By on November 26, 2014

2016 Acura ILX

As part of Acura’s plans to “rationalize” (as the b-school buzzword goes) the ILX’s powertrains, the 6-speed stick shift is dead, replaced by an all-new 8-speed dual clutch gearbox. It also marks the end of an era for the brand.

Acura has slowly killed off the manual in successive product lines. The now-dead TL and TSX were notable for offering manual gearboxes that represented the best of what Honda had to offer: crisp-shifting stick shifts that were the benchmark for modern day manuals. They were easily as good as any Miata gearbox, and it’s still hard to believe that such amazing manual transmissions were created for a front-drive transverse application. In my mind, they’ve never been equaled.

I wish I could say it was a surprising development, but this is how things are shaking out. Lexus is devoid of manuals, and the only Infiniti with three-pedals is the Q60 Coupe – a model set to be replaced next year. There’s a very good chance it will return sans a stick shift. If you want one of Honda’s world famous manuals, you still have some options: the Fit, Civic and Accord can be had that way. There will even be an HR-V that lets you row your own. But we’re all acutely aware that it’s not the same thing.

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132 Comments on “Editorial: The Last Of The Manual Acuras...”


  • avatar
    akatsuki

    So Acura is going to distinguish themselves with AWD which everyone has, and not offering manuals which have a hardcore contingent that isn’t being served?

    Could Acura be any more mismanaged than it is right now? If I was the US CEO, I would have a guy sitting on the dock with a lot of floss and Integra/Vigor/Legend badges at the least. The real problem is that Honda doesn’t even have compelling platforms to work with either.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Is anyone *buying those manuals*?

      Honda sure thinks they’re not.

      As always, to comments here, “are you going to actually spend your own money on one?”

      If the answer is no, well, *that’s why it’s going away*.

      That’s why Saab is bankrupt, and that’s why nobody’s selling manuals.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        BMW and Audi still offer manuals. If Acura is playing the long game in sedans, then those are the brands to follow.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          The long game in this case is the gradual disappearance of the manual transmission, simply because fewer and fewer people will buy one.

          These days, automatics get better gas mileage than manuals, which removes a factor that used to induce people to buy stick-shifts.

          I personally prefer to drive a stick, but the market overwhelmingly doesn’t. This means it’s game over for the manual transmission.

          BMW and Audi may offer it on smaller models today, but I wouldn’t count on this being the case 10 years from now.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            As noted below, the need for a manual transmission for a brand like this has nothing to do with the low take rate or the dim long-term future of the stick shift.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            There is no “need’ for a manual for this brand, and precious little for any other brand.

            The long term trend is very clear. Manuals accounted for almost 30% of US new car sales as recently as 1987, went below 10% around 200, and are now below 4%. It costs car companies money to make, stock, repair and maintain parts inventories for additional vehicle configurations, so they have every incentive to kill configurations for which there is insufficient demand.

            When I was young, you could justify a stick shift on the basis that it delivered better performance and fuel economy. Today, modern automatics deliver better performance and fuel economy than manuals – a gap that is only going to grow.

            Because of this, the exotics have abandoned manuals in favour of automatics. So, there is no longer a “halo” effect around a stick shift.

            As if that weren’t enough, driver education programs haven’t taught how to drive a manual car for some years now, so the car-buying population is increasingly incapable of driving a car with a stick shift.

            My first car had a manual choke, which (it seemed to me at the time)had some advantages over an automatic choke. Even then, it was a rarity, though.

            The writing is on the dashboard. In North America, the manual transmission is destined to go the way of the manual choke

            It will take longer in other markets, but the overall trend to automatics is happening in every developed country.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Again, the take rate and future of the manual have absolutely no bearing on why Acura should offer one if the goal is to compete with the Germans.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            On the contrary, it has every bearing. No company wants to spend money designing and building a product that no one will buy.

            Acura will have defined the customer demographic they are targeting this vehicle at, and have obviously concluded that this target market won’t buy manual transmissions in sufficient numbers to justify offering them.

            The Germans? A quick look at the Audi USA website indicates that only 4 models (S4, A5, S5 and R8) come with a stick shift as standard equipment. Even the TT and TTS come with automatics.

            Similarly, the A3 – the closest Audi product to the ILX – is only offered with an automatic transmission.

            At BMW, the 2 series comes with automatic as standard, a manual transmission is available only as a no-cost option.

            So, the Germans are moving away from stick shifts, as well.

            All of which demonstrates that Acura needn’t offer a manual t/m in order to compete with the Germans.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ve explained why your points are irrelevant.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            LOL, you haven’t explained anything. Just made a particularly lame attempt to avoid admitting you were wrong.

            I accept that you have this juvenile obsession about never acknowledging a mistake, but your attempts at obfuscation are usually much more creative than this.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The only mistake that I’ve made is having any expectation that you might be able to comprehend anything.

            The low take rate is completely irrelevant, as is whatever the future may hold for the manual transmission. Nobody is debating that the take rate is low — I raised that very same point on my first comment, before I explained why that didn’t matter if the goal is to compete against the Germans.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            “BMW and Audi still offer manuals. If Acura is playing the long game in sedans, then those are the brands to follow.”

            Wrong. Audi doesn’t offer a manual in this category (or almost any other category), and BMW only offers it on the 2-series as a special-order option.

            If Acura is to follow those brands, it need not offer a manual transmission in the ILX. Which is exactly what it is doing.

            FWIW, the CLA also comes only with an automatic

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Last I checked, BMW and Audi still sell sedans with manual transmissions in the US market, which was the point that I had made above. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t changed since I posted that particular comment.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            The information I posted was gleaned from the Audi USA and BMW USA websites earlier today.

            I was actually surprised at how few Audi models seem to be available with a stick shift.

