2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT: Learning to drive stick
The problem with learning stick in the Legacy is its clutch. The take-up point comes on quickly, after only an inch or so of pedal travel, so you have to be very nuanced in the application of your left foot within that span of space. Experienced manual drivers can get the hang of it, though it still takes concentration not to make your passengers buck back and forth when shifting gears. As for my wife, she just couldn't get the hang of the Legacy's manual tranny. Her left leg just didn't have the degrees of control necessary to pull away from a stop without letting the engine bog down and die. She actually did it the first time she tried, but couldn't duplicate her success on the second or eleventh try.
Now, I shouldn't fault the Legacy alone, as my lesson in shifting began with highly technical expositions of how the accelerator and clutch pedal were affecting the car's mechanicals and ended with me shouting "Give it more gas. More GAS. MORE GAS!" Our next lesson will be in a friend's 2002 Ford Focus, which we're assured has a suitably mushy clutch that's perfect for beginners. If you've got any tips on how best to teach someone manual driving, let us know in the comments.
PS: Thanks for the response from readers on my update about the Legacy's backwards E-brake. Since then I've tried to consider the E-Brake as more analogous to ye olde foot brakes and am having success. I've also discovered that if you're in gear and have your seatbelt on, the E-brake will disengage as soon as you apply some gas. Yes, electronics can be your friend.
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