Recently purchased a new car?
With RACV Insurance, you're protected by Victoria's most trusted insurance.
As automatic cars become faster, more efficient and easier to resell than their manual equivalents, is it time to hang up the gear-shifting glove?
Those who can cast their mind way back will remember when driving used to be complex and vaguely arduous: no power steering, no air-conditioning and having to wrestle around with a gearstick and finely balance a clutch pedal to get the desired forward motion.
These days electronic assistance and computers take a lot of the effort out of hitting the road, especially when changing gears.
As cars have become more tech-savvy, it has led to many drivers on our roads having never driven a manual car.
Of the more than one million new vehicles sold last year only 5.5 per cent of them (56,041) had a manual gearbox, according to figures supplied by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
So, are manual cars a dead technology, and should the next generations bother learning to drive one?
Early autos were seen as high tech, but not high performance.
Letting the car sort out its gear changes was a luxury, but autos were largely left to luxury machines before morphing into mainstream models.
Autos were known to lower power and reduced efficiency, limiting their appeal. Hence why early auto transmissions rarely touched performance cars.
But that’s changed thanks to tech.
Modern automatic transmissions have advanced computer controls that shift far quicker than any human could.
Buying a manual once bought you more gear ratios, now an auto typically has more - in some cases up to 10.
There was a time when manuals brought performance advantages over automatics. A manual would also use less fuel, adding to its appeal. These days, it’s the opposite on both counts.
While Porsche is an exception, many sports cars don’t bother offering a manual these days. Go shopping for a Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren and there are only two pedals, all because the autos are so much quicker.