New Member - First-time Manual Driver

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MH86
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New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sat May 14, 2016 4:51 pm

Hey Everyone,

I just got my first manual car today - a VW Jetta SE. I took some driving lessons on a manual car, but I definitely need some more seat time with my car to become proficient. I have the added challenge of living/working in the NYC area (Queens & Long Island), so I'm hoping to not annoy too many drivers if/when I stall.

Speaking of stalling, I can do no-gas launches perfectly fine, but I did stall a few times today in traffic, even when I revved to about 1500 rpm. When I drove on back roads with no traffic and just 4-way stop signs, I was much better.

This forum actually helped me follow through with my decision to get a stick shift car (I'd wanted one for years, but was always nervous about it). I've read most of the basics on this forum and I'll try not to post a new thread about anything that was already answered.

I might have a few questions on technique over the next few days/week :D .

- MH86

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theholycow
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby theholycow » Sat May 14, 2016 6:09 pm

Welcome and congrats on making the jump to 3 pedals!
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MH86
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Cars: 2016 VW Jetta SE
Location: Queens, NY

Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sat May 14, 2016 6:47 pm

theholycow wrote:Welcome and congrats on making the jump to 3 pedals!


Thanks! I was feeling really overwhelmed earlier, but I just did some practicing of finding the bite point with the e-brake on (which was only a few minutes, so I'm guessing that won't burn the clutch) and I'm feeling a little better about my choice now. I don't have much manual experience, but it looks like my clutch actually starts to bite in the middle, which is an easy spot to sear into muscle memory.

I definitely have a learning curve ahead of me (including some hills!), but if millions of non-enthusiasts across the world can capably handle 3 pedals, I'd like to think that I, a car-nut since an early age, can too.

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tankinbeans
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Sat May 14, 2016 10:53 pm

Welcome to the boards. Ask away, we've all been there.

Your car, if anything like my friend's 2011 Jetta SE, is super easy to figure out. Also has a hill holder, makes things easier. You shouldn't have too many issues.

Which engine do you have? I heard they were phasing out the 2.5 in favor of a turbocharged engine of some sort.
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InlinePaul wrote:The driving force of new fangled features to sell more cars [is to] cater to the masses' abject laziness!

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby potownrob » Sun May 15, 2016 7:47 am

tankinbeans wrote:Welcome to the boards. Ask away, we've all been there.

Your car, if anything like my friend's 2011 Jetta SE, is super easy to figure out. Also has a hill holder, makes things easier. You shouldn't have too many issues.

Which engine do you have? I heard they were phasing out the 2.5 in favor of a turbocharged engine of some sort.
the new Jetta se has the 1.8 turbo (FTW!!). The base engine is now the 1.4 turbo (also FTW). No more 2.slow and 2.5. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
BUT DEM FAHGLEITZ!! :shock:

For Pizza!!!!

MH86
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Posts: 77
Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 4:45 pm
Cars: 2016 VW Jetta SE
Location: Queens, NY

Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sun May 15, 2016 8:19 am

potownrob wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:Welcome to the boards. Ask away, we've all been there.

Your car, if anything like my friend's 2011 Jetta SE, is super easy to figure out. Also has a hill holder, makes things easier. You shouldn't have too many issues.

Which engine do you have? I heard they were phasing out the 2.5 in favor of a turbocharged engine of some sort.
the new Jetta se has the 1.8 turbo (FTW!!). The base engine is now the 1.4 turbo (also FTW). No more 2.slow and 2.5. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:


Thanks guys. The SE actually has the 1.4 turbo, which has the same torque rating as the 1.8. It looks like my version doesn't have the hill holder, unless I haven't been on steep enough of an incline to activate it.

This morning, I went out and practiced some more and even forced myself to do a hill start on a slight hill. I successfully completed a ~10 minute drive full of stop signs and traffic lights without stalling! It seems like the most important tip is the one everyone here says for new stick drivers - just drive and don't overthink it.

