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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I miss my Saab Turbo Ecotec 5 speed cars.

Why can't those of us who actually prefer to drive manual transmissions, get a decent 5 speed rod shifter?

This thing is rubbery and imprecise, and with six speeds, I am constantly hunting for the right gear; and I despise the pull-up ring to get into reverse.

Five speed manuals are a far better match to a 4 cylinder engine, than are 6 speeds.

Does anyone else out there agree?
 

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With the 6 speed manual you should be able to find a better intermediate gear that covers slowing down and going a bit faster, if used correctly you should be shifting less not more. Only time I can see this not being the case is off the line acceleration and trying to keep the RPM down.

In city driving I prefer my old 4 speed auto to the cruze 6 speed auto, as its constantly shifting. if I shift every gear around 2K RPM I used 1-5 gears before 30MPH!!!

The chevy sonic 1.8L has a 5 speed manual standard, might be the option your looking for.
 

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This thing is rubbery and imprecise, and with six speeds, I am constantly hunting for the right gear; and I despise the pull-up ring to get into reverse.
Wait, hold up.

You drove a Saab, but didn't have to pull up a collar to put it in reverse? That and the key in the floor were like the quirkiest parts of a Saab.



I dunno, I like my LT 6-speed better than 3 5-speeds I've driven (2 Hondas and a Saab 900). Also test-drove a Mazda-3, Focus, and Cruze Eco in MT's. The gears are really close together and make for a nice progression through the gears. The throws are huge, transmission is pretty clunky, and the clutch lacks much feel whatsoever, though.

The 6th gear is there for a tall overdrive highway fuel-economy gear, though. My mother's Accord has a giant gap between 4th and 5th - 5th is only suitable for 50+; otherwise, the engine's buzzing along at 45 MPH speeds (and 75 on the highway). The new Accord Sport with a 6-speed is one of the best manual transmissions I've driven, though. Wish the Cruze's was something like that.

There are shift kits available to take some of the throw and rubber mounts out of the shifter linkage.
 

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My last car had a 5 speed manual mated to a 3.8 V6 engine and on certain hills felt like 2nd could have been a bit lower and 3rd abit lower and a gear above 5th for cruising. Basically a lower diff ratio and an extra gear would have been useful. My son has a Commodore station wagon with a 6 speed manual. He had a mathless tune on hts LS1 engine and changed his 3.45 diff for a 4.11 and now that 50% O/D 6th gear is usable. The car is basically a GTO wagon.
 

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This thing is rubbery and imprecise, and with six speeds, I am constantly hunting for the right gear
I thought the exact same thing when i first got my eco, but after a while i got used to the gears. the only time it really gets me is if there is traffic moving slowly up a hill, between 2nd and 3rd around 10-20 mph. if i go uphill a little while accelerating, i will hold off on shifting into 5th, because letting off and going into 5th the car loses all of its juice, so i keep it in 4th until im going about 60-65 mph. i think after driving a 4 speed and then a 5 speed for 20 years, i had to adjust a lot but its not so bad anymore.
 

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hmm, my 13 eco mt has never felt rubbery. Pull-up to reverse was an annoyance at first, now I don't notice it. Gear hunting is still an issue sometimes when I am in 6th and would like to pass someone, I need to get into the habit of going right for 4th instead of 5th.
 

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By far, the smoothest shifting manual I have ever owned (and it just happend to be a 5 speed) was in my 98 Contour SVT.
 

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Wait, hold up.

You drove a Saab, but didn't have to pull up a collar to put it in reverse? That and the key in the floor were like the quirkiest parts of a Saab.



I dunno, I like my LT 6-speed better than 3 5-speeds I've driven (2 Hondas and a Saab 900). Also test-drove a Mazda-3, Focus, and Cruze Eco in MT's. The gears are really close together and make for a nice progression through the gears. The throws are huge, transmission is pretty clunky, and the clutch lacks much feel whatsoever, though.

The 6th gear is there for a tall overdrive highway fuel-economy gear, though. My mother's Accord has a giant gap between 4th and 5th - 5th is only suitable for 50+; otherwise, the engine's buzzing along at 45 MPH speeds (and 75 on the highway). The new Accord Sport with a 6-speed is one of the best manual transmissions I've driven, though. Wish the Cruze's was something like that.

