Manual transmission advice

CTJoshCTJosh Member Posts: 22
edited October 2021 in Subaru

Hello! I’m looking for advice- I’m in my late 40s and I’m finally learning to drive stick. I’m planning on leasing a new car soon and I’d like it to be a manual transmission. I live in New England and it’s hilly where I live and some winters are extremely snowy, so I’m looking at Subaru because as far as I know they are the only manual cars with AWD. I’d like some feedback from anyone who has had a manual Impreza, Crosstrek, or WRX. The manual versions of the Impreza and Crosstrek are only in lower tiered models, so I like the options available in the WRX. However, the WRX is more expensive and I’m afraid it might be too much car for me, or the performance would be lost on me, or it would be harder to learn manual on. I had an Impreza and loved it, but I’ve read mixed things about the 5 speed including some harsh reviews. I’m not experienced enough to appreciate the difference between a 5 speed or a 6 speed as in the Crosstrek. If the manual in the Crosstrek was significantly better I would consider it, but I like the looks and ride height of the Impreza better if there’s no appreciable difference (and it’s cheaper). Thanks for your help!



  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 210,260
    1) Crosstrek and Impreza are essentially the same vehicle, so yes, the Impreza gets you more bang for your buck. I wouldn't worry about 5- or 6-speed. It's mostly related to gearing. I doubt the clutch/throttle operation is any different.

    2) I had an Impreza manual, and didn't love it, but that was 14 years ago, so not relevant. I'm generally not in love with Subaru manual transmissions, in general. Honda, BMW, VW all do it a lot better.

    3) If you've been driving for 30 years, a WRX will not be too much car for you. It is more expensive. Basically, you are paying for the extra power. Even with some nice options, it is still an Impreza. It won't be any harder to learn driving a stick. Most young drivers have trouble learning to drive a stick, because they are also learning everything else about driving. You won't have that issue. Also, most modern vehicles have a "hill holder" function, that keeps the car from rolling backwards on hills, until you let out the clutch. That makes the hilly part of the drive a lot easier.

    There may be some other manual transmission vehicles with AWD, but I'm not aware of them, unless we get into pickup trucks or some really high performance models.

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  • CTJoshCTJosh Member Posts: 22

    Thanks so much for the feedback. I have a CVT Impreza and I love it, and so was interested in the manual version, but I have read a lot of negative comments about the 5 speed transmission. Since I’m new to manual, I don’t know what they’re talking about, and to be honest, plenty of people complain about CVTs and I’m fine with the one I’m driving now. I just don’t want my first manual transmission car to turn me off from stick shifts for good because it’s a crappy manual. I don’t hear tons of love for Subaru manuals but I need the AWD (and since there is financial incentive for me to lease the car through work, it’s not worth it for me to switch between regular and winter tires on a lease car.

  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoModerator Posts: 209,741
    You should find and test drive some manuals from different manufacturers (Honda, VW, Subaru, Toyota), and you will start to get a sense of how they are different.

    Feel of the clutch pedal, feel of the stick as it moves between gears are the two big things you should be able to notice.

    Hondas have had a reputation of having the best stick shifts in the business.

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