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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Planning on putting in an order for a ST3 by December.

The ONLY thing holding me back is that I have never driven a stick shift at 34 years of age... :shocked:

It's incredibly intimidating.

I'm also worried about reliability. This is going to be my one and only car, my everyday driver that I need to drive 70 miles to work everyday (35 miles each way). I want something fun to drive, and it has to go when i put the key in it. No spit and polish required past the ordinary general maintenance.

My choice's for car have come down to Focus ST, Fiesta ST, Golf GTI (Probably too expensive although I love the AWD and Automatic), Mazda 3, 2017 Cruze Hatchback, Honda Civic hatchback, or the upcoming new Hyundai Hatchback. It has to have some VROOM VROOM to it, It has to be a hatchback. It has to be relatively good on gas (no ridiculous gas guzzlers). It has to be reliable. It has to be brand new. It has to have good technology like Push to Start, Keyless entry, backup camera, Apple Carplay/Android Auto etc etc etc. And it has to be around 20K-30k USD.

I am 99.99% Sold on the Focus ST, I am just terrified that I am going to destroy my car because of the Manual transmission.
 

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In my opinion, the Focus ST has the most unforgiving clutch pedal I have ever driven.

However, 95% of the manual transmissions that I have owned or driven were in trucks or semi's. They have a much harder to press clutch so any miss timing between the accelerator and the clutch were masked.

In my ST, even the slightest slip up seems to be a lot more obvious. This could also be partially due to the car being so much smaller than what I am used to driving.

Once I got used to the ST, it shifts beautifully for me.

If you have never driven a manual transmission before, I would see if you could find one to at least get the basics down.

The ST has a very stout clutch assembly, I don't see it get replaced often nor upgraded due to increased power. I have a stage 2 ST and I drive the ever livin s*** out of it and I have never noticed a slipping clutch. I am about to roll over 14K miles since mid March of this year.
 

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I think the the ST has a relatively easy to use clutch after driving sticks in a Grand Am GT, Outback XT, Saab 95 turbo, is300, 330ci and m3, and several accords, civics, preludes and Civic Si's. It's my favorite manual so far, Just let out the clutch and add a little gas at the end, you'll be fine. It's been covered in past threads, if you let the clutch out slow enough it'll get the car rolling on its own even without gas.
 

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I just got an ST, I learned to drive at 12 on a standard, then never had one again until a month or two ago at 30. JUST DO IT! This car is so fun to drive and I have no worried about the reliability, we are in the second year of a refresh, nothing crazy new to break or test out, they worked the kinks out mostly a while ago.

The first day I got it I took my wife who's never driven manual and had her start driving (the idea being it's brand new, if she f's up the tranny or clutch it's under warranty, at least I hoped it would be) She could sorta drive it after 15 minutes. So get the car on a friday, have someone with you who can drive stick maybe and go find some back roads and just practice for a few hours.

YOU WILL STALL--it's not a big deal, don't let it overwhelm you and freak you out, just try again. Hills can be tricky, but this car holds itself on the hills and gives you a good chance to go without stalling, practice a bit and you will have it down.

Learning new things can be hard, I promise you that learning to drive manual will be worthwhile, besides opening up your driving options, I think it makes you a better driver period. There's also the boost in confidence from successfully learning something new and succeeding in something that was holding you back, and that is something worth more than most people think!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The dealership I went to didn't have any ST in stock but when I said I never drove a manual, the dealer told me that he could give me lessons. I don't know how honest that was though.

From what I hear, getting a manual in a rental car is almost impossible.

I don't think a single person I know has a manual transmission on any of their cars. Even trucks nowadays are all automatics.
 

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I think these cars have a really easy clutch with a decent weight and feel and the torque makes it difficult to stall. You WILL stall, though, when you're learning, just keep in mind where the starter button is so you can hit it quickly. Also, the hill holder makes it easier to learn on (so you don't have to worry about rolling your 260Z backwards into a jacked up truck . . . not that it happened to me, of course! Yeah, that was a, uh, friend.). Don't get too nervous about it, it's not that hard, but you will stall and it's a minor embarrassment and the people laughing probably couldn't drive one at all. I've taught mechanically inept people to do it well enough to get around in a short time in a parking lot. Also, I think they fixed the electronic throttle lag that made my early SE a little difficult for a newb on the non-turbo Focus, so learning on an SE would be pretty close.

People always think of grinding gears, probably because movies use it as an example since the noise is an easy indicator to tell the viewer the character driving isn't very good, but I can't recall anyone I've taught or myself grinding a gear (though, it's not technically grinding the gears themselves, but whatever). Stalling, though, that's normal. Then it's just a matter of learning when to shift, which is much like shifting in a bicycle—smaller gear to get moving, bigger gear for higher speeds. After that, you can get into heel-and-toe and such, but you don't need to know that right off.

I had a friend who learned to drive a manual from the salesman he bought his Del Sol from (this is a guy who thought a Miata was "too sissy", so he was pretty clueless).
 

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Been driving manuals for 5 decades and this one isn't bad. However, I stalled it three times leaving the parking lot of the stealership the night I bought it. Been OK since.
 
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I learned to drive stick on this car, and it was super easy. Clutch is heavier than others that I have driven but it helps you find the catch point a lot easier. I took it to the parking lot for 15 minutes and then drove it home on the highway after with little issue, it's that easy to drive. Don't worry about messing it up either..the clutch will hold up to a ton of abuse so if you go on a test drive or buy one, THEN DONT WORRY ABOUT BREAKING ANYTHING JUST DRIVE IT. That gets rid of some angst and you'll enjoy the process so much more


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The dealership I went to didn't have any ST in stock but when I said I never drove a manual, the dealer told me that he could give me lessons. I don't know how honest that was though.

