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2006 Kia Spectra5
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all, I'm considering the Corolla as my next car (I currently drive a 2006 Kia Spectra5). I'm most interested in the S Plus, both the CVT and the 6-speed manual transmission. I ran some searches here and on another Corolla forum, and I didn't see a lot of discussion about how good (or bad) the 6MT is. I've read a few reviews recently criticizing the manual transmissions in both the Corolla and the refreshed Yaris--especially complaints about the difficulty of controlling throttle inputs, leading to stalling or over-revving--so I was wondering what those of you who own a 2014 or 2015 Corolla with the 6MT (on the L or S) think of the transmission. (I'll be doing a test drive eventually, of course, but it's difficult to distinguish between issues caused by the transmission itself and those caused by unfamiliarity with a new clutch/shifter over a short drive.)

Thanks!

For reference, here's what Christan Wardlaw of Autobytel and NYDailyNews had to say about the Corolla's 6MT:

"My test car was something of an automotive unicorn, given that it came with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Frankly, the car could have benefitted from the CVT, to help keep the engine in the thick of its meager horsepower and torque output. Manual gearboxes are usually meant to deliver a little more involvement in the driving experience – in the Corolla, the self-shifter only seemed to get in the way.

"Plus, with the CVT, I wouldn’t have had to suffer the ignominy of regularly over-revving and occasionally stalling the car in first gear. I’ve been driving a stick for more than 30 years, having learned on a Saab 900 Turbo and having once driven an 18-wheeler during a day-long trucker school. This Corolla’s light clutch and floppy gearbox are simply dissatisfying."

http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/latest-reviews/test-drive-2015-toyota-corolla-article-1.2022003
 

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2015 Corolla Sport Plus
2015 Corolla S Plus
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I've got a 2015 Toyota Corolla S Plus 6 speed MT and I absolutely love it. I've had no issue with over-revving or stalling. At first I was over-revving a bit out of first gear, but then again I was coming back to manual after driving an automatic for six years, so that was expected...after a few drives shifting is no problem.

Hope this helps!
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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I've driven both of them even though I own a 10th gen 5-speed MT. I had no issues with the 6MT on the 11th gen. It feels a lot quicker than the CVT which is sluggish out of the gate. I like the driving experience though so I will always select a MT over a CVT if I have a choice. To me it's a no brainer with the Corolla, it would be the 6MT. :D
 

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I was going to go 6 speed but ended up going CVT after realizing I didnt want to sit in traffic for an hour each day with a manual. point being buy for your needs not your wants sometimes
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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I was going to go 6 speed but ended up going CVT after realizing I didnt want to sit in traffic for an hour each day with a manual. point being buy for your needs not your wants sometimes
I've always had a MT & never even gave it a second thought when in traffic. It's not like the clutches I grew up with that were really difficult. The Corolla clutch is super easy. It's like talking and walking at the same time, I just do it without a thought. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was going to go 6 speed but ended up going CVT after realizing I didnt want to sit in traffic for an hour each day with a manual. point being buy for your needs not your wants sometimes
Yeah, that's the dilemma for me. I live in the DC Metro area, and traffic jams are unavoidable around here. Automatics are nice for those kinds of situations, but I really miss driving a manual and I'm wondering whether to go back while I'm still young enough. :wink:

Oh, another question: does the Corolla have Hill Start Assist or whatever Toyota calls it (i.e. the car holds the brake for a few seconds on hills so you don't roll backward)? I couldn't find any reference to it on the Corolla site, so I'm guessing not.
 

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2015 6 speed corolla
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yep, I love the 6 speed manual. I love it when car reviewers who rarely drive manuals whine because....well...they suck at driving manuals. or, at the very least, they suck at adjusting to a manual they are not used to.

I was fine with the 6 speed after a few hours with my car. I easily get over 40 mpg on the highway since they were smart about the gearing and made the 6th gear high enough for that purpose.


this gen corolla is a pretty quiet, comfortable car, which is great for daily use. I avoided the cvt because I still want to be engaged more every so often, and the manual transmission does that for me.

an added bonus is that I expect the manual transmission combined with a proven powertrain should be a very reliable combo.
 

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Im not important
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I have corolla L 6MT and its about the best manual ive ever had but the reverse is a bit challenging, my wife has a cvt in her LE and its a DOG, sluggish and when i use cruise control the engine revs up to 4k rpm at times on downhill runs i wont buy another one. 6MT ALL THE WAY.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks for the comments, everyone! I found a few more reviews of the 6MT, one negative and one positive. The unifying factor seems to be that some reviewers can't adapt quickly to the clutch's engagement point, and some can. I'm guessing that's something that quickly becomes a non-issue once you have been driving the car for a few days.

A negative comment from cargurus (http://www.cargurus.com/Cars/2015-Toyota-Corolla-Overview-c24601):

"A 6-speed manual transmission is an increasingly rare find in a nicely equipped small car, and while most automotive journalists are, in my opinion, overly excited about rowing their own gears, I can honestly say that none of them would enjoy this one. Not only is shifter action floppy and imprecise, but the clutch lets up at a ridiculously high point. Two seasoned drivers with decades of experience with manual gearboxes stalled the car several times over the course of a one-week loan."

A more positive review from Surrey604 (http://surrey604.com/review-2014-toyota-corolla-s/):

"I’m happy to report that the 6-speed manual transmission was easy to shift and the throws were nice and short. The clutch pedal was soft (a boon for newbies), but the clutch’s bite point was surprisingly difficult to gauge without some practice.

