Can't decide - my first manual..

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Chat and Discussion' started by triplezero, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. triplezero

    triplezero New Member

    Hey guys - firstly thanks for hearing me out. It's a pleasure to meet so many enthusiasts on this forum.

    I had a 2013 automatic Firestorm FR-S, and ended up selling it, because it was just too bare bones inside, I could've done with a tiny bit more hp, and hated all the attention I was getting in a hot red car. Traded down to a green 2011 Fiesta SES currently, and freakin love it!!

    Now, I'm in a major dilemma: I haven't tried driving a stick yet, but feel I can pick it up quickly. I've been cross shopping this car with the 370z in AT and the new FRS monogram (I loved the car for its handling, and now they added many premium things I longed for.)

    I really really want to pick up a fiesta ST.. Just wish they made it in automatic..and that's where I am so torn.. Especially hearing good things about some ATs from the 370z and newer GTIs.

    I'm aware of the pros and cons of driving a manual. Would this car be a good first car to learn MT on? This would be my daily driver and I live in the Bay Area in CA.
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  3. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member

    WoW... sound a little bit automotive A.D.D there.. lol (to be fair, I'm guilty of the same.)

    Firstly, I'm pretty surprised to hear someone finally agree that the FR-S interior was lacking/bare... You can't talk that way on the 86 forums... I feel like a lot of 86 guys, are convinced it's a far nicer interior than it is...And interestingly, they are calling the Fiesta ST bare inside...I don't know... with the recaro package I don't feel the ST is as rough as the FRS was... I'm quite happy with it.. Not trying to bash the 86 by any means. It's a seriously wicked machine.. I will say that it's very comfortable in the driver seat.. I enjoyed the seat position and the seats themselves are nice. I came close to buying one a few times in all my shopping sessions & test drives. Great handling, but the main reasons I didn't get one were... the power, interior, and having come from a Camaro 2SS/RS I realized I just don't want to live with a small rear seat 2 dr coupe for daily purposes.

    I feel you though, even when I was test driving a titanium Fiesta... I had a blast.. (There was no FiST's yet, so couldn't drive one.) So I did some test drives in the FoST and some regular Fiesta's/focus's. Trying to get a rough idea for what the FiST would maybe be close to.

    I figured it had to fall somewhere between a regular fiesta and a FoST.

    I looked at other vehicles too, such as the EVO, STI, some audi's & lexus.. VW golf R , vw gti, mustang GT, A pretty long and random list.. pretty much anything of interest.

    I ended up in a 2010.5 SVT Raptor, after trading out of my 2010 Camaro SS/RS. And from there, to the current 2014 Fiesta ST.

    My Camaro was my first Manual car. I will say, since I didn't want to beat up on a new transmission, I took a few lessons in a corolla.
    It's not hard. I think if you are a car guy, and you care to learn.. You'll learn just fine.

    In some parts of the world Manual is still basically "standard"... Everyone drives it, and it doesn't take any special skill or level of genius to figure it out.

    I would still lean towards lessons... But if you wanted to learn in the ST. I would say it is a fantastic car to learn in. The transmission is very forgiving and super easy to manage compared to some manuals I've driven.

    I think I had 3 lessons, and I was good to go by the time my Camaro arrived, even after a few months of no more driving manual while I waited.

    The first few days took some adjusting, but it wasn't so bad.

    I believe there has been one or two people on this forum who learned to drive standard so that they could have a FiST too.

    Anyway, my advice..

    Drive the ST. You'll know if you need it or not.
    This imho has been the best automotive purchase I've made to date. I don't expect that I'll get bored of this car anytime soon. It's cheap, it's fun, it's practical... and.... did I mention it's fun?! lol. I really appreciate that it's not just fun when you drive it on a track or something, but it's fun in even the worst traffic or most boring daily commutes. Having driven the FRS I'm sure you get it. I can't imagine another car that could match the fun per dollar that the 86's and the ST's offer... I'd say, anyone driving either 86 or either ST is.. living.

