By on July 29, 2015

x5manual

BMW may be coy about it, but there’s no denying that manual transmissions are dying a fairly ignominious death in most cars. It’s a shame. Manuals are more often found as slushboxes in econo-drones with cloth everything paired to a remedial engine.

Cheap manual transmissions aren’t worth saving. In 20 years, when everything except your mountain bike comes with an automatic transmission, will you look fondly on the Chevy Cobalt’s 5-speed guessing game? Probably not.

A good manual transmission feels as sharp and precise as a bolt-action rifle. Slotting in a gear in a Corvette feels wholly different than grabbing a cog in the Subaru XV Crosstrek that I just drove 500 miles across Wyoming. I’ll miss Porsche’s manual. I won’t miss Nissan’s.

As the debate swirls around “Will the manual transmission fade away?” the question is better posed as “Why keep it around anyway?” Less than one in 5 new BMW M4 buyers opts to row their own for good reason — the dual-clutch transmission in that car is very good. Owners recognize that BMW’s M-DCT isn’t merely an automatic, it’s an automated manual and it’s incredibly precise at confidently swapping cogs. Ditto for Porsche’s PDK. Ferrari is even on board. The list goes on.

So B&B, what manual in particular is worth saving?

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141 Comments on “QOTD: What Manual Transmission is Worth Saving?...”


  • avatar
    TeeJayHoward

    The Mazda Miata and the Honda S2000 both are known for fantastic manual transmissions. The TR6060 in my SS is okay (for a non-linear clutch type transmission). The six-speed in my GR WRX was one of the worst I’ve ever used, and I have a strong preference for the mechanical feeling transmissions. That one was just too much “Truck”, not enough “Bolt Action”.

    If there were only one manual transmission I could save, it would probably be the one from my NC MX-5. It couldn’t handle very much power, but there was nothing more satisfying than rowing through the gears in that car.

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      Did you do a 6 speed swap in the WRX? The GR’s only ever came with 5 speeds.

      They’re not awesome, but they’re not the worst.

      For me, the best I have ever owned was on an RX-8. Same class as the S2000’s I’ve driven. Like a bolt action rifle. Of course, it helps that the stick came straight out of the transmission. The easiest way to fill the transmission fluid in that car was from inside the car!

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      In my opinion, anyone who buys a Honda with an auto does not deserve to own a car in the first place (including myself,but no worries, I’m back the the heaven of beautifully precise and simple shifting)
      Some manufacturers like Mercedes who wasn’t able to make a decent manual until this century could just keep making autos I guess. (not that most Mercedes owners would want a manual, or care about ‘driving’ in the first place)

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Manufacturers that know how to make a slick shifter should keep making them (Honda, Mazda, BMW). It’s sad that for most compact cars, the manual option is reserved for the absolute bare bones car without cruise control (major sticking point for me). That’s in part how I ended up with my Civic: it’s a super nice shifter paired to a very smooth and revvy engine in a car that has an adequate amount of features for me. On the other hand, some automatic transmissions these days are just so efficient and competent, that it’s unfair to call them ‘slushboxes’ at all. The 6 speed in the current camry for example, I honestly don’t think I’d even want a manual transmission instead. The last year they offered them in a Camry (2011, 4 cyl only) from what I read it was pretty notchy and suffered from throttle-by-wire rev hang.

    It’s sad just how optimized factories are these days for mainstream manufacturers that are in a race to the bottom to offer the absolute best price. Up until 2002, you could buy a plain jane Camry CE, paired to their excellent V6 and a 5spd manual. Talk about sleeper! Sort of like a Biscayne on dog dish hubcaps factory ordered with a 409 and a 4 on the floor.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      You are right. Outside of personal preference, manuals just have fewer practical advantages over automatics these days. 10-20 years ago, on any given model manuals got better fuel efficiency, cost less, were significantly more reliable and had more gears than an automatic.

      Today, those advantages are nearly wiped out. Automatics now have 6 to 9 gears. They are smoother and more reliable than ever. With the overall increase in fuel efficiency across the industry, the 1-2mpg lost with an automatic is less significant than it was years ago. In some cases, automatics actually provide better fuel efficiency than the comparable manual transmission.

      • 0 avatar

        Like gtemnykh, I love my Civic with the revvy engine and the slick stick. For me, having the stick is 85% about fun, but I do like the superior mileage, the greater control and quicker acceleration than I’d get with a slushbox, and the cheaper and less frequent maintenance.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think BMW makes very good manuals these days. They probably did up until the discontinuation of the E60 5-Series and E63/E64 6-Series, but now they’re sort of mediocre. Mazda and Honda, though, definitely do.

      • 0 avatar
        windnsea00

        As you probably know BMW outsources for manual transmissions but the ZF unit in my 2015 M3 is one of the best stock shifting units I have ever seen them put out.

        • 0 avatar

          I didn’t know that the manuals were outsourced. The one in the 535i I drove was pretty lousy…but then that car’s entire personality is that of a German Buick. It’s good to see that BMW are at least putting a good manual transmission in their legendary performance model. Care to submit a reader ride review?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I don’t remember BMW ever making very satisfying manuals. Even the E30 M3 was nothing to write home about. I remember driving the NSX when it first came out, and thinking: How in the heck did they manage to do thaaat!!! on the first shift.

  • avatar

    I am going to be contrarian and say the manual in the Ford Fiesta is, by far, my favorite — especially when mated with the three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost mill. That little car is just a pile of fun.

    • 0 avatar

      That seems to be the popular opinion among journalists. I probably wouldn’t get such a tiny engine with an automatic in the first place (do they even offer one on that engine?), but if the manual is *fun*, that’s just icing on the cake.

      • 0 avatar

        There is no automatic option with that engine, but — as Alex pointed out in a review recently — there really should be.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Here’s the problem: Ford doesn’t have an automatic that would work with the 1.0T. Raj Nair, among others, hated the 1.0T with the Powershift DCT. Ford isn’t about to put the 6F35 in there either. Until the 9-speed or small car CVT is out, it’ll be a manual only affair in the US.

          (I’m aware Europe gets the 1.0T with the 6DCT. It is a drivability nightmare. Maybe Europeans will deal with it for whatever reason, but Americans would not.)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Europeans in general expect less powertrain smoothness than Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well, if they expect what the 1.0T and DCT combo is bringing, then they have low expectations.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            0.475 liter, 22 speed transmission, turbocharged motor producing 125 mpg on EPA loop test, but 25mpg to 28mpg in real life driving.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      My big issue with the Fiesta 1.0 is the mandatory plastic wheel covers.

