[quote:38a76995f2="TomB"][quote:38a76995f2="element-j"]I've driven my 5-spd E about 4000 miles now and am still not used to the gearing. Seems to me that the tires break free way too easily in 1st (especially if you are accelerating while turning) and 5th requires way too many rpms to maintain highway speed (resulting in poor gas mileage, unless you compare it to a Lincoln Navigator).
My own personal theory (based on zero factual information) is that Honda was willing to sacrifice good drivability in favor of "pep" thinking (wrongly) that their inexperienced target audience for the E would prefer it that way.[/quote:38a76995f2]
This was precisely my observation (and why I asked in another post about ways to get taller effective gearing, like putting on taller tires or bigger wheels). I really like all of the major points about the E -- I wouldn't have bought it otherwise -- but this is gripe #1 for me by a wide margin.
I think Honda went for the youth appeal (snappier off-the-line pickup) with the short gearing in the manual. It is CRAZY that top gear in the 5-sp stick is shorter than top gear in the 4-sp slushbox. That is just wrong. I would pay good money for a taller final drive gear.
I find myself driving it like a 4-speed. I only keep it in first gear for a few seconds to get rolling, then the other gears are like a normal "four on the floor". Looking at it that way, it doesn't seem as odd that it is so wound out on the highway. Hey, at least it's a step up from my buddy's CJ-5 in high school. He had a 3-speed stick.
I'm still kicking around this idea of the bigger wheels/tires. I think there's probably room in there for maybe 2" or so extra diameter, which would drop RPM from 3500 to about 3250. Too bad the E doesn't have a 6-sp manual. A highway cruising gear to turn over 3000 at 70 mph would probably add 2+ MPG I would bet. I'd be happy to downshift for the occasional big hill.[/quote:38a76995f2]
Have the automatic, but felt it could be that Honda thought the 5-speed would be the pick of the 'off-road crowd'. For those dirt roads that lead to the hiking and/or mountain biking trail-head, etc., where a bit lower gearing would definitely be an advantage. Less expensive too for those with tight budgets!
It would have been nice to know before plunkin' down the cash and driving into the sunset though. Do a lot of hiking and biking myself (even at 50) and maybe the manual would have been better for me in this case. The bigger tires sound like a reasonable solution for you. Maybe I should get smaller, wider ones.
But then I'd lose the 'minimal' ground clearance...Hmmm...maybe a hydraulic lift kit too!