The pleasure of driving a manual car again

I have four cars and three of them have a manual transmission.

The first was a 2007 Subaru Liberty Wagon (requiring six gears instead of five), and the second was the 2011 Subaru Outback (heavy clutch, light and unusually small shift, sticky throttle), so it’s not a sport car with three pedals. Stay was a central part of the appeal.

After these two (and a carbless work overseas overseas) came a 2016 Subaru BRZ (short, sharp transfers, clunky between the first and second at the cold start). I only owned it for 12 months before the press car started coming, and I didn’t have a place to park it.

Since then, I drive mostly automatic cars. My 2005 Mitsubishi Pajero has a five-speed automatic, and most of the new cars we review have two pedals, not three.

Of the nearly 150 reviews I published Care ExpertThere have been only seven manual cars.

While last week, in the process of compiling our i30 sedan N vs Subaru WRX RS comparison, I spent a tough 10 days traveling in a stick shift car. Of course, there was some fun driving there too, but for the most part it was clutch in, clutch out between Hampton and Southbank.

I like it. I missed it.

Not because it’s a More pure driving experience Or other enthusiastic rubbish, but because it puts me in control of the car again.

No matter how smart an automatic transmission is, it is not plugged into your brain. Even the best out there (PDK is there, like the ZF transmission tuned by BMW) the driver sometimes doesn’t want to do anything like that; Shifting too fast or hanging in gear for too long.

The car’s computer brain doesn’t see a gap in the front traffic and already shifts from fifth to third, it has to wait until you jump into the accelerator in the downshift. Just an indication of a gap, an extra step in the process, which leaves room for the car to do something you don’t want it to do.

Just because you have sunk the accelerator halfway through its journey doesn’t mean you want to change, for example. Maybe you want to lean on engine torque to squirt at 50 to 60km / h in fifth place. Doing a manual drive gives you that choice.

Then there is the joy of heel-feet. In a car like the i30 N it allows you to enjoy uncomfortable exhausts and enjoy a slick shift at a slower pace each time. Sure, you look like a lump from the outside, but it’s very satisfying on the inside.

I’m not saying here that every new car should be a manual, or that people who buy auto products are less car enthusiasts than driving their own cars. We will have a much worse car this week, the Mercedes-Benz C300, for example, with three pedals rather than two.

But Finally Spending some time on the manual car reinforces the fact that I hope the next car I buy will feature a stick shift. Of course, they are sometimes less convenient, and my companions will not be able to run it (Ah no, but I will live?), But it’s more fun.

I love the look of the new Civic Type R, and the idea of ​​usually feeling a chic Honda shift every day (or closer to it) is quite appealing… if the price is right. But that is another story.

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