            It was a quick look, so I may have missed something. I tried to “build” models that I thought would come with a manual, either as standard or on the options list.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        (Snicker) Wait, Saab went bankrupt because of manual transmissions? I thought it was because they were selling rebadged Saturns and Malibus as prestige import cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Madroc

        *Raises hand*

        My last car was a first-gen TSX 6MT. Bought it used, but CPO, so an Acura dealer got to wet its beak and I did my part to prop up residuals and hold down lease payments.

        Everything you’ve heard about that transmission is true, it is straight-up brilliant and pairs with the K24 engine like peanut butter pairs with jelly.

        I did not replace it with another Acura but that’s because the current lineup didn’t much appeal to me. Maybe that’s the real reason — the people who want to buy a manual no longer want to buy an Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          Beachbunny

          We have a winner! People who want sticks don’t want the current Accuras. I 100% agree.

          I’m not sure about other people’s drives, but mine has gone from being enjoyable to drudgery. The constant stop & go of traffic backed up due to mouthbreathers means a stick is a royal pain to drive. I prefer a manual transmission in just about every other way, but stop & go traffic, especially up a bridge, isn’t fun.

      • 0 avatar

        If I were in the market for one of those TLXes, I would not buy a manual. It’s not a Mustang.

        I would be first to admit that the 6sp auto in my Lexus IS leaves some to be desired – the commanded downshifts are somewhat hesitant, which ruins the whole point of having paddles to begin with. But it’s not a deciding factor.

  • avatar

    Some guy looking at a spreadsheet. We offer a manual, we have to certify it at EPA $$$$!!! …we have to stock parts. We have to train folks.

    How many do we sell ?

    Maybe 2% and the dealers bitch at us all the time for either too many or too few….usually too many and they can’t move it off the floor with a manual.

    Pull the manual option.

    Acura is Honda done to death by marketing guys. I think the engineers are locked in a box somewhere. They should be a Japanese Audi, but are becoming a Malaise Oldsmobile. Having said that, the manual is missing from the A3…..too.

    2/3 of the motor pool has manuals here….

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Service is also an issue these days. When I pull my manual trans Buick into a GM service drive through, and tell them I can hear a release bearing noise, they seem confused that I didn’t buy a Sierra.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        Hey Dave, what came of that noise? Friend had the same thing in a Cruze and they replaced the tranny at 60k.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          The noise is still there. I have already had the trans replaced, and it helped not a bit. But they fully admitted they used all the other hardware and just swapped the box, and I am thinking its the clutch, not the trans itself.

          I am currently still trying to get this fixed to my satisfaction. Two different local dealers later, still no luck.

          Which is a crying shame, because otherwise, its a great small, wanna be premium car that suits my needs perfectly.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatic

            Different cars but My Lincoln LS has a slight grinding sound that sounds to me like an input shaft bearing. First noticeable at around 40,000 miles has gotten no worse at 175,000 miles. My Ranger has an release bearing noise that showed up at 12,000 miles. There a TSB that suggests having the release bearing changed to eliminate the noise but rather than have the dealer service it I’ve been ignoring it. It seems to have quieted down now that I have 35,000 miles (or I’m no longer listening for it.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            The damn noise in my car started at 200 kilometers on the odometer, or 3 days after delivery.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        That is too bad as I eally like my 6.MT Verano 2.0T just vague as a stick in mud until you get used to it..

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      “They should be a Japanese Audi, but are becoming a Malaise Oldsmobile.”

      THIS!!! I keep saying this to people and they just look at me funny. Think about it. Both offer AWD cars based off FWD platforms. Both offer cars that are uprated versions of either Honda or VW. Audi just pulled their shit together and started making exciting, well designed,and the big one, WELL MARKETED, cars. Acura has decent cars but their design sucks, and their marketing is similar to a warm turd going down an ice luge. Terrible. They used to be great, and they have the potential to be amazing.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Acura is trying to slip into the niche Volvo and Saab had, back when Volvo and Saab still had a niche. And there’s precious little Acura can do about it, as the orders are coming from Japan; where apetite for taking on development of high-cost-structure products, targeted at buyers with ever increasing willingness and capacity to take on debt, is pretty close to zero.

        With the Yen on a rhumb line to dropping 50% in value versus the Euro, and the rest of Asia having little choice but to follow the Japs down, the German brands may well get a bit of a cold wakeup shower pretty as well.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        Only the A3 and TT are transverse engine like the VW. The AWD uses haldex.

        A4-A8 are longitudinal layout with optional Quattro which is a mechanical torsen AWD.

        Drives quite a bit different.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nah they are just working on Honda product, I doubt there even are “Acura” engineers in practice.

      • 0 avatar
        lzaffuto

        Honestly, it really looks like the opposite to me when you think about what happened to the company. While “Americanizing” Honda products like the Accord and Civic has increased sales, Acura was an all-time critical and sales success and most fondly remembered when it was selling rebadged JDM Hondas with no American division design, styling, input… Nothing American at all but the badge and marketing really. Indeed, “Americanizing” Acura seemed to be the downfall of the company.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Izaffuto

          I agree with your point, but the reason why those acuras were well regarded was because a Honda presented a totally different driving experience from what you’d find at a big three dealership. Now that everyone is very well acquainted with their product and the overallmarket has matured the average acura buyer is not experiencing something different from any previous purchase. You can’t drive a well equipped Honda and think any acura is worth it… And who hasn’t?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Sticks don’t sell well, but they do appeal to enthusiasts who can act as brand evangelists and provide word of mouth that can help to sell cars to the rest of the market.

    If Acura wants its sedans to compete with the Germans, then this is a mistake. If it wants to focus on crossovers, then it won’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I agree– I don’t think there is more to the business case for a manual than it’s take rate. When I had a 6-speed TL, my brand evangelism definiltey caused at least 2 friends to buy TLs as well, albeit with automatics.

