We want something that is easy to learn on, but still fun to drive.
Learning to drive a manual transmission car is a right of passage for any car enthusiast. We all dream of getting to learn stick shift on some expensive Porsche or gated manual Ferrari, but most of us have to learn on some beat up econobox that our friend doesn't mind us stalling. With that in mind, we picked out five new cars that are perfect for learning how to drive stick. These cars are easy to learn in, but are still very fun to drive.
We recently took a lot of flack for preferring the DSG transmission in the Golf R. Trust us, we love Volkswagen's manual transmission as well. They are very easy to use and the clutch is very light. Most of the Volkswagen models on sale today are turbocharged, so even the most basic models are still pretty fun to drive. They may not have RWD, but these cars give people who are just learning to drive manual something that is extremely smooth and not overwhelming on power.
If anyone in high school or college is lucky enough to have parents that are willing to get them a Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, we suggest that they take it. The car is often criticized for not having enough power. we think it's actually the perfect amount to learn how to drive a sports car. Some people jump right into an overpowered Corvette or Mustang as their first sporty car, and we all know how that story ends. The Toyota 86 only has 205 hp on tap, but it has one of the slickest manual transmissions on the market. We love the 86 because it is the perfect car to learn car control with a RWD chassis that can slide without hitting insane speeds.
When anyone talks about entry-level sports cars, the Miata always pops up in the conversation. The Miata shares many of the virtues of the 86 including usable power and a slick transmission. Despite what many people say, the NC generation wasn't that easy to learn stick on because it is more difficult to be smooth on than in a more "basic" car. The new ND generation is a lot smoother and we would certainly recommend it to anyone who is just learning to drive a manual.
Honda has long been known to produce one of the best manual transmissions in an affordable car. Honda transmissions usually have an extremely short clutch that is very easy to use, while maintaining a slick gear shift. We've driven a few generations of the Civic Si, and all of them are extremely easy to hop in and learn without stalling. The latest Si will be a bit different with a turbocharged engine, but it will keep the trend of having a manual transmission as the only option. We also love driving the Honda Accord with the manual (especially the V6 version), but the Si is probably the coolest Honda on sale today to learn stick on.
When Ford first announced the Fiesta ST, we knew that it was going to be special. The Fiesta ST captured what used to be so special about the original Mk1 Golf GTI in an affordable package. As much as we love the Fiesta ST, we think that the 1.0-liter EcoBoost is equally good to learn how to drive manual. A 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine doesn't sound like it could possibly be fun, but Ford's unit does produce 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque with a five-speed manual transmission. Even the newest Fiesta ST will have a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, which will probably be great. These engines allow the driver to rev out the motor without worrying about hitting crazy speeds and collecting tickets.