On Monday I went out for my second lesson in driving a manual car, and by the end of it I felt pretty confident that I could drive any three-pedaled car if I had to (though I’m not gonna be impressing anyone any time soon).

(My coworker agreed to let me learn on his silver 2017 WRX(!), identical to this one pictured here)

This second time went much better overall than the first lesson a week ago. The first time, I wasn’t thinking and didn’t bring better shoes than the very thick- & stiff-soled street-style cycling shoes I biked over in, so it was very difficult to feel the clutch’s biting point and engagement zone. It felt binary to me: I knew where the biting point was, but after that it seemed like the clutch would engage all the way. I couldn’t even hold it at the biting point. I stalled a lot but eventually got fairly consistent in starting without stalling, but it would still be fairly jerky most of the time.

This time I brought some thin-soled, Converse-style shoes to change into, and the difference was huge. I hopped right in and made three smooth starts, and I could actually feel the clutch gradually engaging as I slowly released the pedal.

After we figured out how to disable the hill start assist feature, I moved on to practicing starts on various grades of inclination. I stalled a lot, but eventually got the hang of feathering the clutch a little bit to apply more gas before it fully engaged and was able to consistently start even on a decent grade (probably 5-7%).

Advertisement

I think I understand the basic techniques now, and it’s mostly a matter of practice. Hopefully I’ll be picking up an old clunker of a manual truck soon to practice on.