Host: Are manual transmissions better than automatic?
David Rizzo: They are close, the gap is narrowing. Generally transmissions are better but you have to be a good driver to squeeze that extra efficiency out of a manual transmission, out of a stick. In Europe people have been sticks for years, in fact it's hard to find an automatic in Europe. Gas is 7 bucks a gallon in Europe the last time I was there. So they use sticks because you can do a little bit better but again you have got to pay attention, you have got to make sure that you car is in the right gear.
If you don't want to put that much thought into driving then go with an automatic. Again, nowadays engineers have done such a good job of designing the automatics to work with the engine control unit that you are not going to loose that much and the peak efficiencies with some of the Nissan products, the Continuous Variable Transmissions CVT, it's like one continuum of transmission gears. You will never feel the car shift because it's constantly just going back and forth matching the engine speed to the road and the load and the best gas mileage.
So I would go with what you prefer, an automatic is not going to cost you that much of a penalty.