I remember reading a report a couple years ago that less than 20 percent of Americans can actually drive a manual transmission. I'm sure that percentage continues to decline as new drivers just aren't interested in learning how to modulate the clutch, not to mention most new vehicles at your local dealership, regardless of manufacturer, probably only have gas and brake pedals. Of course, guys like you and me think this is crazy and we still want a manual in every car we own. Some of us even think cars like the GT-R are outrageous for not offering a six-speed option. Sigh, but I digress... So, while knowing how to work a gearbox might be a downward trend in the U.S., it doesn't mean all manufacturers have given up on 'em. Honda North America invited us to a special event not just to celebrate their past and present lineup of manual-equipped cars, but invite those who haven't been given the opportunity to learn by getting with an instructor to take part in a four-activity program called 'Shifting Gears'.
Over 50 influencers and journalists came out to Angeles Crest—an iconic, winding, uphill highway that's often used for our photo shoots and road tests. Manual noobs were given a crash course in cars like the Honda Fit before gaining enough confidence and experience to pilot several other cars. These cars included the new Civic Type R, Civic Si and Accord Sport. What was even crazier was that Honda dusted off some relics for people to test drive. These gems must've been stored in their headquarters for years; we're talking about a Prelude SH, S2000 CR and '99 Civic Si (with only 300 miles on it!)
I sort of knew my way around a manual (teehee), so I invited former Miss Super Street Janey along to experience the driving program. She'd driven a five-speed Celica back in high school/college but was never really given any proper instruction. So, she went through the course and before she knew it, she was taking the 306hp, rev-matching Civic Type R through the legendary roads of the San Gabriel mountains.
We'd like to thank the team at Honda for putting on such a wicked event. We feel everyone should learn how to drive a manual and we hope Honda continues to offer a wide range of cars with them. Or else, they'd better give us that EM1!
Current Honda models with manual transmission offerings: Fit LX, Sport and EX, the Civic Sedan LX and EX-T, Civic Coupe LX and EX-T, the Civic Hatch LX and Sport, and Accord Sport 1.5T and 2.0T sedans, HR-V LX and EX; the Civic Type R and Civic Si Coupe and Sedan are offered exclusively with manual transmissions.
Final note: Janey is wearing one of our latest Super Street tees. Be sure to visit superstreetgarage.com for our latest apparel!