Would you buy a stickshift car in 2022?

If I lived in a rural area I’d probably buy an old manual beater truck or three.

I admit that I suck at manual, it can be truly painful to watch me if you know what you’re doing, but I can still make it go, and if I got it for just a few hundred bucks like I often see in questionable used car lots when visiting rural states, I’d get one just for “farm use.”


When you’re stopped at an incline and need to start moving again, instead of balancing your car in first with your throttle (not really a good habit), or just being quick on moving from the foot brake to the throttle and clutch (which I find I’m not good at without rolling back or stalling once the grade gets steep enough), you use your parking brake.

Come to a full stop on the incline. Engage the hand brake fully. Let your foot off the brake and let the hand brake hold your car. When the light changes or traffic moves, get your car in gear and press the throttle to rev the engine a bit, then gently release the clutch until you feel the gear bite and the car start to want to move forward. Now you gently release the hand brake while releasing the clutch and giving it a little throttle to start moving forward. You should be able to do this without the car moving back even a centimeter. Once you get it down, it’s pretty stress free.

Here’s perhaps a clearer explanation. It’s mostly muscle memory for me:

Nope. No current plans to get arthritis. I did not suggest that automatic cars don’t have some big advantages or are easier to use. Or that everyone should drive stick.

Yes, but.

I live in the D.C. suburbs, an area usually rated in the top cities with the country’s worst traffic. There is nothing so fun as going through the twisties with a stick but nothing so miserable as 5 MPH stop-and-go traffic on the Beltway with a stick.

The last car I bought was not a stick but the model I wanted did not come with a stick option (Infiniti Q60S convertible). However, a seven-speed auto with paddle shifters and manual shift mode was a pretty good second-best. It’s a great compromise. So I’m happy.

The first vehicle I ever had that was not a manual (after four cars and two motorcycles) was a Toyota minivan, after we had two young children.

I’ve had three 240-Zs, a Mustang, and a Saab 9-2x that were all manuals. I love a manual in a sports car. I also drove a C-10 Chevy pickup with a manual (‘three on the tree’).

For a sports car, I’d buy a manual again. A good short throw stick is awesome fun to drive. For anything else, auto all the way. If I’m tooling along in an SUV, I really don’t need to shift for myself. There’s not much sporting about it, and it interferes with my coffee drinking.

A few things to consider:

  1. Manuals are apparently less likely to be stolen, because many young car thieves can’t drive stick.

  2. A manual may be harder to sell and not pull in as much money (aside from sports cars) because these days automatics are just too good and very few people want to drive a manual.

  3. Some modern sports cars have dual clutch auto-manuals, which you can shift just like a manual but without needing a clutch pedal. Maybe the best of both worlds, but pricey. This is different than a standard auto with paddle shifters. Many of those are just typical torque-converter autos that will allow you to ‘shift up or down’, but still behave like an auto in terms of feel and performance. On the crappiest ones you can shift with the paddle shifters but the car will still shift automatically if it doesn’t like the RPM you are choosing. Nothing like a car upshifting on you at the entrance of a corner to wreck your fun.

My 2020 jeep is a 6 speed manual. Automatic was $2500 extra and I’ve always driven a stick anyway.

Oh, O.K., got it, thanks. Yea, I think I’ve used that technique when I am stopped on a fairly steep incline, and there’s another car on my rear bumper.

Unlike my Miata, my Z4 does not roll back on an incline. I like that it doesn’t, but I’m not sure what’s going on. I guess there’s some kind of mechanism in the transmission or brake system that senses it? Not sure.

Here’s why I’ve never enjoyed driving those: there’s no feeling of true mechanical feedback, because the paddles are really just switches. With a real manual car, the shifter is an actual lever that’s physically connected to the shift linkage that selects the gears, which also means that your hand is a physical lever in this linkage too, which makes your body a part of the machine in a more vital way than it is with those shift paddles.

I keep thinking I’ll buy an automatic next but whenever I have to drive one I’m reminded that I don’t like the feel of them. It’s becoming harder to find the car I want in manual though so next time I’ll get an auto, I promise.

It probably has a hill start assist or something. My Subaru Outback will apply the park brake if you stop on an incline and then release it as you move on. I have this turned off but it’s there.

So far I keep buying stick. But a vehicle with good all wheel drive that can be locked into 4X4 mode would probably negate my reasons. I currently have a small 2WD pickup. The stick helps getting around in deep snow. Also more controlled start on ice.
I often drive very large company pickups with automatics in the winter. I find them harder to control on ice. Even in 4X4. But they start off easier.

For sports car, always a stick.

I have a 2022 manual transmission Bronco on order.
I just got my VIN and scheduled build date - 8/1. So, 2+ years since I put in my reservation.

My everyday car is a stick shift. When the time comes to replace it, the new car will also be stick.

Of course, I’m in Europe, where manual transmissions are the default and automatics are reserved for hybrid-type cars, rental agencies catering to tourists, and special factory orders.