I'm feeling way more confident about it now. Once I stop stalling, then I'll tackle the smooth 1-2 shift.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Sun May 15, 2016 9:36 am

I was just reading through cargurus and it mentioned your car has hill start assist, but I might be wrong because there are about a million trim designations. Either way I found this interesting instructional video (much clearer than a random manual driving person trying to teach) that might be helpful. It shows one method for beginning on a hill.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/slpMhNEyEF4[/youtube]
17 300S
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InlinePaul wrote:The driving force of new fangled features to sell more cars [is to] cater to the masses' abject laziness!

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Teamwork » Sun May 15, 2016 2:21 pm

Hey MH86,

Sending good vibes and well wishes on your journey with manual transmission. I reside in the Long Island area so I know what you mean about the wrecklessness and impatience here. I really tried hard to learn and practice in parking lots that were secluded and I took to the local roads late at night during the week to gain confidence before getting thrown into NY rush hour junctions. I really eased myself into it because I could but I'm not sure if it helped me more then being thrown into the fire and being forced to do things. I guess people learn in different fashions and ways.

About your hill-start assist... if it's anything like mine (2015 VW) I feel like it has some sort of system or pedometer that senses a certain amount of incline and utilizes the hill start assist from there. If I'm sometimes in a parking lot where it isn't a huge hill but it's enough of an imbalance to cause me to roll forward or back- I feel like there's absolutely no assist as soon as my foot leaves the brake. On moderate hills which I frequent the brake holds for at least 1.5 seconds if you do absolutely nothing. I've tested this in a parking garage actually and timed it with my phone so give or take but it def holds it. As soon as you hit the throttle though it releases (or should if working properly)... I find the system to be really unobtrusive and really pleasant to work with to be honest. I don't have a ton of experience but it pretty much does it's intended purpose in my eyes.

MH86
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sun May 15, 2016 4:14 pm

Teamwork wrote:Hey MH86,

Sending good vibes and well wishes on your journey with manual transmission. I reside in the Long Island area so I know what you mean about the wrecklessness and impatience here. I really tried hard to learn and practice in parking lots that were secluded and I took to the local roads late at night during the week to gain confidence before getting thrown into NY rush hour junctions. I really eased myself into it because I could but I'm not sure if it helped me more then being thrown into the fire and being forced to do things. I guess people learn in different fashions and ways.

About your hill-start assist... if it's anything like mine (2015 VW) I feel like it has some sort of system or pedometer that senses a certain amount of incline and utilizes the hill start assist from there. If I'm sometimes in a parking lot where it isn't a huge hill but it's enough of an imbalance to cause me to roll forward or back- I feel like there's absolutely no assist as soon as my foot leaves the brake. On moderate hills which I frequent the brake holds for at least 1.5 seconds if you do absolutely nothing. I've tested this in a parking garage actually and timed it with my phone so give or take but it def holds it. As soon as you hit the throttle though it releases (or should if working properly)... I find the system to be really unobtrusive and really pleasant to work with to be honest. I don't have a ton of experience but it pretty much does it's intended purpose in my eyes.


Hey Teamwork,

Thanks. You definitely understand how crazy the drivers are around here. Weirdly enough, I think throwing myself into the fire has helped. Today I had to drive out to Suffolk County (had to drop something off at the dealer I bought the car from) and only stalled once. Then, on a drive to Brooklyn, I only stalled once in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Belt Parkway (only while I was trying to inch forward, so I wasn't holding anyone up).

Regarding hill-start assist, it turns out I (mercifully) do have it. I tested it on a hill with nobody behind me and it appears to even work in neutral. Hill-start assist explains my fairly decent hill starts today.

I'm feeling better about manual driving each time I get behind the wheel.

Teamwork
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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Teamwork » Sun May 15, 2016 4:36 pm

MH86 wrote:Hey Teamwork,

Thanks. You definitely understand how crazy the drivers are around here. Weirdly enough, I think throwing myself into the fire has helped. Today I had to drive out to Suffolk County (had to drop something off at the dealer I bought the car from) and only stalled once. Then, on a drive to Brooklyn, I only stalled once in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Belt Parkway (only while I was trying to inch forward, so I wasn't holding anyone up).

