renting a car, I prefer automatic, because it’s one less thing to learn about an unfamiliar car, but when I rented a car in England for a week, it was a manual, and I was happy with that. But I’ve owned enough cars with manual transmissions that I quickly get used to them, and it requires little more thought than driving an automatic.

I drove manuals till I was 35. However, now that I have an automatic I don’t think I would ever go back. Manuals are just waaay to inconvenient for everyday use. Trying to enjoy a coffee on the way to work in a manual is not much fun. And getting stuck in stop and go traffic for more than a 1/2 hour gives you some nasty cramps in your clutch leg.
So unless I plan to do some auto racing sometime soon I don’t think I will be going back to stick.

My MINI (base model) has 5 speeds, the S models have 6. I wanted a ‘depends’ answer, too. I have been driving sticks for over 20 years, and all of our cars, except our full size van, have been sticks.

However, I’m not one of those snobs who scoff at automatics. For me, the choice has been driven by cost (on most cars, like my MINIs, autos are a more expensive option), or availability (MazdaSpeed 3 only comes with a stick).

If I found I car I liked and it had an automatic, I’d buy it. I am pretty sure my next car (if I get a next car. I love my convertible so much and I plan on driving it till it dies) will be an automatic. I’m getting old and sometimes I tire of shifting.

Automatic. When I drive, I want to go someplace, not play games with the car’s controls.

My current car is a Prius, so there wasn’t even an option.

My current car (Saturn Aura) is an automatic-6 speed paddle shift. Previous to this car, I always had manuals.
I almost never use the paddle shifter-what’s the point? The A/T does almost as good a job shifting.
Would I go back to a manual? Yes. I think paddle shifters are dumb.

Professionals drive manuals. Amateurs drive automatics. :smiley:

(I once live in the Bay Area and drove a five-speed manual. God, that was fun!)

I didn’t properly learn to drive a stick until I bought my first stick shift vehicle in 2003. I was…28 at the time. Now, I’m not sure I would go back. I live in Los Angeles, so yes, I know about stop-and-go traffic. I still find a stick much more interesting to drive except for the most extreme circumstances. Whenever I’ve had occasion to rent a car, I’ve found it boring. And I’m also one of those people who believe that certain sporty cars just should not come in automatic varieties.

I had somewhat of a difficult time finding a fairly basic sedan in a stick shift. One of the cars I was shopping for back in December was a Toyota Corolla. One dealership near me had 34 Corollas in stock with the other features I really wanted (mainly electric windows and cruise control). Only TWO of them were stick, and both were white. sigh

I drive a stick, but I don’t think automatic transmissions are stupid-- nor the people who drive them.

Standard transmissions make for a livelier drive, and I have the feeling that I have more control of the car with a stick. BTW, most of my driving is city driving, and though Montreal isn’t Naples or Paris, it’s active enough for me.

If you want to drive a car just in order to get somewhere, choose an automatic; if you want to enjoy driving, get a stick. IMNSHO, of course.

I will stop driving manual transmission when they pry the shift knob from my cold, dead hands. It sounds pretentious, but I shudder whenever I see someone driving a performance car like a Mustang or BWM M-Series that has automatic transmission. You might as well be driving a Taurus!

After 13 years, hills and traffic still don’t bother me.

I read that Jeremy Clarkson said, “Automatics are appropriate for the elderly and the invalid.” I can’t say I don’t agree.

Last year I bought a Mustang convertible, and only considered automatics. My previous car was also a convertible automatic (Chrysler Le Baron, which didn’t even offer a stick the year I bought it).

Like you, I can drive a stick no problem, and I can see why people might want a stick, but I don’t want to bother. I want to put the top down, and just enjoy my drive. Left arm hanging out the window, right hand holding a beer, steering with my knee, who can be bothered to shift… What?
Anyway, none of your options fit me, so I didn’t vote.

I grew up with manual cars because that is the prevalent type in South Africa, and switched to automatics in the United States because that is the prevalent type here. I definitely prefer automatics - I enjoy driving but more because of cruising through an interesting landscape and less because of having fine control over shifting, etc.

My wife used to have a manual Honda here in the United States which I drove occasionally, but she commented that I was much better at manual driving when we visited South Africa and drove on the left - I guess I developed the muscle memory for it.

I rented an automatic Mustang convertible for my Arizona road trip last year - no doubt this is heresy to some people but it did not diminish at all from the enjoyment of cruising through the desert at a constant speed. Some people can be pretty obnoxious about this (the Jeremy Clarkson comment is a good example). I don’t understand this - for most people driving is a task done to perform the goal of moving them from one location to another and not a hobby, of course automatics are more appropriate. Its like someone who likes model trains showing disdain for people who’s garages are not filled with little towns, or people who like programming VCRs complaining about machines where you don’t have to have a PhD just to change the clock. Other people just aren’t into it, and automatics are far more convenient if perfect racing control of the car doesn’t do anything for you.

I voted Automatic but not because “5-Speed transmissions are for high school kids and motor-heads.” I think they’re for people who like to drive stick, whatever their reason.

I’m a big baby and don’t even know how to drive a stick. Someone tried to teach me once and it was horrible. That’s way too much work for the simple task of driving. I think stopping and going is just about as much as I need to know.

I will only drive standards. My Jeep is a standard, both of my Mustang GT’s were standards, and my truck is a standard. My ATV and motorcycle are also standards. It’s just one more thing that I can control. Standards also last longer. When they do finally go out, you can still probably get home by skipping the bad gear or not using the clutch. With an automatic, you need a tow.