I drove sticks for my everyday car for a long time. Loved them. But they weren’t good for Mrs. FtG so it’s been automatics of late. Now she doesn’t drive so I wouldn’t mind a stick for the next car.

Note: I never wore out a clutch despite driving some cars over 200k miles.

(The “stick shift,” shortened to “stick,” terminology has never made sense to me, and sounds awkward. “I drive a stick.” No you don’t, you drive a car. Besides, the gear selector in an automatic transmission vehicle is no less of a “stick” than the shifter in a manual.)

I grew up and got into my twenties without learning to drive a manual transmission car. None of my family or friends had one. At first it was some exotic thing that I rarely thought about, but by my mid-twenties, I had gradually adopted the view promulgated by those car magazines, that manuals were cooler and sportier than automatics, more fun to drive, and felt I was a bit of a wuss for not being able to drive one (no doubt aided and abetted by my developing a crush on a girl who drove one.) So I took a lesson in a manual with AAA, test drove a few different manual cars, and wound up buying a new Volkswagen GTI manual that I drove for 12 years. I fancied myself an impressive, cool, sporty guy for driving a fun-to-drive, manual car. When my GTI bit the dust, I upgraded to a certified pre-owned BMW 335i manual that I drove for a little over 7 years.

But by the time that car started needing an expensive repair every year, I was over it. I was tired of shifting gears, and I knew that modern automatics had caught up to if not surpassed manuals in performance and fuel economy. I traded it in for an automatic vehicle, and don’t see myself ever getting a manual again. Manuals have no practical advantage, and there is now no reason to buy one other than the fact that you personally happen to enjoy shifting gears, which I no longer did. I kind of feel like I’ve “outgrown” the idea that manuals are more fun to drive, and frankly view the idea, which I see is still being promulgated by those car enthusiast magazines, that manuals are more “engaging” or should be preferred by purists for some inchoate emotional reason like the idea that you’re just not a true “driver” unless you drive a manual as kind of juvenile and increasingly irrelevant.

Would I buy a stick shift in 2022? I bought one in 2021 and haven’t changed my mind, so yeah. In fact, leaning that BMW was not going to offer a stick in the 2022 M240i prompted me to move quickly to get my car before there were none left.

That said, the 8 speed auto and the corresponding software that runs it is amazing. It’s in every way the better option, both in terms of performance and efficiency. I just wanted that old school experience one more time.

It’s probably my last manual* though as this is probably my last gasoline powered car too. I expect that by the time I’m ready to move on from this car, there will be smaller, sportier options available in the EV market.

*barring any vintage cars I may or may not buy.

I’ve driven and still drive a stick since 1969. Current car is an Acura TSX from 2006. It needs some cosmetic front end repair, either a repaint or a vinyl wrap [a good wrap will last as long as a respray for much less than a complete strip to metal - primer - paint]. At 165k miles, it’s still mechanically sound, comfortable and the interior is 9/10. I will look at the new Acura Integra [an upscale Civic]. The Civic has grown over the years and is actually a bit larger than my old TSX. The manual is only available in the top trim, a bit over $40k, figure $45k with the BS add-ons. Wish me luck trying to find a dealer with a manual!!! The other option is to go EV though it’s about impossible to find one to even sit in.

Would you buy a stickshift car in 2022?


Though preferably, the car bought in 2022 would be a 1979-1989 Porsche 911 coupé without the tail. :wink:

Probably not. I drove a stick between 1988 and 2012 but stop and go traffic around Boston makes it more trouble than it’s worth. I enjoyed the better gas mileage, and more control in snow, but those benefits have mostly disappeared with modern auto transmissions. Cars are mainly transportation appliances for me these days.

I was going to say “sure, because I just bought one” but I realized “just” was 2½ years ago: I bought a '20 Civic sedan 2 days before Cristmas 2019 and it has a 6-speed manual. I searched long and hard for a manual and was told by the salesman that finally found me one that in the entire state of Oregon only 3 manual transmission Civics had been sold that year (I have no idea if that’s true).

I learned to drive on a stick and even in city traffic I prefer it over an automatic: it gives me a level of control that no automatic can match. Unless / until I can no longer drive a manual that will be my default choice. My wife has a lot of pain in her left knee and while she liked driving a manual when she was younger nowadays hates driving one.

My Civic has this and it works flawlessly. The adaptive cruise control will slow the car down from any speed to about 23 or 24 mph then simply shuts itself off to prevent the engine from stalling. If (general) you aren’t paying enough attention to catch that you have no business driving at all.

And the cruise control remains engaged even during gear shifts. Very nice when I downshift at ~60mph as I approach a hill.

It also has the hill-start braking and traffic light hold. Both very nice features that I was surprised to find in a manual.

The only thing I don’t like about having a stick shift: no remote start. That sucks on really cold mornings.