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Let's rant about manuals needing to be buffed


This is all so silly and pointless.

I like manual transmissions as much as the next person, but…automatic transmissions are easier to drive, full stop. There really isn’t anything more to say on this matter.


also butts


To be honest, the only reason why manuals are popular in Europe is because its cheaper than an automatic and more fuel efficient, and unsurprisingly the same goes in game. Sure, manuals could do with a bit of a buff in places outside of Gasmea, I think that buff should be more to do with the cost rather than driveability.

Also I feel that everyone here focuses too much on the side of the car enthusiast rather than the regular consumer. Post WW2, if someone could have offered an auto for price that could compete with manuals in Europe, we would all be driving auto.

I love cars as much as anyone else here, but honestly, the convenience of not having to give a fuck about gear changes is a dream. Say all you want about how you can drive easily with a manual, remember that for a beginner, only having to care about two pedals and not wondering where you other hand has to go is a whole lot easier. Its only easier for people who drive manuals because of muscle memory.


Yeah this really looked like #cartalk for a hot minute there. This was just about drivability and service costs initially, not about the viability of a manual vs automatics throughout history. Y’all seemed to go off on tangents but left out the fact like every other advantage outside of drivability and service costs already exists in the game (manuals are cheaper, lighter, more reliable, more efficient, more prestigious etc.) They are completely viable in game. Question is, does it need to be tweaked like Kubboz proposed or does it make sense where it is? (also +1 to what Dorito said)


May I suggest having an advanced manual transmission option? Since modern manual transmissions have lots of features like hill assist and rev-matching for downshifts that improve drivability, I think it’s worth considering.


If such an option were to be implemented, it should be made available very late in the game - around 2010 or so.


You do not need to be a road racer to ever use the limit. You just have to live in a place with semi-challenging winters.

And even if you don’t, people are swayed by media, and other “this will kill you” reports. This is what killed the Corvair.

They are not 15 points of drivability easier to drive, full stop.

You think I don’t remember when I was a beginner. That was back in 2013. It took me 6 tries to pass my drivers exam. It never was due to having to deal with an extra pedal. And I had about 50 hours of driving at that point, and 50 hours of manual gearbox experience, because, I haven’t used a manual in video games either. I’m pretty sure it’ll get dismissed as anegdotical evidence or something like that, but I had to get that out of my chest.

Look, I don’t ask for automatics to be removed o relegated solely to comfort oriented applications. (even if I do want the latter, I am keeping my request within the vague realm of reality. If you want to talk to me about whether manuals should be more favored by the game than they are by real life buyers, this is not the topic to discuss it in).

All I’m saying is, the current behaviour does not match my region, I don’t like it, here’s some solutions I can come up with. I’m not discarding reality or whatever you guys seem to think I’m doing. I’m basically asking for more variety within the regions and that takes the form of me bitching about a pet peeve of mine.

Along the same lines, wintery and wet regions should care about rust protection way more than the markets do. In the Grand Campaign, American markets (especially back in the baby boom) should have higher required seat counts, to take into account bigger families - the family cars there should have 6 seats. The Chinese market should absolutely abhor convertibles. I’ve read about that one somewhere. It’s something about proper metal roof becoming a symbol of an expensive car back in the day and this perception carrying over to now.

Now that I think about it, it could also be solved with a region specific automatic nerf, to emulate things such us distrust of automatics and not wanting to be seen as an incapable driver in the regions where you’re expected to know how to drive stick.

Hey, I can even propose a way to nerf manuals in a way that I think is not reflected in the current calculations. How about a slight practicality penalty? After all, it is, amongst other factors, a function of urban usability, becoming more favored by urbanized regions, and from what I’ve heard, manuals are apparently a pain in rush hour traffic.


People assume it’s going to be challenging regardless, the boundary change is meager from a 20mm drop.

There’s a difference between “This car handles at .1g below average on snow” and “This car is a fucking death trap, buy life insurance before signing on one”. 20mm is the difference between different spec OEM wheels on the same model, it’s negligible, unlike using an automatic on your daily commute.


