Editorial: The Last Of The Manual Acuras
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.
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?
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
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. :(
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.