There are shift kits available to take some of the throw and rubber mounts out of the shifter linkage.
The manual gear have a high ratio i can go to 45 in second gear and if you buy the short shifter link it makes the throws pretty short which helps alot with high rpm reving
 

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My old 2003 Cavalier Z24 had the 5 speed manual and it has the reverse lock out ring on the shifter. It wasn't so bad once you got used to it. I found myself constantly thinking it needed a higher (6th) gear when highway driving.
 

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You drove a Saab, but didn't have to pull up a collar to put it in reverse? That and the key in the floor were like the quirkiest parts of a Saab.
Yeah my1980 900 turbo had the shifter in the picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Everybody has different tases in shifters. For the few of us who prefer manuals, smooth shifting with no hunting or grinding typically tops the list.

Fuel economy? Naah . . . manuals are for performance and control. Fuel economy can actually be better with an automatic.

The reverse lock-out ring is a Chevy thing. "Brand" identity, I guess.

I bought my two SAABs after the GM purchase, so no doubt they were more German / Americanized versions.

Both SAABs were fast, had great handling, awesome seats, and had the ignition key on the console, not the floor - 1998 900 5-door, 2002 9-3 convertible. They both had 5 speed rod shifters with reverse where it belongs and no lift-ring. (At least, I don't remember one :) ) I never had to hunt for a gear and the acceleration with the turbo was sweet.

I agree that I don't like 5 speed manuals with GM V6 engines: The engines feel like they fall on the ground shifting from 2nd to 3rd. A six speed might well be better with the V6.

My Pontiac Solstice has a great 5 speed with 4 non-turbo Ecotec, and the turbo versions are great fun to drive too.
 

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Idk, my Eco MT's 40 MPG average would argue with you about how they are not for fuel economy. All of my manual transmission cars have gotten great fuel economy compared to their automatic counterparts. I'm pretty happy with my Cruze's 6 speed.
 

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Fuel economy? Naah . . . manuals are for performance and control. Fuel economy can actually be better with an automatic.
I think this true but only recently with the 8 speed and 9 speed Autos, which constantly try to put you on the highest gear possible for best fuel economy.
 
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I think this true but only recently with the 8 speed and 9 speed Autos, which constantly try to put you on the highest gear possible for best fuel economy.
Or a CVT. But in the real world (not EPA testing), manuals still tend to get higher MPG than 5 and 6-speed automatics of the same time did, unless the manuals were geared stupidly.

Validation? Well, there's the Cruze for starters...
 

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I want a decent 5 speed manual ...
Shush, don't speak these words too loudly. If the Cruze de-contenters at GM get wind of this they will sure-as-the-dickens take away our lovely German-engineered, Austrian-built 6-speed M32 and replace it with a lowest-bidder sourced Chinese junk gearbox featuring fewer cogs. Possibly even a four-on-the-floor, reverse included in the count.

 
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The 1.8 Holden Cruze still uses a 5 speed manual. So if you really want a 5 speed manual you only have to move 10,000 miles and you can have one.
 

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Idk, my Eco MT's 40 MPG average would argue with you about how they are not for fuel economy. All of my manual transmission cars have gotten great fuel economy compared to their automatic counterparts. I'm pretty happy with my Cruze's 6 speed.
Not to mention the inefficiency of how a torque convertor works. Put the same gear count and ratios in a manual and automatic and the manual will be more efficient (until toque convertor lockup at cruising speed then it's even). Anyone can get the best mileage out of an automatic, but it takes some skill to get the best out of a manual.
 

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The 1.8 Holden Cruze still uses a 5 speed manual. So if you really want a 5 speed manual you only have to move 10,000 miles and you can have one.
From what I've read of Australia over the years, after making the long flight over I might just wish to cash in my return ticket and stay. I know of two people here locally in the US, both unrelated, who visited and then decided to emigrate. AFAIK they never looked back and seem quite pleased with their choice.

Now onto the subject of Holden's Cruze 1.8L with 5-speed manual gearbox:

I wonder if the effective final drive gearing ratio to the road is the same as our 6-speed 1.8L Cruze LS? The Lordstown-built LS with manual transmission delivers outstanding fuel economy when driven properly. I dare say class leading. Guess I'll need to research the numbers to find out.

It may surprise many to learn I both prefer and find the Cruze LS with its' 6-speed M32 more satisfying to drive than the Cruze 1.4L turbo with its' wonky automatic transmission. IMO, the North American 1.8L Cruze LS needs only 20 more ft/lbs of torque at 2,500 rpm to keep it from running short of breath and overcome its' driveabilty shortcomings, and these 20 ft/lbs can be had relatively easily by tweaking the ECM's code and mapping.


 
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