      A TLX with the V6 and stick would have been compelling to at least a few people, despite the rapidly eroding relevance of Acura.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I don’t so much agree with the outrage. Although I have not had the opportunity to drive an Acura with the new 8-speed dual clutch transmission, I do have to admit that the writing was on the wall for the conventional manual long ago. All the advantages we manual transmission drivers used to talk about have gone away. These DCTs have more gears, can shift way faster, and give you better fuel economy. The only thing left is that people like to drive one more. This is not a big enough market. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ND Miata was the last one with a conventional manual. I bet the next one will have a DCT only. Nobody builds a car with a Model T interface anymore. Progress has to happen. For the few guys that want the feeling, their will be plenty of classic cars on sale.

        All that said, Acura has some ADD with this car. They never offered the big engine/manual transmission option with the premium package. Also, it has not been on sale long enough for many people to even be able to buy. I was really considering the ILX 2.4 manual, but it was released after I started my lease, and they changed it completely before I could even think about it as an option.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          >> All that said, Acura has some ADD with this car.

          That made me smile. ADD = Acura Deficit Disorder?

          It’s a balance. Honda had to respond quickly to the 2012 Civic’s shortcomings and did a great job, but perhaps they changed the ILX too quickly?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Like the Legend, a TLX with an MT would present the opportunity to appeal to those who would otherwise be German car enthusiasts, who would then sing the brand’s praises and help to sell some other cars to the regular folks.

        But as noted in this thread, there are some who simply can’t fathom the value of building niches or brand loyalty in those instances in which it does not deliver short-term profit. Some initiatives can’t be expected to produce immediate results.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Agree to a point. There is a contingent of evangelist enthusiasts who will act as brand ambassadors and many will even pay a premium to have a manual transmission. However, can the Acura brand capture these customers? They’ll need more than just a stick-shift transmission if they want to. It seems they aren’t gunning directly for the enthusiast German buyer who will be hard and expensive to sway à la Cadillac. They seem content going for the volume Buick/Volvo/FWD Lexus and entry level German marque buyer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I agree that Acura is more like Lincoln (a reskinned trim level that with limited market potential but low marginal costs) than like BMW. I don’t think that this is what Honda wants, but Acura has been mismanaged to such a degree that it’s apparent that HMC doesn’t really “get” the luxury market.

        If I was managing the brand, then I would focus on crossovers and not worry much about the German sedan market. If that was the case, then there would be no need for the manual at all.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I have always sort of liked Acura… at least after the Integra. The 2003 era TL and its ilk for example. I thought they were good looking, and a big Honda V6 is never a bad thing. Then they slapped the beak on it and ruined things. But I would say the ILX and TLX are compelling, though not enough to sway me into an Acura!

          I’d buy a 3.7L SH-AWD 6MT TLX as my next car, if such a thing existed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The beak really doesn’t help. It’s odd that the aftermarket has better design ideas than the company that builds the car.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            You could always buy a used 3.7L SH-AWD 6MT TL, if you can tolerate the styling.

            That model really did wonders for the TL’s sales.
            /sarcasm

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Man, the 04-08 TL was one of the best looking cars of its time, and then the 09… kinda makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Amazing how bad things can go in one generation.

            The reason I mention the mythical 3.7 AWD TLX is because, the TLX and ILX (imo) are good looking again.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            I’d like to see a TLX Type-S with a mythical turbocharged J35, SH-AWD, sport suspension, exposed exhaust and available (not required) 6MT for $50k. Couple that with an ILX Type-S using the Civic Type-R’s 2.0T and an available 6MT and Acura would have a solid line-up on the low to mid-end. Unfortunately, an Acura version of the HR-V is about 1000 times more likely than either of the two vehicles mentioned above. Based on the marketing for the TLX, Acura wants to convince consumers that it produces high-performance cars without making the R&D investment to actually produce high-performance cars.

    • 0 avatar

      If they were to follow that logic, they should offer a stick in ILX. The TLX, however, is not an enthusiast car. And yes, I know that some people buy Fusions with manuals. But then some people live in Detroit, too.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I think it’s a mistake. This coming from a guy that drives a 911 Carrera manual. But I also consider myself a realist.

    The ILX is not a sports car and not an enthusiast car (in my opinion). I can’t imagine manuals were high volume for this car and it doesn’t surprise me that they are no longer offered. I’m a little surprised they were offered at all. A DCT is a great option although I’ve heard very little on Acura/Honda’s DCT.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I could just say this is a mistake, coming from a guy that drives a 911 Carrera manual, but I’m a realist. This is no sports car nor is it an enthusiast’s car (in my opinion). I can’t imagine many ILX manuals were sold. The decision makes sense and let’s face it, Acura does not seem interested in the enthusiast market at all, and the Acura line is noticably void of any sporty cars. The DCT is a good option, although of course there are good DCTs and bad DCTs just like any transmission. I know nothing about the Honda/Acura version.

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      I think you’re forgetting about the future NSX hybrid. Combine this with Honda’s re-entry into Formula1, and I think they’re still in the enthuser biz.

      • 0 avatar
        MK

        No, I think he’s right. I’m not a sports car zealot but the only Acuras that had any appeal to me were the NSX and the old 2004-2009 TL. I came very close to buying an 04 and even seeing them on the road today I still can’t believe how beautifully proportioned that old TL was and contrast with how dumpy lookingtheir new model line is.

        As a real fan of Honda (if not a recent purchaser) it’s just sad to see them lose their way.

        Unfortunately there are a lot more compelling choices out there now.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Marketing says “yes we make fun go fast things!”
        People buy slow, over sized SUV things.

        There is clearly a disconnect here.

        And at Acura it started when they killed the Integra/RSX sporty hatch back line. Then just like Honda the rest has been a slow slide D O W N. Nothing they make interests me these days. I was once the proud owner of two Civics and a Prelude.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Had a 2006 RSX Type S. Agree with everything you’re saying. Their car line is bland and boring. I skip right over their auto show exhibit and go to one more interesting – like Hyundai, Ford or VW. I suppose dropping a manual from that dull lineup means little.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        Formula One cars have not had a manual transmission for, what, at least 10 years now. (and I’m thinking closer to 20 years)

        As for the NSX… Thor will become a girl before that car shows up.

