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Auto or Manual?

The best part of living in Chicago is that you can get to anywhere without owning a car, but now that I’m moving to L.A, my friend highly suggested that I needed a car. After doing extensive research on top rated cars,  I’m planning on getting the 2014 Mazda 3 Hatchback in either an automatic or manual transmission. In college I used to drive a stick shift 1990 Toyota 4runner and I loved it. It wasn’t a sports car, but I felt like a badass driving manual.

After hearing about L.A. traffic, I’m not sure whether a manual transmission is the way to go. Can I ask for your opinion? Would you recommend auto or manual transmission for L.A commute?

Goodbye Chicago
Goodbye Chicago

Written by PeterFever


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  1. I would only get a manual if I lived outside an urban area. Stop and go traffic is a pain in the neck with a manual. The only other factor that would make me consider a manual is if the engine were really tiny and underpowered. That won’t be the case with a Mazda; they use fairly peppy engines at least in the versions sold in the USA

  2. As I 30 year resident of LA on the westside, I vote for the automatic. Although I enjoy shifting, in LA you’ll spend plenty of time in the car so make it as easy as possible.
    As a big fan, welcome to LA!!

  3. Peter, not an expert, but when I was in the market for a car last year I was considering buying a manual transmission car. A friend of mine warned me against it as they’re apparently difficult to drive when going uphill. Since there’s lots of those in the Los Angeles/Southern California area (I’m thinking particuarly of that stretch of the 405 South starting at Sherman Oaks going up to Mulholland Drive/Skirball Center), you might want to either rethink or do a test run with someone’s manual transmission car before deciding.

  4. I vote for the manual. Unless you’re commuting a long distance at peak rush hour times, which hopefully you can avoid.
    The Mazda is a good car and would be more fun with the manual.

  5. Peter, with all the stop & starting from traffic your knees will thank you for getting an automatic shift car. Coupled with Mazda’s SkyActive drive your gas milage won’t suffer that much.

    Peter Dresel

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