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How's This Work? Stick Shift

How's This Work? Stick Shift

What is a manual transmission?

A few weeks ago we took a look at the Continuously Variable Transmission as it has begun to take over a lot of Honda vehicles. But with all of the excitement surrounding Honda’s announcement that all 2017 Honda Civic models will feature a 6-speed manual transmission, we thought we’d take a closer look at what exactly that is for this week’s How’s This Work. Most of us are just used to automatic transmissions, so looking at what the manual transmission is might give us a better idea of how exactly it works, and why people are so excited about its inclusion.

[ LAST WEEK: What is a Drivetrain? ]

How does a manual transmission work?

Even though most of us are used to automatic transmissions, we understand the basic gist of a manual transmission. We know there’s a mysterious extra pedal and that the shifter has way more stopping points than just park, reverse, neutral and drive. We might even be able to figure out how to use it, after a few failed attempts. But sometimes even those people who picked up the art of driving stick as easily as riding a bicycle don’t understand exactly how a manual transmission works, so we thought we’d go over some of the details.

Put in plain English, the idea of a transmission is pretty simple to grasp. It is a device that adjusts your vehicle’s gear ratio between the engine and wheels on the go, making sure that your car or truck or whatever never surpasses the redline. In an automatic transmission, the gears shift automatically for optimum performance. But sometimes shifting early or right on time delivers even better performance, and these are things that aren’t always possible if your vehicle is doing the shifting for you. A manual gives you the driver that extra bit of control to shift when you want to.

So why are people so excited that the next instance of Honda Civic will be equipped with a manual? Because the Civic is a lightweight, sporty car that would benefit greatly from a freedom to shift gears manually. We can’t wait to get in a manual Civic and take it for a spin, and we’ll let you know as soon as we know more about that.

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