From what I hear, getting a manual in a rental car is almost impossible.

I don't think a single person I know has a manual transmission on any of their cars. Even trucks nowadays are all automatics.
Welp, I was going to suggest a rental or a friend but it seems you're SOL in that aspect. Keep checking the rental car places, if you can't find one go down to the Kia dealer and learn on one of them Souls or something lol.

BTW if you know how to ride a motorcycle with a clutch it should come a little faster. Same thing, just using your foot for the clutch. Good luck.
 

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Learning new things can be hard, I promise you that learning to drive manual will be worthwhile, besides opening up your driving options, I think it makes you a better driver period. There's also the boost in confidence from successfully learning something new and succeeding in something that was holding you back, and that is something worth more than most people think!
This. So much this!
 

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I just bought my ST a little over a month ago. It's my first manual transmission car also. It took me about an hour to get used to it. Its my daily driver. Once you learn how to go from a dead stop it's easy. Every other gear is easy. This helped me a lot on learn to down shift and blipping.
How to Drive Manual Transmission: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0NpLqqFBFSKgkDNAe5A7Lwi6g9goeg9S
I hope this helps. ?

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This ST was the first manual car I have owned. Before I had driven a lot of different manual cars but never on long trips or in stop-and-go traffic. But I can tell you its very easy to pick up, and it becomes second nature in no time.
 

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Been driving manuals for 5 decades and this one isn't bad. However, I stalled it three times leaving the parking lot of the stealership the night I bought it. Been OK since.
Kinda' funny to me at least. When I took mine on a test drive I stalled out twice. The sales kid (he was a youngin') didn't bother to tell me that you had to lift the little knob/lever thing on the shifter to go in reverse. I thought that it was odd that "R" was on the left side of the gate. So, naturally I thought that I should move the shifter over a bit in order to not start in reverse. I was actually starting out in 3rd! After the second time the sales kid said "oh yeah" you have to lift up the little lever to go into reverse. Im 44 and have driven manuals in the past. However the last manual I drove was Fox body Mustang (88') and that was 21 years ago. Always wanted to get back on the horse, and decided on the ST. Although not hard to drive, I also feel the clutch is not very forgiving, but I haven't roasted it yet.
 

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Same here, learned to drive a manual on the ST. I only drove a manual twice before, very easy to learn on.

Sent from the pocket internets
 

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Driven manuals only for 35 years. This one of the easiest... you can literally let the clutch out without giving it any gas and it will not stall. Hill assist, I don't like it but I see why many do. Practice a little before you get in traffic and you will be fine.
 

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Did you check out any driving schools to see if had manual cars for lessons. My son was going to do that just to learn. But bought a $500 better to practice with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am terrified.

28K is a a lot of dough to put down on a car that I may not be able to drive because I did something stupid like destroyed a clutch.

There is something about the car that I love though. I have looked at every new production car being made and the Focus ST is leagues ahead of any other car I want (besides the Focus RS).

The volkswagon GTI is in second place but I feel dirty about even thinking about driving a volkswagon. The car is so ugly. I just appreciate it as a fun car to drive.

If the Focus ST came in DSG automatic and AWD for under 30K, that would be my ideal car.
 

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In my experience with manuals, the ST has the easiest, smoothest engagement of anything I've driven. I have NOT stalled it once in my 1600 brief miles with it, compared to my period correct 1966 Sunbeam Alpine (which has no power or torque at all below 3krpm) Let me tell you, the ST will spoil you with how easy it is. On top of everything these have an anti-stall feature (at least the 16 does) where it will apply some light throttle for you if it thinks you aren't using enough on your own.

Here are a few pointers.

*Wear shoes with smooth edges so you do not get caught on the carpet (I wear 11W4E's and my work shoes catch on the carpet, so I keep a pair of shoes in the car with smooth edges, no hangups)
*Release the clutch slowly, when you start to feel engagement, just keep bringing it out easy. You aren't racing so you wont hurt the clutch if you let it slip a little.
*If you think you can't brake and down shift at the same time. DONT. Just leave it in gear and slow down, if you drop below 1500rpm and still need to slow down more, put the clutch in and go into neutral. Once you are doing slowing down, find a gear. (Rolling = safe to start in 2nd) 20+ 3rd, 30+ 4th, 40+ 5th, 50+ 6th (these figures are for level terrain, and low throttle input.)

Some of the Nice features the ST has for new drivers.

*Auto rev to help avoid a stall (Great for new drivers)
*Rev holding for up shifts (Great for new drivers)
*Hill start mode (Very helpful for new drivers)

When we say the ST is easy to learn on, we truly mean it.
 

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I am terrified.

28K is a a lot of dough to put down on a car that I may not be able to drive because I did something stupid like destroyed a clutch.

There is something about the car that I love though. I have looked at every new production car being made and the Focus ST is leagues ahead of any other car I want (besides the Focus RS).

The volkswagon GTI is in second place but I feel dirty about even thinking about driving a volkswagon. The car is so ugly. I just appreciate it as a fun car to drive.

If the Focus ST came in DSG automatic and AWD for under 30K, that would be my ideal car.
You're going to love it. I've been driving manual for so long that when I get into an automatic I'll inadvertently slam on the brake with my left foot because I'm so used to pressing on the clutch. Yikes.
The DSG or any automatic for that matter might get you to 60MPH in a few tenths of a second faster, but there's no comparison as to how much more fun a manual transmission is to drive.
 

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You're going to love it. I've been driving manual for so long that when I get into an automatic I'll inadvertently slam on the brake with my left foot because I'm so used to pressing on the clutch. Yikes.
I am so happy to know I am not alone in that struggle o-o
 
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