Regarding hill-start assist, it turns out I (mercifully) do have it. I tested it on a hill with nobody behind me and it appears to even work in neutral. Hill-start assist explains my fairly decent hill starts today.

I'm feeling better about manual driving each time I get behind the wheel.

Suffolk County/Nassau County is my neck of the woods. I mingle in Queens, Forest Hills, and Whitestone from time to time but honestly driving an automatic out there and on 'the Belt' is a nightmare in it's own. Oh, I full on grasp what you're going through and what I go through but what I can tell you is that as you gain confidence and experience the anxiety/nervousness really subsides. It's hard out here for sure though... I even stalled today, first time in months when I was caught day dreaming at a red light. I really quickly recovered though and no one even honked somehow (miracle around here). I've even been honked at for moving off in 1st gear too slowly and not even stalling. It's sad but life move fast in NY and no one has patience.

I could see how being thrown into the fire is an effective method of learning and I wonder if it would've helped me to learn quicker. I think I ended up being okay though... I still can be better and need refinement and consistency but I'm not like "not making it" to places or showing fear of driving places.
It's not like other states don't have traffic or anything but having experience driving in traffic in NY/LI is an accolade that should be put on a resume if you make it out alive.

I have a feeling most vehicles post 2007ish have hill-start assist or some sort of implementation. There are ways of disabling it completely from our vehicles VCDS coding/Vag-Com but I really don't see a reason why. I guess some people will call it cheating but the way it's implemented in our cars is VERY unobtrusive like I said. There's definitely something sensing the vehicle being place on a certain grade and if it doesn't even meet that thresh hold it literally doesn't do anything. Really learned this the hard way in the beginning in parking lots when you don't really think of these things in an automatic. I have to encounter one huge hill everyday on my way to work so I really kind of passed the hill start's fairly quickly. If I didn't you would've heard about me on the news.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby tankinbeans » Sun May 15, 2016 6:35 pm

Teamwork, you don't understamd why some people call hill-start assist cheating because you don't seem to be a keyboard warrior blowhard. Those of the "if you can't drive exactly like me, and need the car to help in any way, you might as well drive an automatic" like to put people down because they themselves are so insecure as to fail to understand that others really don't care about their supposed prowess. They'll even go so far as to pat themselves on the back because they, apparently, never stall and can drive in every situation perfectly and never experience roll-back on hills; they're wholy ignorable.
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InlinePaul wrote:The driving force of new fangled features to sell more cars [is to] cater to the masses' abject laziness!

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby theholycow » Sun May 15, 2016 7:48 pm

tankinbeans wrote:They'll even go so far as to pat themselves on the back because they, apparently, never stall

Whatever their skill level, if they never stall then they're driving too conservatively.

It's like if you never lose at a game...you're probably playing in the wrong league.
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Put your car in your sig!

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MH86
Junior Standardshifter
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 4:45 pm
Cars: 2016 VW Jetta SE
Location: Queens, NY

Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Sun May 15, 2016 8:13 pm

Teamwork wrote:
MH86 wrote:Hey Teamwork,

Thanks. You definitely understand how crazy the drivers are around here. Weirdly enough, I think throwing myself into the fire has helped. Today I had to drive out to Suffolk County (had to drop something off at the dealer I bought the car from) and only stalled once. Then, on a drive to Brooklyn, I only stalled once in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Belt Parkway (only while I was trying to inch forward, so I wasn't holding anyone up).

Regarding hill-start assist, it turns out I (mercifully) do have it. I tested it on a hill with nobody behind me and it appears to even work in neutral. Hill-start assist explains my fairly decent hill starts today.

I'm feeling better about manual driving each time I get behind the wheel.

