I can see being in a congested city wanting an automatic. But anywhere Else … Stick 100%. It’s a completely different experience. Involving!!! Every time you get in your car it feels like an experience. Even if it’s a slow car. I think it makes you a better driver too. Where it’s easy to become lazy in an Auto. Stick you’re always paying attention. Seeking a perfect shift , planning ahead, not rolling backwards or popping the clutch when close to someone. It’s a mindset. Involved driving. And when you’re shifting perfect it’s like Rewarding. Maybe I’m weird lol. Oh. And I’m pretty sure chicks dig it . “ a sign your good with your hands”
I agree completely! Except for rush-hour city driving, Stick Is The Way. It does make/keep you a more attentive driver; and there's a feeling of being "at one" with the car when driving a hilly and/or windy road where you need to upshift and downshift frequently and at the right times.
Knowing how to read the tach to time shifts, knowing that exact
spot on the pedal arc where the clutch engages, picking the exact gear out of 4 -- or 5 -- for a specific situation; these and others moments like these make driving really enjoyable.
My first car was a '74 Corolla SR5 with 1600cc hemi engine. It had no bottom-end torque whatsoever, so I had to wind it up to 2500-3000rpm (where the torque kicked in) in 2nd and 3rd gear just to accelerate in traffic. But that car was a joy, with fat tires that gripped and responded well to braking. It was awesome to drive on winding country roads; the gearshift was crisp and precise.
For long-distance trips I added a driving light and homebuilt air dam (to keep the front end solidly on the road). The small engine, 5th-gear overdrive, and air dam helped me get 35mpg highway mileage at 65+mph (fantastic for a carbureted, pre-catalytic converter engine). I discovered the car's 95mph top-end speed on a long, desert straightway on I-70 in western Colorado. I drove that puppy all over the country for nearly 12 years before it rusted out. sigh