      For some reason the 1.0 Focus allows alloys.

  • avatar
    Mschmal

    Wow, I agree with Miata but how can you leave out the only other car in addition to the Miata that receives a higher book value at trade when it has a manual? No, not Corvette. MUSTANG GT.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      What book? KBB lists my Miata as having the same value, auto or manual. Edmunds actually says the auto is worth more, which is just ludicrous to anyone who has ever Miata shopped.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I know this thread is intended for Jeremy Clarkson universe of fine cars, but for what its worth – I lament the lack of availability of manual transmission on lets say a base Toyota Tacoma with a 150 HP, 4 cylinder.

    My theory is that combined with US EPA certification and US drivers who for the most part are unwilling or unable to drive a vehicle with three pedals – a manual transmission soon may only be available on certain high-end, two door sport sedans.

    In the US, if you want a new vehicle equipped with a manual transmission that’s fast and affordable – buy a motorcycle.

    God bless America. Meanwhile, the base full size Chevy Silverado still comes with a 5 speed manual in Mexico. In Australia, the mid-size Colorado has a 6 speed manual available not just with the 2.5 Ecotec 4 cylinder, but also with the V6 gasser and from what I understand the small 2.8L Duramax Diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I wasn’t thinking about trucks but, along these lines, my thought is to save the manuals in the cheap cars, the Mazda 2, the Fiesta, the Versa, the Yaris, the Corolla, the Civic (not intended as a comprehensive list, so don’t get upset if I left your favorite off). Doing so means that more people can afford them and learn to like them.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Not only that, cheap lo-po cars heavily benefit from the manual for the sake of getting what little power you have instantly, as you demand it. My 2 is by no means quick, but at least the stick makes it useable (as a bonus, it’s a pretty decent shifter, if not full-on Honda levels of slick).

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Very true, the 5spd drops at least a full second off the 0-60 in Civics like mine, and beyond the numbers makes the car much more responsive and quicker off the line. I test drove the old 5spd auto back in 2011 and it was competent but dulled what little there was in terms of power from the 140hp 1.8L. I thought the automatic would net me better fuel economy, owing to the taller gearing at highway speeds but I have no complaints about the upper-30s mpg I see in my mixed highway commute. RPMs are 3000 at 70mph, but very little NVH from the engine itself at those speeds, the all-too-ample road noise drowns it out anyways.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      “I lament the lack of availability of manual transmission on lets say a base Toyota Tacoma with a 150 HP, 4 cylinder.”

      A cousin of mine purchased a 2015 Tacoma in this configuration just last week, so it’s certainly available. He wanted the V6/6MT but apparently that one is “available” only in an academic sense, because the dealers are spoilsports.

  • avatar
    John R

    Chris Harris had an interesting idea; make the manual option ludicrously expensive.

    Obviously, not for the Camrys and Malibus of the world, but it might make sense for the M3’s and the 911 GT3’s of the world and on up. Harris believes that appealing to the more conceited nature of people may work.

    “S/he has the manual transmission? Hm. S/he must have money.”

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I’ve been thinking that too. Why automakers pretend that a manual transmission is the default choice with the automatic being the option is ridiculous at this point. They need to be charging extra for the manuals and while they’re at it, put the manuals in the higher trim levels. Make the manual buyers pay. They will. There are very few of the super cheapskates out there looking for the totally base manual transmission models

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        If the vehicle costs less to manufacture with a manual than the automatic, why would a manufacturer need – or even want – to charge extra for it? They probably already are. Does a manual really only cost $1000 less than a dual clutch automatic?

        I certainly would like to see manuals available in more trim levels, for any vehicle in which a manual is even an option. But if there really is no business case for it, then I accept that.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “If the vehicle costs less to manufacture with a manual than the automatic, why would a manufacturer need – or even want – to charge extra for it?”

          The primary cost to the manufacturer is carrying another kind of inventory that is harder to sell.

        • 0 avatar
          cdotson

          rpn453;

          Automakers and other large manufacturers long ago abanoned cost-plus pricing for their products. Their marketeers attempt to pin down the answer to “How many can I sell at what price?” Then the development group (product management/engineering/manufacturing) pulls together a program that delivers the product with a built-in profit margin.

          I see the extra-cost manual working but only on certain vehicles. I recall way back (I was a teenager just short of my license) when the 4th gen Camaro/Firebird launched with the first 6-speed manuals that it was like $1k extra for the 6spd, and 80% of the early adopters wanted it. I think this holds for both performance-oriented vehicles and for badgewhoremobiles (BMW isn’t an acronym, it’s a monogram). I don’t see this working for the Civlantrolla class.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        In many cars, the “default” choice being the manual isn’t because they expect many people to actually buy it or because it makes any sense; it’s so they can advertise “From $XXX” to get people into the showroom. This is why many of the manuals in cheapskate-mobiles are so poor; they are just a pricing exercise, not a serious attempt to land sales. (Also ref: The twenty-year-old 2.slow in the base Jetta.)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        In cheaper cars, the MT helps to establish a lower base MSRP. It’s a sort of bait-and-switch, as the automaker knows that virtually no one wants that feature yet the OEM will use that lower price in its advertising.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      BMW effectively did this back in 2011. They made the automatic standard, and upped MSRP by ~$1000 across the board, while making the manuals a “no cost” option. Prior, it was $1200 extra for the automatic on the $1000 lower MSRP. I snuck my order in a couple days before that change and saved $1000 on my 328i.

      As far as what manuals to save? ALL OF THEM!

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        “ALL OF THEM’ Couldn’t agree more. Given a choice I will take a manual over a slush box every time. Traded a perfectly good 6MT Nissan Cube for an almost identical one with a CVT because the wife was having knee problems. Hated that. My truck is manual after some demoralizing nonsense with a 4L60E. I will continue to buy manuals when I can. That may not be long.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The vast majority of the car-buying public, even those that enjoy driving, do not derive specific pleasure from shifting gears. The expense of making a good manual to satisfy that very small number of people that genuinely want it is increasingly not worth the bother.

