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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690

    @iluvmysephia: so sad, the CVT makes better mileage than the manual in that Mirage! But of course that is the trend these days. Nice to see that at least the manual is the standard transmission even in the higher trim. Of course, I have no idea what real-world availability looks like.

    I saw one of these on the road the other day, so some people are buying them. For me 74 hp and a 2000-pound curb weight make it a non-starter. And 14 inch rims? Wow, that might be the smallest rim on any new car in the market. Even the Spark starts with 15 inch rims. Will be interested to see how those two battle it out - Spark starts $1000 cheaper, but Mirage has much better standard equipment - the Spark similarly equipped costs about $1000 more, looks like. As for fuel economy, Mirage has about a 3-point advantage for the manual, and about a 6-point advantage for the CVT.

    Several of the car mags were recently pretty harsh about the new Versa Note, one saying anything else, even walking, would be a better choice. It will be interesting to see what they think of the newest Mitsubishi for sale in America....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • I recently bought a new 2013 Honda CR-Z 6-speed manual, and I can't even imagine the thing with an automatic -- seems like it would totally suck all the fun out of what is a really fun little car. But I gotta say, when I said I wanted a stick, some dealers looked at me like I'd just announced I was from Mars. I wanted to consider a Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta, but no dealer near me had a manual or was willing to go to any effort to get one unless I was committed to buying the car -- which of course I wasn't going to do without driving it. One Ford dealer did have a manual in the ST -- the hotrod version of the car -- but that's a really different experience than the regular model and more money than I wanted to spend.

    I love manuals and find it really sad they're becoming so rare.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    edited December 2013

    Several of the car mags were recently pretty harsh about the new Versa Note, one saying anything else, even walking, would be a better choice. It will be interesting to see what they think of the newest Mitsubishi for sale in America....

    nippononly...

    Man, I watched a review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage in 5-speed manual form earlier today and the guy hated the car. He said that the Kia Rio would be a better choice for about a $1,000 more. Umm, dude, are you thinking of the true costs here? The Rio would end up running you about $3,000 more. He doesn't like the 1.2L 3 cyl. motor that puts out 74 horses and only 74 ft-lbs. of torque.

    One huge positive of the Mitsubishi he failed ta mention, though. That 34/40 mpg for the manual-trannied Mirage! Oooppss...just happened ta leave that one out, eh? That's probably the best good point about the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, the ghastly mileage. Our '08 Lancer is plugging along strong with 116,405 miles now on it, so I'm not gonna rush in to my next Mitsubishi that quickly. Nor do I know (without a test drive) if we could live in the small-ness of the '14 Mirage.

    But the car is now squarely in my radar now. And yes, I would insist on the 5-speed stick for this pup. Truly a car you can call "pup" and it fits.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,913

    how about the chevy spark in this discussion of manual-transmission micro-cars? $12,000 retail price. 1.2L . and the desirable Z spec floor mats and grille adds a mere $500 .

  • @elias said: how about the chevy spark in this discussion of manual-transmission micro-cars? $12,000 retail price. 1.2L . and the desirable Z spec floor mats and grille adds a mere $500 .

    I drove a Spark recently, before I settled on the CR-Z. What a relentlessly boring and cheap-feeling car. If you want a microcar with a manual, the Fiat 500 feels much more solid and stylish. A little more money, but worth it unless you're determined to get a new car and keeping initial cost low is your 100% top priority. If you have a little flexibility in terms of what you're able to pay, there are lots of choices out there.

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,913
    edited December 2013

    expectations couldn't be lower for the spark (gas version anyway).
    but CR-Z,nice - those are way niftier.. expectations are much higher for CR-Z, eh?

