Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

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

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