On the surface, driving a car equipped with a manual gearbox today is like taking calls with a rotary-dial telephone.
It might be quaint, but driving a manual gearbox-equipped car in Singapore today poses some real challenges.
With our car population growing, traffic jams are getting more frequent, which means stopping and starting in traffic is becoming more common.
In addition, the lack of long stretches (aside from expressways) means your clutch leg gets a real workout whenever you’re on the road.
However, some drivers still swear by manual gearboxes.
The visceral, emotional connection that keen drivers have when shifting gearboxes is, in their mind, unrivalled by any automatic.
Not only that, manual gearboxes offer you more control over your engine, letting you be in the exact gear in that point in the rev range.
Here are a few reasons why some drivers swear by the H-pattern:
1. Cheaper to maintain. By design, a manual gearbox has fewer moving parts than an automatic. If something breaks on a manual, it’s usually cheaper and simpler to replace than on an auto.
2. It gets them more involved in driving. Anyone who drives a manual in 2019 is most likely an automotive enthusiast, who’ll tell you they prefer the “thrill” of a slick-shifting manual.
3. Get the power when you need it. As mentioned above, a manual transmission lets you slot into the right gear at the right point in the rev range, giving you full control. Automatics are getting better at knowing which gear you need at that point in time, but nothing beats full manual control.
4. The hero that everyone needs. Those who learnt driving on manuals (and still remember how to do so!) are lifesavers when it comes to driving manual-equipped cars when there’s nobody else around to do it.
5. Easier on the brakes. In a car with an automatic, it’s usually a linear application of the brakes when the driver approaches a stoplight. In a manual, you can downshift and use engine braking to come to a halt. Granted, you can do that too in an automatic but drivers rarely use the manual override option.