Published at Tuesday, 14 April 2020. manual car. By Roy Masse.
Not only do modern manual transmissions have smoother shifters that pair with more forgiving clutches, but many examples pack technologies designed to improve performance, boost efficiency and enhance the driving experience.
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.
Hill start assist isn’t exclusive to stick-shift cars, but the feature makes it easier to master one of the tougher skills of driving a manual: starting on a hill without rolling backward. Without hill start assist, quick footwork on the gas and clutch — or a hand-operated parking brake applied in tandem — will keep you from rolling backward, but get it wrong and you’ll stall the engine. Hill start assist grants more time to start off by briefly holding the brakes after you’ve released the brake pedal. It’s a common feature on cars as affordable as the Honda Civic and Ford Fiesta.
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