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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm still trying to decide between the Mazda 3 and the Forte EX. I like the standard features that come with the Forte but there is just one sticking point: the manual transmission issue.

I'm referring to the consistent mention in reviews of the difficulty adjusting to the clutch/gas on the manual Forte. I did test drive it and I almost stalled it twice. And keep in mind I never stall any car, ever. I read that it takes getting used to, but I've also read that it's hard to get used to even after 2 months of daily driving.

So just how bad is it? Did you adjust?

And what about the issue with hard shifts in cold weather from 2nd to 3rd?

Is there any info out there that would lead us to believe that this issue will be resolved in the 2011 models?

PS: I test drove the Mazda 3 and absolutely loved the smooth and easy shifting.
 

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i got used to it really fast, honestly the three was weirder to shift than the forte to me, something about the gear spacing maybe?
I'm speaking of the 5 speed, don't know about the 6 speed though. In the 5 speed it would be nice to have an overdrive ratio 6th gear for cruising on the highways, 70mph ends up around 3k+ in 5th and I'd like it around 2k
thats my only bug with it really
 

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i cant count how many times i stalled it the first couple weeks, but now i got the pedal work down. hey its all under warranty, but when i get a new clutch im definitely getting a stiffer one. and 2nd to 3rd shifting problem is only with auto.....i think.
 

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The reason why it is difficult is because there is "dead space" on the gas pedal, we have a thread about it somewhere (the dealer will not adjust it for you) ... It does take long time to adjust to this car's clutch/shifting/transmission/etc... As someone has said before, "you have to think when shifting"... If you are really worried about the quality of shifting I suggest not going with the Forte..

The Forte is not "smooth and easy"...
 

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i have no idea what was different about today- but damn-
i was stalling out as much as when i first got the car .....7 days ago..
i still love my lil koup....
i think on my next days off, i will be tucking my head under the dash to do some adjustments.....
ah- i just wish my dealer knew what i was talking about-
but then again- he did stall out while i was watching him.....hahahahaahah
 

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The one thing I hate about my forte is the shifting. The gas pedal has no feedback whatsoever, so you can't tell when the dead space ends and you've started opening the throttle. On top of that it is very sensitive when it does begin to engage, and the clutch is extremely light and also has no feedback. For me at least, it's not a matter of getting used to it; I simply can't tell what the car is doing, because it doesn't tell me. I've driven manual cars since I was 15, and I just can't get the rhythm of the Forte. Maybe if I only drove it, but switching between it, my other manual car, and my gf's manual, I just lose it I guess. No other car is any trouble at all. Sorry, it got a little ranty...
 

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I don't see such a problem in my 6 speed. People just need to learn to drive. I've driven a LOT of different cars with quite a few different clutches. The shifts in my forte are very smooth, I can launch while never even bringing the RPM's above 800 until rolling off the clutch, I can shift fine with no shock into any gear. No matter what car one drives they're going to have to learn how to drive it. Sure, I stalled it out a couple of times and the forte is a lot less forgiving. In my old civic I could practically launch it without having to hit the gas pedal if it was cold enough. My 240sx even when it had a nearly burnt clutch had no problems launching. The forte feels very smooth and solid. The only complaint about the transmission is the gearing. Third gear is much too tall in my opinion, or at least until we're actually making power with our cars. Don't believe what others tell you. Learn to drive the car. Just because it's not easy doesn't mean it's worse than the next.

PS: I have no problem heel-toeing this car as with any other car (performance oriented or otherwise). My 240 and integra had GREAT throttle response, and they were easy to power shift. The one thing you have to learn is you can't power shift the forte. You can shift just as fast as any other car, you just have to do it a little easier on the pedals.

PSS: Just learn to drive the car, the transmission isn't the problem, it's the driver.
 

