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Honda video runs down basics (and joys) of driving a manual transmission

'It's all about smoothness and balance'

Many of us here at Autoblog are unabashed enthusiasts of the endangered manual transmission, and we know we're not alone. Honda, which makes several of its vehicles available with a stick, released a video aimed at orienting beginners to the simple joys of driving a stick.

In it, Zach Vlasuk of Honda and Acura technical public relations uses a 2018 Accord to give a basic rundown of how manual transmissions work and how to operate them. He also explains, with the help of some nifty animation, how the clutch pedal represents the link between the always-spinning engine to the non-spinning transmission, and how (slowly) releasing the clutch while (slowly) pressing down on the gas is how the clutch fully connects with the engine and the car, you know, moves.

"It's all about smoothness and balance," he says — a lesson that will resonate with anyone who remembers seeking out deserted parking lots or remote roads with their parents to embark on the herky-jerky process of learning to drive one.

Sadly, the three-pedal manual transmission has been fading in popularity in recent years in favor of easier-to-operate (but boring), faster-shifting and more fuel-efficient automatics, or newfangled transmission options like CVTs and dual-clutch automated manuals. According to Edmunds, manual-equipped vehicles make up only 3 percent of all U.S. car sales today. But to enthusiasts, there's no substitute for the command and performance perks of the three pedals.

"It's about immersing yourself in the driving experience and embracing the height level of car control," Vlasuk says in the video.

Honda, which still blessedly offers manual-trans versions of the Accord, Civic, Fit and HR-V, last week hosted an event near Los Angeles to teach people how to drive its stick-shift vehicles, present and past, including an early Civic CVCC and the Prelude Type SH. Taken together with the video, does this signal a commitment from the brand to the manual for the long haul? One can only hope.

While you're here, don't forget to check out our handy rundown of new vehicles available with manual transmissions. It's a longer list than you might expect.

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