People talk about driving a stick shift these days with fear in their voices—unless they can drive stick, and then they’re probably making fun of everyone who can’t. Regardless of the Great Divide between manual and automatic drivers, the truth is that there are benefits and drawbacks to both, and which one you decide to drive depends entirely on your driving habits.
The pros of automatic transmissions are obvious. They’re easier to drive. You don’t have to worry about the clutch, and your car will very rarely stall. They’re also more abundant—most cars that have manual transmissions are sports cars or slightly less expensive versions of already less expensive vehicles. For the average driver, automatic probably makes more sense.
But there are definitely reasons to drive stick, too. Driving enthusiasts—the ones driving the manual sports cars—tend to prefer it because manual gives you more control over the drive, which provides more driving fun. Plus, those cheaper versions of cheap cars can make them more accessible to drivers with limited budgets, and they’re easier and less expensive to maintain.
It’s not like it’s a bad idea to learn to drive stick, so if you ever have the chance, give it a shot. You might need that skill in the event of a zombie apocalypse, once everyone’s taken the automatic cars and you’re left to scavenge through the manual Camaros.