Good car to learn stick on?

Discussion in 'Fiesta ST Chat and Discussion' started by scooby2, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. scooby2

    scooby2 New Member

    Is the FiST a good car to learn stick on? My only experience is when I drove a 5 speed Opel Astra around 2 dozen times when I lived in Europe but that was about 18 years ago.

    Any tips for a newbie? I do have a friend that can take me to a large parking lot after I own it but he won't let me drive either of his babies (Mustang GT 500 and a Vette) and I dont blame him. :)

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  3. It's as good as any car out there to learn a manual transmission. They all function the same way, though have very different characteristics at the same time. It will take more than a parking lot to learn to drive a manual trans, but you'll get it. Just takes time and a lot of practice and patience. Be sure to practice on a hill early on in your learning experience. BTW, can't blame your friend haha.
  4. wash

    wash Active Member

    It depends on the student and the teacher, if either is bad you can damage your clutch or your transmission.

    That holds true of any car but you don't want it to happen to a car you care about.

    I suggest looking for a driving school, you might find one that teaches stick in a car they own.

    In the interest of keeping your ST in good condition, I think learning in an old truck with bad synchros would be about ideal. If you can shift something like that smoothly, the ST will be child's play and you won't hurt it any more than an experienced manual transmission driver.
    LotusZX3 likes this.
  5. scooby2

    scooby2 New Member

    I was kind of thinking that. One school charges $150 and the other $190 for 2 hours of instruction. Much cheaper than replacing the clutch. I was thinking about a craigslist ad but I'm not sure if I would get a good teacher that way or not.
  6. D1JL

    D1JL Well-Known Member

    I have taught many to drive a manual trans in my time.
    It is of course much easier if the student already possesses the skills of a normal driver in an automatic.
    as anyone here will tell you, the main thing need to learn is simply starting from a stop.
    This and only this should be taught in the first lesson, just simply starting and stopping over and over again.
    I have never had anyone take more than an hour to learn this.
    Yes, after this skill is learned, then practice on all types of road conditions is required.

  7. Noah

    Noah Member

    I essentially learned stick on it. I had practiced before in video games and a little on my dads car, but once I started it took me a hour to get moving regularly, then a day to be able to drive around with some competence. After 2 weeks I was driving just as well as I had been with an automatic. My tip is to just limit yourself to only driving the FiST. Nothing works better than total immersion. If you can find a friend with Forza 4 or some similar game that also has a steering wheel with an H pattern and clutch. its not perfect but it is very helpful.
    Also you will be so worried about your new baby you make sure your extra careful. I think the fact the car is so small is also really helpful when learning to park with a manual. Sorry if this post is incoherent, I'm really tired.
  8. BRGT350

    BRGT350 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I taught my wife on the ST and she picked it up really quickly. She only stalled it on stopping when she forgot to push the clutch in. I do think my 2011 Fiesta is probably easier since it doesn't try to kill the front tires with too much RPM leaving a dead stop. I don't see any issues teaching somebody to drive manual on the ST. I learned on an Escort GT, which also wanted to kill tires when the clutch was released with a little extra RPM. It really taught me to be easy on the controls to get going.
    Noah likes this.
  9. jariten

    jariten Member

    It's fine, the clutch is light and the engagement point is pretty easy to get. The only thing that might be tricky is that the 1st gear is pretty short, but it shouldn't be too bad. I've taught a lot of people (20+) to drive manuals and the main problem I find with teaching them on a performance related car is that they want to drive fast quickly. This is bad for the drive train components and for developing good habits. The key is to go slowly until you've developed the muscle memory and smoothness (ie not having to consciously think about up or down shifts, not bucking or stalling). If you have the discipline to do that it's a fine car to learn on. If you don't have that discipline, I'd recommend getting something like an early 90s japanese sedan to learn on. You can get those less than 1000 bucks all day long, drive it till you're comfortable, then sell it for what you paid.

    Another thing I've noticed is that people who spend a lot of time researching how to drive a manual (but not getting into a car and actually DRIVING one) end up confusing themselves by trying to revmatch and heel toe and whatever else they've read about. None of that is really necessary for driving on the street...don't even worry about it until you're ready to go to the track or you're actually proficient and really ready to learn new skills.
  10. LotusZX3

    LotusZX3 Member

    I think this is an excellent car to learn on. It's the easiest stick i've ever driven and one feature that i haven't heard anyone talk about or maybe just isn't that new to manual transmissions is the uphill assist. Seriously, what a great feature for those who get intimidated at the uphill stoplight etc..

    As far as learning on a brand new ride, yeah i'd suggest seeing if a friend had an old beater with manual or possibly doing the school if you don't want to hurt your baby but if you have some experience... even from 18 years ago... :O it should be easy to pick up again with this transmission.
  11. AlanBDahl

    AlanBDahl Active Member

    I've been teaching my fiancée to drive in my ST (or rather was, more on that later) and it hasn't gone well. First the metal pedals are too close together for a beginner so she's often getting the wrong one. Secondly she had quite an issue with the steering wheel, it's too thick for her likening and not easy to shuffle. Thirdly (and the biggest problem) the low front end means you can't park nose-in with the wheels touching the curb so I'm always afraid that she's going to hit the nose when she parks. I've pulled the e-brake a couple of times to keep her from hitting the nose and now she refuses to even drive it since I'm too anal ("It's just a car" she says). So we've agreed that we'll buy her her own car before we do any more lessons. Guess I got off lucky, I almost ended up having to shop for a new GF instead.

    Bottom line: use some other car for driver's ed.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
    Noah likes this.
  12. scooby2

    scooby2 New Member

    Took a refresher class this morning in downtown Chicago. Excellent course and in about 30 minutes it was back. Picking up the new FiST tomorrow afternoon.
  13. Zormecteon

    Zormecteon Active Member

    I've taught both my kids and my nephew using a method I learned listening to Car Talk. My son used it to teach his friends. The basic idea is this

    You have them make the car go without ever touching the gas pedal.

    What this does it teaches clutch "feel". Its different for every car. After they do it once, have the push in the clutch, stop, and do it again. That's the first lesson, until they can do it every time, smoothly. Only after they have mastered that skill do you have them accelerate and teach them to shift.
    WScottCross and Firesail like this.

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