Published at Tuesday, 14 April 2020. manual car. By Roy Masse.
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.
The Miata’s organically responsive handling mixed with a large dollop of 1960s British roadster drew buyers by the tens of thousands to Mazda stores. But it’s no stretch to say it was Mazda’s brilliant five-speed manual transmission that seriously added to the thrill ride. The stubby little shifter was so effortless, it moved with just a modest flick of the wrist. The second-generation Miata of 1999 got one more gear in tenth anniversary models—a six-speed—that remained optional (the five-speed was standard) well into the third generation was equally great to use.
Besides the ubiquitous smartphone, lots of other stuff has become “smart” — watches, thermostats, doorbells and more. The Toyota Corolla Hatchback’s manual transmission has grown smarter, too, and it can do things that previously required plenty of practice. Downshift rev-matching is one such feature, but the car can also automatically adjust engine speed to minimize lurching during an ill-timed shift. Cars.com reviewer Brian Wong also observed that you can get the car moving on a level surface using just the clutch pedal. Combined, these characteristics make the hatchback a good choice to learn how to drive a manual.
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