Featured Articles

Paddle Shift or Manual: What do you prefer?

Posted in muscle cars, Nissan, Nissan GT-R, Pop Culture, Sports Cars, trends by MrAngry | November 17th, 2010 | 18 Responses |

It’s a pretty straight forward question really, and one that is targeted directly at the automotive enthusiast. Simply stated, which method of shifting gears do you prefer and why? If you grew up driving between 1950 and 1990, than odds are you’ve got some experience grinding the gears in a manual transmission. If however you began playing with high performance cars in the mid-90’s, then it’s very possible that you’ve never thrown a shift in your life. It’s not a bad thing, but a sign of the times that shows us how automotive technology is moving forward. In the past “true” driving enthusiasts drove stick shifts and wouldn’t be caught dead in automatics. The motion of depressing that clutch, throwing a shift and accelerating out of a corner was enough to get the juices of every petrol-head flowing.

As mentioned though, times are changing, and with the advent of new more durable dual-clutch paddle shifted transmissions, we’re finding the demand for the manual is starting to fade. As for me, I can see the appeal of both. Truth be told, there is nothing like nailing the throttle and rowing through the gears on a nice close-set manual. It makes the driver feel like they’re one with the car and provides a visceral driving sensation that is very hard to match. On the downside, manuals suck in traffic and if abused, tend to have more failures.

Nissan GT-R Dual Clutch Transmission

Paddles on the other hand also provide the driver with a visceral experience, but in a different way. If for instance, you’ve ever driven a car with a really good dual-clutch transmission, something like a Nissan GT-R for example, than you know how much fun it can be when you keep your foot nailed to the floor while you blip through the gears. Plus, you can do this while never taking your hands off the wheel, a big plus in my book.

Honestly, I like both styles of transmission, but for use in different applications. I’d take an nice manual transmission for a car that I drove as a semi-occasional daily driver and or on the weekends. For the track however, I’m all about the paddles. I think they provide you with quicker shift times and more balanced control when you’re driving at the limit. Plus with my size 14 foot, heal-toeing a manual tranny for me can be a total bitch. As always, I’m curious to hear what you think, so post up!

Our Best Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 Responses

  1. a says:

    I actually like a cluthless sequential manual like in a previous gen BMW.

  2. Canrith says:

    First off, thank you for saying that they both are great for their different reasons. I’ve got to chose paddles for myself, everything from just the ease of daily stop and go traffic to the consistently fast shifts just makes them suit my driving style better.

  3. With the advent of the PDK/dual clutch transmission, manual transmissions have become pretty much obsolete in supercars. They’re faster in every way and like you said, hands on the wheel.

    The clutch pedal offers a lot of precision that you simply can’t get with the flappy paddles. Just ask any hardcore four-wheeler.

    For every-day driving I prefer the connection you get with a proper manual transmission and a clutch pedal.

    But if I were racing, I’d want a dual-clutch box with flappy paddles.

  4. I actually only know how to drive an automatic. For the sake of others, I should NEVER be allowed near a manual since I used to get confused between D3 and D4 on my old car. I drove a Benz S-class once and got thoroughly confused because even though its automatic, the stick is located off the steering wheel and to go into Park you had to Press IN a button; it’s like the turn signal button. It’s bizarre. I can only drive manuals that are normal, not the weird ones in the steering wheel.

  5. BigRuss says:

    i grew up learning how to drive a manual… and i preferred it… hell first car i bought myself was a manual… ive had 2 manual cars in the past 5 years… the rest automatics cause the wife cant drive one… but ill take that 3rd pedal and a huge piece of steel stickin up out of the floor board any day of the week compared to them lil playstation controls

  6. nospaces says:

    flappy paddle is good enough for formula one its good enough for me.

  7. Mark Smith says:

    It’s funny because I know that you can get better performance out of the paddles, but I still like a manual. My wife does too. Her only complaint about her RX350? It’s an automatic!

    I grew up driving a manual in stop and go traffic up in the Bay Area and I commuted for years in a manual. Less convenient? Not to me. Heck, it gives me something to do other than grumble about the traffic!!