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    edited January 1

    I don't like GM or really Chrysler products so the Chevy Spark is not even on my radar at all. I would consider a new (or lightly used) Ford product, probably either the Focus or the Fiesta. I would consider a stick shift ST of either brand, however, those get fairly pricy. To tell you the truth, Kia is going ahead with building their new GT sports sedan. That is going to be a RWD sedan, folks. Those of you who know me on here throughout the years know I have owned both a 1999 Kia Sephia and a 2001 Kia Sportage 4X4. Both were standard-trannied Kia's. Now, Kia's standard transmissions are not the easy-ta-hit-the-notch nitchy stick shifts you might get from a...umm...VW? Audi? BMW? Eh?

    But they fit in to the spot and I enjoyed my '99 Sephia much more when I got some decent tires and wheels for the compact car. But I have been in a friend's Forte5 that is an automatic CVT, but rode very smoothly and nicely. I remain very impressed with Kia's latest stuff, and the Kia's I have owned are their old-school stuff. What would a 2015 (don't know when it's gonna hit showrooms yet) Kia GT with a 6-speed stick ride like? With RWD and current Kia quality, I'm thinking pretty smoothly. With our '08 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS on 116,578 miles and running like a champ, I can wait for the Kia GT ta get here for a while. That is the stick-shift sedan I am going to wait for. Also, Mitsubishi is working on a new EVO XI and a new Lancer that I can't dismiss my long-term interest in, either, probably not the EVO XI, but the Lancer GT (they no longer call the sportiest Lancer the GTS like my 2008) remains high on my futures list.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,460
    edited January 3

    I am, thus far, very pleased with my Fiesta. My local dealer generally keeps a good mix of transmission choices in stock, so I've never had a problem test driving a manual when I wanted to do so.

    I can't say the same about the other brands' dealerships, though. I can sometimes find a manual in stock at the Mazda dealer, but, other than that, good luck! :@

    My Fiesta, which is a 2011 model that I have owned for close to 1.5 years now, is a manual SES hatch. Very solidly built little car - quiet, excellent handling, peppy. I'm getting an average of 34.6 over this time (21,000 miles), even with winter mileage being sub-30, especially this winter with all the heavy snows and cold (-20F or below) spikes. During the summer months I average 37 in mixed driving and 40 or a little higher on highway trips. I think it is rated 29/38, so I have no complaints there! It is netting me about 3 mpg better than the '98 Escort it replaced while being a much, much nicer car in every way.

    I was really tempted to replace it with an ST this fall, but my wife interceded and brought me back to reality; she is such a blessing. ;)

    sephia - As lightweight as that Mitsu is, I suspect it could be a fun little runabout. I have to wonder how they pulled off that weight while still building a high-quality, safe-to-operate car. Kudos to them on doing so!

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345

    @xwesx said: I am, thus far, very pleased with my Fiesta. My local dealer generally keeps a good mix of transmission choices in stock, so I've never had a problem test driving a manual when I wanted to do so. snip

    My Fiesta, which is a 2011 model that I have owned for close to 1.5 years now, is a manual SES hatch. Very solidly built little car - quiet, excellent handling, peppy. I'm getting an average of 34.6 over this time (21,000 miles), even with winter mileage being sub-30, especially this winter with all the heavy snows and cold (-20F or below) spikes. During the summer months I average 37 in mixed driving and 40 or a little higher on highway trips. I think it is rated 29/38, so I have no complaints there! It is netting me about 3 mpg better than the '98 Escort it replaced while being a much, much nicer car in every way.

    I was interested to read your positive comments about your Fiesta, Wes. I recall you have said before too that it is a good little car.

    I'm curious your size, cuz I sat in two different ones last summer and wanted to really like the car cuz I had read how fuel efficient it is (apparently a very good powertrain/gearing combo that actually exceeds its EPA) and also that for a small car, it was quieter inside than most in its class, and that it rode quite well for its class too. FE, ride, interior noise levels and seat comfort are all high on my list for a new (affordable) car. I have been exercising a near 25 year boycott with Ford due to a blatant injustice they dealt me back in 91, but had sorta considered maybe shelving it. Little did I know, the seat was just terrible. I couldn't get over how narrow and just poorly supportive it was. The only one I can think of that was worse was a 2008 Nissan Versa's I rented a few years ago (found out the 2014 Note is only barely better). Now I know I should lose about 20 lbs, but I don't think that makes my butt so big that it shouldn't feel squashed into the seat. For contrast I also sat in a Chevy Spark a couple hours earlier and it actually felt better than the seat in a heavily loaded Buick Encore with leather. So it's not like I am expecting economy class cars to have luxury feeling seats.