    As for the FRS monogram, are the changes going to make enough of a difference for you to love that car much more? You already sold one. Do the updates solve whatever was missing for you?

    GTI is a nice car, no doubt... But I have to say, never have I driven one and had an ear to ear grin.... I've enjoyed driving GTI's, but it's not something I'd ever rave about. I loved driving the Golf R.. I did not love the price tag for what it was. The 370z has never done it for me... I can appreciate why people like them, I just don't like them aesthetically.. I'm more of a mustang/Camaro guy.. And in spite of the power, I'd take an 86 over a Z any day.

    Sounds like you got some soul searching to do. And sounds like you got a list of fun cars to pick from. I'm sure you'll end up In something fun.
    Good luck.
  4. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member

    For the record, last I heard Vancouver, BC Ranks #1 for worst city in North America to drive in... Beating out places like NY and LA
    And I'm still having a blast driving stick out here.

    I was driving automatics... for... 15 years? I had a couple years in a Manual..... Raptor was automatic (no choice).. and every day I drove that truck, I missed driving manual...

    I'm so glad to be back in a Manual. I'm sure you'll find that some people hate manual, or prefer automatics..
    I would wager that you won't find many of those people on this forum.... considering everyone here is driving a Manual and loving every last minute of it.
    You'll find some bias in favor of Manuals here I'm sure.

    So if you've come here to hear a bunch of people tell you manual's are fantastic, and Fiesta ST's are worth buying... You've come to the right place.. haha
  5. WScottCross

    WScottCross Well-Known Member

    I drove automatics most of my life for various reasons. Mostly, I wasn't as much of a car guy then as now. I guess I didn't know what I was missing! I learned on a manual way back when (my fathers 1972 F150 with a screwed up transmission.) My last car was a 2011 SES and that's what got me into having fun with the car. It handled so well that I started autocrossing with it and then I knew I needed more power. I'm glad the ST is only available with a stick. I practiced in my son's GLI for a bit and it came back pretty quick. The ST is a pretty good car to relearn on. I would still recommend getting the basics from someone with a manual transmission. Learning to be easy with the clutch pedal was the biggest lesson. I was trying to drop the clutch too fast in the beginning. One thing to do is practice just getting going and stopping over and over in an empty parking lot. That's the best way to learn the clutch. Hill start assist screwed me up a few times also. It keeps the brakes on for a couple of seconds when you're on a hill so you don't roll backwards. I tried to start off too quickly and ended up stalling it a couple of times before the car had released the brakes.
  6. D1JL

    D1JL Well-Known Member

    Although this has not been confirmed.
    It is rumored that if continued the 2016 FiST will be available with a paddle shifted auto.

    Sent with my retro keyboard and mouse.

  7. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Had a 2013 Raven Black FRS Auto and though the interior was rather spartan it was functional for what i wanted the car for. It too was a Auto and it did OK but was WOOOFULLY lacking in lo to mid range Torque. HP was ok but you stand on the gas and wait till you get neat 4500 rpm before that car comes alive.. Anyway It got traded in on the Fiesta ST I have now and I just it.
    I think with Hill Assist (Hill Assist is a neat lil feature that holds the car with the brakes for a few seconds while you engage the clutch and gas pedal if you are on a incline) you will have a easy learning curve to drive this car being it is a stick shift with gobbs of low end torque meaning you can let the feather light clutch pedal out without applying much gas and get the car moving then just remember to stick the clutch back in when you are coming to a full stop and down shift LOL
    as you already have a Fiesta this will be no stranger for you to learn all the goody's inside with MFT and all that jazz No time like the present and this car should be a easy learn do drive a stick..
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  8. Cligedy

    Cligedy Active Member

    As far as manual transmissions go, the ST is one of the easiest to drive I've ever had. This car has a light clutch, good low end torque (less accidental stalls) and a hill holder. Whether that is good enough is up to you.

    My wife learned stick with a few hours of instruction and a few more hours practice. A week later she was quite competent; a month later she was pretty smooth.