        Ummm…

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Hybrid and manual have a very complicated relationship…..

        Acura refocusing to compete with Tesla, rather than BMW anno 1985, may have something to do with this decision.

        There is also the notion that manuals make most sense in cars that are sporty, rather than fast. Acura is supposed to be more luxurious and grown up, with Honda serving the sporty, youthful market. At the moment, everything is upside down, since mainly geezers even remember that manual means something else than a downloadable pdf about how to use the latest smartphone.

        But manuals’ natural place is still in lighter, less powerful cars with less isolation from the driving environment. Which is still the Honda side.

  • avatar
    Andy

    Not every enthusiast can afford a “real sports car”.

    The ILX manual didn’t sell because the rest of the car was dorky.

    Looks like I’ll be keeping my Accord Sport 6MT for the long haul.

  • avatar
    jkk6

    Does US EPA/Crash testings differentiate between Manual/Auto vehicles as completely separate models? Additional 10% of sales volume of manual models I’m sure helps the bottom line of sales.

    In countries such as Korea the only officially imported manual stick shift warranty-able cars are a select Porsche’s and Lotus’s. They go through the same crash/EPA testing as their automatic counter part, forcing manufacturers to pay double the certification/license fee in order to offer manual transmissions. But then again you get a ticket for driving a manual transmission with a auto only type 1 driver’s license. Type 2 manual driver’s are allowed to drive automatic cars. Happy T-Giving everyone.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is that EPA requires a certification for each engine and body style. So, the BMW 3 line has manuals for all cars…but the wagon has one engine (the smaller one) and two transmissions. They don’t bring in the bigger engine for the wagon at all. Having to certify every permutation and possibility means anything that won’t sell a lot won’t happen-so wagons are a niche, and manual wagons a bigger niche, and the guy who will buy a 335i wagon such a small niche we don’t bother..let alone the guy who will buy a manual wagon (brown, manual, diesel…oops wrong thread). At some point the spreadsheet jockey realizes that you can’t sell enough manuals to justify the cost for certification alone.

      Also, being able to control the transmission means you have an easier time making emissions regulations-My MDX has an engine computer and a trans computer…..

      • 0 avatar

        I believe the 3-Series wagon is also available with the turbodiesel…albeit not with the manual transmission (leaving the Jetta SportWagen TDI as the only manual diesel wagon).. The sedan may not be available with a diesel/manual combo, either.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “the Fit, Civic and Accord can be had that way. There will even be an HR-V that lets you row your own. But we’re all acutely aware that it’s not the same thing.”

    That depends. When they still made the Integra/RSX, I’d agree: that was a very nice car that was luxurious enough to command a premium, but sporty enough to benefit from a manual-transmission.

    The RSX definitely was not the same as a Civic, nor was the Vigor the same as an Accord. Related, but you were definitely getting a nicer grade of car.

    Currently, Acura sells nothing but crossovers and execu-sleds. There’s nothing really for an enthusiast, in the same way there isn’t from Mercedes (if you want a successful example) or Lincoln (for an unsuccessful one), who are also dropping stick-shifts across the board.

    A better question might be why Honda wants to turn Acura into the Japanese version of Lincoln is a little beyond me. The Lincoln path is not exactly strewn with successes.

    If Acura were to offer a compact sports sedan or coupe for an enthusiast on a budget who also wants something nicer than a Civic Si, you might see it return. But that depends on Honda changing direction on Acura, instead of doubling-down.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    F*ck any automaker that doesn’t offer a true manual transmission (with hydraulic clutch).

    This goes double for those vehicles purporting or holding themselves out to be “sporty,” “premium sports coupes/sedans,” or “enthusiast” vehicles.

    Go f*ck yourself, Acura, as you’ve been dead for such a long time now that this move really just hammers the final nail in your coffin.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      +1
      Anything beyond a luxobarge that isn’t available with three pedals is a travesty.
      Not that it really matters for Acura, as their product line has lacked appeal altogether.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      So angry. Would your ire not be better directed at those customers (such as myself, if I’m honest) who eschewed the manual when available?

      The whole “I’m going to get irrationally angry at car makers for not making what I’m not going to buy anyways” thing is tired and trite.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        #sitsdown #grabspopcorn

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …we bought a new car with a stick-and-clutch last year, and again three years before that, and again three years before that, and again three years before that, and again three years before that, and again three years before that, and again seven years before that, and again seven years before that: not once did we consider a model without a standard transmission, and not once did we bother with dealers which don’t stock them…

        …f*ck ’em…

      • 0 avatar
        mik101

        @S2k Chris
        Your post makes me sad. You have a car that didn’t offer a manual in your name, yet you offer yourself up as someone too lazy to drive a manual in the same post.

        I can’t believe I’m agreeing with DeadWeight. Excuse me, I need to go take a hot shower.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Too lazy? I drove my S2000 year round in Chicagoland, all weather, on a 70 mile round trip commute for four years. I’ve got nothing to prove to you. A stick shift adds nothing to that sort of commuting experience, so when I bought a DD I didn’t spec one. Bleat all you want. Like I said, I have my stick for when it adds something to the drive. When I’m commuting on boring roads in traffic I don’t see any advantage to one.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Hydraulic clutch? Ooh la la. Such extravagance.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      DW, you are being driven inexorably in the direction of…

      Volkswagen.

      Golf, Golf Sportwagen FWD and AWD, GTI, Golf R, Jetta, Jetta GLI…all available in either manual or automatic, with ANY engine they offer…for the foreseeable future…

      Resistance is futile…hahahaha…

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Hydraulic clutch!? F*ck that! Gimme a cable. Better yet, linkage! Stupid carmakers…

  • avatar
    Preludacris

    Canadian Acura dealers, who have been selling this car with the manual in decent numbers ever since it was the 1.6 EL, are going to miss it. Consumers probably won’t – they’ll just get a Civic Si instead.