Suffolk County/Nassau County is my neck of the woods. I mingle in Queens, Forest Hills, and Whitestone from time to time but honestly driving an automatic out there and on 'the Belt' is a nightmare in it's own. Oh, I full on grasp what you're going through and what I go through but what I can tell you is that as you gain confidence and experience the anxiety/nervousness really subsides. It's hard out here for sure though... I even stalled today, first time in months when I was caught day dreaming at a red light. I really quickly recovered though and no one even honked somehow (miracle around here). I've even been honked at for moving off in 1st gear too slowly and not even stalling. It's sad but life move fast in NY and no one has patience.

I could see how being thrown into the fire is an effective method of learning and I wonder if it would've helped me to learn quicker. I think I ended up being okay though... I still can be better and need refinement and consistency but I'm not like "not making it" to places or showing fear of driving places.
It's not like other states don't have traffic or anything but having experience driving in traffic in NY/LI is an accolade that should be put on a resume if you make it out alive.

I have a feeling most vehicles post 2007ish have hill-start assist or some sort of implementation. There are ways of disabling it completely from our vehicles VCDS coding/Vag-Com but I really don't see a reason why. I guess some people will call it cheating but the way it's implemented in our cars is VERY unobtrusive like I said. There's definitely something sensing the vehicle being place on a certain grade and if it doesn't even meet that thresh hold it literally doesn't do anything. Really learned this the hard way in the beginning in parking lots when you don't really think of these things in an automatic. I have to encounter one huge hill everyday on my way to work so I really kind of passed the hill start's fairly quickly. If I didn't you would've heard about me on the news.


You're totally right about the hill assist being unobtrusive. I had an interesting lesson on how it only holds on a certain grade when I was parallel parking today. Thankfully, the Jetta's clutch is intuitive enough that I was able to lift it to the friction point before rolling into the car behind me. I haven't really driven many other manual cars, but the Jetta seems to be incredibly forgiving, not to mention that it no-gas launches quite easily. While on the subject of no-gas launches, about how many seconds should it take for me to release the clutch fully? I'm currently able to do it smoothly in about 3 seconds; it shakes or stalls if I do it quicker.

I was initially terrified of driving manual, but it's actually really fun. It's a shame I didn't get a manual car years ago.

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Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby Teamwork » Sun May 15, 2016 9:54 pm

tankinbeans wrote:Teamwork, you don't understamd why some people call hill-start assist cheating because you don't seem to be a keyboard warrior blowhard. Those of the "if you can't drive exactly like me, and need the car to help in any way, you might as well drive an automatic" like to put people down because they themselves are so insecure as to fail to understand that others really don't care about their supposed prowess. They'll even go so far as to pat themselves on the back because they, apparently, never stall and can drive in every situation perfectly and never experience roll-back on hills; they're wholy ignorable.

Haha thanks Tankin and I can relate. It's not really aimed so much here but on the car club forums people boast about disabling the feature and I really don't get it. It's almost like a braggable achievement to many elitist... I've literally heard about an implementation in the system for Subaru (more specifically the WRX) being obtrusive and I think that would be a good cause to disable it. Some people seem to feel that when it's used it feels like they are dragging the brakes but I really don't feel any odd notions and I deal with it DAILY. As soon as the throttle is depressed any degree it lifts it off.

MH86 wrote:You're totally right about the hill assist being unobtrusive. I had an interesting lesson on how it only holds on a certain grade when I was parallel parking today. Thankfully, the Jetta's clutch is intuitive enough that I was able to lift it to the friction point before rolling into the car behind me. I haven't really driven many other manual cars, but the Jetta seems to be incredibly forgiving, not to mention that it no-gas launches quite easily. While on the subject of no-gas launches, about how many seconds should it take for me to release the clutch fully? I'm currently able to do it smoothly in about 3 seconds; it shakes or stalls if I do it quicker.

I was initially terrified of driving manual, but it's actually really fun. It's a shame I didn't get a manual car years ago.

