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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello fellow Civic enthusiasts. My family and I are in Italy for Spring break and I am shocked at the lack of Hondas here. We went to Florence and Rome and I can count on one hand the amount of Hondas I've seen, and I've only seen ONE Honda Civic (it was the previous gen with the fake rear vents). The brands I have seen most here are Fiat (no surprise there), Peugeot, and Toyota. I have also seen some VWs and Audis. The BIGGEST surprise to me is that I'd say at LEAST 70% of the cars I have seen are manual transmissions (yes, I peek through the windows of the cars I walk by). I knew that manuals dominated in Europe 20 years ago (because they got better gas mileage), but these days automatic transmission cars get better gas mileage (or so the manufacturers say). So I'm shocked that most cars are manual. And I should add that the cars here look pretty newish (but hell, I drive a 2002 Civic). Anyway, I just wanted to throw this out there and ask you guys why manuals are still dominating Europe. Maybe they are a tad cheaper to produce, but surely the (purported) gas savings of autos, coupled with the steep fuel prices, would lead one to believe that automatics would rule.
p.s. I still have my eyes on a manual Civic, probably the 2.0, whenever my '02 gives up the ghost...and whenever these prices come back down to Earth.
 

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2022 Civic Si Sonic Pearl Gray
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Not from anywhere in Europe obviously but yes, it appears that a pretty significant percentage of economy cars across the pond still have manual transmissions to this day. I would tend to believe that an automatic would get better mileage (considering how I drive my manual 馃槄) but it may just be what people are more used to since I can't imagine the production of automatics would be any more expensive for the manufacturers or customers since sometimes in the states now you pay EXTRA for a manual.

Speaking to your interest in a 2.0L civic, if your '02 looks like it is gonna putter out somewhat soon I think if you reached out to enough dealers I think you could find an LX or Sport from '22 or '23 without a markup that would be a better deal than a used one at this point. I was originally in the market for a 9th or 10th gen Si and ended up getting a new one since the value of a brand new car was worth an extra 4-8 grand when the used examples had 50k-80k+ miles on them.
 

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I guess you've never been outside the US? Manuals still dominate the passenger car market around the world, especially in Latin America and Europe.

A number of years ago, you would have to learn to drive a manual in these markets whether you liked it or not as automatic rental cars were very rare and/or prohibitively expensive
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess you've never been outside the US? Manuals still dominate the passenger car market around the world, especially in Latin America and Europe.

A number of years ago, you would have to learn to drive a manual in these markets whether you liked it or not as automatic rental cars were very rare and/or prohibitively expensive
Yep, I've been outside the US quite a bit. I just never paid as much attention to cars as I did on this trip because on this trip I did a lot of walking every day, so I got to look at all the cars parked on the side of the roads. When I bought my '02 brand new I'm certain it was around $1k cheaper and I think it got a couple of mpg better than an automatic. Some time after that, the gas mileage flipped and autos started getting better mpg than manuals. So, that's why I made this post. The cars that I saw on my trip mostly looked to be within 5 years old, so I was genuinely shocked to see that the majority were still manual. Of course, it's common knowledge that manuals used to dominate in Europe because of the better gas mileage. I made this post to ask people why they thought that's STILL the case. Surely it's not just because they prefer the experience, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A Google search leads one to believe that, even to this day, manuals have better gas mileage than autos...which is contrary to what most car manufacturers are advertising in America!!! Weird. It always seemed counterintuitive to me that an auto could get better gas mileage than its manual counterpart because I thought autos weighed more. I rarely get my Civic over 3k rpm when driving to work, so I still get about 34-36mpg. Maybe there is a sweet spot on the curb weight vs mpg vs auto/manual curve (if it exists) and these smaller, lighter European manual cars are able to outperform their auto twins.
 

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I think the main reason for manuals in non US countries, is price. Driving is much more expensive and more heavily taxed, and roads in Europe tend to be smaller and so are the cars. The civic is hardly compact in the US, in Europe it鈥檚 probably considerably larger than most other cars
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think the main reason for manuals in non US countries, is price. Driving is much more expensive and more heavily taxed, and roads in Europe tend to be smaller and so are the cars. The civic is hardly compact in the US, in Europe it鈥檚 probably considerably larger than most other cars
You are exactly right. A Civic looks like a full sized sedan compared to the majority of cars I saw over here. 馃槉 But even a Toyota Yaris comes in an automatic (right?), so it's not as though tiny cars can't have automatic transmissions. This really is puzzling to me. Now, it makes me wonder exactly how Honda and others test the mpg on their manuals. I'll try to get on Honda's Italian website and see what, if any, differences they list on the mpg of autos vs. manuals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I found out the Civic only comes in a hybrid in Italy, so I looked up Toyotas and did a comparison on a model called the Aygo. It has a 1.0L engine. The automatic CVT goes 100km with 4.9L of gas and the manual goes 100km with 4.8L of gas. So there you have it, folks, the manuals can still get better gas mileage than the automatics. I feel like this is part of a conspiracy in America to get rid of manual transmissions!!! 馃ぃ馃ぃ馃ぃ
 

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Many Euro countries have a large percentage of diesels coupled with manual trannies, that is the most popular combination of vehicles. Honda makes almost no cars like that. Europeans are very ethnocentric when it comes to vehicles to , they don't prefer Japanese cars as much as Euro cars.
 