    Of all of the “daily driving” cars I’ve owned, only 2 (a total of about 6 years) have been automatics and my next car will be a manual.

  8. Lee says:

    I have only driven a diesel Toyota land cruiser manual the rest has been automatic, I think it would get a bit bothersome to live with a manual at least to me. Flappy paddle/dual clutch sounds quite good, never tried it though…

  9. Kiffie says:

    I drive a Volkswagen. In LA.

    Manuals in traffic are not nearly so bad as one might think, especially in a car with little more power than a horse-and-buggy. If I time it right on a fairly straight part of the freeway, I can keep a constant speed in second that lets me avoid shifting at all through Los Angeles gridlock. I tried this, once, in an automatic — never again. The thing couldn’t figure out if it wanted to be in first or second, and instead settled on trying to give me whiplash. Boo.

    It’s true, manuals take more skill to learn, they’ve got upkeep to consider, and if you’re inexperienced it’s easy to do something horribly stupid (like downshift to second at 65), but I enjoy the direct connection with the car too much to give it up for a little convenience.

  10. Jackie says:

    Does anyone know WHY some cars make the transmission in the steering wheel? what is the the point of that? All it takes is to accidentally confuse it with the windshield wiper and you just switched gears. It just seems very dangerous…

  11. eddie_357 says:

    i drive both manual and automatic,driving in the city with its gridlock traffic ,the automatic is great.but really iam old school i learned to drive on a manual and i like knowin how to drive seat of the pants ,matching syncro revs, heel toe clutch use,helped me understand how the engine and trans actually work. how YOU help them work together.once this is understood the double clutch paddle system is even more fantastic.i would have to agree with the person who said ,automatic heavy traffic, manual daily driver and paddles for the track because i have heard people complain about cars with advanced systems searching for gears in slow traffic- driving them nuts.

  12. andreous says:

    Manuals FTW. Save the Manuals, theyre a dying breed with all these new cars.

  13. chuggada says:

    I recently got a car with a manual transmission, my old car was an automatic. I at least think that everyone should eventually know how drive one, it helps me understand the workings of a car more and makes me more connected to the driving experience. I will probably never go back to an automatic now, I love it too much, I havent tried a paddle shifter yet but I would like to though.

  14. dusty says:

    I drive a standard in pretty heavy traffic on a daily basis and wouldnt have it any other way. With about 129k on my current car its getting time to do the clutch but other than that there has been little to no issues with the tranny. I also drive an auto from time to time and cant wait to get back to my regular car and row through the gears.

  15. SKETCH says:

    give me a manual gear box as long as the clutch doesnt feel like you’re trying to push a brick thru the floorboards, i prefer to be in total control of my car, i’ve been driving an automatic car for a lil over 3 years and i hate it with a passion, and all the auto/shift cars i’ve driven up shifted by themselves and refused to downshift when i wanted it to…stopped using it after the first 5 minutes, just left it on auto…havent tried a dedicated flappy paddle car, but i still think i’d miss having a shifter in my hand!!

  16. 98dsmgs says:

    Good article MrAngry! Im one of those mid-90’s children you speak of(93), and I have definantly thrown a few shifts in my lifetime. My current vehicle, a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse is a 5 speed manual, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love standards to death and when given the choice, will always choose the 3 pedaled model over the “fake” shift-tronic. Dont get me wrong, paddle shifters are awesome but the question asked, was what do yo prefer, and I prefer a manual:)

  17. Max says:

    I would like to say that I like both. I have born and brought up in India. And it was in 2006 that Automatic gearbox got a bit of hype. And somewhere around 2008 Honda Civic came out to be the first car to offer a Paddle Shift. I have drive Nissan GTR also but I would prefer a Paddle Shift of MR2. But yes if one is racing then Paddle Shift is good. But when driving normally i prefer Manual. I love the experience when i release the gear and car rises from front and unleashes its power.

  18. Azrai Hafiz says:

    Good result on my mind blowing, because new car in Malaysia proton PREVE premium edition shift stick and paddle shift in transmition..so you solve my problem