Manual transmissions – whether three-speed or 16-speed units, rear- or front-wheel-drive – all work the same way. To be usable, the engine’s torque must be broken down into manageable steps or speeds. The result is a set of gear ratios allowing the vehicle to go from a dead stop to road speeds fuel-efficiently. The first-gear ratio will be high enough numerically to move the vehicle’s weight from stop to go. The next sets of gears will have descending numerical ratios to increase vehicle speeds smoothly while increasing fuel efficiency.