    If an average carmaker making an average car puts the effort into the manual version commensurate with how much it’s going to sell, they’ll be be hit in reviews (which feature manuals way more often than people buy the things) about rubbery shifters, poor clutch characteristics, whatever. If they put a lot of effort to make a good manual, it’ll be a money-loser.

    Better to just let it go outside of a few niche cars where the number of people that want one is big enough to make sense. A stick-shift sell-’em-by-the-100k’s family-hauler is making less and less sense.

    (My DD is a M/T ’04 Passat Wagon, but I’d give up the three pedals today for a well-done auto.)

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The bigger story is the demise of fun, engaging cars. It seems like all automotive marketing is based on fear and loathing. It’s just not “safe” on the streets without two and a half tons of steel and safety cushions surrounding you, controlled by always-connected software overlords.

    I’m always amazed when self-defined car lovers have convinced themselves that they aren’t qualified to choose what gear they should engage.

    What manuals should be saved? The light fun ones that the average motorist loathes. Any Fiat, 2 Series, Fiesta, Miata, Boxster, anything under 1 tonne, plus anything with real off-road capability.

    • 0 avatar
      another_VW_fanboy

      Agreed. Seems like the push is to disengage the driver from actual driving. The logical conclusion might be to isolate car from driver so much that self driving cars aren’t so offensive. Sad thing is most people i think, would rather it be that way so they can stay endlessly attached to their facebook, twitter, instagram etc.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      ” It seems like all automotive marketing is based on fear and loathing.”

      Roads are more congested, vehicles are ridiculously larger, heavier and faster, people are ever more angry/impulsive/stupid/distracted and road surfaces are steadily more deteriorated.

      What’s not to fear and loathe? It doesn’t require a conspiracy theory to understand this.

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      Ironically, the Lotus Elise which meets your unsafe, and no steel requirements has one of the worst feeling manual transmissions out there. It’s basically the worst thing about the car.

      It’s due to the insanely long and convoluted cables they need to make the FWD drivetrain work in a mid-engined car.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I think for normal (not sports cars like Miatas) only MT that have the same tall gear ratio as their AT counterpart should be rescued. It drives me crazy in my Mazda 6 2.3 to drive 65 mph at over 3,000 rpm in 5th gear. The same engine with AT drives at 2,2000 rpm or so.
    Same true for Honda Fit MT/AT and probably every other manufacturer.

    The only manufacturer I heard of that keeps the normal European gearing is VW (from a previous article here, not actually driven one). But I’m not buying a VW…

    I recently drove a CVT Honda Fit. As an engineer knowing it was a CVT (I specifically asked the person to lend it to me because of the CVT) I could feel how it revs in the most economical (or sporty if needed within 1 millisecond) rpm. But for a non-car guy, it would appear like a normal AT. They did a really great job. I heard about all the “rubber banding” in Nissan and experienced it in a Caliber 5 years ago, but could not notice any in the Fit even when focusing on looking for it.

    With that, my next car will be an automatic, preferably a CVT (or planetary if it is a hybrid). would I like a MT at least for one of our cars? Sure, but not with the gearing ratio, and not when CVTs became so good. One of the reasons i keep my Mazda for some more years is, that i want to drive MT as long as possible, but i also know in 4 years MT will be almost gone from mainstream cars, and AT/CVT will have improved even more.

    Mazda (and other OEM) really ruined MT. My Mazda at 65 mph at 3,000 rpm. My CRV same speed at 2,200 rpm (Honda Fit with tiny 1.5 l engine also about 2,200 rpm) is much more enjoyable to drive even when it still has the old 5-speed AT. I’m sure current CRV with CVT are even better.

    The thing with my Mazda 5MT is, once I’m above 40 mph, it basically is an MT since all happens in 5th gear.

    It would be different if I would enjoy toycars like Miatas, Mustangs or so…but for daily drivers or cruisers, no. not with what they do to gearing ratio. Look at all the mpg numbers, all highway mileage for MT is horrible.

    Edit: in addition, MT only seem to be offered in Sedans mostly. I only buy hatch cars… and CUVs don’t have MT anymore, and the only hatch car with MT I like is the Fit, which wife probably thinks is too small. and it also has the gearing ratio problem (while offering a perfect CVT). So it basically is a moot point. 8 years ago having MT was main criterium we bought the Mazda 6 hatchback in highest trim level. Today, Mazda doesn’t even offer a hatch version, and the CX5 only offered MT in property trim level… so screw you I take my money elsewhere :)

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Seriously lugging engines under load, especially smaller ones deigned to be light and make their power up high, is not in any way, shape or form good for them, something an auto effectively prevents. With an MT, the driver is supposed to do that prevention, but many don’t, which makes tall geared manuals a tricky proposition in I-sue-you-for-my-incompetence societies.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    I’m going with the 6MT in Accord. It’s good, of course, but nothing super special. My main reasoning is you can still get it on a moderately equipped, mid-full size vehicle. For a family guy that can’t swing a BMW, it’s the sweet spot. And it’s one of only a few left (Mazda6 and I think Passat still offer sticks). It will truly be a shame once you can no longer get a nice family car with a stick

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      You and I think alike. I have a 6MT Accord and love it. I test drove the Mazda6, and while you could get more equipment with a stick, the Honda’s MT felt better, the seats were better, and the Honda felt more comfortable for highway driving with better visibility in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        Andy

        Ditto on all counts. I had a Mazda3 before, so when it was time to upgrade, I wanted to love the new 6 and get to drive something unique. But it just wasn’t as good as the Accord. Engine and transmission primarily. Interior materials and back seat space as well. The Sport’s subtle wheel and spoiler upgrades are just cool enough without being flashy. I’d have really loved it in blue, but the limited color choices for the MT (gray and black only) do give you some insider knowledge. When you see a silver or beige Sport, you know you are superior ;-)
        The 6 still gets a double take every time I see one, but the Accord is just a very, very good car. I didn’t want to buy the popular, obvious choice, but there’s a reason it sells so damn well.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick 2012

          You’re right on the back seat space. I brought along a rear-facing car seat. The wider and squarer Accord openings make a big difference in loading and unloading recalcitrant spawn.

          A red Mazda 6 lives nearby and it is a stunner when the light is right, however, I think the Accord’s styling will wear better.