    Resale values will tell the story – these last manual ILXs should fetch great prices on Craigslist, just like how manual TLs sell at a premium (though that is a more handsome car) and manual CRVs have a sturdy price floor at $5k, right up to and beyond 200k kms.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Maybe they’ll just rebadge whatever the equivalent to the Honda Domani is now? After all, it worked really well before.

      Personally, I though the European Civic hatchback would make a reasonable RSX, if it were dressed up a notch and offered with a competitive powertrain.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      “these last manual ILXs should fetch great prices on Craigslist”

      Heck, have you seen the asking prices for CSX Type S’s (K20Z3) relative to the Civic Si of the same year?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Acura only needs one manual product, but it needs one manual product. I wasn’t surprised when the manual came out of the TLX, but I was very surprised when it was dropped from the ILX a few months later. The Honda 6-speed manual is the best transverse manual transmission in existence, full stop, and just as good as the best longitudinal ones. It’s a way to sell to influencers which a FWD- and value-driven premium brand just wouldn’t otherwise have.

    I hope that, consistent with past practice, a manual variant is quietly added to one of these cars later in the model run. It could be either an ILX, a TLX 2.4, or a TLX V6 SH-AWD. I’d be reasonably likely to buy the last one if they made it, although I’d have to make up my mind once and for all whether I want Honda precision or a galumphing roaring LS3 (Chevy SS).

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Why does it need “one manual product”?

      I mean, sure, if you’ll buy “an Acura, so long as it’s manual”, that’s a thing – but doesn’t the rest of the market care which one it is?

      And if so, which one should it be, and are *any* of them compelling enough to be worthwhile?

      (I honestly can’t even guess, having no brand-love for Acura at all. No hatred either, just complete ambivalence.)

      Is there any marketing data or evidence for the theory that manual-tranmission cars are significant to “influencing”?

      (My data point: The nearest “influence” I can think of just bought an Audi.

      An S4.

      An automatic.

      And a manual would not have convinced me any more than the auto would have; indeed, it’d be “who cares? I’m not buying a stick. Period.”)

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It’s less about the particular audience for the product (which would be different for, say, a $31k ILX and a $42k TLX V6 SH-AWD) than about brand credibility. A product few people buy, but enthusiasts or wealthy buyers, like, can lend legitimacy to other products everyone buys.

        As a non-Acura example, just think about all the trouble Lincoln has gotten for having no RWD product. Then realize that the overwhelming majority of competing cars bought instead of Lincolns are FWD cars just like those Lincoln is making. One RWD halo product would give Lincoln a lot of cover.

        So it is with the manual. If people hadn’t hated the style of the 4th-gen TL so much, the TL SH-AWD 6MT would have boosted perceptions of the whole Acura lineup despite its 3% take rate. So it could be today with a TLX SH-AWD 6MT, particularly if it also added proper tires and brakes. It would go out there and get great reviews and word of mouth that would rub off onto the TLX family and the entire brand.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          I keep hearing that, yes.

          I can’t but suspect it’s marketing urban legend, though.

          (I can’t believe for a moment that the people who don’t like Lincoln – and I don’t see the point of the brand as it stands, myself – would change their minds “if it only had a RWD entry”.

          Oh, internet commenters will TALK about how “it needs a RWD entry”, but if they go buy an ES instead of an MKS, it’s not “because Lexus has the GS and LS”; it’s because the MKS sucks and the ES is the Best Of All Possible Camrys.

          Just like the snobs won’t look kindly on Hyundai or Kia no matter how fast and RWD a Genesis or K900 is.)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Your Hyundai example is disproving your point — the talk about Hyundai has changed considerably since the Genesis was born. It used to be the Ross of cars. Now it’s a legit mass-market brand and you don’t often hear it dismissed as cheap, and it’s able to price its products on par with other mass-market brands.

            I also think if the MKS were a RWD Continental with a Coyote you would see a big increase over 5 or so years in MKZ and MKC sales. The conversation about how much Lincoln sucks would die out, and people would compare the MKZ to the ES or LaCrosse on the merits.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    If I remember correctly the Honda 6-speed uses double cone syncros and a lightweight casing. So its not just a subjective feeling, it comes from the engineering.

    Watch the Alex Dykes and Kevin Goron reviews of the ILX 2.4l on YouTube. Both intelligent and thorough reviews, and honestly, they both look like they are enjoying themselves during the drive.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      I’ve got a 6MT on my ’06 accord coupe (v6).

      Third gear can be a b*tch every once in a great while (in typical Honda 6MT fashion, just requires changing the fluid with GM fluid every so often), but you gotta love that Honda clutch.

    • 0 avatar

      My best friend just bought a 2014 Accord (4cyl) with the 6 speed manual. That is a hell of a nice transmission, and even the ergonomics of the handle are the best I’ve encountered.

      As for Acura: RIP

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    The hell with Acura then.

    Commence the blandification. Keep watering it down, Acura. You’re distancing yourselves further and further away from my buck.

    Good riddance anyway. Who the hell wants to drive around in “the nose”?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I would have adored a 6-speed in the new TLX, even with the 2.4.

    Taking the 6MT out of the ILX serves to distance it further from the Civic Si, which is probably a good move, since the civic doesn’t have a 2.4/auto combo. I don’t lament the ILX losing it, but the larger TLX, yeah. I’m too big for compacts.

    I agree about the evangelism part. After I got my Accord coupe in 2011 (V6/6MT) I raved about that car so much that two other guys in my department bought one. One got an auto, the other got a stick. I miss everything about that car except the seats.

    Now if Acura brings back the Integra, how the heck do they expect to sell it to its fanbase without a manual?

