There’s always talk about the inevitable disappearance of the automobile with manual transmission. Why? It’s simple really. Many Nigerians are growing to love the ease that the auto type gives. Still, some Nigerian drivers almost revere the manual type. Adam Mohammed is one of them. As a taxi driver, he hates the fact that when his car breaks down he would be unable to push it. For this single reason, he opts for the vehicle with manual transmission. “I have been driving manual for about six years now. I prefer it to the automatic because the car moves with greater momentum. I used to drive automatic, but with my kind of business, manual is ideal,” he says, adding that if he were to own a private car, he will prefer it to be automatic.
Another commercial driver, Taye Tyele, insists his choice is determined by a vehicle’s fuel consumption. And as far as he’s concerned, cars with manual transmission consume less fuel after being used for a good number of years. “But the automatic consumes more fuel when you use it for a couple of years. You can use manual for five years and its fuel consumption will not change. I prefer manual for that singular reason,” he says.
Interestingly, the availability of the auto and manual type of transmission gives room for choice that allows a man like Maxwell Akyle decide when it’s most suitable for him to drive any of his two cars. He drives a manual type Hilux when he’s making a long journey, mainly because it’s strong and has the ability to pick up speed at a pace he likes. So when he’s travelling from Abuja to places like Jos, Akure, or Ekiti, it meets his commuting needs. But when he needs to drive around the city he goes for his auto car, for ease of driving and less stress due to constant shifting of gear, particularly in a hold-up.
Some Nigerians are of the opinion, when you enjoy the automatic vehicle, the manual fizzles out in your mind. Perhaps this is the case with Heungwe James who started with a manual transmission type. He thought it was the real deal until he came across an automatic. His taste shifted. “I prefer automatic now. It’s very easy to drive,” he says, then pauses in reflection. “But what I actually liked about the manual is the way I’m able to shift the gear when I am on a hill.” Still, the automatic remains his first love. He likes to simply focus on the wheel and drive.
However, James doesn’t pretend about what he calls the disadvantage of cars with automatic transmission. When they break down, there’s no pushing, unlike the manual.
The Popular Mechanics magazine gives a list of the best cars that still offer a manual transmission. Some of them include 2016 Mazda Miata, Subaru BRZ, Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Porsche 911, Fiat 500 Abarth, BMW M5, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, VW Golf R, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Porsche Cayman GT4, BMW M3/M4, Cadillac ATS-V, and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. So yes, apparently the manual appears to be a long way from dying.