    • 0 avatar
      rhduff

      I bought a 2013 Accord EX 6MT coupe (not a V6) for the exact reason you stated. Reasonably priced, well equipped, and reasonably fun to drive. It’ll last forever, too. The last car I had was an 2001 Accord V6, and the auto trans on that was crap. I’ve known too many people with too many Honda automatic horror stories to buy another Honda with an auto.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Honda MTs used in cars such as the S2000 and 1st gen TSX. Ultra smooth. Way better than any E46 or E39 I have driven.

    Gated manuals as seen several Ferraris and the Audi R8. I have no clue how smooth they are, but the clink-clink sound while shifting through the gears is a novel experience.

    I have heard the shift action on the McLaren F1 is absolutely incredible, as well.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Porsche…yes. I love my manual, but the PDK version of my car is honestly some fantastic engineering.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Ford Fiesta with the manual: No! The cars sucks, the transmission only OK. My 14 Accord with the 6 speed manual is very nice. Shift with cruise on, it automatically reengages the cruise when you complete the shift. Accidentally put the shifter into neutral with the cruise on, (no clutch) engine goes to idle. The 6 speed makes the Accord a fun not so little car. I beat the EPA highway by 4mpg all the time. I’m not convinced auto’s get better mpg. When I drove my wives car with an auto on vacation, I missed the highway mpg by about 4.

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      I’m not convinced that the automatics get better “real world” gas mileage, either. Especially in city driving I have found the manual transmissions get better gas mileage. It would be nice to hear other opinions about this. It would also be interesting to see some “real life” tests/comparisons (because I find it difficult to believe my experience with this is unique).

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        I’ve mentioned it before, but my DD is a ’14 Mazda2 with stick. I had it in for service once, and got a ’14 Mazda3 (2.0, auto) as a loaner. As far as the EPA’s concerned, they should give pretty much identical mileage (with an edge to the more aerodynamic 3 on the highway). But, under my normal driving, the 2 normally averages about 7.7L/100km, while the 3 did 8.7. So yeah, I don’t totally trust the EPa’s methodology.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Driven at speeds where either transmission covers the optimum efficiency rpm of the engine, and assuming a driver as good at knowing correct shiftpoints as the auto programming, it comes down to transmission efficiency. And in that case, manuals will generally fare better. but autos generally have a higher top ratio, hence win out in low load coasting, such as is present in test loops.

        Realistically, unless you live for driving the EPA loop, the two are very similar, other than in low load high speed highway cruising, if your manual ends up spinning needlessly high.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I have had 3 VQ equipped Nissans and they all made me wish for a well done automatic option. All of my Hondas on the other hand have been excellent. I am hoping some solid shifter cable bushings will make my Civic shift feel S2000esque. It’s damn close and really satisfying to operate.

    IMO if a manufacturer can’t make a good manual transmission they shouldn’t even bother. Just buy up some DCTs and leave it at that.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Hondas and Mazdas and and pony/sports car for sure.

    Certain cars do exist where the stick is more valuable than the automatic. Several Acura models, Altima SE-R, G8 GXP, to name a few.

    Car makers have created a self fulfilling prophecy. Offer the manual only in a stripper model, people ignore it because they actually want certain features. The last manual Kia Forte sedan actually had roll up windows as the only option. So people buy the automatics, the manual gets canceled for “slow sales.” Once I had a girlfriend who made every excuse under the sun not to get together when we had the same days off. No surprise that she dumped me because “we hardly ever saw each other.”

    I’m gonna drive stick until my body won’t let me. It’s just something I love. If that means my last car is 15 years old when I buy it, then so be it.

  • avatar

    I think it’d be kind of cool if there was another manual-transmission-equipped BMW X5, although it would be completely pointless. Up until recently, you could get a manual transmission Porsche Cayenne, although it may have been the standard 3.6-liter VR6 variant. On the older Cayenne, you could get a manual transmission all the way into the GTS, as well as other lower trims.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Honda and VW/Audi. The MT6 in my A3 is fantastic, as is the S4 MT6 (though the clutch is a bit long for my liking).

    I really don’t care what manufacturers, magazine and even gearheads say about dual clutch transmissions being faster, better, etc. My like for the manual transmission has nothing to do with technology, speed or efficiency – it has to do with the unique feeling of engagement you get coordinating your left foot on the clutch and right hand on the stick. The earlier comparison with bolt-action rifles is appropriate.

    Look, the ZF8 in my wife’s ’15 Grand Cherokee is outstanding – better matched and implemented than the same unit in a Q5 2.0T I had for a month earlier this year. I love the ZF8 in the JGC.

    I like the VW/Audi DSG box that I’ve driven in the S3, S4 and new GTI.

    Try as I might, though, I just like rowing my own gears. If Audi would bring us the S3 with a manual transmission, it would probably be in my garage right now. As it stands, the S3 is a fantastic car that leaves me a bit cold, primarily because of (what I perceive) as a lack of engagement with the car due to the lack of manual transmission.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Cummins Ram 2500. That’s a cool truck with the manual.

  • avatar
    ChichiriMuyo

    Thankfully the manual in my current car of choice isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. WRXs are harder to find in automatic than manual. Hell, I don’t they even have an automatic as an option on the STI right now.

  • avatar
    another_VW_fanboy

    VW makes a fine 5 and 6 speed manual. Even in their cheapest cars the manuals aren’t. Crisp, precise, balanced they have a quality feel and are quite durable. I hear Honda makes a good one too on there cheaper cars as well. Manuals are dying in America because nobody knows how to use them that simple. They will survive in Europe because they want them there so hopefully the option will stay on some European brands and not completely die off here in the states.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      “Manuals are dying in America because nobody knows how to use them that simple”

      I don’t think that’s necessarily the only case. There are a lot of reasons why they’re dying: traffic congestion, a focus on infotainment over driving engagement, fuel economy, pricing parity, continual improvements such as dual clutch, 8 speed torque converters, etc.

      My two teenage cousins got into my car a few years ago and both stared at the shifter and asked, “what are you doing with that thing?” They had *never* seen someone drive a manual transmission car until then.

      Oh well, I’ll continue to drive one until I cannot.

      • 0 avatar
        another_VW_fanboy

        THIS

        Im 37. Not quite old, but not exactly young. When i learned how to drive my MOTHER insisted i learn how to drive a manual. Most of my friends learned how to as well. The thought was you could drive anything out there and it actually taught you how cars worked. It blows my mind that young people have no idea about this or have never even seen one before.

