Published at Tuesday, 14 April 2020. manual car. By Roy Masse.
Cars need transmissions because of the physics of the gasoline engine. First, any engine has a redline — a maximum rpm value above which the engine cannot go without exploding. Second, if you have read How Horsepower Works, then you know that engines have narrow rpm ranges where horsepower and torque are at their maximum. For example, an engine might produce its maximum horsepower at 5,500 rpm. The transmission allows the gear ratio between the engine and the drive wheels to change as the car speeds up and slows down. You shift gears so the engine can stay below the redline and near the rpm band of its best performance.
The Miata was all new for 2016, and a few years later the Mazda not only retains the easy-shifting and precise six-speed manual transmission in the Roadster model but also the even better driving retractable fastback (RF) model. Either way, 2019 MX-5s get an uprated engine that now makes 181 hp and revs to 7,500 rpm. And regardless of whether your Miata has a hard roof or a soft one, it’s one of the best manual transmissions available on any car at any price.
A continuously variable transmission (CVT) has a nearly infinite range of gear ratios. In the past, CVTs could not compete with four-speed and five-speed transmissions in terms of cost, size and reliability, so you didn’t see them in production automobiles. These days, improvements in design have made CVTs more common.
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