    Either way, it sounds like you'll end up with an interesting and fun car. If fun is a priority, then you owe it to yourself to learn how to drive a manual at some point though, even if you don't buy a FiST.
    Firesail, RodMoe and Smokin like this.
  9. D1JL

    D1JL Well-Known Member

    I was always told that everyone should learn to drive a manual transmission.
    What if there was an emergency situation and the only thing available to drive was a manual.
    Now I will admit that it was told to me before there were cell phones.
    But I do think it is still valid.

    Sent with my retro keyboard and mouse.

  10. F1ST

    F1ST Member

    I suspect traffic would be better if there were more manuals. Possibly fewer accidents, I think you are more aware of the whole driving situation in a manual.
    LotusZX3 likes this.
  11. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    perhaps or it may go the other way as kids try to text and drive in the wrong gear not noticing and snub it out .. just playing devils advocate here ;)
  12. F1ST

    F1ST Member

    Ok not fewer accidents, but maybe it will thin the herd.
    Firesail and RodMoe like this.
  13. kvetcha

    kvetcha Active Member

    It's a pretty good car to learn on, but expect to buck the car a bit as you teach your clutch leg how to work. It's basically the same process of learning and calibration for your left foot as you've already done for your right.
  14. Sil3nt611

    Sil3nt611 Active Member

    This^ :)

    I learned manual in 2 weeks and was driving from Texas to Ohio. In about a month I was pretty good at it. In about 2 months I was no longer killing it from a stop. I started driving cars at 16 not wanting anything to do with manuals even though both my dad and mom both liked driving them. I bout my second car two years later still wanting an auto. Two years after that I hung around the forums with other car enthusiasts for too long and decided to swap out my transmission. Still my best choice of stuff I've ever done on my car. I don't even want to own an auto if I can help it anymore, including paddle shifters... It's just too boring.

    I don't agree that everyone should be driving them though, some people are just so terrible at driving a car at all that it would be downright dangerous for them to drive a manual... The emergency situation, while it sounds valid...there are so many automatic cars now that so few cars are manual so the likelyhood of an emergency situation where someone that can't drive a manual only has a manual car to drive is pretty small.
  15. WScottCross

    WScottCross Well-Known Member

    I agree with your statement, but the majority of those people don't really care about cars and probably won't consider the FiST anyway. Most of the folks on this forum probably don't fall into that category.
    Firesail likes this.
  16. Paul

    Paul Member

    As mentioned above, the ST is one of the best cars to learn manual on. If you feel you pick things up fairly quickly and are coordinated, then you'll just need to invest the time needed to learn (preferably from someone with patience) and practice. It seems like you enjoy driving sporty cars. You can have fun in sporty cars with automatic transmissions, especially with DCT and the more advanced 6, 7 and 8 speed automatics that are now being implemented, but an automatic transmission will NEVER give the same level of connection to your car the way three pedals and a gear shifter will.
    LuvfiestaST and Firesail like this.
  17. triplezero

    triplezero New Member

    Sorry guys, work has got really busy so I couldn’t reply. Thanks.. for the very useful posts – it means a lot to me.

    I definitely agree that most other forums are biased in their opinions about that said forum’s car – which is why I’m really surprised and delighted to be a part of this one. Growing up on forums pretty much since I was 14, and finding this one is very refreshing. The forum community here, really is, amazing – and I can feel like I can be very honest about my situation and opinions.. like an AA group lol.

    Regarding the FR-S: I was initially sold on it from all of the perfect unison reviews, years of R&D, as well as the forum community hyping it up– but that didn’t prove to be true for me - as I’m the one driving the car day in and day out.

    Being 6’2” and nearly 300lbs, it was really difficult to get out of.. it was starting to wear on me. Safe to say – I think I’m pretty much done with very low-slung sports coupes. I was recommended by a friend, to check out a Dodge Challenger RT, and cross-shop that with a Mustang GT. Question: Are lighter cars affected by the weight of the driver? People always talk about weight being a major issue in sports cars. (eg: me in a FRS)

    Lessons would probably be a for sure thing, Meyhem. I just don’t want to be THAT guy who goes through cars, and has like 30 or 40 different cars in his lifetime. That’s why I’m trying to also do some backdrop research on cars built the last 20 years or so, to see if the Fiesta ST, really is, that special. All things considered, the rate of technology is increasing faster and faster.