        • 0 avatar
          Andy

          Good on your mom. I will want my kids to do the same. Without necessarily learning all the technical terms and racing techniques, driving a stick intuitively teaches you “car control”, and that’s just very hard to understand when you are only pushing on pedals and steering.

          It even makes you a better mountain biker!

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Don’t forget in performance cars a dual clutch can be as much as .2 seconds faster in the 1/4 mile. People buy on stats. At least that is Porsche’s argument.

        The Mustang, Challenger, MX-5, Toyobaru cars should all have a manual. Too bad the Charger doesn’t come with one.

        • 0 avatar

          “Too bad the Charger doesn’t come with one.”

          My friend really wanted a 2015 Challenger with a manual transmission, but as you probably know, you only get the manual in the 5.7L HEMI and higher, and not the 3.6L Pentastar V6. So even though he didn’t want to buy a V8, he ended up getting an R/T. The good news is that he and his wife love it.

          I personally don’t know how they can see around the C-pillar. That was the deal-breaker for me when I (very briefly) considered one…

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          Charger should have one (V6 and Hemi) and Challenger should with the V6. The Charger because my Lincoln LS is rusting and needs to be replaced and I want another sedan with a MT.

      • 0 avatar

        Other reasons were mentioned by B&B. Many modern manual gearboxes are too poor. Jeep Wrangler has one of the worst: not only it offers “agricultural” shifts (to borrow froom ex-EIC(PT) Mr. Baruth), but its reliability is poor and may be worse than its automatic counterpart if you consider the leaks in the clutch’s hydraulics. The excessively short final gears are commonly found, even on 6sp.

        Finally, I once had ACL torn and it was a huge blessing not needing to deal with the clutch.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        @hreardon: There are a lot of reasons why they’re dying: traffic congestion, a focus on infotainment over driving engagement, fuel economy, pricing parity, continual improvements such as dual clutch, 8 speed torque converters, etc.

        If I were to rank the reasons by percentage, the breakdown would be:

        A focus on (distracted-driver-inducing) infotainment over driving engagement – 80%
        All other reasons – 20%

        As far as the 8+ speed transmission is concerned, the computer and software probably cost as much as the rest of the transmission components combined. Just more things to break.

        No thanks. I’ll stick with the simplicity of manual transmissions.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Mainstream performance/sports cars will be the last stronghold of the manual.

    Focus ST/RS, Fiesta ST, GTI, Miata, BRZ/FR-S, Mustang, Camaro, Civic Si, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy

      Came here to post exactly this. I was thinking today on the way to work how good the manual in the ST is. Easy to modulate clutch, direct and crisp movements while shifting, and overall easy to drive in every day traffic.

      PS – A configurator came online today for the RS (it’s now down). Prices start (purportedly) at 35,870.00. YES YES YES

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I saw that. I am pleasantly surprised at with the pricing. I thought it would start closer to $40K based on the limited production. $42K on the top end isn’t bad based on the fact that it will come with tires that go for $500/each.

        • 0 avatar
          Timothy

          I’m still not really sure how LIMITED limited really means. ST was supposedly limited as well but that it never was.

          Either way, I’ve started my special new car fund as of today!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’ll be built on demand. So if there is strong demand, it won’t be that limited. The 2016 Mustang GT350 and GT350R are the same way. If you want one, you can get one.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      Agreed, but you have to figure that as everyone else goes AT there will be a family sedan or two that will still make money with an MT, just because the relatively limited pool of buyers won’t have other options. So I can see an Accord and Mazda 6 keeping MTs for a while, hopefully anyway.

      Similarly, we might see more things like the new WRX STI “wingless trunk” option for older drivers who want performance and MT but don’t want to the full “look”.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I saw a fine looking 6 speed shifter when viewing the interior of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, which warmed my heart considerably. Screw BMW, theyre too compromised nowadays anyway. The Giulia is so good looking, sounds so good, I think its my #1 “dream car” (as far as new cars go) and the fact that it sports a proper manual makes it all the better.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    The biggest disappointment in my M5 has been the manual transmission, as its far less precise than the one I had in my 3rd gen TL. Aftermarket parts abound to improve the E39’s shift action somewhat, but at this price point I don’t know why it can’t be right from the factory.

    Maybe it’s not possible to get that Honda/Mazda feel with a 350+ lb-ft V8. I don’t know, but if not, I get why the take rate is so low in the current M5s and whatnot.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Very few manual transmissions feel as precise as Honda six-speeds. The very best one I’ve ever driven was the one in my first-gen TSX. BMW’s and VW’s are generally good, but can’t compare to the six-speed Honda box. (I also had a five-speed Civic, and that one wasn’t as good.)

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Change the shift knob to the “zhp” version. PN 25117896886. Realoem suggests BMW has heavy versions of the wood knobs as well, though I’m not sure if those are available in the US.

      The heavy knob and shorter height did wonders for the shift feel in my E39 540 and my E46 330. I lost interest in short shift kits after replacing the knob.

      The factory shifter was definitely a questionable decision though. Combine it with the ridiculous steering wheel that came on pre-99s and it felt like driving a truck, at least compared to the E46.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        Burgers, good call. Maybe the throws are so long to make the shift action feel less notchy, but it does feel like rowing gears on a truck with a floor shifter.

        I bought a ZHP shift knob on ebay that some guy wired for lighting and put it on an e60 545i shifter to shorten the throws as well. It helps a little. Nowadays I’m told the stock F10 M5 shifter is basically the same thing. The only thing left to do is pony up for UUC’s short-shift kit

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i’m not sure how FWD manuals work out logistically… I mean in the RWD world, its well known they buy manuals from Tremec and Getrag (mainly).

    May be a few from Aisin? BW?

    The Tremec T56 and its decendents will always be around. Moreso since they are so common and been around for 20 yrs so there’s piles at the wreckers. If you want your 1960s muscle car to have a new transmission, perhaps to match its transplanted GM V8, then new T56s are available.

    Will people still clamour for the Chinese made Getrag MT82? Or are the made of chinese cheese?

  • avatar

    My wife and I have always driven manual transmissions. In 2005, we went to a bit of trouble to buy an Acura TL with the 6MT. If you said, at the time, that you wanted a family car with a manual transmission, you didn’t exactly have many choices. Sure enough, it provided nine years of high-quality snickety-snick shifting (and the occasional baby vomit containment) until we sold it back in December and got a Tesla. The Tesla, of course, only has one gear, so there really isn’t much need for a clutch pedal.