When I first started I kind of questioned if it enabled or disabled. You don't really take things into account like "marginal" inclines/declines that aren't an obvious hill and this car again will not hill hold unless it reaches a certain thresh hold. I didn't necessarily figure out or even find out what it is, or how it's actually used but I did go to what I would call an obvious "incline" in a parking garage to test the system out. This is also when I pretty much wanted to know how much time I had to react and what would happen if I did absolutely nothing. I'm not too sure how good/bad I am without an assist system like this but I know for a fact that I pretty much have 0 roll back with it. I mean sometimes if I'm lazy and under revving on the gas I might roll an inch or so back at first but I usually get on it and work myself up.

I actually am not a huge fan of my clutch action in my VW (again I don't have a ton of things to compare it too, but before I bought this car I had some test experience in other models and such). I'm pretty sure that our clutches are probably distant cousins or barely related at all but I feel that there is a ton amount of dead pedal travel from being floored to the firewall to the friction point. A lot of people complain about hill starts in this car because of the amount of distance... I feel like communication from the clutch is fairly vague too. It's very soft and really requires MINIMAL pressure to depress which I personally like but maybe that's also why I feel like it's vague also. In other threads I've stated that I have a 35-40 consecutive mile stint that I do across Long Island 2-3 times a week. It's a fair mix of highway to crawling city traffic and sometimes they'll be a stretch of 2 miles where I feel like I'm shuffling back and out of 1st gear probably 30-40 times. I've never felt leg fatigue while driving this car.

For no-gas launches by doing what you're doing you should easily be able to figure out how long you should be in the friction point. You said it shakes or stalls if you do it quicker then 3 seconds? Then do it 4-5 :D. Listen to your vehicle in that regard... obviously it won't be happy and let you know if you're doing something too quick or wrong. I really only do no-gas launches when crawling in traffic, leaving my driveway, or in parking lot scenarios. If you try and do no-gas launches on Long Island you're gonna get run off the road. That was actually part of my problem with 1st gear stalling in the very beginning. I would attempt to do no-gas launches but get really anxious about it knowing people were "waiting behind me" and I'd go through the friction point too quick because I wanted to go quicker. I'd say 85% of the time I add gas simultaneously with finding the friction point in 1st gear. Nothing crazy (1300-1500 rpm on level ground)... but I feel like it helps me get away quicker, smoother, and more efficiently. Me and my friend who has the 5 speed 1.8 TSI Golf joke about how our shift points and rev ranges are different around here because if we don't rev out more we get the finger and spit on. :shock:

MH86
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Posts: 77
Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 4:45 pm
Cars: 2016 VW Jetta SE
Location: Queens, NY

Re: New Member - First-time Manual Driver

Postby MH86 » Mon May 16, 2016 6:45 am

:)
Teamwork wrote:
tankinbeans wrote:Teamwork, you don't understamd why some people call hill-start assist cheating because you don't seem to be a keyboard warrior blowhard. Those of the "if you can't drive exactly like me, and need the car to help in any way, you might as well drive an automatic" like to put people down because they themselves are so insecure as to fail to understand that others really don't care about their supposed prowess. They'll even go so far as to pat themselves on the back because they, apparently, never stall and can drive in every situation perfectly and never experience roll-back on hills; they're wholy ignorable.

Haha thanks Tankin and I can relate. It's not really aimed so much here but on the car club forums people boast about disabling the feature and I really don't get it. It's almost like a braggable achievement to many elitist... I've literally heard about an implementation in the system for Subaru (more specifically the WRX) being obtrusive and I think that would be a good cause to disable it. Some people seem to feel that when it's used it feels like they are dragging the brakes but I really don't feel any odd notions and I deal with it DAILY. As soon as the throttle is depressed any degree it lifts it off.

MH86 wrote:You're totally right about the hill assist being unobtrusive. I had an interesting lesson on how it only holds on a certain grade when I was parallel parking today. Thankfully, the Jetta's clutch is intuitive enough that I was able to lift it to the friction point before rolling into the car behind me. I haven't really driven many other manual cars, but the Jetta seems to be incredibly forgiving, not to mention that it no-gas launches quite easily. While on the subject of no-gas launches, about how many seconds should it take for me to release the clutch fully? I'm currently able to do it smoothly in about 3 seconds; it shakes or stalls if I do it quicker.