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Acura seems to have determined that the ILX 2.4 didn’t sell because nobody wanted the manual. Is that why, or was it the horrible equipment packaging that left you paying $30K for a car with no NAV and the base stereo? Who on earth would possibly want the tech package AND the big engine?

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    One of the biggest reason for the low popularity of manual transmissions is the ever increasing congestion on our rods.It can be extremely annoying even for a diehard fan like me to crawl along for hours, even with low clutch effort.The Ford high performance King Kong clutch would make you park the car at the side of the road ,for relief.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Europe has worse traffic than the US, and has generally had a higher take-rate for manuals.

      The reason manuals faded is that the fuel economy gains that you get from a small-engined, stick-shift car was never really important to North American buyers. When you could afford to get a big six or eight, and a big six or eight was just fine with an auto, manuals only made sense in edge cases (base econoboxes, some trucks, some sports cars)

      Of course, now that automatic, CVTs and SMG/SMT/DSGs get as good or better mileage and/or performance than a stick, even that rationale is out the window.

      • 0 avatar

        my anecdotes are not exactly scientific, but I’ve heard a lot of people blame traffic for getting a slushbox. And occasionally, the blame turns on lack of availability at the time when the person was buying a car that offers stick.

      • 0 avatar
        Chris FOM

        Europeans buy manuals not because they want to but because they have do, since fuel prices mean they have tiny, often diesel engines that are entirely unsuited to automatics, engines that historically would never be accepted in the US. Ford found the same thing when they couldn’t get even their dual-clutch (much less a torque-converter) transmission to provide a decent experience with their 1.0T in the Fiesta. Low-displacement engines simply do better with manuals. Even of the higher end Marques the normal BMW is a 118d or for MB and A or B-class. The base engine in the US is an upper tier over there. The *35 BMWs or 350 Benzes or S-series Audis are incredibly rare, far more so in the US. Look at the options picked by those who can afford the displacement tax and it’s all automatics and automated manuals.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Nice explanation.

          Also in North America we tended historically to drive longer distances and over ‘highways’.

          The driving experience/requirement was also different as in NA the majority of consumers put a premium over quiet and ‘plush’ rides. Who would want to feel the road or hear their engine when they could luxuriate on the plush velour of their LTD Brougham or LeSabre? Naturally a manual transmission does not transfer well to that type of driving experience.

          As for the gas consumption, granted under ‘testing’ conditions a computer chip can probably coax better mileage out of an auto. However in the real world, I would postulate that a good driver would be able to get more out of a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Stop and go traffic certainly makes a manual less desirable, but even worse is if only one member of the driving family can handle a clutch. I chose remaining married over teaching my wife how to drive stick, and it finally became too much of an issue when we needed to swap cars. There would be much delight if someone could create a dual mode tranny that truly let the driver pick automatic mode or full manual mode, but I suspect that too few drivers anymore have any appreciation for manual operation.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >> create a dual mode tranny that truly let the driver pick automatic mode or full manual mode, …

        I suppose paddles are the compromise manufacturers are pushing. But we know they are not the same as a stick and third pedal.

        Fortunately, my wife can drive a manual, and since we set such a good example, our son wants to learn a manual too. Hopefully, he will have some choice of manuals when he gets old enough.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “create a dual mode tranny that truly let the driver pick automatic mode or full manual mode, …”

          People have been taking about that since I was in HS and there have been a lot of strange compromises, but I think the paddles are going to be as close as you get

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            “I think the paddles are going to be as close as you get”

            But anyone who has driven a stick knows that paddles are but a pale imitation. It’s the joy of properly integrating both hands and both feet to achieve the desired result that makes driving a stick special. Sigh. It’s been almost 20 years since I gave up my last clutch. I wonder if I still could make it work?

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I would not be surprised to see Acura come out with a TLX Type S with a manual. Probably in 2.4L (slow) guise, but still.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    I don’t even understand automatic transmissions. They’re like alcohol-free beer – what’s the point? There’s a commercial, I think for a sporty Lexus car (model name might be the “Oxymoron”), and the cool, razor-stubbled dude driving the car has his jaw set as he’s driving the car with the fake stick in the console. What’s he doing? Pressing his right foot down? He should relax and lose the intense face since he’s not actually doing anything.

    I won’t own an AT car so long as I have 2 functioning legs. And at the rate automakers are dropping MTs from all but select performance cars, in a few decades I’ll be an 80-something grandpa with a huge wing on the back of my car.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      I gotta buddy of mine. Known him for years. He’s from Croatia (think Bosnia, Serbia, etc.)

      Any who, he said the only automatics over there in his part of the world are reserved for the elderly and the handicapped.

      Your post makes sense to me bud :)

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        I love the stick shift in my sports car, but 90%+ of my driving is commuting on boring, crowded surburban surface streets. There’s no joy in it, whether I’m in a stick shift McLaren F1, or my slushbox Acura snoozemobile. So I might as well be comfy. If your circumstances are different, bully for you, but for mine, there’s no reason a clutch and a stick makes commuting where I do any better.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Automatics still don’t make up 50% of sales here in Europe, even after the boom they’ve had in later years. If you want to get a license without driving a manual you actually need to have a handicap, as manual shifting is still regarded as the norm in most of Europe. I think automatics are great for commuting in cars with small engines, and brilliant for towing, but in a Honda it usually feels like a step down from the manuals.
        (the shifter in a 2007 CRV is almost as light and simple to use as an indicator stalk, I hate myself for getting the auto)

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Sounds like a personal problem.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “so long as I have 2 functioning legs”

      Heh… exactly. Which demo buys the most new cars? Hip bursae can kill your MT joy long before the hip joint itself shuts you down.

