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I have never driven a manual before, so I am wondering how difficult it would be to learn...

also is it annoying in stop & go traffic?
 

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its easy. simply put. just go practice in a parking lot for a day or two. or up and down your street.

it took me about 20 minutes when i was 16 to figure it out. and about another week of street driving on top of that to finally stop stalling in random places and consider it a normal function just like breathing.

dont be discouraged just because its a manual
 

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If you have any bit of coordination it is not hard to learn. Once you get the basics down there are other techniques that you can learn that will help you to drive even better.

Manual transmission cars are actually more "FUN" to drive than automatics in that you are actively involved with the car. However, in day in, day out, daily traffic, it can be cumbersome.
 

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The ease of learning depends on the car, or more specifically, how much low end torque its motor has compared to its gearing and weight. The Elise/Exige would be very easy to learn on; my Jetta 1.8T would be very difficult.
 

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I personally don't like driving manual in stop&go traffic... my daily drivers have always been automatics

although its tough to admit that on a forum :)
 

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I think its best to learn how the mechanics of a clutch work before you actually try and learn to drive a manual that way you know what you have to do instead of trying to memorize what you have to do
 

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1 hour you can drive around the block just fine .... one day you can go anywere... unless your my girlfriend lol
 

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Center city San Francisco should be easy !
 

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An elise is sooo easy to learn on. Our elise is probably the most forgiving manual ive ever driven. I kinda learned in an old Austin 7 mini in England when I was 5, But really learned for good in a mustang gt at 12. All of our cars except for 4 are manual so i get used to it. Ive driven our 74 elan, our saleen, our old mg, our 69 chevy impala with a 502 and 520 ft lbs of tq, and our elise, and the elise is by FAR the easiest to drive, if you mess us shifting it doesn't bite you in the a$$ like other cars would.
 

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Once manual shifting becomes intuitive, stop-and-go driving feels to me the same on an automatic as on a manual... your hands and feet just do the work for you.
 

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The process of learning to shift is easier than the process of teaching someone. Have someone take you to a large empty lot, explain what to do.....then just have them get out and let you practice.

Yelling 'More gas!! More gas!! No!! Stop!! Let it out faster!!!' while you're trying to learn doesn't help.

As for stop and go traffic.....I'm so old my Social Security number is '1'....I've never owned an automatic and never wished I did....and I commuted over 40 miles into Chicago during rush hour for many years.
 

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I'm sure you'll learn fast if you practice. Just don't get discouraged. And if your're worried about learning on your car, try to find someone who can rent a manual for you, if they still exist.

As for heavy, NY city stop and go traffic, the clutch does seem to get heavy after a while. My leg does get a little tired holding it in when stuck on the cross bronx compared to other manuals I've driven in heavy traffic. Is it just me or does it seem to have a lot of resistance back compared to most?
 

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Its easy to learn. I taught my friend how to drive a manual in 2 hours. he wasn't great, but he knew how. a week later he bought a TSX with a 6 speed. few weeks with it and he knew exactly what he was doing.

I learned to drive on a manual, so it's ingrained in my head.
 

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The Elise/Exige would be very easy to learn on; my Jetta 1.8T would be very difficult.
Agreed that the Elises and Exiges are really easy to drive, but I'm suprised you think the 1.8T is a hard engine to learn on. It has a fairly heave flywheel, decent grunt right off idle, and a fairly long travel on the clutch, so I find it's easy to teach people how to drive stick in them.

Now, new GTI's with the 2.0T are a PITA to teach someone on. Light flywheels so they tend to die if you don't get the rpm just right.
 

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Agreed that the Elises and Exiges are really easy to drive, but I'm suprised you think the 1.8T is a hard engine to learn on. It has a fairly heave flywheel, decent grunt right off idle, and a fairly long travel on the clutch, so I find it's easy to teach people how to drive stick in them.
It's probably partly due to where I live...not much air up here (8500') so the low end is pretty sparse. I find there's a sweet spot when starting from a stop, too little gas and it bogs down, too much and there's boost and the TC kicks in and you look like a fool. The Elise is easy, just let the clutch out like normal, engine rpm really isn't as critical...you can do a low rpm launch just fine, or higher rpm, doesn't really matter and that makes it pretty easy to learn.

When I lived at sea level, I found the Jetta was quite different when I carried multiple passengers, the extra weight meant needing more gas and more clutch slipping to get going.

My Jetta is an '03, maybe they made some improvements to this aspect at some point.
 

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Ah, I get it. 8,500' adds a ton of lag to a turbo, so I'm sure it's a bit of a PITA to get off stoplights smoothly. Down here at 50' above sea level they're cake to drive. Not to mention, on a hot day, the air might act like it is over 10,000' in alt (density alt), which makes it really laggy.

I drove a turbo diesel 5 spd manual Dodge Ram in 7,500 density alt for a few months, and the turbo was like an on off switch, so I feel your pain.
 

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The Elise/Exige is one of the easiest manuals I've driven. I learned on an 83' 911 with a bad 2nd gear synchro so everything after that seems easy. The pedals are also weird in that they go into the floor instead of hanging down from above. Good luck! Just get a good teacher and don't be shy using the handbrake when stopped on hills to help you get going without rolling backwards. It's all about coordination.
 

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I learned a manual in my brother's Maxima on Mon night, picked the Elise up Tues night. The Elise was easier than the Maxima.
My brother actually drove the car home, then I jumped in and figured things out under more "controled" enviroment.
Elise is a great place to learn!
 

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I would recommend learning on a car with a very forgiving clutch. The Lotus clutch is pretty easy but it has a fairly small throw and thus engages quickly. What you want is a Honda Accord, Saturn, Toyota etc - these have long travel easy clutches that make it almost impossible for a new driver to stall. Avoid german and high performance cars until you get the hang of an "easy" clutch. My Jetta TDI (although German) would be a great car to learn on because the engine has so much low end torque - you can start out on a level surface easily without any throttle. Once you get the hang of level surfaces head out on the road and find a hill on a back road - practice starting on the hill using the emergency brake to prevent roll back - once you get good at hills you shouldn't need the emergency brake. If you can't find a friend willing to let you take about 20,000 miles off their clutch life, rent a stick car for a day and beat the crap out of it - john.
 

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I've only had 2, 1 hour lessons from a friend before buying my lotus. I first practiced a lot on my own driveway. Just switching from first to reverse and going back and forth until I know when my clutch engages. From there I just drove around the neighborhood. The hardest part in learning is the initial from stop to go. Also, before purchasing, just find as much information as how the transmission works. It will help you understand what you are doing and why you are doing it better. Pretty much after my 2nd day with the car, I no longer had problems with stalling the engine.

I'm not sure if it is a good idea to learn on a low end torque car. IMO the embarassment of stalling seems to help you learn more quickly.

As for stop and go traffic. You don't have to necesarily move when the car in front of you inches ahead. Just sit there. You aren't moving any quicker anyways. It will also be easier on the clutch.
 
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