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I don't see such a problem in my 6 speed. People just need to learn to drive. I've driven a LOT of different cars with quite a few different clutches. The shifts in my forte are very smooth, I can launch while never even bringing the RPM's above 800 until rolling off the clutch, I can shift fine with no shock into any gear. No matter what car one drives they're going to have to learn how to drive it. Sure, I stalled it out a couple of times and the forte is a lot less forgiving. In my old civic I could practically launch it without having to hit the gas pedal if it was cold enough. My 240sx even when it had a nearly burnt clutch had no problems launching. The forte feels very smooth and solid. The only complaint about the transmission is the gearing. Third gear is much too tall in my opinion, or at least until we're actually making power with our cars. Don't believe what others tell you. Learn to drive the car. Just because it's not easy doesn't mean it's worse than the next.

PS: I have no problem heel-toeing this car as with any other car (performance oriented or otherwise). My 240 and integra had GREAT throttle response, and they were easy to power shift. The one thing you have to learn is you can't power shift the forte. You can shift just as fast as any other car, you just have to do it a little easier on the pedals.

PSS: Just learn to drive the car, the transmission isn't the problem, it's the driver.
I thought I would bold the negatives you wrote and then bold the last sentence... You say all of that and you still argue that "it's the driver"...

But then again, half of us are arguing for the 5 speed manual, not the 6 speed..

I guess it also depends on the shoes you wear...

Final thoughts for topspin, there are lots and lots of posts on this forum about how difficult it is to drive the manual version of our car. Go on any thread that says transmission and you will see posts of members saying they have "30 plus years" of driving stick and have a hard time driving this car. One of the first professional reviews of the Forte had the guy complaining about the same thing. It does not mean that you can't get used to it, it's just one of the trickier ones out there. Like I said before, If you are worried with the quality of shifting in this vehicle, I suggest that you look somewhere else.
 

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I just traded my Forte EX in for a top of the line Koup 2.0 litre. This new Koup is so different to drive relating to the clutch and gas peddle, it has a really nice feel about it . Take off is so much smoother and I don't have to think about it like I did with the Light feel of the peddles on the Forte EX.
So maybe each car is different or they have changed something on the later cars, even the gear change is smoother I find that going from 1st to 2nd gear smooth now without any grating
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you guys google "Kia Forte clutch" you will have hours of reading regarding this clutch/gas pedal issue. It has really discouraged me from getting this car at the moment. It is a deal breaker.

I just don't buy the comments saying to learn to drive. I've been driving for over 24 years and have even driven professional tennis players using a variety of cars. After driving school, I've never stalled. Yes I'm sure I can get used to it. But since I will be driving this car in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, it seems it will be extra effort than I really want. I really do not want an automatic. I've test driven the Civic and Mazda 3 and found them very smooth with lots of feel. I can imagine myself in rush hour traffic with them without having to stress about slow take-offs.

So although I really like pretty much all aspects of the Forte, I simply cannot accept paying thousands of dollars from a company that cannot resolve such a problem that every reviewer and driver out there has noticed. My options are now to either get the Mazda 3 or Civic or wait to see if Kia solves this issue.
 

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If you guys google "Kia Forte clutch" you will have hours of reading regarding this clutch/gas pedal issue. It has really discouraged me from getting this car at the moment. It is a deal breaker.

I just don't buy the comments saying to learn to drive. I've been driving for over 24 years and have even driven professional tennis players using a variety of cars. After driving school, I've never stalled. Yes I'm sure I can get used to it. But since I will be driving this car in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, it seems it will be extra effort than I really want. I really do not want an automatic. I've test driven the Civic and Mazda 3 and found them very smooth with lots of feel. I can imagine myself in rush hour traffic with them without having to stress about slow take-offs.

So although I really like pretty much all aspects of the Forte, I simply cannot accept paying thousands of dollars from a company that cannot resolve such a problem that every reviewer and driver out there has noticed. My options are now to either get the Mazda 3 or Civic or wait to see if Kia solves this issue.
It's your call. After all, it's important that you're comfortable with whatever you buy. I personally have never had a problem with my Koup SX. I think I've stalled it maybe four or five times in the four months I've owned it.