    Anyway, I didn't even bother driving the Fiesta cuz the seat was such a deal-breaker for me. I also knew that my next car is going to be an auto, and had heard that Ford has had more than their fair share of drivability issues with the DSGs they use in it and the Focus. Not sure if that is sorted out now or not.. I know yours is a stick so maybe you have no comment on their DSGs.

    The two I sat in ...one was used, so to make sure it wasn't because someone had damaged the seat, I found a new one..not sure the trim level, but it felt the basically the same.

    I actually wanted to like the car though..I do like their looks. Good clean lines and usable room for a small hatch.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,460
    edited January 4

    Cranky-

    I'm 6'0" ~190#

    My SES has the leather seating, which is firm but supports my body exceptionally well. I like the bolstering on it. I'd call it hugging, but not in a, um, WRX or Recaro sort of way. If the car had a moonroof, I wouldn't be able to sit in my preferred position (upright, rather than leaned back like a lot of folks prefer).

    I've driven the car many a time down to Palmer and back, which is a brisk 6-hour drive, and haven't been uncomfortable during the drive at all. On major selling point for me on the car is that it has good rear seat room (for a car this size). I could do the "sit behind myself" test and actually sit comfortably in the back with my knees directly in front of me. Only the Honda Fit was able to also pass that test. At the time, there was no Spark and the Korean option didn't have the leg room while the Mazda2 had horrendous headroom. I actually had to stoop to sit in that one (in the back seat). My children are frequent passengers in my car, so rear room was an important consideration for me.

    You're right regarding the dual-clutch automatic. There were many early production issues with them (early failures), and the one I had in a rental (specifically requested the Fiesta as I was considering buying one at the time) worked fine, but took a lot of the spirit out of the car. Also, at low speeds (like 5mph, such as traversing a parking garage or lot), the thing bucked annoyingly. I was a little thrown off by the manual-like behavior of the transmission without the input of my left foot, but dang that car had good fuel economy! I posted close to 44 over the 150 miles I used it (many of which were city commute miles), which is far better than I can obtain with my manual version unless I'm really trying to milk the mileage.

    I should mention, on the automatic front, that I drove two different rental Focii recently, both of which were 2013 models (do they still have the DCA on them?), and the transmissions were impressively smooth. Should I be embarrassed that I find myself stomping the floor in search of the clutch pedal when I drive these things? :s

  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345

    @xwesx Now you have me quite curious to try the leather interior version.

    I wonder if they have fixed that 5 mph stop n go abruptness on the newer DSGs now? The fact that you got even better milage with the DSG suggests that its fina drive ratio must be a lot taller than the stick version. Also why it's a bit soft on urge probably..

    I don't know if the Focus has DCA still..did you mean DSG? If so I think that yes they still use that style of auto.

    And no, don't be embarrassed at all for using the left foot outta habit...I can so relate to that anytime I get in an auto the first 20 min or so..

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    edited January 5

    sephia - As lightweight as that Mitsu is, I suspect it could be a fun little runabout. I have to wonder how they pulled off that weight while still building a high-quality, safe-to-operate car. Kudos to them on doing so!

    xwesx-nice ta hear from you. Yep-Mitsubishi engineering is top-quality engineering. The fact that American consumers didn't get that memo is no surprise ta me at all. Having said that, I would, if buying American, buy Ford. 58% of all my car purchases have been Ford's and I remain impressed by my old, traded-in Ford's as well as the new offerings. I like the new ST Focus and new Fiesta the most but I do like the standard Focus and Fiesta sedans and hatchbacks as well. Sounds like you're getting good ghastly mileage out of yours. Excellent. For how much we're stuck paying for ghastly (since about 1970 and/on) I am always about saving money in that category as much as possible yet still getting an enjoyable ride.

