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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, let's make this my official "hello" thread.

I'm Jonathan, from NJ. A week or two ago I followed my dreams and traded the '08 xB for a 2012 with a manual transmission. Yup, I'm a brand new stick shift driver.

A little back story:

Would you believe I chose the Scion xB over a Prius? It's true, and counting last week, it's happened twice.

For years I was the farthest thing from a car guy, but finally, just after college, it came time to buy my first car. It was 2008, during the heat of the second gas spike. And there was only one thing in my mind: Prius, and nothing else, right? Why even bother?

But two things stood in my way. The first was price. The Prius, in any common trim level, was a $25,000 car, $23,000 at very best. And the way things were back then, the showrooms didn't even have one onsite for us to sit in, let alone test drive.

The second problem was headroom. See, I'm not tall, but I've been told that I have a long torso, and that's why I seem to never fit inside any car. That and I like to sit up straight. That made it even harder to put a thousand dollar deposit down to order a Prius sight-unseen.

So with the Priuses on three-week back order and a bunch of these hulking, capacious, comfortable xB's sitting there on the lot, absurdly priced equal to the little Corollas, how could I resist?

A few years later, I actually started putting a lot of thought (and test drives) into the replacement car. Mazda3 hatch? Honda Fit? VW Golf? Kia Soul? 2010 Prius? Even Prius C or V? They all drove well and sipped fuel, but none could match the headroom and cargo space. Then came the news that the xB is getting discontinued, and I pulled the trigger.

So that's the story. I'm a minor gearhead in hindsight, not really a tuner, although I did put the performance filter on the old xB and will get it on the new one.

So two questions to the community:
What might be some good mods for me? I'm thinking Avic Z130bt + backup camera, then Catskins leather eventually, but what do you think? Does footwell lighting take up too a lot of space?

And, any tips for getting smooth upshifts on the highway? I seem to be alright around town, but I'm still a bit jerky at speed. Go figure. What is best for clutch life?
 

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were you satisfied with the ride comfort of your '08 with stock suspension?
 

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Congrats on your new B. On clutch life,I've been driving a manual for most of my driving life(50 yrs.)and have a few suggestions. Don't overheat it(slipping),don't over rev it (overlong periods at high RPMs.),or "super quick" forced shifts. As far as the highway,get up to speed and shift to 5th gear. Before shifting,just ease off the throttle a bit,then shift,then more gas and that gives a smooth transition. If you look at the tach going thru the gears,it's ~500 RPM between them, so when down shifting, add some gas before letting out the clutch to give a seamless shift. Have fun w/ your new car.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

erozcs, yes I was pretty much satisfied with the stock ride quality. I did find it "bumpy," but I think it was as much about the high center of gravity magnifying the sensation of body lean. Anyway, I found the Honda Fit was only microscopically better in ride comfort and the Kia Soul not better at all. The smaller cars all fared better in terms of body roll due to their lighter weight. But go figure, the VW Golf is only 80 pounds lighter than the xB, and gets only 1MPG better according to Consumer Reports. (That's the base 2.5L Golf.)

It's 20/20 hindsight now, but considering the decent handling and intangible "eagerness" of the car, I really believe the xB2 could have been a sales hit if Toyota had offered 6speed transmissions and a better interior.

Dale, thank you for the advice. So am I to understand that these lightning-quick, rev-matched racing shifts I see on YouTube are too fast for comfort? Instead I should rev-match but let out the clutch slowly?

When shifting at speed, do I have to "even out" between the clutch and gas after every shift, or should I leave the gas completely off until the clutch is fully released in the new gear?
 

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The stuff you see on performance and speed videos are extreme and attention getting.They hard not only clutches but tranny's. What I'm saying is that you should operate your car in a normal way. Just remember, if you break it you've got to fix it and pay for it. If treeted right, your clutch should last you well over 100K.
 

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i love driving a manual. i bought a 99 explorer with 79k on it for my first car and "learned" how to drive a stick on it. after i replaced the clutch, i went out and LEARNED how to do it right. its fun, and it feels like i have more control over the car and im paying more attention to whats going on. with an automatic, you kinda put it in gear and zone out
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The stuff you see on performance and speed videos are extreme and attention getting.They hard not only clutches but tranny's.
Yes, that's always been my sentiment, even with the automatic.

But I'm really talking about quick shifting, not clutch slipped launches. Is quick shifting okay?
i love driving a manual. i bought a 99 explorer with 79k on it for my first car and "learned" how to drive a stick on it. after i replaced the clutch, i went out and LEARNED how to do it right.
See, that's what scares me. What should I do to preserve the life of the clutch, other than the conventional wisdom of just being nice and gradual with everything? I just don't have it figured out yet, somehow, letting up on the clutch at speed, that sort of thing.
 

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Yes, that's always been my sentiment, even with the automatic.

But I'm really talking about quick shifting, not clutch slipped launches. Is quick shifting okay?
See, that's what scares me. What should I do to preserve the life of the clutch, other than the conventional wisdom of just being nice and gradual with everything? I just don't have it figured out yet, somehow, letting up on the clutch at speed, that sort of thing.
The speed shifting is hard on the syncronizers,aand the clutch. You don't want to know how much rebuilding a tranny cost.
 
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