It really is an issue of becoming adjusted to it. I transitioned to the Forte after driving a modded '04 SRT-4 that had a six puck clutch, so the Forte was massively light by comparison. I still did alright.

It's unfortunate that you're as turned off of the Forte as you are, and while both the Civic and Mazda 3 are good cars, neither one of them have the same charm or driving dynamics that the Forte has. Why don't you spend a bit more time in one and see how you feel? You may find that after an hour or so with the car that you've got the transmission down pat.

Good luck with your search :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
^I appreciate the feedback. I will try another test drive before giving up on it.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by the Civic or Mazda 3 not having the same 'charm or driving dynamics' as the Forte? I really really liked the way the 3 handled and felt. What I don't like about it is not having ECS and traction control. As for the Civic, the ride was also really comfortable and just felt great. I just don't really care for the look of it and the lack of ECS, traction control, ABS, 4-disc brakes (on DX-G) models. So there is still not one car that has exactly what I'm looking for. It's always a compromise though.
 

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hmm topspin seems to have his mind mostly made up about this.
These cars will have you paying better focus to take off's for awhile,
But all cars take a bit of get the feel for it anyway, yes the Forte takes a bit more
get the feel for it then other cars.
Now ask me if i think its worth this little bit more adjusting time
Yes I'd say it was, now 2 months of driving and its working out well and I love how kia has a R lock out on the tranny, I don't know about the other cars your looking at.

Anyway good luck with what you decide to buy
and when you do I hope you enjoy it as much as I have my car
 

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^I appreciate the feedback. I will try another test drive before giving up on it.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by the Civic or Mazda 3 not having the same 'charm or driving dynamics' as the Forte? I really really liked the way the 3 handled and felt. What I don't like about it is not having ECS and traction control. As for the Civic, the ride was also really comfortable and just felt great. I just don't really care for the look of it and the lack of ECS, traction control, ABS, 4-disc brakes (on DX-G) models. So there is still not one car that has exactly what I'm looking for. It's always a compromise though.
There are things about my Kia that I've grown to really appreciate, which most of my friends consider quite odd given that I've owned BMW's, Saab's, Honda's, etc. For example, I really enjoy the fact that I never have to worry about my headlights being on unless the key is in the ignition, regardless of where the switch is.

A friend of mine owns a 2009 Mazda 3, and while it's reliable and great on gas, it lacks both the aggressive curb appeal of the Forte as well as the "fun to drive" factor. My Koup SX, even before I lowered it, was an absolute hoot to mash around town. Turning off the traction control and stability control, the Koup would spin its tires all day long if I asked it to. I certainly can't complain about that.

The dual heated seats is a nice touch, and I actually find the leather to be of good quality and comfortable for long drives. Not too bad for an entry-level sport compact.

Ultimately, as I said in my other post, you need to really like whatever purchase you make. Take the reviews with a grain of salt, however. Drive one for a while and see how it feels. Personally, I have never really felt there was an issue with the transmission in my Koup. The only real complaint I have is that the Koup could really use another 30 horsepower or so. I'm hoping that a turbo kit will eventually be released that will solve that problem for me.

Pardon my tangent, I just miss boost :)
 

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It's been about three years since I last drove a manual transmission until I bought my Forte, but I have had no problems with it.

Of course it is going to take getting used to. IMO, every car shifts differently.
 

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topspin seems a lil google biased.

You can google xxx brand xxx make xxx car part and find a post somewhere about issues about something with it.

It comes down to preference really, and i have a sedan EX and had a lil trouble adjusting at first and stalled a few times, every long now n then i stall, and its all in the throttle, easy fix, just havent gotten to the pedal mod. Its just that easy. 25 years exp and i havent stalled a car since my moms old 1985 escort.

The Forte's clutch is just sensitive, but the car overall is what put it ahead of the 3 for me. I do stop n go traffic 5 days a week, i never have a problem with the forte. Like any car, once you get use to it, you dont think too much about it.
 
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