I wasn’t sure if I should post this discussion, but I thought, hey, we all come here to shoot the breeze about cars and stuff, right? In fact, that’s ALL we’re supposed to talk about here, and I’m bored and perhaps a little starved for an intelligent conversation, so here goes. . . .
Regular readers / posters here probably recall that I am in the market for a daily driver, and I prefer a manual transmission subcompact car, and I am especially partial to the Honda Fit. Regarding whether I should buy a new or used car, I am horribly torn with indecision, but that is a topic for another day.
I have been using some of the fine websites recommended to me by others here to browse for cars. One good thing about shopping for a used car with a manual transmission is it helps you narrow down your search. For example, you search for a popular car like a Toyota Corolla, you might get 100+ matches, specify manual transmission, that narrows it down to, like, 7.
I am very leery of buying a manual transmission car with over 100,000 miles on the clock, just because I know how to make a clutch last 200,000+ miles doesn’t mean other people do, especially people who know they’re going to be disposing of their car at 100,000 miles.
Yeah, I know that modern cars can easily go 200 – 300k miles with proper maintenance, but I grew up in an era where a car was worn out and mostly used up at 100k miles. I’ve got real issues, mentally, with paying more than a few thousand dollars for a car with 6-figures on the odometer. (Seems like the used cars that aren’t near, or beyond 100,000 miles, cost only a few thousand dollars less than a brand new one.)
I guess if one wants to be super-choosy about transmission, color, options, make & model of car one wants, one almost gets forced to buy a new car, or spend possibly months and months looking and shopping for the perfect used car, and asking endless questions on forums like this one, heh heh.
So I get back on the internet to check out “new” Honda Fits (and Mitsubishi Mirages, since I read @cwatkin’s praise for that little car). Out of FOUR Honda dealerships and TWO Mitsubishi dealerships in my local megapolitian area, they have a grand total of ZEE-ROW manual transmission cars in stock.
So I’m guessing if I REALLY WANTED a new, manual transmission Fit I’ll probably have to special order one? Dealers don’t really haggle with you on a car they have to special order, do they? You get to haggle on the car that’s sitting on the lot that no one wants, not the car the dealer has to go find for you because you really want it.
AND – TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY – I see where the CVT Fit is rated 4 mpg HIGHER (that’s significant!) than the 6-speed manual (Fit with CVT: 33/41/36 Fit with 6-speed stickshift: 29/37/32)
This is a transportationally existential crisis for me. I have always taken great pride in driving a manual transmission car. Whenever I’ve had occasion to tell someone my car is manual transmission, I almost always get one of two reactions: 1. They look at me in awe, because apparently shifting a transmission is some sort of superpower they do not possess. . . or . . . 2. They look at me like some kind of a throwback. . . “You drive a stickshift? What is this, 1936?” Either way, its fun. I like to be unique. Some people get neck tattoos and nose rings, I drive a manual transmission, to each his (or her) own.
(At the gym I exercise at, I AM the “freak” because usually I am the only one in the building WITHOUT any tattoos or piercings, but that’s an amusing off-topic anecdote. . . )
In closing, it hardly seems worth the trouble to buy a manual transmission car anymore. Is this really what the world has come to? 4 more miles per gallon from the automatic (CVT) than the manual. . . wow, this is really hard for me to come to terms with.
On a positive note, that 33/41/36 for the CVT Fit, that’s almost identical to what I’ve gotten in my ’93 Festiva, for a car that’s almost a thousand pounds heavier with loads of safety features like airbags, ABS, ESC, and a bunch of luxury features like air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows, backup camera, etc. that my ’93 Festiva doesn’t have, so I can’t say the future is all bad.