I was initially terrified of driving manual, but it's actually really fun. It's a shame I didn't get a manual car years ago.

When I first started I kind of questioned if it enabled or disabled. You don't really take things into account like "marginal" inclines/declines that aren't an obvious hill and this car again will not hill hold unless it reaches a certain thresh hold. I didn't necessarily figure out or even find out what it is, or how it's actually used but I did go to what I would call an obvious "incline" in a parking garage to test the system out. This is also when I pretty much wanted to know how much time I had to react and what would happen if I did absolutely nothing. I'm not too sure how good/bad I am without an assist system like this but I know for a fact that I pretty much have 0 roll back with it. I mean sometimes if I'm lazy and under revving on the gas I might roll an inch or so back at first but I usually get on it and work myself up.

I actually am not a huge fan of my clutch action in my VW (again I don't have a ton of things to compare it too, but before I bought this car I had some test experience in other models and such). I'm pretty sure that our clutches are probably distant cousins or barely related at all but I feel that there is a ton amount of dead pedal travel from being floored to the firewall to the friction point. A lot of people complain about hill starts in this car because of the amount of distance... I feel like communication from the clutch is fairly vague too. It's very soft and really requires MINIMAL pressure to depress which I personally like but maybe that's also why I feel like it's vague also. In other threads I've stated that I have a 35-40 consecutive mile stint that I do across Long Island 2-3 times a week. It's a fair mix of highway to crawling city traffic and sometimes they'll be a stretch of 2 miles where I feel like I'm shuffling back and out of 1st gear probably 30-40 times. I've never felt leg fatigue while driving this car.


For no-gas launches by doing what you're doing you should easily be able to figure out how long you should be in the friction point. You said it shakes or stalls if you do it quicker then 3 seconds? Then do it 4-5 :D. Listen to your vehicle in that regard... obviously it won't be happy and let you know if you're doing something too quick or wrong. I really only do no-gas launches when crawling in traffic, leaving my driveway, or in parking lot scenarios. If you try and do no-gas launches on Long Island you're gonna get run off the road. That was actually part of my problem with 1st gear stalling in the very beginning. I would attempt to do no-gas launches but get really anxious about it knowing people were "waiting behind me" and I'd go through the friction point too quick because I wanted to go quicker. I'd say 85% of the time I add gas simultaneously with finding the friction point in 1st gear. Nothing crazy (1300-1500 rpm on level ground)... but I feel like it helps me get away quicker, smoother, and more efficiently. Me and my friend who has the 5 speed 1.8 TSI Golf joke about how our shift points and rev ranges are different around here because if we don't rev out more we get the finger and spit on. :shock:


I know what you mean about the dead pedal travel in the clutch. Compared to the Corolla I learned on, this clutch engages way higher. Although like you said, I can already see that the soft clutch is nice in traffic :D.

Let me clarify about the no-gas launches: once I'm at the friction point, I can fully roll off the clutch in 3 seconds without it shaking or stalling. I just wanted to make sure that that amount of time isn't bad for the car (although I realize that no-gas launches are fairly kind to the car and take a little longer than revving the engine first).

That's interesting that I've managed no-gas launches around Queens and Brooklyn so far without going too slow. I will admit, though, that I'm hyper-vigilant about watching cross traffic, so I'll start my no-gas launch a little before everyone else starts moving. I have periodically added revs (just over 1,000 rpm), but I haven't felt it was necessary. When I drive to work soon, I'll try adding some revs once I'm at the friction point. When I learned to drive manual, the teacher insisted that I ONLY do no-gas launches (even in Queens traffic). After doing no-gas launches in an early-2000s Corolla, doing them in a car with as much low-end torque as the Jetta feels really quick.


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