I’m not sure if you’ve misread or not, but I’m not talking about a 20 mm difference on all tires. I’m talking a 25 mm difference on rear tires only. On tires that are not very wide to begin with. It’s a 15% difference.


It’s still not massive, I run staggered rears IRL, it’s not a big deal particularly on economy tyres.


The heavy drivability penalty makes perfect sense to me.
Here’s my logic on that; take a person who has never seen a car before in their life. Explain to them how the starter, pedals, steering, and shifter work, then set them out in the world with a task to drive to the grocery store 2km away and back. That person will probably succeed if the vehicle you give them has an automatic transmission; even if that vehicle has the worst shift-logic in history, inadequate brakes, and bald, mis-matched 10 year old eco tires… on a rear-engined car for good measure. Maybe he’ll clip someone’s side-view mirror, or bang into someone’s bumper while attempting to park… but they’ll do it.

Now if you give the same person a car with a manual transmission… chances are they won’t manage to make that trip because they’ll likely stall or pick a wrong gear enough times to think they’re doing something wrong, and give up on the endeavour.

Working with a manual transmission and clutch is a skill, and it isn’t nearly as intuitive as the concepts of steering or accelerating and braking. It may be a laughable idea for someone who has driven vehicles with manuals their whole lives… but the fact remains that it is a skill; someone with absolutely no experience can’t just hop in and do it. That to me, sounds like a serious drivability demerit; even more than inadequate brakes or tires.

On the topic of service costs… what service costs? There’s no maintenance on an automatic transmission other than changing the fluid; and that’s something that most people don’t ever do anyway. I have had 5 cars cars with automatic transmissions over 30 or so years; with most vehicles being 10 years or older, and the transmission service costs has been exactly $0; for myself and their previous owners. In the case of one car, also the owner after me. It was passed on to a family member, so I know what happened to that '83 Sentra. Served another 5-6 years with neglected transmission fluid and was scraped when that person died. That car was over 20 years old by then… on factory automatic transmission fluid.

The same can not be said for manual transmissions that require clutch replacements to maintain their basic functionality. An automatic transmission that’s never had its fluid changed might have a reduced lifespan, but a manual transmission with a worn-out clutch has severely reduced drivability.


Hold the phone. I’ll be very frank with you, this is an absolutely surreal experience for me. When I set down and did my testing I expected, you know, I was certain, that everyone would, you know, “see the reason”, so to speak, and at the very least agree that it’s absolutely ridiculous that inadequate brakes or tires would still make the car more drivable than a manual gearbox. Then, we would perhaps argue about how big the buff should be and we would agree on a slight buff at the very least.

The fact that I have to argue even something that to me is simply self-evident is way beyond “laughable”. It’s completely and utterly confusing. Alien. As I’ve said, surreal. Now, I’m not even sure if I’m being rational right now, but it is my duty to speak up and attempt to make a compelling argument.

The core of car buyers aren’t people who have never seen a car before in their life. An overwhelming majority of car buyers have passed their driving test. In some regions that driving test requires them to show their proficiency with a manual gearbox.

In fact, if you assume the mean of driving experience is roughly equal to its median, about half of the drivers on the roads have above average experience.

I don’t at all understand why “the person with no driving experience whatsoever.” should be the basis for determining the drivability stat.


Obviously driving a manual require more time to learn. We can find example forever: it is easier to learn how to ride a tricycle than a bicycle. Nonetheless, once you master the bicycle, there is no specific difficulty anymore.

When I play automation, I care not that much about whether I like manual and you like manual, or how long my grandma took to learn riding a bike.
I like the notion of trying to make a success car company in different context. Playing Archana will often give you better understanding why cars in Russia aren’t alike cars in America.
No point trying to convince anyone how much automatic is superior to manual: most of the world did not went for automatic for the whole period of automation campaign, there are more continents where manual is the obvious norm (even if changes - but everything changes).
And that’s odd that the game push in another direction.

