Originally Posted by RonMaiden
At 80mph my Focus 5 speed is spinning at 3400rpm which really isn't that high strung (my Type R was high strung and over 4000rpm at the same speed but with a 9100rpm limit I didn't care) and the wear rate on any engine is very minimal at best at higher rpm and not really an issue.
If its at 3400 rpm that's again nearly 400+ rpm more than it would be if it had a 6th gear.
Is it strictly necessary to have the 6th gear? No, the fifth gear will still top out at a higher top speed than the car is capable of reaching due to the speed limiter/ governor.
I don't want to say no one should buy the 5MT, in fact I very nearly did except for the fact that I couldn't get what I wanted with the manual at the time.
If Ford was commited to "one Ford" we shouldn't have to choose between equipment or transmission choices. My exact same car would have been available in Canada with the 5MT, but even though they were all built on the same assembly line they would not allow you to custom order it with a manual.
Even if I wanted to I couldn't get it as an SE instead with the sport package as they had restricted the interior trim options against it, even though the Escape is the exact opposite, you can't get this color with the light interior instead of the dark one in the Escape. You can even get it in a Titanium which you could not with the Focus for the same reasons.
For the type of driving I had been doing the extra gear on the freeway would be great.
80 MPH with the taller gear is just under 3000 rpm (2953 rpm) with the taller 6th gear and marginally shorter final drive.
The clutch of the five speed felt really good, much the same as my old car, but the shifter was a touch vague, and not quite as smooth as the MMT6 in the ST.
I was more concerned with the ambient noise at higher speeds, as well as the fuel efficiency gains to offset the weight gain over the older car. At speed on the freeway the inertia helps, but around town the car will suffer more off of the line.
I like driving a manual, but you can thank/ curse Ford for not offering more choices.