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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    edited December 2013
    Yep the west coast has some of the most beautiful and challenging roads in the country--Highway 1, in some places, leaves little room for error if you are really on the loud pedal. It requires concentration. Even in the MINI you're busy in the cockpit with a MT--5th and 6th speeds are virtually useless and with the supercharger you don't ever want to be below 2000 rpm. I suppose in a Stingray you could just do the entire thing in 2nd! :) But boy, would you suck in it everytime your Stingray went around a blind corner on the south side of the road (the cliff side---the one without the guardrails) and met an F250 dually going the other way. With the MINI at least I have a little breathing room.

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,697
    edited December 2013
    Indeed torque is more the emphasis in those TWISTIES rather than speed. With pretty close to 1 G capability, one really does not want to make a power slide mistake, (even if one is a legend in ones' own mind) . It's bad and stupid enough to kill one self. It would be unconscionable to take someone else to multiple others.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403

    In a recent group conversation at a car event, I overheard someone saying that they didn't like to drive a manual transmission because they found it "too distracting, what with everything else you have to do in modern traffic"---to which I thought, but did not say: "If moving around a gearshift and stepping on a pedal is too distracting for you, you are in way over your head operating a 2-ton vehicle at 65 mph".

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,697
    edited December 2013

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: In a recent group conversation at a car event, I overheard someone saying that they didn't like to drive a manual transmission because they found it "too distracting, what with everything else you have to do in modern traffic"---to which I thought, but did not say: "If moving around a gearshift and stepping on a pedal is too distracting for you, you are in way over your head operating a 2-ton vehicle at 65 mph".

    Indeed ! ? I think that all of us drive for different (combination of) reasons and it changes all the time for a lot of different reasons, For some reason/s it was important to me, when learning how to drive (years ago, to as a minimum) to drive manual transmissions proficiently. One skill that I think it does develop/emphasize is the ability to structurally think AHEAD. In traffic with an A/T, it would seem that guy you overhead was more into reacting, and being in the moment.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391

    That's the way with drivers these days, is it not?! I mean, being reactive rather than thinking ahead. I actually had someone tell me last week that my rear brake light (center) was not working after driving behind me for a while through town. We had gone through four or five intersections, three of which were red when we approached.

    He thought I was mad when I told him that my brake lights work fine, I just had not used the brakes during that period! :s

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,139

    I can see if you are a real newbie not wanted to get into a bad driving area, but if you know how to do it, it really takes no thought. Basically just becomes automatic.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687

    Just checking in to say my new SI has got me loving stick shift more than ever - it has one of the sweetest shifter and clutch combinations I have ever driven. I don't see how you could drive this car and not become an instant convert to the cult of the manual! :-P

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167

    @nippononly said: Just checking in to say my new SI has got me loving stick shift more than ever - it has one of the sweetest shifter and clutch combinations I have ever driven. I don't see how you could drive this car and not become an instant convert to the cult of the manual! :-P

    Congratulations on your new SI. Is it a sedan or coupe?

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687

    @hpmctorque said:

    Congratulations on your new SI. Is it a sedan or coupe?

    It's a sedan. Use the back seat all the time, need those extra doors. ;-)

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

  • I am going to follow the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage and how owners/test driver's feel about its driving dynamics. I like the great ghastly mileage, late 80's Ford Festiva/Chevy Sprint looks yet 5 doors ta choose from and $13,000 price range.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687

    @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: 5,675
    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: 1,898

    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: 1,898
    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: 5,675
    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: 8,391
    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: 8,391
    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

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