Are press cars making me soft?

Are press cars making me soft?

Let’s go back 5 years: I was a die-hard close-ratio gearbox manual kind of guy. Swapping cogs while exercising my left leg was my deity-given right as a motorist, and I relished heel-toeing the throttle on the downshifts. But am I now turning into a bit of a slushmatic-driving softy? Most of the press cars I get are autos. They’re easy to drive in Auckland’s traffic, and I can annoy other motorists by talking on my cellphone while continuing to maintain at least one hand in contact with the wheel.

I picked up a Subaru Forester yesterday. It’s manual, it’s not like it’s got the hugest amount of power, and my brain is now thinking, “Darren, you’ve had a hard day at work, you don’t need to change gears.” The voice in my head is soothing. Hang on, isn’t part of the fun of driving changing gears? Isn’t the driver’s responsibility to be in the right gear at the right time one of the skills of driving that one works hard to acquire? Isn’t it even something that keeps you alert, gives you options, and enables you to drive more fuel efficiently if you so please? It is. I must fight human nature to take the easy road. Gear changing is fun. Gear changing is manly. OK, I might have gone a bit too far with the manly thing.

Our cars are becoming more and more like computer games. Losing the need to change gears is removing the driver from the car by one step.

Let’s go back 5 years: I was a die-hard close-ratio gearbox manual kind of guy. Swapping cogs while exercising my left leg was my deity-given right as a motorist, and I relished heel-toeing the throttle on the downshifts. But am I now turning into a bit of a slushmatic-driving softy? Most of the press cars I get are autos. They’re easy to drive in Auckland’s traffic, and I can annoy other motorists by talking on my cellphone while continuing to maintain at least one hand in contact with the wheel.

I picked up a Subaru Forester yesterday. It’s manual, it’s not like it’s got the hugest amount of power, and my brain is now thinking, “Darren, you’ve had a hard day at work, you don’t need to change gears.” The voice in my head is soothing. Hang on, isn’t part of the fun of driving changing gears? Isn’t the driver’s responsibility to be in the right gear at the right time one of the skills of driving that one works hard to acquire? Isn’t it even something that keeps you alert, gives you options, and enables you to drive more fuel efficiently if you so please? It is. I must fight human nature to take the easy road. Gear changing is fun. Gear changing is manly. OK, I might have gone a bit too far with the manly thing.

Our cars are becoming more and more like computer games. Losing the need to change gears is removing the driver from the car by one step.

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