Example with a car made in campaign in the 80’s in Archana, with an engine more or less similar to Renault 18, a car that was
available in the 80’s also with automatic gearbox, though very rare (often considered for people with an handicap that would not be able to pass a generic driving license).

It was available with either 4 or 5 shift manual gearbox or 3 shift automatic gearbox.
The car was even available as 4x4.

This car was sold in France from 1978 to 1986. In the begin of the 80’s it was the family car most sold in France.
The car was afterward sold in Argentina until 1998.

It was even sold in the state but probably was not much a success there. In the regard, advertisement made for the USA are worth being checked: they even tried to sold the manual there, the automatic being also an option! It tells a lot what Europe thought about automatic: an extra convenience as much as rear window washer or cruise control, roof rack, etc, not even worth 1st page of the advertisement title “exceptional driver control”

You might laugh, you might not understand because it so different to how your american mind is set in this regard. But deal with reality: for a considerable part of the planet, an automatic was not worse extra cash, while using a manual is just about spending a bit more time to learn.

So that’s a car that was a good match on at least two quite different market.
Still the automatic was as much as 4x4 a rarely picked option.

Here we have some clues about prices (but not service cost) http://les-archives-de-la-r18.e-monsite.com/pages/les-tarifs/les-tarifs.html
The difference of price between auto and manual depend on models, ~ +1500/3000 FRF
Most of the time, the automatic option mean paying the price for the upper level model.
So it is clear that the extra selling price does not explain alone the lack of popularity of automatic in Europe. Representing it with an extra cost would probably not enough.

With my example family car, for some reason, with this car I can apparently reach a 216 top speed with a 1.4 80hp engine. Whatever.

This should be enough to compare, in campaign context, outside of Gasmea, effect of gearbox type choice.
So (desirability / affordability) :

manual 4 : 141.6 / 46.3%
manual 5 : 138 / 45.9%
automatic 3 : 156.2 / 45.7%
adv automatic 3 : 169.1 / 45.7%

if you add (non existing in reality)
automatic 2 : 160.5 / 47%
manual 2 : 149.5 / 47.2%
adv automatic 2 : 170.8 / 46.3%

you find the affordability of this senseless 2 shift (200 kmh and 2 shifts ? gosh) automatic better than manual, which makes little sense.

let’s focus only on manual 5 (because the R18 model that have automatic as option are 5 shift manual) vs adv automatic 3 :
manual 5 : 138 / 45.9%
adv automatic 3 : 169.1 / 45.7%

drivability : 42.7 vs 57.7 (++)
sportiness : 12.2 vs 6.8 (–)
confort : 20.5 vs 24.2 (+)
prestige : 22.9 vs 23.3 (+)
utility : 14.5 vs 15.3 (+)
offroad : 23.6 vs 23.3 (-)
fuel eco : 15.7 vs 16.1 (-)
weight : 1033.6 vs 1033.3 (+)
reliability : 70.7 vs 68.1 (-)
material cost : 4897 vs 4894 (+)
production units : 82.5 vs 83.5 (-)
engineering time : 78.1 vs 81.7 (-)

service cost are not shown there (is it taken into account to compare desirability ?) it is 543.2 vs $568.9.

making two trims with the automatic 3 vs manual 4 lead to, finally, trims sold 20800 vs 20900. Now check back on the prices catalog of the R18 http://les-archives-de-la-r18.e-monsite.com/pages/les-tarifs/les-tarifs.html, it was never a 100/200 FRF option. To be consistent, it should be at least 20800 vs 23000 - and that taking into consideration that price is not even enough to explain the lack of popularity of auto in Europe.

Funny thing to notice :

  • 1985, almost end of R18 European sales : only a single version of R18 is sold as automatic (against 4 earlier)
  • 1986, last year of R18 European sales : automatic completely removed from catalog.
    Once again, there was not such a market for automatic in Europe as it were.

All this does not mean automatic is not good or whatever. Just that it cannot reach such desirability in all markets - not to mention the undervalue affordability decrease. The game clearly overvalue the drivability bonus. It is easier to drive auto, but as the advertisement said, for many people it is just like having or not having a rear window washer.