    In 2008, we bought an Audi A3 3.2, with the DSG dual-clutch thing. Yes, if you flip it into “manual” mode and do the whole flappy paddle thing, it shifts really fast and it’s a joy to drive, but that’s not how you actually drive every day. You leave it in automatic while you’re just grumbling through traffic, since it’s pretty smart about trying to maximize its frankly awful gas mileage, but then you’ll need to stomp your foot down for whatever reason and there’s just that lag while it’s thinking about whether or not to shift.

    When it comes time to hang it up with the A3, we’ll almost certainly get three pedals on the floor. There’s something nice about being forced to keep your brain engaged with what gear you’re in, and the mileage penalty for a manual vs. an automatic, such as it is, isn’t big enough to make much of a difference. I just hope that whatever sort of car we ultimately want to get is available with a proper manual transmission. The way things are going, it might not be.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      It was still good in 2005. In that year you could still get, just off the top of my head:

      Maxima
      Altima SE-R (still in high demand, they get snapped up quickly)
      Mazda 6
      G35
      Accord V6 sedan (!)
      TSX
      Lexus IS300 (also very in-demand)

      I’m sure there were plenty more. I think the well really began to dry up for sedans around 2007-2008 and it’s only gotten worse from there.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Until this year, the Fusion was available with quite a good one, a 5-speed until 2010 and a 6-speed since. We bought a nicely equipped 2013 SE 1.6T recently and the shifter is better than the last BMW I drove, on par with the Accord that it replaced. And I love the absurdity of the park assist coupled with the manual transmission.

  • avatar
    Andy

    I’m sure this is a repeat, but the manual in the Honda Accord is definitely worth saving. Accord Sport 6MT is perfect for parents who need decent mpg and a big back seat and trunk, but still have a pulse.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      The Accord Sport MT is on my short list when it comes time to replace my ’07 Civic SI in the next couple of years. Honda MTs are good. I’d gladly get another SI if the new model looks good, but I really do need something a little bigger for my growing kids, sports, etc..

      I’d love a larger MT car with AWD, but that doesn’t really exist anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      oh yes, that’s another good one.

      you could almost say it’s a Civic Si for grown-ups.

  • avatar
    omer333

    the 6-speed in the Civic Si is an absolute joy, it’s the only i’ve had that came with a manual, and in light of my issues with my Dart, I miss that car even more.

    and you cannot go wrong with the 6-speed that’s in Mazdas these days.

    after a lot of thought, despite my wife not having any idea on how to drive a manual-transmission, my next car is going to have a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    darex

    MINIs should not even be sold equipped with auto transmissions. Fortunately, every MINI variant and equipment package can be had as a manual.

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    Another vote for Mazda’s. Three years ago I test drove about anything reasonably practical I could find with a manual transmission and wound up buying a new Mazda 3. It was the least expensive car I test drove and one of my favorites (along with a BMW 328i). I think that would be a much different car without the manual. But as mentioned, the gearing is very tall.

    Another great manual was in the 1st gen Acura TSX. I’m not sure if Honda/Acura’s is still as good, as I couldn’t find a new car with a manual to test drive.

    As for BMW, I think the shift from manuals to automatics has more to do with who is buying the cars, as the brand’s enthusiast focus/appeal has not been nearly as prevalent for some time now, even with the M series. They’re now mainly just “aspirational vehicles.”

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is it just me, or have that generation of BMW interiors not aged well? That’s about what, 1998-2000?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Very few interiors from that time frame, from any make, have aged well. There was a lot of refinement in interiors, even cheap ones, in the mid-2000s.

      One of my neighbors has a ’96 Eldorado Touring Coupe. It’s amazing how today that interior looks no better than the one in a Cavalier. At the time, it was viewed as “not bad for a domestic.”

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m gonna give a nod to Audi here. I think their late 90’s interiors were just fine, have aged well, and were excellent in materials as well.

        http://s1.cdn.autoevolution.com/images/gallery/AUDIA6-1537_6.jpg

        And compare the A6 to the E-Class interior, blech.
        http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2011/07/28/22/40/1998_mercedes-benz_e-class_4_dr_e320_sedan-pic-5285663232102547543.jpeg

        The 5-Series was kinda all over the place.
        http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/48492129.jpg

        The GS looks old too, though I will say the new steering wheel in 2000+, and optional nav helped the look a bit.
        http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachments/lexus-vehicles-classifieds/112002d1190989821-fs-1999-lexus-gs-300-show-car-custom-paint-union-nj-interior.jpg

        The RL aged alright, I think.
        http://images.gtcarlot.com/customgallery/interior/40724694.jpg

        Infiniti was in a weird place there, with no real A6/5 direct competitor. But the Q45 looks okay, simple enough. The shift gate area betrays it’s age.
        http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2013/04/07/22/33/1999_infiniti_q45_4_dr_touring_sedan-pic-7191418537371095145.jpeg

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Looking at all six of those pictures my eye is immediately drawn to the black plastic switchgear on the center stack. That was the way it was done then, but it just aged really poorly.

          In an example I’m more familiar with lately, compare a 2006 LS430…

          http://www.clublexus.com/forums/attachments/ls-3rd-gen-2001-2006/108510d1185042998-ls430-looking-for-black-wood-trim-ecruls.jpg

          …with a 2007 LS460…

          http://photos4.automanager.com/006468/c65908bb3d304e9eb88ce28ff782a38b/fe88c8265c_640.jpg

          …with a 2013 LS460.

          http://www.tflcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/lexus-ls-460-interior-E12-285_1024x576.jpg

          Each one shows a huge jump in the appearance of the center-stack switchgear (and screen), compared with the last. Improvement in that area has been very quick, and it’s an area that’s super-visible.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Audi is still doing black plastic buttons!

            http://blog.bramanaudi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2013-Audi-A6-interior-view.jpg

            I can see the theme of integration though. The buttons are increasingly “together” and touching one another in a more seamless nature, versus the individual or “clustered” nature of previous.

            I’m going to give Audi a nod on continuity as well. They have kept their general shape and button layout the same, vertical. Lexus has switched to horizontal from vertical.

            Edit: Volvo loses for late 90s luxury interior appearance. Gross.
            http://images.gtcarlot.com/customgallery/interior/67178615.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Corey-

          Audi has just evolved over time. Everything is still very familiar. I remember when I bought my MKV GLI; it strongly reminded me of my Audi 5000.