    I am growing more and more interested in the manual 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, though trading in our 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS is not only something I don't want to do it's also not something I need to do. I just love cars so much and love reading about them, and love driving them so much. You're right, to get a car under a ton in total weight and focus so much on the gas-saving aerodynamics like Mitsubishi has, yet still manage to get a car built that is safe on the road is quite an achievement.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,460

    @crkyolfrt said: xwesx I don't know if the Focus has DCA still..did you mean DSG? If so I think that yes they still use that style of auto.

    Yes. I think DSG stands for "direct-shift gearbox," which doesn't make a lot of sense to me given that a classic manual transmission is, for all intents and purposes, a DSG. I may have coined "DCA" myself, so sorry about that. A "DSG" is an automatic that uses a dual-clutch mechanism to allow for automatic shifts without the need for a torque converter, so it seems an apt acronym to call it a "dual-clutch automatic." :)

    I just did a quick search and, yes, Ford does use the "PowerShift" transmission in both of these cars. This is a 6-speed "DSG" made by Getrag. They must have improved the low-speed characteristics of it, because I did not notice any unpleasantness at all when I used the 2013 Foci, and I had one of them for a week. IIRC, it netted me ~33 mpg in local driving.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,460

    @iluvmysephia1 said: I just love cars so much and love reading about them, and love driving them so much. You're right, to get a car under a ton in total weight and focus so much on the gas-saving aerodynamics like Mitsubishi has, yet still manage to get a car built that is safe on the road is quite an achievement.

    Yep, I'm in the same boat with you there! I switch cars far less often than I'd like to switch them. Not that I don't like the ones I have... there are just so many other interesting ones out there I'd like to try!

    I think my '98 Escort was listed as 2457#. Curb weight of my Fiesta (which is, dimensionally, is 15 inches shorter!) is 2537#. Just looking at that tiny little thing, one wouldn't reasonably expect it to weigh that much! It harnesses a horse for every 21.14 pounds.

    The Mirage manages to knock a whopping 541# off my Feista's weight while being an inch narrower, another 11 inches (!) shorter, and an inch taller. That means, with it's little 74-horse engine, it has a horse for every 26.97 pounds. So, I wouldn't expect it to be a particularly zippy car, but could still be a fun runabout. Reviews say that it's steering and suspension are on the soft side... ? Would be interesting to try, anyway. :)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699

    Yes, some early purchasers are buying sway bars for about $200 and installing them. There is also talk about the 14" tires being the smallest tires on a new car in a long time. Have ta agree with that. Buyers say some tighter springs might help, too, with handling. Mitsubishi may need to upgrade those items straight from the factory from now on but I'll bet they won't ta keep '14 Mirage costs and weight down.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,764
    edited January 20

    What are the best manuals available for under $30,000 these days? There are a few, including....

    The 2014 Mazda3 sedan 6 speed manual starting at $16,945.

    The 2014 Mini Cooper 6 speed manual starting at $19,700.

    The Mazda6 Sport 6 speed manual starting at $20,990.

    The 2013 Civic Si sedan 6MT starting at $22,715.

    The 2014 Accord Sport 6 MT for $23,715.

    What are some others?

  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,506
    edited January 20

    This shopper could use some help. ISO a MT hatch or wagon with a moonroof.

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  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,444

    Have to include Miata in that list. also GTI.

    Have not driven the Acura ILX, but it's stick is probably pretty nice - near the top of the price range though.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,452

    Ilx drivetrain is really just the civic in a cushier package. And GTI needs to be on the list.

    Can a WRX come in on budget?

