SHIFT FOR YOURSELF
YOU hate manuals. Sorry, but it’s true.
The showrooms of entire brands are devoid of cars with three pedals. In an increasing number of model lines manuals are “special order only”. Most manuals that remain are nice price entries (see today’s cover story).
We all know the reasons. Modern six-plus-speed autos are quicker. They’re more fuel efficient. The best allow a great degree of manual override. But mainly, most drivers can’t be arsed depressing a clutch pedal and moving a gear stick.
We no longer consider manuals for Car of the Year because you don’t buy them. Despite this, several of Carsguide’s favourite cars remain manual only. There are not many, not at a time when such driver’s cars as Mazda’s MX-5 and Toyota 86 have sizeable auto take-up.
Two manual-only survivors are direct rivals for Kia’s Proceed, not least Ford’s Fiesta ST, a $25,990 pocket rocket, and the less edgy but more pleasant to live with and better equipped Peugeot 208 GTi ($29,990).
Of hot hatches in the next size up, Ford’s Focus ST ($38,290) vies with Renault’s Megane RS (from $42,7640) for the title of best-handling frontwheel-drive cars. Alfa Romeo’s Guilietta QV ($39,150) isn’t
Pedal cars: Renault’s Megane RS, Peugeot 208 GTI, Ford Focus ST and Ford Fiesta