"Despite this initial difficulty, I can still wholeheartedly recommend this gearbox as a good starter car for those who wish to learn how to drive a stick shift."
 

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some reviewers can't adapt quickly to the clutch's engagement point, and some can. I'm guessing that's something that quickly becomes a non-issue once you have been driving the car for a few days.
exactly. i wish the reviewers would just admit they couldn't get the hang of it, then say "but any owners who are experienced at driving a manual should have no problem adjusting to it"

ive driven 12 or 13 different manual transmission cars in my life, all with different engagement points, length of clutch pedal travel, short throws, long throws, smooth throws, notchy throws...the only thing i think ruins the experience is an extremely notch/rubbery stick that need a lot of effort to move.

the 6 mt in the corolla is an average to above average combo of all the above....decent for the class, imo.
 
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Diehard Rams Fan
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Yeah, that's the dilemma for me. I live in the DC Metro area, and traffic jams are unavoidable around here. Automatics are nice for those kinds of situations, but I really miss driving a manual and I'm wondering whether to go back while I'm still young enough. :wink:

Oh, another question: does the Corolla have Hill Start Assist or whatever Toyota calls it (i.e. the car holds the brake for a few seconds on hills so you don't roll backward)? I couldn't find any reference to it on the Corolla site, so I'm guessing not.
I drive mine in heavy rush hour traffic in Portland & Seattle all the time, no big deal at all. Every MT has Hill Start Assist, it's called your parking brake. Everyone that drives a MT should know this! If the hill is steep & you are worried about a car behind you just pull on the hand brake & as soon a you start you will feel the car tug against it and release the brake as the car starts forward, works every time. I've never really felt the need for it though as the MT is very easy to get going even on a steep hill.

yep, I love the 6 speed manual. I love it when car reviewers who rarely drive manuals whine because....well...they suck at driving manuals. or, at the very least, they suck at adjusting to a manual they are not used to.

I was fine with the 6 speed after a few hours with my car. I easily get over 40 mpg on the highway since they were smart about the gearing and made the 6th gear high enough for that purpose.


this gen corolla is a pretty quiet, comfortable car, which is great for daily use. I avoided the cvt because I still want to be engaged more every so often, and the manual transmission does that for me.

an added bonus is that I expect the manual transmission combined with a proven powertrain should be a very reliable combo.
Well said, that's why I love a MT on my cars too! :grin:

The manual tranny also makes a great anti-theft device.:grin:
I even posted that on Facebook last year with a picture of my stick shift! :lol:
I used this picture with the line "Best Anti-theft device!" :grin:
 

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after 2500 miles or so...

I agree the "the clutch’s bite point was surprisingly difficult to gauge without some practice.", and in fact seems to vary with temperature, etc. Which, coupled with a very low 3.538 first gear ratio (and quite a distance to second @ 1.913) makes smooth operation...unnecessarily difficult. This EC65 transaxle seems well suited to a Yaris diesel- a much less powerful engine- which, ironically it came from...3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th are well-spaced, however; and yes- having an .619 6th ratio can deliver excellent economy.
 

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I bought my '14 Corolla S 6 Speed in March of 2014. I agree with the over-revving to a point. I've known how to drive a manual since before I even got my license but this is the first one I've owned. Now that I got used to the touchiness of the clutch vs throttle everything is just fine. It does not have hill assist. I had never even heard of hill assist until my cousin bought a WRX and I was driving it and went to pull the hand brake up on this really steep hill and he just says "You don't need to do that, just trust me." And it was the coolest thing! But no ours doesn't have it lol
 

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2015 Corolla Sport Plus
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"A 6-speed manual transmission is an increasingly rare find in a nicely equipped small car, and while most automotive journalists are, in my opinion, overly excited about rowing their own gears, I can honestly say that none of them would enjoy this one. Not only is shifter action floppy and imprecise, but the clutch lets up at a ridiculously high point. Two seasoned drivers with decades of experience with manual gearboxes stalled the car several times over the course of a one-week loan."
I guess to each their own...but really? Two "seasoned" drivers with decades of experience with manual gearboxes stalled the car SEVERAL times in a week?!?! Doesn't sound like these reviewers were all that seasoned.
 

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Diehard Rams Fan
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I guess to each their own...but really? Two "seasoned" drivers with decades of experience with manual gearboxes stalled the car SEVERAL times in a week?!?! Doesn't sound like these reviewers were all that seasoned.
Just like any MT, even a seasoned MT driver can stall it if not paying attention. Sometimes I've done it as I'm thinking of something else or enjoying a song more than I'm paying attention to the sound of the engine & feel of the clutch. :lol:
 
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I have corolla L 6MT and its about the best manual ive ever had but the reverse is a bit challenging, my wife has a cvt in her LE and its a DOG, sluggish and when i use cruise control the engine revs up to 4k rpm at times on downhill runs i wont buy another one. 6MT ALL THE WAY.
This is normal behavior for any automatic transmission vehicle going downhill on cruise. It is engaging engine braking to keep your speed constant (and help you avoid a speeding ticket). With mine, I just disengage the cruise when I start to descend if I don't want the engine braking. I normally drive for maximum MPG and don't want the braking holding the car back, so I can take advantage of coasting and I'm not usually above the speed limit anyway.
 

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straight cash homie
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I guess to each their own...but really? Two "seasoned" drivers with decades of experience with manual gearboxes stalled the car SEVERAL times in a week?!?! Doesn't sound like these reviewers were all that seasoned.
Don't like the stick? Stick in them the CVT and let them suffer. >:D
 
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