Stick With It: Toyota Canada Helps #SaveTheManuals
Eager consumers learn to shift with pro racer and Motoring TV personality Russ Bond
Take a look through the options list of your next new vehicle and there’s a solid chance most of them are designed to take the actual act of, y’know, driving out of your hands. Adaptive cruise control, cars that’ll park themselves, and machines that’ll automatically go to the store for a litre of milk. I made that last one up.
In truth, a lot of these features are pretty handy. But that doesn’t mean the gearheads in this office are willing to cede all interaction with driving. Around here, we love a good manual transmission and, it seems, Toyota does too.
Toyota Canada recently hosted a full day of stick-shifting fun in the Toronto area. With the help of racing pro Russ Bond, the Big T coned off part of the parking lot at their head office and taught a bunch of newbies how to handle a manual transmission.
“Auto enthusiasts have been singing the praises of the stick shift for a long time now, and with good reason,” said Cyril Dimitris, Vice President, Toyota Canada Inc. “We’ll always be committed to developing the latest technologies and continuing to raise the bar when it comes to our vehicles, but sometimes, it’s great to get back to basics and rediscover a true love of driving. There’s nothing like the visceral connection between you and the road when you’re driving stick.”
We couldn’t agree more. While there are plenty of arguments in favour of the automatic transmission – some examples allow for neck-snapping acceleration via launch control and shift gears faster than any human ever could – there are few joys in this world like working one’s way up through each gear or nailing a perfectly executed downshift. The level of engagement with the car at your command grows by leaps and bounds, even if the quarter-mile time does not.
Toyota deployed its new 2019 Corolla Hatchback for the event, a pint-sized little scamp that’s shaped like an athletic shoe and available with a six-speed manual. Coupled to a 2.0L four banger making 168 horsepower, the ‘box helps new drivers by rev-matching the engine during downshifts for easier gear engagement.
Count us in as fans of any company that takes steps to ensure the future of the manual transmission. By educating people on how to handle a stickshift, Toyota is helping to fill our streets with drivers who are more attentive and in tune with their surroundings … even if they are just popping out for a litre of milk.
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