      • 0 avatar
        doublechili

        I had my left hip replaced when I was 40. The clutch is physical therapy. ;)

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          >> he clutch is physical therapy. ;)

          +1

          For me, it’s mental therapy too! It’s relaxing, fights forgetfulness, and improves my reflexes. :)

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          @doublechili

          No pain when you lift your left leg for the clutch? That’s what kills me. The bursa where the big muscle attaches at the hip.

          I miss the hell out of engine braking, especially on snowy & icy roads.

          • 0 avatar
            doublechili

            You’re probably not even seeing this since I’m replying so late, but no, no pain when I lift the left leg. The hip replacement basically did away with pain (unless I really overdo something, then I feel a “twinge”). My post-hip cars have been a Saab Viggen, a couple of old big-body Audis (’91 200 turbo quattro and ’96 S6) and now a Civic SI. Maybe they all have “easy” clutches?

  • avatar
    baconator

    I’d conjecture that Acura’s GenY following is of exactly the persuasion that will think of a DCT as sportier than a manual. Technology = luxury to this segment of the market. There’s a spectrum of “enthusiasts,” and while most enthusiasts that eat, sleep, breathe car culture really want the control of a manual and all it connotes, there’s a very large group of people who are “enthusiasts” in the sense that they’ll spend serious coin to get something that they perceive to be the latest and greatest. These are the folks that overlook the Civic underpinnings of an ILX and the Camry underpinnings of an ES350, and there’s a lot of them.

    Acura builds cars for them and not for me (or if you’re reading this, probably, you). But I’m not their core buyer anyway – I test drove Legends back when they were new and liked them, but liked BMWs and Volvos better, and bought those instead. If you want a 28k near-luxury sedan with a manual transmission, the Jetta GLI was a better car than the ILX anyway.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Acura looks like plastic junk

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I’ve had Honda Prelude 5MT, Jaguar X-Type 5MT, Taurus SHO 5MT, G37 6MT, a Kia Optima 5MT (in Korea) and now I don’t own a manual transmission car, for good reason. I had all of those cars in my teenage years and all of my 20s, I just turned 30 and I’m just plain sick of clutches because traffic has gotten progressively worse pretty much everywhere in the world that I’ve lived.

    Manuals suck in traffic. Based on the cars I’ve had in the past, I am clearly an enthusiast. But there’s nothing exciting about sitting in miles of traffic constantly modulating a clutch, especially if it’s a heavy clutch or an economy car clutch that begins to slip a bit more than you’d like.

    This is a good move by the numbers. I wouldn’t bother to build it because quite frankly, no one’s buying them.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Maybe it’s just because I had a terrible ancient 4-speed in my last car, but even with constant commuting and traffic (I drive about four hours a day, all city), I still don’t regret getting a manual. At least with a stick, you have the option of leaving it in a single gear and let engine braking do a bit of work, while most automatics are programmed to seek the highest gear possible, as soon as possible, so your choice is to work the brake or work the clutch, but unless you’re driving an older Mustang (those S197’s would give you a bit of a workout), it’ll be about the same amount of work.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    If you want auto manufacturers to sell cars with manual transmissions, then you have to buy cars with manual transmissions, new. You can’t depend on others to buy manual transmission cars so that you can buy them used. If the take rate is too low, they will go away. All the whining about how Acura has lost it’s way is just horse shit. They sell the cars people want. If enough people want manual transmissions, they will sell manual transmission cars. I am a car enthusiast. I like manual transmission cars. However, I have not bought a new manual transmision car since 1988. I bought an Acura Legend with auto in 1990. I replaced it in 2006 with another auto car. That car, I still drive. I have had a couple of manual transmission cars since 1988, but I did not buy new. Therefore, the manufacturer did not know that I wanted a manual transmission. It is the enthusisat who is to blame for the lack of manual transmissions. If we don’t buy, they won’t build.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I have a ’14 Accord with the 6 speed manual. If you people knew what you are missing out on. I know. I’d pay extra for this manual!

  • avatar

    This is okay because the ILX’s core demographic – women realtors who use one for 5 hours while their MDXs are getting serviced – could care less.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have been driving manual shift cars since I was 16 years old. Drove into Manhattan for 45 years with a manual shift car and when I retired
    I purchased a new VW GTI with a DSG transmission. Love the way this car shifts. Only way I know it shifts is the change in the RPM’s. Plus it beats a stick shift in gas mileage. In my area of Long Island traffic is 24 hours a day. If I want to shift gears I drive my Miata on the weekends and the GTI during the week. My wife used to drive a stick but she put her foot down years ago and I like to sleep at night so she drives an automatic. Life is too short to fight it.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    It’s as if Acura is saying “Shoo! If you want a manual, go buy a Honda. Luxury buyers don’t drive stick.”

    Perhaps this is one way Acura is trying to separate its identity from Honda. Fine, I won’t stay where I’m not wanted. The Accord V6 Coupe 6MT gets high praise, and is said to channel the spirit of the Prelude. Mazda also makes great manuals, as does BMW.

  • avatar

    The only reasons left to have a manual that I can see are personal enjoyment, and self differentiation.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> The only reasons left to have a manual that I can see are personal enjoyment, and self differentiation.

      With a manual, you can still push start your car if your battery is too weak… but that could be bad for your catalytic converter. It’s also easier to drop into neutral for coasting and hyper mile-ing, but that could be dangerous. And a manual can shift more readily between R and 1 if you need to rock out of a snow bank.

      Manual trannys are lighter than automatics, so handling would be a nudge better. As for superior mpg from automatics, it should be noted that it is partly due to how manufacturers tune the final drive ratio. Automatics in 6th gear would hum along at 2500 rpm while the same car with a manual in 6th gear could be buzzing at 3500 rpm.

      I know, hardly compelling arguments to shift (ha ha) to a manual, but there are many subtle differences. But yes, personal enjoyment ranks at the top.

      • 0 avatar

        Ah, push starting, you have me there. I stand corrected.
        Happy Thanksgiving

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        I’ve never seen a difference in a final drive ratio that resulted in a 1,000 RPM difference between the auto and manual.

