American buff book Car & Driver editor and Targa Newfoundland veteran, “Fast” Eddie Alterman, has gone all Jerry-Lewis-for-the-Kids-like and has made a YouTube plea to save the apparently soon-to-die manual gearbox. Now, Alterman says only about 1 in 10 new cars in the States are bought with three pedals. Why? Alterman doesn’t get into the details. But I will.
First, unless you live in The Centre of the Universe (i.e. the GTA), most Canadians don’t suffer the kind of gridlock most big, American cities do. And while enthusiasts consider having to engage and disengage a clutch, and then up- or downshift, as “fun,” most citizens think of driving as a chore, a necessary evil that if made easier is “better.”
I’ll point a finger at the automakers and politicians here too. With impending draconian fuel economy regs on the horizon, automakers are trying to squeeze as much out of a gallon of fuel as they can. So, to score better fuel economy numbers on government economy test drives, CVTs and dual-clutch automatics do a better job than a manual gearbox. For example, Honda’s new CR-Z Hybrid coupe sips less with its CVT than is six-speed manual.
I’ll also blame video games, well, because you can blame video games for any of society’s ills today.
Now, in Canada, especially among small cars buyers, manuals are more popular than in the U.S. Mainly because we’re cheap, and automatic transmissions aren’t. But even so, the majority of today’s cars are bought with slush boxes.
So is Alterman’s plea a worthy cause?
Or will manual transmissions go the way of station wagons, cloth upholstery and roll up windows?
[Source: Car & Driver]