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,500

    @stickguy said:

    Can a WRX come in on budget? Definitely yes, base version. Still pretty fast, 250 hp or so - and handling, too.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,460

    @stickguy

    Disadvantage of the WRX may be insurance costs, especially for a young, unmarried man (we're still talking your son's car, yes?).

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,452

    @xwesx said: stickguy

    Disadvantage of the WRX may be insurance costs, especially for a young, unmarried man (we're still talking your son's car, yes?).

    Oh, I was just joining the earlier discussion about under 30K stick cars. A WRX is not a good idea for my son at this point!

    though he was looking at used Miatas, and thinking about a stick.

    He is kind of all over the place at the moment.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • sb55sb55 On an Island in VermontPosts: 163

    @stickguy said: though he was looking at used Miatas, and thinking about a stick

    If your son gets a Miata, get a PRHT. It makes it into a better daily driver.

    2007 Miata, 2010 BMW 535xiT, 2010 GMC Sierra SLE, 2006 Subaru Legacy Wagon

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,913

    how about the 2014 chevy cruze M6 at $18,095 retail price. I'm still too happy with mine to consider trading my 2011. i was soooo pleased with the shifter/action/clutch on day 1, real smooth, perfect spacing of gears for running in 6th at 75 or whatev.
    55k miles so far.. no problems whatsoever.

    @benjaminh said: What are the best manuals available for under $30,000 these days? There are a few, including....

    The 2014 Mazda3 sedan 6 speed manual starting at $16,945.

    The 2014 Mini Cooper 6 speed manual starting at $19,700.

    The Mazda6 Sport 6 speed manual starting at $20,990.

    The 2013 Civic Si sedan 6MT starting at $22,715.

    The 2014 Accord Sport 6 MT for $23,715.

    What are some others?

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    edited January 21

    I have to say the WRX is a great little car that happens to have a manual, but it's not a great manual, even with the short shifter. I would say the shifter in the SI is much more precise and entertaining to row. The 6-speed in the STi, which I assume is the one that will be in the new WRX when it is released later in the year, is a much better shifter. But the 5-speed is a bit balky and imprecise.

    It was one of the decision points for me when I chose the SI.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,835

    That's right----short shifters increase shifting effort, not make it easier--just faster.

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  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,500
    edited January 21

    @nippononly said: I have to say the WRX is a great little car that happens to have a manual, but it's not a great manual, even with the short shifter. I would say the shifter in the SI is much more precise and entertaining to row. The 6-speed in the STi, which I assume is the one that will be in the new WRX when it is released later in the year, is a much better shifter. But the 5-speed is a bit balky and imprecise.

    I don't know. I owned 2003 WRX with short shifter and it was fantastic. The clutch was really heavy, but the entire sensation was great. I really felt it after a couple of week break, especially if I drove some other manual transmission car - say I was on holiday break back in my Old Country and drove my sister's or dad's car. After that, getting into my WRX was a real treat. BTW, I also owned 2008 STI, so I have a comparison. The standard STI shifter did not feel as "short" - in fact it felt softer. The only thing about WRX short shifter was that required a firm hand move with some force in it. A hesitation or too soft hand could result in a missed gear - it happened to me early couple of times, but once I learned, there was no feel of lack of precision.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,506

    New on the site today:

    "The WRX may also not be the best choice if urban driving is in the cards, as clutch engagement can be abrupt in certain circumstances and its heavy effort will have your left leg significantly beefier than your right after only a few days stuck in traffic. Modulating the throttle just right can also be a bit tricky, making smooth driving difficult at times."

    2015 Subaru WRX Full Test

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  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,506

    May as well include a pic of the shifter.

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  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,500

    @Stever@Edmunds said: New on the site today:

    "The WRX may also not be the best choice if urban driving is in the cards, as clutch engagement can be abrupt in certain circumstances and its heavy effort will have your left leg significantly beefier than your right after only a few days stuck in traffic. Modulating the throttle just right can also be a bit tricky, making smooth driving difficult at times."

    They should have written the tester can't drive with a stick ;)

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

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