When To Shift

There is an art to driving a manual gearbox. However, before you master the art, you must know the science.

The first lesson is to know when to shift from one gear to the next. When starting off, make sure you at the lowest gear possible – first gear, of course. Once you get up to speed, you can go through the gears all the way to a solid one that matches both vehicle and engine speed. Sometimes, fourth is good for city driving. You could shift all the way to fifth if the speeds are a bit higher.

Downshifting has the same principle. The object in downshifting is to slow down the engine – and the car. Braking to zero would require the gearbox to go back to first when the car is at a light or completely stopped.

Just one other thing, though. Never start out at a higher gear, unless you are in a situation where traction is low – in the snow, for example. There you would even start the car in second, but preferably shift back to first if traction is acceptable.

This science is really quite simple. This is why Volkswagen offers a manual transmission as standard in six models: The Golf, GTI, Jetta, Passat, Beetle and CC. Simply because you have all the control in the world – right in your hands.