What’s the Best Car for Learning to Drive Stick?

While we edge closer to the all-electric, all-automatic future, there’s still time to learn to drive stick. But, what’s the best manual to start with?

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A photo of a blue Toyota Yaris.
I learned to drive stick in a Yaris.
Photo: Toyota

Once you’ve mastered the art of accelerating, turning, and stopping, you’ve got the basics of driving nailed down. Then, if you want to feel more connected to the car and the journey, learning to drive a manual is a great way to go. But, if you’re keen to give driving stick a try, what car should you start with?

That’s what we want to uncover today, we want to find out what cars are the best for learning to drive stick. So, what have you got?

In Jalopnik towers, there were lots of shouts for “rentals” when I first posed this question. Apparently, it’s a good idea to learn in someone else’s car before you go trashing your own clutch. But, if you don’t want to go that way, I’ve got it on good authority that the clutch in a Honda is a good place to start.

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That’s not where I learned to drive stick, though. In the UK, most people learn to drive a manual from the word go, as if you take your test in an automatic you then need to take another test if you ever want to drive a manual. It’s a whole thing.

So, the first manual I drove was a diesel Toyota Yaris – a car that I’m pretty sure never made it onto these shores in that spec. And you haven’t missed much, but I will say the clutch was light and the diesel motor was nice and torquey, which made stalling when you’re in the wrong gear much harder. I’m not saying it’s the best of the best, but it was a good place to start.

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But that’s just my suggestion, we want to hear yours now. So, head to the comments section below and let us know what manual car you think is the best for learning to drive stick with? Extra points if you’ve got a fun story about your days learning the ways of the manual.