Mustang Transmission Showdown: Automatic Better than Manual?

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Buying a manual transmission-equipped Mustang used to be a no-brainer decision. But have the tables finally turned?

For decades, choosing between a manual and automatic transmission-equipped Mustang was a no-brainer. Nobody in their right mind would ever buy a slushbox pony car. Well, unless they planned on building it up with an eye toward bracket racing. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be caught dead driving a Mustang with anything other than a row-your-own gear box. But then, Ford dropped its excellent new 10-speed automatic into the S550. And in doing so, it turned the car world on its ear.

Few people know the benefits of the 10-speed better than YouTuber StangMode, who himself owns a pretty darn fast S550. And he’s one of the many preaching the word of the automatic to the masses of hardcore old school manual guys. Thus, in this video, he uses an ingenious play on a popular internet meme format inviting people to argue against his one-sided viewpoint.

2018 Ford Mustang

His first point, the fact that the new auto Mustang is faster than the manual, cannot be denied. Because it is. As people like to point out, you can’t outshift these new, lightning quick automatics. But StangMode takes things one step further. He attempts to debunk those that say you “aren’t one with the car” without a stick shift. He believes that “you can focus more on steering and braking and turn ins” with an automatic. Or reaction times at the drag strip.

The counter argument makes sense, too. “The masses of people are not at the drag strip,” our manual fan notes. They’re driving their car to or from work. They can’t exceed a certain speed anyway. In an automatic car, you can literally fall asleep. If my car was an automatic, I wouldn’t love it the way I do.”

2018 Ford Mustang

To be fair, there are a lot of good arguments on both sides. But even though they’re slower these days, we’ll “stick” with our manuals, thank you very much.

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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