    D1JL: The rumors that the (possibly continued) 2016 FiST will have an automatic – where did you see this, and can I have some more info if you have it?
  18. Cligedy

    Cligedy Active Member

    This brings back memories of my Miata, which was so low, I couldn't get a floor jack underneath it. I can understand that getting in and out of the FR-S gets old. The FiST still feels tall to me.

    It's not that small cars are weight sensitive, it's that low powered cars are. There's enough torque in the FiST that it shouldn't be a concern, but a Cobb stage 1 sounds like good insurance if you're really worried.

    I will second your sentiment about the community here. This group seems as excited and supportive as any and with a minimum of pretentious d-bags. It reminds me of the Miata or Jeep groups, with folks who are glad to be a part of it all.

    It sounds like you have reasonable expectations, and so you'll be good whichever car you go with. Good luck.

    Btw, lessons are great, but not required to learn stick. It's mostly just a matter of muscle memory for your left leg.
    LuvfiestaST likes this.
  19. RodMoe

    RodMoe Well-Known Member

    Well had a 2011 Mustang GT as well as a 2011 and 2012 Challenger the 12 was a RT Auto with paddle shifters yeah after i got a ECU with all nannies turned off tat car was a BEAST.. untill you took it on the track or autoX'd it.. then it was Two tons of fun in a BIG way LOL The Ride in the Chally was so good it got me out of the GT though the 5.0 in the GT was a Nasty fast motor and the Car went like stink.. Rode like it too ;( and then there were the back seats the GT was like my 2013 FRS in that yes they were there they were not meant to be sat in by people with legs.. The Chally on the other hand could seat Five without complaint and still be fun to drive.. Put the Dodge just had a certain likable parking lot personality nobody didn't ever NOT like it .. the GT was looked at with scorn by BowTie wearing little boys LOL
    One thing with the Recaro's in my FiST I find myself getting in and out the same way i did in the FRS so i dont wear on the leather seats .. Lol
  20. Sil3nt611

    Sil3nt611 Active Member

    One thing to consider since you said you don't want a low slung car because you're tall. I took my uncle to look at a Fiesta awhile back (regular Fiesta, but the Fiesta ST is the same size and shape). He's over 6' by a little bit and he bumped his head getting in. Might have been because he was used to his tall Suzuki SX4. I'm not sure how the Fiesta compares to the FR-S in that way.

    I guess I'll be the only one to say, I don't like the Challenger...*hides* I much prefer the Mustang. I'm not a Mustang fanboy by any respect, but if I was in the market for a rear wheel drive coupe that didn't cost as much as a BMW, the Mustang would be my choice. I know what you mean about people either love or hate the Mustang though.

    As for getting in with the seats, the first time I got in a Fiesta ST (with Recaros) I rubbed against the side bolstering a bit too much and I knew that getting in and out correctly would be a concern with worn seats over time. I have driven another one with Recaros since and tried a different tactic to get in and missed rubbing against the seat, so I can figure it out when I ever get my ST. :p The '92-'93 Mazda MX3s had seats that were very well bolstered (rumored to be Recaros, but nothing to back that statement up) and they are popular with the Escort crowd because they bolt right in. I have found a few in junk yards and it was nearly impossible to find a driver's side seat without damage to the bolster on the seat back closest to the door because the owners never got in and out of the car correctly and wore right through it.
  21. triplezero

    triplezero New Member

    Coming from my current 11 Fiesta SES, I think that's a good idea fly2low.. That DSG has gotten rave reviews.. Though I've heard from a friend that VW GTI is getting mopped up there in Europe/England by stiff competition including Fiestas. I just don't want to deal with predictable German reliability.. I'm not that guy who changes his own oil really.

    Man I had a freakin dream last night - I was driving a manual!!

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