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2022 Civic Si Sonic Pearl Gray
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I found out the Civic only comes in a hybrid in Italy, so I looked up Toyotas and did a comparison on a model called the Aygo. It has a 1.0L engine. The automatic CVT goes 100km with 4.9L of gas and the manual goes 100km with 4.8L of gas. So there you have it, folks, the manuals can still get better gas mileage than the automatics. I feel like this is part of a conspiracy in America to get rid of manual transmissions!!! 馃ぃ馃ぃ馃ぃ
I would also say that it also depends on the transmission. A shitty CVT or 4 speed automatic is worse than a good 5 or 6 speed manual. Something like a 10th gen Accord with a 10-speed will get better milage since it can have a couple high efficiency gears up top. Those transmissions are probably quite rare outside of the US market.
 

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Europe has always had vehicles with small motors and manual trannies ,and many Euro countries have large portions of mountainous regions. Small diesel motor with manual tranny works best going up and down mountains and best fuel economy. Things are changing though.
 

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The high rate of cars with a manual transmission in Europe also has to do with their licensing laws, on top of all the other reasons given for the historical dominance of MTs (smaller / cheaper / lower displacement / more economic cars, etc.).

Unlike in the USA, if you take the road test for a driver's license in a car with an automatic transmission, you are NOT ALLOWED to drive a car with a manual transmission - but the reverse is fine, as it's assumed if you can drive a manual, driving an automatic is only going to be easier.

People with such licenses get a restriction marker on the license, "A" for "Automatic only". And you can imagine this has generally been something of a mark of shame, as well as limiting one's ability to rent cars easily or cheaply (not only are automatic transmission car rentals somewhat hard to find, they're also upcharged, sometimes significantly).

Therefore, even if manufacturers and consumers are as a whole moving to ATs even in Europe, people are still learning to drive stick shifts as part of "normal" driver's ed, and cheap used or starter cars are still overwhelmingly MTs as well.

That labeling of "A" on the license makes some sense to me - it's kind of astonishing that I know TWO people who bought a used car with a stick shift (one of them a Hyundai Elantra and the other one... A Ford Mustang 5.0!) and drove it home as their first time ever driving one, after maybe a 15 minute overview/lesson on it from the seller ("I'll figure it out, it can't be that hard").

On the other hand, both of them DID just "figure it out" with a few days of practice, didn't crash and didn't hurt anyone or anything, so yeah - it's also way overblown in a lot of Americans' minds as to how big of a deal it actually is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The high rate of cars with a manual transmission in Europe also has to do with their licensing laws, on top of all the other reasons given for the historical dominance of MTs (smaller / cheaper / lower displacement / more economic cars, etc.).

Unlike in the USA, if you take the road test for a driver's license in a car with an automatic transmission, you are NOT ALLOWED to drive a car with a manual transmission - but the reverse is fine, as it's assumed if you can drive a manual, driving an automatic is only going to be easier.

People with such licenses get a restriction marker on the license, "A" for "Automatic only". And you can imagine this has generally been something of a mark of shame, as well as limiting one's ability to rent cars easily or cheaply (not only are automatic transmission car rentals somewhat hard to find, they're also upcharged, sometimes significantly).

Therefore, even if manufacturers and consumers are as a whole moving to ATs even in Europe, people are still learning to drive stick shifts as part of "normal" driver's ed, and cheap used or starter cars are still overwhelmingly MTs as well.

That labeling of "A" on the license makes some sense to me - it's kind of astonishing that I know TWO people who bought a used car with a stick shift (one of them a Hyundai Elantra and the other one... A Ford Mustang 5.0!) and drove it home as their first time ever driving one, after maybe a 15 minute overview/lesson on it from the seller ("I'll figure it out, it can't be that hard").

On the other hand, both of them DID just "figure it out" with a few days of practice, didn't crash and didn't hurt anyone or anything, so yeah - it's also way overblown in a lot of Americans' minds as to how big of a deal it actually is.
You are right, people in America really make it seem like it's such a hassle, especially in traffic. Actually, I find it more relaxing in traffic if the road is flat, because I don't have to constantly hold the brake pedal down. I used to ride a motorcycle and I don't remember if I learned to drive stick before learning to shift on a bike...one of the benefits of having a hooligan older brother to teach you...but he learned by someone yelling him what to do, and he was off to the races. Regardless, clutches are cheaper to replace than trannies, and that's my main reason for preferring manual transmissions 馃榿
 

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2019 EX Hatch, 2020 Si, 2023 Si
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For reference, I live in the US. My son just got his driving permit and the car he will be driving is my '20 Si. He took "behind the wheel" for 6 hours which was in an automatic car. I was torn as to how/when to introduce the manual. I learned on a 3 speed "cushman", which is one of those meter maid things you see in cities. My brother learned out of necessity when he bought his CRX Si back in the day. We both had our licenses for at least a year when we learned manual. I never knew anybody that learned how to drive from the beginning on a stick.

So my son was willing and eager to try driving the manual trans right after his 6 hours of lessons in an auto. No time like the present, so we figured it out. After 2 days of me teaching him, he was out driving through town. I was quite surprised.

One quiet night we went to a straight flat road in our neighborhood and I taught him how to get going and how to stop. Then we drove through the neighborhood getting up into 3rd gear. Each day he got better. Sure there were some stalls and some bucking, but no smell of the clutch burning so that was good :). On the third day he was doing so well I said to him "so, wanna head to Wawa?". So we headed out onto some main roads and got some coffee. He did great. Not even a week later, we're driving from school after practice, to and from the gym, etc. Not even a week into it he said he felt as comfortable driving the manual as he did the auto.

When you come down to it, it isn't rocket science. LOTS of people, especially outside of the US, drive manual every day. It will take him time to get efficient and totally smooth with his shifts, but that's part of learning how to drive. It doesn't take long to get over the initial hump as long as you put in some concerted effort in a safe environment.
 
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