Male & Female Manual Transmission

Has anyone done a study on current Male and female drivers of manual transmissions? Everyone of my friends can drive a manual transmission? I am 34 years old and my friends range from 32 to 57 years old. They currently all drive stick shifts. I think it is sad the way the culture is going/trending to auto/stick or automatic. boo hoo. Also, every women I have dated has owned a stick.

It’s not really the culture, it’s the technology. In the past 10 years or so, automatics have improved greatly both in terms of reliability and efficiency so now driving a manual really is only a personal preference as opposed to having any sort of practical advantage. I find among my acquaintances, more of the males drive manuals but I think this is mostly because they drive older cars.

I’ll bet the statistics are out there on the web somewhere, but if all your friends drive sticks, your friends must all drive small cars. In the mid-size and up range, automatics outnumber sticks by about 10 to 1, I would bet.

My daughters drove old stick shift Volvos in high school. They taught many of their friends (boys and girls) to drive a stick shift in the school parking lot. Their friends had no access to stick shift cars.

When my girls got to college and had proved to me that they could and would take good care of a car, I replaced the two old Volvo’s with two '97 3-series BMWs. Again, they both wanted stick shifts.

There’s lots of studies out there, but I don’t want to pay the fee to read them haha. I do know that the last study I saw showed that only 7% of new cars in the U.S. are sold with a stick shift. I’m going to guess that 2% of women buy new stick shift cars. It’s the opposite in Italy, but the automatic is fast gaining there too.

It’s hard to miss what you never had and now that automatics in some cases outperform stick shifts in both acceleration and mileage it leaves little incentive to learn. Also, so many people commute everyday and are stuck in traffic and after a while the stick shift grows old in stop and go. I love stick shifts, but not in bad traffic. I once got stuck in 2-3 hours of stop and go traffic in an old mustang with a heavy clutch and my left leg was on fire after 2 hours. I actually started using my right leg it got so bad haha.


Hills or inclines are a problem for some novice stick drivers that I have encountered. I always wonder if they are going to roll back far enough to hit me, and I never pull up tightly.

Knowing how to use a parking brake to help make a smooth start would help some of them.

During my many years as an “Old Beetle” stick driver, it beacme almost automatic to “heel-and-toe” the pedals to make a smooth get away in ascending starts.

Volkswagons, and other cars with the parking brake between the seats, made stopping on hills so simple for me. I thought everyone used the hand brake while stopped on hills.

Do You Dance The “Heel-And-Toe” Dance On Hills?
(Would you like to try?)

Here’s a link for stick-shift novices who want to practice and develop heel-and-toe for use in starting on steep inclines. I think some cars have a pedal layout that makes it practical. It is probably difficult with some layouts.

WARNING, be sure and practice in a hilly parking lot or some place away from other cars, people, and objects until you are ready to use it in traffic.

Here’s a link to an article:

PLEASE NOTE, you will need to scroll to the end to: “Alternative heel-and-toe technique”

My wife like manual tranny’s. The dealership looked at her like she was crazy when she picked out her manual transmission Legacy turbo wagon a few years back. It was located from a dealer 250 miles away.

One of the problems with manuals is that drivers appearently only want to shift gears during acceleration but don’t want to shift back from 5th to 4th on every little hill so instead of a real overdrive, manuals have a so-called fifth gear that is needlessly low for highway cruising.