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If you are looking for a good manual transmission design setup, I'd probably get a subaru WRX.
Uhhh, why?
Subaru manual gearboxes are hardly noted for their "good design setup"....
Some comments from owners on the Subaru Impreza forums-
Its rough and shifts like a wet noodle through a pile of sand but for me it kinda adds to the personality of the car.
I removed all of these parts today and the way this cars set up from factory is rubbish
Other than the STI tranny, Subaru is not known for great feeling transmissions
 

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I have not heard that Subaru's are stellar by way of shift feel, set-up, etc. But aside from actual shift feel - I understand that the stock state-of-tune makes the WRX very hard to drive smoothly. I think it's a 2 litre engine and when off-boost it behaves like a lacklustre 2 litre (i.e not a high-compression 2 litre)... and then when the boost comes in - it goes nuts. It apparently is hard to learn when it will go nuts... so it is hard to drive smoothly. You really need a "tuned" throttle foot. Apparently these cars benefit from a Cobb stage 1 tune which makes for a more linear response, makes the car easier to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Not a big fan of Hyundai, to be honest.. just not my cup of tea.

I really like the VW GTI though.. it's nice and fun to drive. That was my other option before pulling the trigger with Mazda.

The Golf hathback is pretty nice too. They even have an all-track and r line edition for them, which are pretty impressive.. but pricey.

My wife has a 2016 Jetta with a 1.8L turbo 4 banger.. 225/50/17 alloys.. basic A.F. interior, but a fun car to throw around and kick in the turbo. Very solid and well built cars. Get the engine checked if buying used.. we got a 2 year old lease return that was in perfect condition and except for brakes, filters and a battery.. it's been driving great for these past two years.
CK
The Elantra GT/Sedan N-Line is a 1.6L Turbo 4-cyl. Really similar overall interior quality to ours. I think the biggest and saddest difference is the Hatch version doesn't offer a Sunroof/Moonroof but the sedan is actually quite beautiful. I'll be keeping my options open. Finding a manual sport/N-line used is almost impossible and they have a decent modding community. 400WHP on stock internals has already been done. A tune brings you north of 250WTQ and 225WHP. Snail sounds are fun too. But in the end, I just want it to not break down.
 

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The Elantra GT/Sedan N-Line is a 1.6L Turbo 4-cyl. Really similar overall interior quality to ours. I think the biggest and saddest difference is the Hatch version doesn't offer a Sunroof/Moonroof but the sedan is actually quite beautiful. .... A tune brings you north of 250WTQ and 225WHP. Snail sounds are fun too. But in the end, I just want it to not break down.
It came down to the Elantra GT Sport/Hatchback and the Mazda3 Hatchback when I bought my 3. Ironically enough, I've had my car for just a little longer than you have and I ultimately chose Mazda because I didn't want it to break down... and the price was too good to turn down at the time.

The Golf was out of the question simply because VW's reputation for reliable cars is worst than even Hyundai's.

I've driven a WRX briefly and although the gearbox is decent, I'd take the Mazda's over it. Clutch press is heavier, which I liked, but most people might not. And the rev hang in the WRX is one of the worst I've experienced (along with the current Civic Si), although it's supposedly better for the 2020 model. I owned a BRZ before and although I did prefer that gearbox to my Mazda, but that tranny was made by Aisin.
 

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It came down to the Elantra GT Sport/Hatchback and the Mazda3 Hatchback when I bought my 3. Ironically enough, I've had my car for just a little longer than you have and I ultimately chose Mazda because I didn't want it to break down... and the price was too good to turn down at the time.

The Golf was out of the question simply because VW's reputation for reliable cars is worst than even Hyundai's.

I've driven a WRX briefly and although the gearbox is decent, I'd take the Mazda's over it. Clutch press is heavier, which I liked, but most people might not. And the rev hang in the WRX is one of the worst I've experienced (along with the current Civic Si), although it's supposedly better for the 2020 model. I owned a BRZ before and although I did prefer that gearbox to my Mazda, but that tranny was made by Aisin.
Funny, I had the same decision to make when I got my 3. Honda and Toyota we're out because I wanted a hatch. VW are fun cars to drive, but as mentioned reliability can be a problem and they're a real pain in the ass to work on yourself. I like doing my own maintenance. Checked out Subaru at the time and I felt they were overpriced and way behind Mazda in technology.

I did try an Elantra GT, I didn't mind my old accent. I thought the handling was an abomination. The road feedback just felt fake for lack of better description. The blind spots were terrible. I just didn't feel safe in it. That left me with Mazda and I don't regret my decision 5 years later.
 

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....I owned a BRZ before and although I did prefer that gearbox to my Mazda, but that tranny was made by Aisin.
I generally like Aisin manual transmissions... (and have an S51 in my Camry) but having driven the BRZ and having read about it as well (corroborating my experiences) - said transmission is a bit "fussy" / gravelly on its first-to-second shifts until fully up to operating temp. Did you not find it so? Mazda C66M-R has the potential to be smoother(?) once hydraulic clutch is bled well and shift cables are properly neutralized, do you not agree?
 