        You can also predict a hill with a manual and change to the appropriate gear prior to reaching the hill. This is something an automatic cannot do just yet. Once cars start to use terrain logic, that advantage will be gone as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        In a modern car, wouldn’t you be better off leaving a car in gear for hypermiling purposes? I mean, in neutral, the car has to use a little bit of gas to keep the engine spinning, while in gear, it can shut the injectors off if the wheels turning is enough to keep the engine moving.

        Also, I suspect a big part of automatics looking like they’ve got better fuel economy is because you can program them to game the EPA tests, while a manual is beholden to whatever preset shift points the government has decided on.

  • avatar
    DavidB

    I’ve read almost every post on this thread and I suggest that we’re missing the big reason many are abandoning manual transmissions: mobile phones. I think back to my wife’s ’91 Civic (manual); my ’95 Saturn SL (manual); then her ’97 Subaru Legacy wagon (manual); then my ’98 Tacoma (manual). At this point I had a job change and got a ’00 F150, our first automatic. Followed by our current ’04 Forester and ’05 Expedition (both autos). We prefer MT’s but my job requires travel in traffic and a MT is not easy in traffic, even for those of us who enjoy it. I’d like to imagine rowing my own on an empty canyon road, but the reality was waiting in the grade school pick up line in exurbia. My work requires me to talk and drive rarely (always hands-free) and just listening in to a conference call, but a MT makes even my rare phone interactions a PITA. And would be even more dangerous than they already are. Combined with increased traffic congestion and the other reasons cited in threads preceeding this one, it’s no wonder the MT is now almost extinct. Nokia, Apple, Samsung, et al. — have done more to doom the MTs than any other single cause, IMHO, especially among the younger crowd.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    David,
    That is one reason why I recently purchased a manual vehicle. Despite the use of handheld devices being illegal in Ontario, the police still write multiple tickets for it each day. So I figured if my kids had to use one hand to steer and one hand to shift, there was no way that they could also use their ‘smartphones’.

    Rather than remind them ad nauseum, I have installed something that will hopefully prevent them.

    • 0 avatar

      From one father to another, well played.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL of course they can use smartphone when driving a manual. One easy thing to do it is to hit a freeway, shift into 6th, and then text all the way. Or, one may hold the phone in the right hand’s thumb and index finger, then shift with the crease of the palm. Or, hold it in the left hand, shift with the right between touchstrokes, steer with the back of the left hand. Or hold in the left, steer with the right, hold the wheel with the knees. Or, hold phone with both handds, THUMBTEXT, steer with elbows (you have to move the shift hand down once in a while, but only for a short time).

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Looks like you speak from experience.

        Not sure that my kin have the determination or physical dexterity for all that. And they have just recently learned how to use the stick

        If using phones like that is a habit (or addiction) then hopefully having to shift while driving around town will break them of the habit.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I prefer manuals, I drive one, and I would buy a new one. Also I think fuel economy can be better for manuals, if driven properly. They are ~1000 bucks cheaper and more reliable. You can push start them. Performance can also be better.

    All that said manuals are going the way of the VCR player. If 1% of cars have carburetors no problem – they drive the same. But manual is different skill – they are not drive-able by most drivers. Not that driving a manual is some kind of amazing skill, just takes a couple of weeks of practice. Take rates are so low, and so few new drivers know how to use them that they end up as “one driver cars”, and re-sale is more difficult.

    I don’t buy the argument that a brand with manual models somehow benefits. Maybe a little in the 80’s and 90’s but not know. Manual trannies are viewed as anachronistic, not cool. Would Acura benefit if they shipped a few unit with point ignitions or carb’s?

  • avatar
    madmike

    Sad to say in time there will be no manual cars available. Driving will just be a reason to get from point A to point B and its sad

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    Makes me sad.
    I have loved having a manual in my 06 TL.
    Have been looking for something a little smaller now that I don’t have rear facing car seats in the back, and am dismayed by the lack of options for the driver who wants the engagement and mechanical connection that the manual provides.
    :(

  • avatar
    Mikemapva

    There are a lot of good comments in this thread. Especially the ones about the fact that if enthusiasts don’t buy manual transmissions in new cars, it won’t matter to the manufacturers when they’re determining whether to sell a manual tranny car in the US.

    I was guilty of this for almost 30 years. My last new manual purchase was a 1986 Honda Accord. I then bought a used 94 Accord manual, a used 92 Acura Legend manual and then a used 02 Pathfinder. I preached the manual gospel, but I wasn’t following through in a way that would help with survival.

    This year I was looking at both used and new cars and SUV’s and really struggled to find availability. I’m sure a lot of that is a direct result of the reasons mentioned throughout this thread. One thing that really set me off was the way that each manufacturer limited the manual transmission purchases. Kudos to the manufacturers who offer a stick, but why do you pigeon hole the manual buyers. Mazda offers a stick in 2 of the vehicles I was interested in, the 6 and the CX-5. In the 6, the stick is only available in the 2 lowest trim levels, and can’t be had with a sunroof. in the CX-5, you can only get a stick in FWD, not AWD. Honda also offers a stick in the Accord, but you are limited on trim and color as well. You cannot buy a an EX-L with a manual, nor a V-6 sedan. Ironically, in the midsize space, Ford was the most flexible, at least until the 2015 model year. You could option out a Fusion pretty well in SE trim, as long you picked the 1.6 turbo engine. Good luck finding one in stock though, and by the time I was looking, there weren’t many 2014’s left in availability.

    At the conclusion of my search, I ended up with a 6MT Honda Accord EX. I was limited to 2 colors, but I felt like I was able to get a number of options that were unavailable in the competition’s offerings.

    My point to all of this is that maybe manual sales would be higher if manufacturer’s offered more options with a manual. But, without people buying the ones they’re currently offering, they’re not going to provide more options. Kind of a vicious circle.


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