My first car was a stick-shift and my wife still drive a stick but I have to admit, auto makes life a little easier!! In your quest for better fuel economy and more value, don’t overlook the benefits of a manual transmission. In our tests, we’ve found that a stick shift can improve gas mileage by a notable 2 to 5 mpg, compared with an automatic transmission, and can cut a car’s price by $800 to $1,200.
Manual transmissions also improve acceleration, sometimes significantly. That can be a welcome benefit with a smaller engine. And many drivers find driving with a stick more engaging and fun, although that can depend on the car.
We bought several manual transmission equipped vehicles of different types and ran them through our fuel economy and acceleration tests. Then we compared them with similar automatic-equipped versions that we’d previously tested. (An exception: We compared the Mini Cooper manual with the automatic Clubman version, which is a bit longer and heavier, though it has the same engine.)