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Funny, I had the same decision to make when I got my 3. Honda and Toyota we're out because I wanted a hatch. VW are fun cars to drive, but as mentioned reliability can be a problem and they're a real pain in the ass to work on yourself. I like doing my own maintenance. Checked out Subaru at the time and I felt they were overpriced and way behind Mazda in technology.

I did try an Elantra GT, I didn't mind my old accent. I thought the handling was an abomination. The road feedback just felt fake for lack of better description. The blind spots were terrible. I just didn't feel safe in it. That left me with Mazda and I don't regret my decision 5 years later.
My daughter has an Elantra... and although it's a 2010 (i.e.older gen.) - I can't stand the artificial steering feel. Maybe they've improved... but it is beyond terrible.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
I haven't test driven one yet, but went with the Mazda for reliability which doesn't seem that great obviously to me now. I just tried to find a comparable feature set, price, an no/little rev hang. The Si was my first choice but geez the rev hang on the new gens are awful.
 

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I haven't test driven one yet, but went with the Mazda for reliability which doesn't seem that great obviously to me now. I just tried to find a comparable feature set, price, an no/little rev hang. The Si was my first choice but geez the rev hang on the new gens are awful.
Lol yea rev hang was bad, but I just couldn't get over the exterior looks. I test drove the Civic Si and Sport Hatchback after waiting a good 2 years, I thought the looks would grow on me, but I realized when I showed up at the dealership to test drive it, I hated it even more seeing the Civic in person. Don't even get me started on the Type-R. I went through with the test drive since I was already there, the ride didn't blow me away, but it was good & composed.
 

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I generally like Aisin manual transmissions... (and have an S51 in my Camry) but having driven the BRZ and having read about it as well (corroborating my experiences) - said transmission is a bit "fussy" / gravelly on its first-to-second shifts until fully up to operating temp. Did you not find it so? Mazda C66M-R has the potential to be smoother(?) once hydraulic clutch is bled well and shift cables are properly neutralized, do you not agree?
Yes you're right, the BRZ gearbox (by Aisin) was a bit more "fussy" than the Mazda's... at least until it warmed up. You needed to wait about 15min (more or less depending on outside temp) for the tranny to warm up before it shifted smoothly. 1st to 2nd shifts gave a random 'grind' regardless of temp. And it was impossible to downshift into 1st until you're almost completely stopped. Not a huge deal for highways, but it comes up alot if you drive mostly city streets.

Having said all that, I still prefer it to Mazda's gearbox. Just personal preference, I like a more 'mechanical' feel to my shifter... and it just felt more 'connected' to me, not sure how to describe it. Mazda's shifter feels overall 'softer', like they padded everything with rubber, compared to the BRZ's.. which some people may like. It's not necessarily a better feeling to me. No lie, images of rubberized syncros come to my head when I shift my 3 sometimes.

I have all the possible shifter bushings ordered from JBR and CS on the way, so I hope that'll help remedy that rubbery feel.. we'll see.
 

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Lol yea rev hang was bad, but I just couldn't get over the exterior looks. I test drove the Civic Si and Sport Hatchback after waiting a good 2 years, I thought the looks would grow on me, but I realized when I showed up at the dealership to test drive it, I hated it even more seeing the Civic in person. Don't even get me started on the Type-R. I went through with the test drive since I was already there, the ride didn't blow me away, but it was good & composed.
I can tolerate the the Type R in black... as the always-black panels on the frt and rear ends tend not to be quite so visible then. I normally, though, don't prefer dark-coloured cars. Having said this... I 'kinda like the Type R's earthy-tone grey... just not on the Type R.

The Type R's look is highly controversial, no doubt. The car's performance is apparently amazing - period, especially for it being a FWD car...
 

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I owned three Hyundais before I made the jump to Mazda. Their quality has made huge strides in the past 15-20 years but their cars still have a very appliance-y feel to them. Now, that being said, I have not driven any of the new N Line models but their previous attempts at being sporty always lacked that X factor. It was like meeting somebody you found attractive and really liked spending time with but they just weren't "the one".

As for Subaru and their manuals, my sister's boyfriend has a 2017 Impreza (not a WRX or STI) with a 5-speed stick and he let me drive it. How to put this nicely...it feels like dragging a piece of rebar through a barrel of river rocks. I think the best way to describe it is 'agricultural'. It feels like something you might have found in a Chevrolet Cavalier in around 1985. Long throw, no feel, just there to change gears. It doesn't give a fig about how it makes you feel. I fell in love with my manual transmission all over again after I drove his Impreza.
 

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As for Subaru and their manuals, my sister's boyfriend has a 2017 Impreza (not a WRX or STI) with a 5-speed stick and he let me drive it. How to put this nicely...it feels like dragging a piece of rebar through a barrel of river rocks. I think the best way to describe it is 'agricultural'. It feels like something you might have found in a Chevrolet Cavalier in around 1985. Long throw, no feel, just there to change gears. It doesn't give a fig about how it makes you feel. I fell in love with my manual transmission all over again after I drove his Impreza.
 
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