Picture this: You’ve just passed your driving test, you’re excited to get your first car. You come across a car you really fancy, but wait, what’s that? Automatic? You immediately turn the blind eye and move onto the next advert.

This is what I like to call “transmission elitism“. The sort of thing that affects many drivers of different ages. And for a while, it affected me, too.

Unlike the US, it’s common in the UK for most motorists to learn how to drive manual/stick shift. Mainly because the majority of cars sold here are manual, and with a full manual license you are able to drive automatics even without ever being taught how to drive auto.

Stick Shift Handling GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Like the majority of these motorists, I also decided to take the route of manually driving. And I also chuckled at the thought of driving anything else but stick.

My thoughts had pretty much stayed that way… Until I drove the new Toyota Corolla. At which point, I found myself in a bit of a transmission crisis.

Why Do We Care?

People care because they are entitled. Let’s just get that straight, if you have a skill, you should hone it. There’s no real problem with that.

But there’s others that are less inclined… Some people just can’t get used to using the clutch pedal and stick shift. So they opt in for automatic. There’s no problem with that.

But when a manual driver opts in for an automatic… People lose their minds.

An image of an automatic gear shifter from a Mazda 3
Many petrol heads will turn the blind eye just at the thought of seeing those very letters – “PRND”.

This unfortunate way of thinking is what I’ve felt first hand. You see, myself and my partner have recently bought an automatic. Shifting from manual labour to automation in a mere snap of the finger has never been more simple.

But then, we have others, who detest the thought of it. In fact, another writer from Scoopd has these very thoughts. For the sake of unanimity, I’ll not go any further.

But it’s what has lead me to write this. It’s all too easy to get lost in how we feel about something, and fearing the unknown. We care about the way we drive, because we don’t know any better.

Accepting Other’s Idealisation

Everyone has an ideal opinion over something. That is, to an extent, history. Need I say more about a certain man and a war that happened in 1939? Of course, I digress. An idealisation by dictionary definition is:

“The action of regarding or representing something as perfect or better than in reality. “

– The Oxford Dictionary

I often think this perfectly sums up the way people tend to think about their driving style. But in reality, driving manual OR automatic is neither perfect or better. If anything, it’s just what you want people to think about you.

No. You are not better than someone because you are driving a manual or automatic transmission. That would be obnoxious and pathetic.

Manual vs. Automatic. The Great Divide.

Instead, you have your own preference. An ideal way to drive.

Changing Opinions

I like opinions. Everyone will have them, everyone, at some point, will disagree with someone else’s.

Whether someone drives an automatic transmission or a manual… people will have an opinion. But it’s such a dated opinion. I, personally, have strong opinions over the use of SUVs & Crossovers and I totally understand that people probably won’t care about it. But, the way you drive is just a preference.

The open-mind approach is what we should be taking.

People may not understand how to correctly use a clutch pedal, or other’s might just want to drive without having to change gear. That’s okay.

What we should be thinking about is the future.

It’s no secret that electric cars are phasing out their gasoline alternatives. And with that, the most frequent choice for transmission is automatic. It’s simple really, there’s no actual use for a gearbox… I’m not ruling out the possibility of manual transmission in future electric cars. There’s just not really any point.

Hear me out, this isn’t a wave of transmission elitism here. I would actually love to see manual stick around. But we’ve got to think realistically.

The interior of a Tesla. Photo by Bram Van Oost on Unsplash

Electric cars are, as far as we are aware, the future. And transmission elitism may be a thing of the past.


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