... + all the future predictions revolving around automatic/computer generated braking for safety's sake. I would think that a computer could actuate a clutch to avoid stalling during intense braking, but this is the hubbub in my car/truck mags.
'Standard transmissions' haven't been standard for how many years now? lol
All true. Even performance cars are moving away from manual transmissions. My dad (before he past away) was a huge BMW nut. In 2002 he bought his first new vehicle ever, a BMW M5. In 2002 it was a 6 speed manual, that year they started transitioning the M series to the SMG transmission which is basically a computer controlled manual transmission (no clutch pedal). In 2005 he ordered a 06 M6, and at that time it wasn't available in a manual, only the SMG.
The SMG was fun to drive, shifted fast, but man... For an enthusiast it sure was missing something. That feeling of manually throwing the shifter, controlling the clutch... It's sad that "kids nowadays" really won't get that thrill.
I loved my Xterra 6 speed, and wish I could have got my frontier with a manual and the options I wanted. The auto reminds me of driving my grandpas car. But hey, progress...
The reliability of a manual, if driven properly, you can't beat it. My Xterra had 170,000km on the factory clutch with no signs of fade or slip when I sold it. Only changed the fluid twice and was as simple as changing the oil. Actually easier because there isn't a filter.
One thing I will admit, the VDC in our auto is pretty slick. I've used it a couple times off-road in snowy conditions and it's brainlessly simple. Gone are the days of the driver.