Ngl I almost feel like I should lock this thread but I don’t want to close down feedback of the game either. Nothing makes sense anymore.


Yes its pretty silly that crap brakes and tyres would make a car more driveable than a manual. However, wouldnt you agree that its a problem with the penalties on poor brakes and tyres more than manuals.

Config Drivability
Adv Auto 52.3
Automatic 46.7
Adv Auto, but with -15 quality 160 mm drum brakes on full comfort brake pads 40.1
Adv Auto, but with rear tires 140 mm wide (instead of 165 mm) 40.0
Manual 38.6

Looking at your own table you can see that the difference in driveability between a manual and a regular auto is 8, with a difference of 14 between a manual and advanced auto. That seems perfectly reasonable considering that these numbers are completely arbitrary.

As for how markets deal with them in campaign, maybe a solution would be to make cost and fuel efficiency a much bigger factor in places out of Gasmea. One extra thing about the campaign that should be added, is while Gasmea and the other countries are analogues for RL countries, they are not perfect representations of them or their cultures. Remember that places like Fruinia are supposed to represent Europe and possibly Japan. There are so many different cultures in Europe alone, not forgetting that Japan =/ Europe culturally. So really, all the issues that can be found with the current lite campaign really don’t have much to do with Camso being “America-centric” but more to do with the fact that they had to condense the car cultures of almost 200 different countries into 5.


Dorifto has a good point about efficiency. Even in GasMurrica, during times of economic hardship and high gas prices, the popularity of manual transmissions increases. The early 80’s comes to mind; well, WELL more than 50% of the Japanese imports sold here were manuals. Of the smaller, more efficient Domestics, the manuals generally sold strongly (Chevettes, K-cars, mini trucks, etc…). These are temporary concerns, and… well… we tend to have ridiculously short term memories here. If gas drops significantly, we tend to sell off our eco boxes and buy giant barges or SUVs. :roll_eyes: More recently, we’ve gone almost 100% automatic for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is our horrible traffic, which makes manuals an absolute drudge to own.

But Kubby also makes a point. The drivability disparity is too big between manual and auto. Especially when you pile the comfort bonus for the auto on top. I’m not saying you need to make the manual get something like 45 in this case, but maybe 41-42 would make it more realistic.

He had also alluded to other things like number of seats in a vehicle, which is also true. Unless you were buying a Beetle, or some sort of sports car, you had 6 seats. Even a large number of muscle cars were really just hopped up family sedans, and had similar seating arrangements. You don’t really see 5-seat domestics until the 70’s. But that’s a topic for another day.

Also, someone mentioned an advanced manual, and this was said:

Subarus had hill holder clutches starting in 1980. So probably not as late in the game as you think. Maybe more like early 90’s when manufacturers started switching from cable to hydraulic clutches.


Another argument for MT Drivability. The use of Dual Mass flywheels, which make starting from a stop, almost effortless with MT’s. We can trace Dual Mass flywheels back to the early 2000s and even into the 90s on some manufactures.

Not to mention once we get to electronically controlled idles speed motors, stalling becomes even more difficult. Modern vehicles with MT’s are quite easy to learn in for new drivers, and silly easy to drive for veteran drivers.

As extra thought.


Hydraulic clutches, Belleville spring clutches, those could make them easier as well, but that largely depends on how technical they really want to get with the game.


Forgive my apparent ignorance… but, that would be handled by the ECU, correct? So, it wouldn’t even be a thing in terms of the actual cogbox.


Hill assist is is a mechanical function that retains a portion of brake pressure as long as the clutch remains depressed and car in gear, but the brake pedal is released. The first car I had it on had a cable clutch and a non-feedback carburetor. So no ECU, TCU, or BCM.

I can’t say anything about rev matching. The newest manual transmission I’ve owned was a 2007 model year. A French abomination that loved grabbing the cables for two gears at a time and jamming.