While automatic transmissions are more efficient than ever before -- and many now beat manual transmissions on gas mileage -- fans of stick-shift gearboxes are quick to point out that guiding your car into the right gear with your right hand is a sure-fire way to give you an enjoyable, efficient driving experience. 

But what if you’ve driven automatic all your life? What if you’re a stick-shift virgin, and worry that you’re going to change too early (or too late) your first time? 

Help is at hand, courtesy of MINI. Squirreled away on its main website since 2011 is a little tongue-in-cheek section devoted to getting manual-shifting newbies gliding from gear to gear like a pro. 

Called “We’ll Make A Manual Out Of You,” the section is designed to answer questions that buyers may have about making the switch from automatic to manual, and gives some basic reasons why MINI thinks stick is best.

Those include a lower starting price, better gas mileage, and a more defined left calf. Err...okay.

For lovers of infographics like us, there’s a rather lengthy Stick-vs-Automatic infographic, which MINI says was collected by information-gathering firm Hunch with answers from over 65,000 drivers.

It tells us that stick-shift drivers tend to be more educated than those who drive automatic, are more likely to be optimists, and prefer watching the Discovery Channel over HBO.

But perhaps the best part of the MINI manual site -- and we can’t believe we’ve not seen this before -- is “Becoming a Manual."

Set in the locker room of an all-American school in the 1950s, Coach gives you the lowdown on why you shouldn’t be scared about noticing changes in your car’s interior, why it’s okay to feel ‘fuzzy,’ and just how to coordinate your right hand and both feet for the ‘purest form of motoring bliss.’

And while most stick-shifters are male, Coach is keen to point out that “anyone who craves more exhilaration” can heighten their automotive pleasure with a stick shift. 

Do you drive stick? Do you yearn to be a manual?

Let us know in the Comments below.


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