Published at Tuesday, 14 April 2020. manual car. By Roy Masse.
The manual transmission is on the endangered species list. Every year fewer and fewer cars are offered with a clutch and a shifter. Why? Americans just don’t want to be bothered with the chore of working a clutch with their left foot and shifting with their right. And sports car manufacturers are the worst offenders when it comes to quitting on the stick shift. Because the newest computer-controlled automatics can shift more quickly than any human can, engineers see the manual transmission as outdated.
Hill start assist isn’t exclusive to stick-shift cars, but the feature makes it easier to master one of the tougher skills of driving a manual: starting on a hill without rolling backward. Without hill start assist, quick footwork on the gas and clutch — or a hand-operated parking brake applied in tandem — will keep you from rolling backward, but get it wrong and you’ll stall the engine. Hill start assist grants more time to start off by briefly holding the brakes after you’ve released the brake pedal. It’s a common feature on cars as affordable as the Honda Civic and Ford Fiesta.
Even if you’re among the rare car buyer who prefers to drive a manual, you’ll have a hard time finding one the next time you go to a dealership. Some manufacturers keep the manual around as an excuse to charge more for an automatic or CVT, but the flip side of that is it’s difficult to get a well-equipped car with a manual transmission. If you want options such as engine upgrades or all-wheel drive, those features often come only on models or trim levels that do not offer manual transmissions. Sports cars, which used to be surefire ways to get manual transmissions, are also turning toward faster and more efficient automatic options.
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