Cruise Control the reason for short MT gearing?
It seems many small engined cars (Fit, Yaris) are plagued by short gearing on manual transmission models, while the larger-engined, heavier models such as the Civic and Corolla get several MPG better on the highway and have lower gearing.
I'm just figuring if you have the cruise set on the highway, a longer-geared Yaris or Fit would just grind to a halt without a downshift on some of the hillier roads (especially here in PA) while the civic or corolla will just open the throttle and make use of the increased torque (manual) or downshift (auto).
I'm guessing most Americans would rather just "set it and forget it" and get whatever FE they get compared to getting much better FE and having to disengage cruise to downshift for larger hills. It is unfortunate, but that is my theory... Just a thought.