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DSG and paddleshifts? Will manual transmissions slowly become a dying breed

2019-02-22 19:00

Robin Classen

Image: iStock

"Would you like it with DSG and paddle-shift, sir?" (or Ma'am). That is most likely the only question dealerships will be asking new car buyers in the future.

Automotive technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years with self-driving and electric vehicles becoming the forefront of all automotive manufacturer's philosophy.

Love it or hate it

I recently drove the current Mazda CX-3 and had the option to choose between changing gears one of three ways, which I really liked in terms of choice, but also thinking to myself 'why do I need so many ways to change gears?'.

READ: Manual vs Automatic cars: Is it okay to skip gears?

While I don't have a problem with automated gearboxes because they make the overall driving experience easier, you lose a bit of tradition in the sense of the feeling of driving. I say so because I'm a purist and also cannot let my left foot idle (no pun intended) there and do nothing. Many times, and in the Mazda especially, I found myself depressing a non-existent clutch pedal.

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Most people learned how to drive with a stick shift (manual transmission) and it became the norm until manufacturers started introducing split-second short gear changes which are, in all honesty, more aligned to performance variants.

aluminium gear knob

                                                                              Image: iStock

As an ignorant teenager in 2006, I was surprised when I found out that a DSG gearbox needs to be serviced as well.

It wasn't a simple method of buying a bottle of gearbox fluid at Midas or Autozone because it used a certain type of oil apparently only the dealerships stocked. At the point in time, the seed was planted and I had my doubts about this DSG business.

Long live the manual

I spoke to a good friend of mine, Jaylan Scholtz, who is a mechanic and runs his business from home. He believes all these new technologies create more problems because everything is so interlinked.

Scholtz said: "All these modern cars, especially like the Golf VI, seem to have issues with the Direct Shift boxes. A customer came to me to have something checked out but I had to turn him away because you need special tools and software, which only agents have access to."

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