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.
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.
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’.