Best Stick Shift for Beginners? - 2012 FIAT 500 Long-Term Road Test

2012 FIAT 500 Long Term Road Test

2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Best Stick Shift for Beginners?

August 23, 2011

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My friend in San Francisco asked me if I could teach her how to drive stick while I was up visiting her this coming Labor Day Weekend. She was going to borrow a car from Zipcar for this very purpose. To make things go smoothly, I figured I should come up with suggestions of the best cars to learn how to drive a manual on.

Having driven our 2012 Fiat 500 Sport, I have to say that it would be perfect to teach someone about the wonderful world of manual shifting. Its shifter is so light, its clutch is responsive and most important of all it comes with hill hold -- not that I would put the student on a hill during their first lesson.

Plus, it looks so cute that no one would be too mad if you stalled out in the middle of traffic. At least that was my experience when I was learning to drive stick in the equally cute Mini.

Unfortunately, perusing through Zipcar's inventory I realized they don't have the 500. Damn. But they DO have a Mini. Hmm. Although I do hate the sharp-edged shifter.

In any case, any other suggestions on what's a good car to learn how to drive stick on? I also think, even though Zipcar doesn't have it, the Miata. Love that short gearshifter!

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 7,122 miles

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