          GLI:

          http://image.motortrend.com/f/10785315+w750/112_0808_08z+2008_volkswagen_GTI+interior.jpg

          5000:

          http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–hbIql7Gx–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/18g9precz5hazjpg.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I bet that was warm feels wasn’t it.

            And I’ll never forget what the 5000 interior was like, as my first ride!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It was warm feels! Independently from me, my dad thought the exact same thing.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    RWD cars with manuals have inherently better shifting than any FWD manual, due to the lack of goofy linkages FWD cars need.

    (Of course, I’m referring to RWD cars with front engines, since mid- and rear-engine RWD cars also have goofy linkages.)

    That having been said, I’m about to pick up a screaming deal on a ’90 Integra 5-speed, just to see what it feels like.

    • 0 avatar

      This is factually incorrect. Most RWD cars shift through the same 2 linkage cables as FWD cars, so there’s no difference at all. If you look under the car, you’ll see that the transmission is not located where you think it is.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Que?

        Most recent RWD cars I’m familiar with have the shift rails directly linked to the shifter base.

        http://world.honda.com/S2000/technology/image/bring4_01.gif

        https://kaizenfactor.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/toyobaru-manual-transmission.gif

        http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/Mzc1WDUwMA==/z/GIoAAOxy4YdTVhY-/$_3.JPG?set_id=2

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’ve driven a lot of manual RWD cars, and the best two manuals I’ve ever driven were both 6-speed FWD Hondas. So I’m going to call this one incorrect.

  • avatar
    Andy

    On the truck theme, I recently got a new Tacoma. I was thinking I’d prefer a stick. Cheaper, better MPG maybe, and while I don’t plan any off-roading, I understand why they are good for that. Mostly, I just wanted a basic, old school, grandpappy’s farm truck kind of experience. They were very rare, and as I test drove the automatic, it occurred to me that it actually suited the character of the vehicle. It’s just a 2wd suburban commuter / mulch-and-camping gear hauler. It rides well “for a truck”, but a MT would not exactly make it fun. For what it is and what I use it for, the AT is actually kind of nice as you’re moseying around.

    However, now and then it gets a little confused. Exit the freeway, coast to 40 mph, and then get back on the throttle and it seems unsure of what gear to be in. Not bad enough to hate it, but it does make me miss having complete control at all times.

    All that said, they definitely should, and probably will, continue offering MT for the Wrangler and Tacoma. There are some very enthusiastic owners who are willing to spend lots and lots of money.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Pickup trucks of all ilks should be available with manual trans lest we forget their original utilitarian purpose.

    Anything purporting to be a “sports car” like a Miata should keep the manual as well.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Whatever merits gained from a manual are lost when you consider the “baggage” they carry, the extra work they require in the city, and the fact that modern automatics are superior.

    Then you have the rabid fanbase, always willing to say “A stick shift keeps you from getting bored behind the wheel”, “A stick shift prevents texting and driving”, “A stick shift could’ve saved Jesus”, all the while doing 20 in a 40 zone with their 4 cylinder at its rev-limit.

    To me the death of the manual just means better drivers. Save it for base model Miatas that no one will ever buy, and maybe base trucks that only interest fleets.

    My very first car was a stick-shift, drove it and several other manuals over the years. Save it for off-roading or the race track where that extra engine-braking can be handy. It is nothing but a chore on the streets.

    btw It seems that Doug-bots gotten a new name.

    • 0 avatar
      tbp0701

      A while ago I severely broke my left leg and ankle and had to drive an auto for a few years. I was glad when I finally healed enough to go back to a manual. I know that they’re no longer more fuel efficient, nor less expensive, etc., but to me they’re just more engaging and fun. And I definitely don’t believe automatics make for better drivers. Oh, and my daily commute is 42 miles each way, from a rural area to downtown streets.

      However, I understand that many people prefer and do better with an automatic and are perfectly fine without ever feeling a need for a clutch. I don’t decide that there’s something wrong with these people nor categorize them as inferior, rabid or whatever other terms people such as you–at least right now–tend to use when generalizing those who hold a different viewpoint.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        At tpb: If you prefer manuals have at it, dont let my generalizations get in the way.

        gte: A manual would do squat for my 240s performance, maybe better mpg, but theres not much you can do to make a brick quick without some serious mods.

        Imo I will say that older 1 litre Civics almost NEED manuals to be drivable, that goes for other little cars of that time too.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      What baggage is that? Why are they going 20 in a 40 at rev-limit? How will drivers improve with auto-only transmissions? When in the last 20 years has a fleet operator bought a truck with a manual?

      As far as “just a chore on the streets” I will point to your earlier caricature of the manual driver: “keeps you from getting bored.” My Civic would otherwise be a major snoozefest (one could argue it is anyways) but I have fun on a daily basis winding it out a bit coming off on ramps, downshifting smoothly going into them, having a bit of fun at the light with a fart-can equipped Sonic (up to the speed limit). All of these minor shenanigans and I still got 37 mpg on the tank.

      Your Volvo 240 would benefit greatly from the somewhat rare manual transmissions they were available with. Would probably pick up 2-3 mpg and help acceleration out a lot.

  • avatar
    mjal

    The VW/Audi 6spd manual is a pretty nice transmission. I drove a Mazda6 manual and it isn’t bad, but I didn’t find it as slick as the VW unit. The Miata transmission is a different story.

  • avatar
    segfault

    The 5-series (I think, a 540i, due to the 6-speed manual) in the picture does not have the sport package (no thigh extensions on the seat is the telltale). A lot of enthusiasts would argue it is not worth saving for that reason.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I’ll lend a new perspective here. I’m not a sports car guy. I’m more of a mainstream consumer than a “Jalop”.

    I have a Subaru Outback in my stable with an automatic. Rode in a friend’s recently. Same car, same year, but with a manual. Not a fun experience. It was just not as smooth, not a pleasant experience. The constant jerking was annoying as heck. If I had to deal with that everyday, it would probably make me carsick.

