Clutch feel is a very odd thing. After my recent Porsche rental and a past Smart car rental, I have truly learned how different some clutches can feel. These cars have represented polar opposites along with my daily driver Miata falling somewhere in the middle. Before I learned to drive manual, I just figured all clutches would perform the same job and feel generally the same. I knew of course there could be differences in where the grab point would be and how easy a car may stall but I never realized how big of a difference the weight could make. The weight of a clutch really defines a car’s personality and effort required to drive it. But it is just odd how you can get used to one clutch and switching to another just feels so foreign.

Never thought I could ever find a way to compare these three cars.

The rental smart car just felt really easy to drive. I didnt notice how light it was at first until I returned home and my Miata felt like I needed Herculean strength to operate the clutch. That in addition to heavier steering and quicker throttle input made it feel like I daily drive a race car in comparison.

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Then the rental Cayman again felt so much heavier for clutch inputs but steering and throttle were basically in the same responsive category. But in this case, I didnt really notice the clutch difference until I got back in my Miata and thought the hydraulic pressure must have been lost. I had a few jerky shifts until I rememered how to drive.

I just realized overall how crazy that ‘clutch feel’ experience is. If you have ever driven a variety of manual cars, I am sure you have seen the same. Maybe this is just something that comes obvious to people but being relatively new to manual driving, it has given me a further appreciation of the ‘hobby’.