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I was curious how the manual mode shifter works on the CVT, I have family members who like to drive a manual transmission. How does the " 6-speed manual-mode shifter" work? do you have to put your foot on the brake to "advance" a speed while squeezing the shifter to "change gears"?
 

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Just pull/buttons on the steering wheel

For manual mode on the CVT, you move the transmission select lever to a special position (when the car is not moving, I believe). You then pull plastic slab-like buttons on the wheel to go up and down and the computer then makes the car go to pre-set shift levels. Some users swear by the manual shifting; others, like me, don't want to be bothered. However, the shifting does get the car going faster (supplanting the so-called CVT lag, which doesn't bother me at all). Suzuki also offers a slick manual transmission, should shifting be the driving style you prefer.

I see you have asked a number of questions. The best thing to do in relation to these questions is to visit a dealer and ask to test drive a few vehicles.
 

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You can either use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to shift manually (down left, up right) on a temporary basis i.e. it will go back into auto mode after a little while.
Alternatively you can move the shift lever to the right while in the drive position (no need to stop, manual mode can be engaged at any speed) and then move it forward to change down, backwards to change up. The only problem is that Suzuki have programmed in absolutely terrible shift ratios. 1-4 are really close together then a big jump to 5th and a huge jump to 6th
 

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personality change

I've noticed when I slap my shift lever left into the 'manual' mode (forward for down-shifts, back for up-shifts), the car's personality becomes distinctly more aggressive.
I believe-but-cannot-prove selecting the 'manual' mode affects the AWD system and throttle mapping, allowing more performance potential.

"Tiger".......
 
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