For the last half of the century, the go to gearbox in any car or truck was the manual transmission. Back in the day or as recently as 2006, manual transmission was a standard feature on wide range of vehicles ranging from sports cars to pick up trucks. Many consumers choose manual transmission over automatic gearbox because it offered a lot of advantages/benefits over their self-shifting cousins. Some of the advantages manual transmissions had over the automatic transmissions were that they weighed lesser, were easier to deal with, provided better fuel efficiency, and most important of all, they were really fun to drive and gave the driver total control over their automobiles. But as technology and the design of the automatic transmission improved, the advantages manual transmission had were slowly disappearing and were being replaced by the new generation of automatic transmissions in majority of the mass produced automobiles worldwide.
In the last year or so, many manufacturers are offering their models with either a torque converter automatic or an automated clutch semi-manual transmissions with the option of a manual or no manual transmission at all. But, that does not mean to say that the customer cannot choose a manual transmission as an option in their new vehicles, but it only means that manual transmission are becoming more of a niche than a mainstream feature in modern vehicles.
Cars like the Porsche 911 GT3, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Mitsubishi Evolution and others were only offered with manual transmission, but due the technological advancement and increase in efficiency, the current generation of these cars are only being equipped with automatic transmissions or are offering a manual transmission as an option to please the automotive purists, who prefer to shift gears themselves.
Today’s automatic and semi-automated transmissions are much more advanced compared to their predecessors of a decade ago. A decade ago, four speed automatic was the bread and butter of the automotive world, but now the four speed looks like an ancient relic when compared with the new six, seven, eight and even nine speed automatics. Modern automatic transmissions offer a lot of advantages over a manual transmission and makes the new automobiles more efficient. Some of the advantages of the modern self-shifting transmission include better fuel efficiency, faster shifting intervals between gears, and lesser strain on the engine and other drivetrain components.
At the end of the day, with all the latest advancements in the automatic transmission technologies and manufacturing, manual transmissions are losing the advantages they had over a decade ago. Majority of the automobile consumers and manufacturers are also noticing the benefits automatic transmissions offer over the traditional and old school manual transmissions and this is leading to their gradual decline in the automotive world. While the automotive purists lament over the loss of manual transmission in modern cars, the rest of the automobile consumers will benefit from the constant advancement in automatic transmission technologies and will be rewarded with more efficient, easier to maintain, and more fuel efficient vehicles. Rest assured, manual transmissions will stick around for another decade or so, but after that time period, their future does not look so bright and optimistic.