Nikki Buxhoeveden- 1991 Acura Integra

Nikki Buxhoeveden didn't bother learning how to drive a stick shift. She didn't have to. That is, until her parents bought her a car with a manual transmission one summer while she was out of the country.

"It wasn't really a choice," says Buxhoeveden. "I had to learn how to drive stick if I wanted the car."

Two years later, this UVA fourth-year wouldn't dream of going back to her former automatic ways.

"Manual is so much better!" she insists. "The gear-shift just feels satisfying."

Buxhoeveden's shifting may be satisfying, but it's not quite perfect yet.

"I've stalled out at a light so many times it turned red again before I could even go," she recalls.

So if you spot a streaky sedan (she's also trying to fine-tune her waxing technique) lurching down West Main with a determined-looking driver behind the wheel, be patient. She's still getting the feel for this.