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5 Speed 6 Speed Manual Transmissions

6 speed car shifter

If you’re searching for differences between 5 and 6 speed manual transmissions, you probably have some experience driving stick. You’re also in limited company – only about 10% of cars manufactured in 2014 in North America had manual transmissions.

Pros and Cons of Driving Stick

Automatic transmissions rule the road in the U.S. But here’s the thing: manual transmission cars are more fun to drive. It’s a more interactive experience and you have more control over the car. Driving stick has other benefits, too. For one, it’s much harder to use a cell phone or text when you’re driving a stick shift (both your hands are busy). However, driving a manual can be a chore in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

For those who drive manual transmission cars, you probably know that the clutch between two cars never feels the same and sometimes there’s an extra gear on the shifter. My wife recently bought a new car and this very thing happened to her. The new car is basically the same car she had been driving, just 10 years newer. The 2006 model had a 5 speed manual transmission and the 2016 model is a 6 speed.

What’s the Difference?

For one, you shift more when driving a 6 speed. The gears on a 6 speed car are a bit more nuanced than a 5 speed. I’ve noticed that I tend to shift out of first (and second) much quicker in the 6 speed car.

From my own experience, and from what I’ve been able to glean on various car forums, another difference between a 5 speed and 6 speed car is when you’re cruising. If you’re on the open highway, chances are you’ll make your way up to 65 mph or more. This is where your sixth gear comes in handy. It’s essentially an overdrive that allows the car to operate at lower RPMs and save fuel.

Those are the two biggest differences between 5 and 6 speed manual transmissions. Tell us in the comments if you’ve experienced any others. If you’re in the market for a manual transmission car, the Car Talk blog has a fairly recent article about what’s available.

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