About the manual only business....

I’ve driven nothing but stick for 20+ years. I’m something of a car enthusiast but I’ve also been frequently dirt poor, so my kind of car ( old shitbox with hatch), is usually available with the manual feature. My first car was a 5 speed beercan. when that got bent and I needed a car I went looking for a Chevette. They were plentiful at the time so I had a quick read of the newspaper classifieds (only the 5 richest kings of europe had the internet at this time).

Later that day I was driving a red 81 Acadian 2 door 4 speed for the princely sum of $400 Canadian Dollars. It was even shiny. It was also a total piece of shit, the charm of these cars comes with the don’t give a shit factor. They’re basically indestructable and will run badly longer than better cars will even run. Any way, my Point being that Having a clutch lets you continue to drive a car that shouldn’t even run but does.

I’m past the point of getting away that sort of thing. I needed a car, a sensible shoes kind of car. I bought A 2010 Vibe, first manual wagon there was. Manual, hatch 4 tires, I’ll take it! It’s a super stripper base model, crank windows, manual locks, a/c delete! TPMS delete. As I claim a disdain for creature comforts, I’m okay with that. It was a standard, I’d learn to love the boring colour and anything else.

So what don’t I like about this car? THE MANUAL TRANSMISSION! Not that I’d have gone with the 1.8 auto. Through a combination of numb, cable actuated shifting, traction control (I’m Canadian, I know how to slide any Pontiac around thank you very much) and a drive by wire gas pedal that seems set up for the automatic driver. It’s a good car that’s not much fun to run through the gears. It seems to shift 3-5 better than 3-4, and there’s a slight delay to the throttle response that makes downshifting clunky and goes against 20 years of muscle memory. I realize it’s not a sports car, and not even the sporty version of a mundane car. I needed something newer, reliable, easy on fuel and capable of family car duties. The stick was the only thing I was treating myself to and it’s really the only thing keeping the vibe from being a great car in my eyes.


My friend with a 6 speed Vibe GT says it’s the cables, My trucker friend says you can talk to your ecm and adjust the delay. Anyone out there know these cars? I want to love it, it could be my Batmobile, But the one thing I wanted in a car seems to be it’s weak point. I can drive stick, once it’s moving I can run from first to fifth and back down to first without using the clutch. I ‘ve had an old car with a crash first gear. My grandpa taught me to double clutch and rev match just like the army taught him. And I remember the day in 1981 when both my dad and Grandpa bought 81 Reliants, Dad’s was a 2 door 4 speed, and Grandpas was a 4 door auto. I remember asking about the column shift, and why he wasn’t shifting it. He drove me around, pointing out the thumps and that the car was shifting itself. Both sides of the family were in the Honda/Datsun camp at the time so I’d never seen an Automatic at this point. I’m really the only gearhead, but my people prefer practical transportation and grabbing their own gears.

Any suggestions, tips and tricks would be appreciated.