Learning to Drive on a Sedan With a Manual Transmission - WSJ.com | Catalog-cars

Learning to Drive on a Sedan With a Manual Transmission – WSJ.com

24 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Learning to Drive on a Sedan With a Manual Transmission – WSJ.com

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Updated April 21, 2008 9:30 a.m. ET

Q: I am interested in buying a high quality four-door sedan. My son will soon be 15 years old. I believe it is important for him to learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission. Many cars today have what I call a clutchless manual transmission.

I am not looking for this type of gearbox. I would like your thoughts and suggestions.

— Mark Bean,

Atlanta

A: While the number of cars available with manual transmissions seems to be shrinking quickly, there are still several sedans at a range of prices that let you stir the gears. If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be the BMW bmw.xe -0.08% Bayerische Motoren Werke AG Germany: Xetra € 84.73 -0.07 -0.08% Nov. 28, 2013 5:35 pm Volume. 605,633 P/E Ratio 10.64 Market Cap €54.53 Billion Dividend Yield 2.95% Rev. per Employee €721,448 11/21/13 German Luxury Auto Makers Conf.

11/20/13 Rivals Out to Break Germany#39;s. 11/20/13 Tesla Faces New Competition Fr. More quote details and news bmw.xe in Your Value Your Change Short position 3-Series. I may be slightly biased, having learned to drive in a 1979 320i.

That car had only four forward gears but was perfect for someone learning to shift. I think the best cars for beginners with manual transmissions have shift levers and clutch pedals that offer a fair amount of resistance to movement. They help keep the driver aware that he or she is operating a machine.

My mother’s old BMW had just the right mechanical feel and contemporary 3-Series models still have it.

A friend who learned to drive on a Honda hmc -0.21% Honda Motor Co. Ltd. ADS U.S. NYSE $ 42.02 -0.09 -0.21% Nov. 27, 2013 4:05 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 197,190 AFTER HOURS $ 42.02 0.00 0.00% Nov. 27, 2013 4:05 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): 200 P/E Ratio 17.97 Market Cap $76.46 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $614,394 More quote details and news hmc in Your Value Your Change Short position Accord never quite developed a smooth shifting and clutching technique.

I think that car’s soft clutch pedal and limp lever were partly to blame. Of course, today’s Hondas are better, and their sturdiness and reliability make them good candidates. Either the Accord or the smaller Civic would work.

Others with nice transmissions that are worth a test drive include the Saab 9-3, Volkswagen vow.xe -0.29% Volkswagen AG Germany: Xetra € 189.45 -0.55 -0.29% Nov. 28, 2013 5:35 pm Volume. 42,740 P/E Ratio 10.89 Market Cap €89.41 Billion Dividend Yield 1.85% Rev. per Employee €353,101 10/22/13 EU Court Dismisses Case vs.

Ge. 10/15/13 Guns in the Parking Lot: A Del. 09/18/13 VW Signals UAW Talks to Take T. More quote details and news vow.xe in Your Value Your Change Short position Jetta, Subaru Impreza and Mazda 3.

Q: We have a 1986 Ford Escort Station Wagon with 114,000 miles on it, and feel it’s time to get something new. We would like a small station wagon like the Escort with our three most important criteria being good mileage, reasonable price and dependability. The car is use for hauling dogs and stuff from Home Depot.

— Peter Clark,

Huntington Beach, Calif.

A: A number of small wagons like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Accord have disappeared from the market since your Escort was built, but there are still a few that should suit your needs. The two that come to mind right away are the Subaru Impreza and Volkswagen Jetta. Both are nicely equipped, pleasant to drive and can carry a surprising amount of cargo.

Q: Our family of four (plus our black lab) has enjoyed owning a ’97 and ’03 Ford f +0.95% Ford Motor Co. U.S. NYSE $ 17.03 +0.16 +0.95% Nov. 27, 2013 7:58 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 31.50M AFTER HOURS $ 17.00 -0.03 -0.18% Nov.

27, 2013 6:11 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): 55,254 P/E Ratio 11.66 Market Cap $67.17 Billion Dividend Yield 2.35% Rev. per Employee $855,585 11/27/13 Are Tires on Your Black Friday. 11/26/13 Ford Recalls Escape SUVs Over. 11/25/13 Peugeot Lines Up Its Next CEO More quote details and news f in Your Value Your Change Short position Expedition.

With our oldest off to college in the fall, we still want to own an SUV but want to downsize to a 5-seater with a decent amount of cargo room and a fuel-economy rating north of 20. We’ve enjoyed the amenities that the Eddie Bauer Expedition offers and are having difficulty finding one that suits our taste. Any suggestions?

— G. Brodsky,

Tenafly, N.J.

A: You sound like a candidate for a crossover, the type of vehicle that blends an automobile chassis with the shape and utility of a tradition truck-style SUV. There are many on the market and the number of models keeps growing, but three of my favorites that I have driven recently are the Toyota tm +0.22% Toyota Motor Corp. ADS U.S. NYSE $ 125.21 +0.28 +0.22% Nov.

27, 2013 4:03 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 246,201 P/E Ratio 13.46 Market Cap $213.42 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $762,411 More quote details and news tm in Your Value Your Change Short position Highlander, Nissan nsany +0.38% Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

ADS U.S. OTCBB $ 18.28 +0.07 +0.38% Nov. 27, 2013 3:58 pm Volume (Delayed 15m). 386,282 AFTER HOURS $ 18.32 +0.04 +0.24% Nov. 27, 2013 5:45 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): P/E Ratio 10.17 Market Cap $41.04 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $634,719 More quote details and news nsany in Your Value Your Change Short position Murano and Ford Edge.

The Highlander offers an optional third-row seat, but those seats are tiny and I think the five-passenger version makes more sense.

Q: In researching entry level luxury cars (Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS 250 AWD vs. IS 350 RWD) I am repeatedly confronted with the same choice: getting a bigger engine or all-wheel drive. I can’t afford both. How do you see this?

I live in Virginia and infrequently encounter snow.

— GD Rothenberg,

Richmond, Va.

A: Since you don’t drive in snow often I don’t recommend all-wheel drive. That feature can also improve performance on wet roads and even in dry conditions, and many drivers swear by it. However, I think it is an unnecessary initial expense that also winds up adding to the owner’s fuel and maintenance costs.

This doesn’t mean that I advocate getting the engine upgrade, either. Sometimes, like in the case of the Cadillac CTS, the more-expensive engine is more efficient and, as a bonus, more powerful. But for others, like the Lexus IS, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series, the available engine upgrade turns a powerful car into an overpowered one.

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