    The market has spoken in favor of smoothness. Sure, a few bastions of the manual will remain in stuff (old man specials) like the Corvette, Miata, 911, etc. But in 50 years, most of the generation that knows how to drive manuals will have died out or hung up their keys. The vast majority of kids today in don’t know how to drive a stick and there is no real benefit for them to learn.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      It sounds like your friend needs a little more practice driving one. Honestly, once someone gets used to the gear ratios and is comfortable in traffic, a manual can be driven just as smoothly as an automatic–maybe even smoother.

      My Ranger has a manual (def not a sports car) and while I have driven both manual and automatic versions of this truck, I can rest a cup of coffee on the dash without spillage in my 5-speed.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    They’re all worth saving. To hell with automatics. I’d have a manual in my Nissan Quest soccer-mom-mobile if I could. The advantages to rowing your own gears extends beyond mere performance. Fuel mileage, wear and tear, and even driver alertness are all better in a manual-equipped car.

    The only scenario where a automatic is preferred is if I spent more than 20 min a day sitting in gridlock. I don’t, so my next dd vehicle (f-150) will have a manual.

    I sincerely believe that if more people actually learned how to drive one, manuals would be widely preferred over automatics. My kids will both learn how to drive on one–guaranteed.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      When is the last time Ford offered a manual transmission in an F-150?

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “I sincerely believe that if more people actually learned how to drive one, manuals would be widely preferred over automatics.”

      That’s assuming everyone is just like you – which they’re not.

      This misguided notion that MTs are going away purely (or even mostly) because people aren’t learning how to shift them is getting tiresome.
      I have owned and driven various cars and trucks with MTs over 3 decades of driving (still own a MT Wrangler which I love), but when I test drove my DSG Golf I was sold. I was leaning toward the dual clutch auto for numerous reasons, and for me it’s all upside with no disadvantages whatsoever. In terms of driving enjoyment, I promise you being able to keep both hands on the wheel on twisty mountain roads makes for some engaging and wicked-fun driving, and I will leave a comparable MT car well behind in the process.

      I seriously doubt that I am some sort of unicorn, there are probably plenty of other MT-able drivers making similar choices for a variety of reasons.

      Drive, and enjoy, whatever you like – but don’t kid yourself that you somehow know something that the rest of us don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        e30gator

        “This misguided notion that MTs are going away purely (or even mostly) because people aren’t learning how to shift them is getting tiresome.”

        It’s pure numbers. I learned how to drive a stick back in the 80’s on my mom’s Nissan Sentra. Back then, virtually any car that wasn’t a geriatric tankmobile was offered with a manual, so learning to drive one was a necessity for a lot of us because that’s what was parked in our driveways. Fast-forward 25 years and the number of manuals on the road has dwindled to virtually nothing. Thus like I said, most newbie drivers will never learn how to drive one and will never be exposed to the benefits.

        If you go back and reread what I said, I mentioned that there is a place for automatics-for me. But as evidenced by multiple parking valets and dealership porters that I’ve encountered over the past few years, most people do not know how to drive them and never will, and that’s a shame.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          “Thus like I said, most newbie drivers will never learn how to drive one and will never be exposed to the benefits.”

          That’s the problem with your view – modern ATs have all but eliminated any objective “benefits” that MTs once had over autos in an overwhelming majority of driving conditions. The “benefits” for you are mostly subjective at this point – you simply enjoy shifting gears and working a manual clutch. Which is fine. But as I said, not everyone shares your passion for that – regardless of whether they ever learned to drive manual or not.

          CD/DVD players and laptop computers are dying out as well – but it’s not because younger people don’t know how to operate them.

  • avatar
    glwillia

    I think for the foreseeable future manuals will continue to exist in cheap, fun, relatively no-frills sports cars (MX-5, Toyobaru twins, etc). Those cars don’t sell on how quick they are, but how fun they are at a low price, so we’ll continue to have the traditional 3-pedal manual transmission, manual soft top, etc. Traditional manuals are doomed in the high-end sports car range (M3/M4, Audi RS, etc).

    As for BMW, I drive a manual E46 and I don’t think BMW’s stock manual feel is that great (a short shift kit and deleting the clutch delay valve liven things up considerably). I drove a 228i 6-speed and the manual feel is much improved, but then not as much as “their” (actually ZF’s) automatics have.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Ill take an unprecise, clunky, rubbery terrible manual trans over similarly terrible automatic and especially over any CVT.

    I have driven some pretty cheap cars with manuals, like Ford Aspire/Festiva for example, and I wouldnt trade them for the automatics avalible in those cars. For that reason, I dont get the point of the rant in this article.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      I hear you. I had an old Isuzu Trooper with a stick and I loved it. I had a Datsun 210 with what had to be a 40HP engine and a stick coming up out of the floor and I loved it. I just enjoy driving a stick and would take a rubbery one with a cranky clutch pedal over a DSG. There have been a lot of comments about how MTs don’t make sense with so many great ATs and DSGs out there. That’s not the point. I just find the process of shifting an enjoyable and integral part of driving. Of course, some are better than others….

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Agreed 100%!
        I had a 86 Trooper 2-door with a manual and loved it.
        I want a ’70s B210 or 200SX, and please believe, it will have a manual.

        My 1990 Festiva 5 speed was fun to drive, I can imagine that an automatic wouldve turned it into a penalty box. I drove a Chevy Metro sedan and a Toyota Echo with automatics when they were new (or newish in the case of the Metro). They were AWFUL. No way could I own either. I hated the Echo’s interior anyway with the center gauge pod. Ive owned several Ford Tempos and they are pretty decent with a manual (most were auto, couple were 5spds), same with Escorts, Contours, etc. Having an automatic in them makes them pretty boring and uninspiring.

  • avatar
    motoridersd

    The 6 speed manual in my E91 is not as crisp as the one in my ex’s Civic Si, or my Mazda 3, but it is a little better than the 6 speed in my previous Legacy Spec.B (that one though, was due to me being lazy and never putting in a short throw.)

    I would definitely save the Ford manuals (STs and Mustang GTs), the Mazdas (the 6 needs a 6 speed manual in the Grand Touring trim), the one in the Corvette and Honda’s, but I’d also keep the STi and WRXs as a manual, but they need a hatch!

    If the manual in the CTS-V and ATS-V is the same as the Corvette, then those definitely need to stick around.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Didnt the Chevy Cobalt’s manual come from Getrag?

    I drove a Getrag-equipped Olds Alero and I liked it. In fact, Id love to find one in a coupe bodystyle with the Quad 4 (or Twin Cam as it was known by then).

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  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber