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JEREMY CLARKSON: Are 70% of Brit drivers mad to drive manuals?

By Jeremy Clarkson Published

manual | automatic

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“WHY,” I wailed inwardly, “would anyone ever buy a car with a manual gearbox these days?” It’s like saying: “I don’t need a television with a remote control. I’m perfectly capable of walking over to it and changing the channel myself.”

Yes, on a racetrack or a deserted switchback road in the Atlas mountains a manual gearbox is sublime. Snapping it up a cog when you reach the red line and double declutching on the way back down . . . ooh, it makes me go all tingly.

The only people who would buy an old-fashioned gearstick manual are the sort who choose not to have a washing machine because they prefer to clean their clothes in the local river

But we don’t drive on racetracks or in the Atlas mountains. We drive on the Oxford ring road, where there are narrow lanes and signs saying you are not allowed to overtake cyclists. And here a car with a manual gearbox is just annoying.

READ: The war on motorists continues.. despite Tory promise

I had it in my mind as I sat in the Touran [to review for Driving.co.uk], fuming, that these days — with flappy-paddle gearboxes and automatics being fairly cheap and easy — the only people who would buy an old-fashioned gearstick manual are the sort who choose not to have a washing machine because they prefer to clean their clothes in the local river.

It seems, however, that I’m wrong. Yes, automatics in whatever form are becoming more popular, but even so, more than 70% of all cars sold in Britain have manual gearboxes. That means more than 70% of Britain’s car drivers are mad.

That means more than 70% of Britain’s car drivers are mad

There was a time when automatics chewed fuel, weighed a ton and cost about the same as a house. And there was a time too when the halfway-house arrangement — usually a manual gearbox operated without a clutch pedal via flappy paddles on the steering column — was jerky and complicated and completely incapable of setting off without making more smoke than a First World War battleship. Those days are gone. Flappy-paddle gearboxes now are sublime. Fast. Easy. Rewarding. Nice.

Search for cars for sale - manual or automatic - at sunmotors.co.uk

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? LEAVE COMMENTS BELOW

READ: Jeremy Clarkson's full review of the Touran at Driving.co.uk

 

READ: More of Jeremy Clarkson's motoring rants on sunmotors.co.uk
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