Driving a Manual Transmission
By Phil Shuyler
Automatic transmissions are king. Some may not like it, but it’s just a fact that most people prefer driving without a clutch. There are some however that LOVE a manual transmission. They enjoy the connection they feel with their car, the engagement they have when rowing through the gears, and the control they have over their transmission and thus the car as a whole.
No one is embracing this more than Honda. As a company, they realize how important it is to keep the manual transmission alive. They currently offer manual transmissions in 9 of their 18 vehicles, including the North American Car of the Year, the 2018 Accord. The other vehicles are the Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe, Civic Si Sedan, Civic Si Coupe, Civic Hatchback, Civic Type R, HR-V and Fit. Three cheers for Honda and their commitment to the manual.
Honda also has one of the easiest to use manual transmissions available. They’re great for learning and Honda actually held an event in Los Angeles earlier this year that was geared toward teaching people how to drive a manual. Most of the attendees had zero experience and after less than 2 hours, they were comfortable enough to leave the parking lot and hit the real streets of LA. That says a lot for how easy it can really be once you start to learn. A lot of people are intimidated by manual transmissions, and I can totally understand why, but once you take the plunge and give it a try, you’ll find it quickly becomes second nature.
One of the best features that’s now on nearly every manual car is “Brake Hold.” This alleviates most people’s biggest fear, which is when the car begins to roll before you have it in gear. This is especially terrifying if you’re going up a steep hill and have to stop and someone pulls right behind you. Someone less experienced will only be thinking “don’t roll back and hit that car, don’t roll back and hit that car.” And now with brake hold, you can take your foot off the brake and you have up to 5 seconds to begin moving forward, and once you do, the brake will be released. So you can look like a manual driving pro right from the start!
There are companies throughout the U.S. that specialize in teaching people how to drive a manual, and if you have any interest in learning, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Your passion for driving will thank you later.