Another Manual Transmission Bites The Dust, Mazda Kills Popular CX-5's Unpopular DIY Shifter

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
another manual transmission bites the dust mazda kills popular cx 5 s unpopular diy

Mazda, heretofore an avid provider of manual transmissions, is killing off the manual transmission in the brand’s most popular product, the CX-5.

CarsDirect’s pricing analysts informed TTAC of the CX-5’s exclusively two-pedal future, having received confirmation from Mazda.

Few consumers were taking Mazda up on the company’s offer of an entry-level CX-5 with a manual transmission, so while the CX-5’s advertised base price shoots up by $2,290 with the loss of the standard shift, the typical transaction price for the typical CX-5 buyer won’t change.

CarsDirect says the CX-5’s manual transmission will continue to be offered north and south of the border. But for American consumers in search of a manual shift crossover, where are they to turn?

Even with all-wheel drive, the Jeep Renegade, Compass, Wrangler, and discontinued Patriot; Mini Countryman; and Subaru’s Crosstrek and Forester can all be equipped with manual transmissions.

Front-wheel drive versions of the Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and Nissan Juke are available with manual shifters, as well.

But at Mazda? The CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 are now automatic-only utility vehicles.


Manual transmission availability continues across Mazda USA’s passenger car range, although the death of the Mazda 5 took the manual minivan with it.

The MX-5 Miata, naturally, can be had with a manual transmission in any trim level.

The Mazda 6 allows manual selection in Sport and Touring trims, albeit not the top Grand Touring variant.

Manual shifters are standard in all three Mazda 3 sedan trims and in three of four Mazda 3 5-door trims.

And you can actually get your hands on such cars. 10 percent of the Mazda 3s in stock are manuals, as are 5 percent of the Mazda 6s and nearly two-thirds of all MX-5s.


The CX-5 won’t require a manual transmission to succeed, however. Fewer than 1 in 20 CX-5s sold in America to date were fitted with manuals.

A huge success for Mazda around the world, the CX-5 currently accounts for more than one-third of Mazda’s U.S. volume. Growth has been steady, with CX-5 volume expanding annually in four consecutive years, surging 41 percent between 2013 and 2016.

On a monthly basis, the CX-5’s rate of improvement has been remarkably consistent. In 40 of 49 months, year-over-year CX-5 volume has increased. The 31st-best-selling SUV/crossover in America in 2012, the CX-5 moved up nine positions in 2013 and ranked 19th overall in the last three years, holding steady in old age.


Up until now, the CX-5 could only be linked to a manual transmission with front-wheel drive. Refreshed for the 2017 model year, the CX-5 will be also be available later this year with a diesel powerplant. Mazda has not confirmed one way or the other, but the automaker has no plans to offer the diesel with a manual transmission.

Meanwhile, shows that CX-5 buyers who want a manual transmission still have a chance. There are 130 new manual-shift CX-5s on dealer lots, all priced between $20,600-24,500. Get’em while you can.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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2 of 47 comments
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 10, 2017

    With Mazda's US sales stagnating and market share dropping, they're likely trying to trim waste anywhere they can. Selling 5000 manual CX-5s a year becomes an inventory and service headache. Dropping the stick option is probably a wash for the bottom line.

  • Mikedt Mikedt on Mar 10, 2017

    I bought a CX5 and would have gladly bought it with the manual transmission if they had offered it any anything but the base model. I would have had to give up too many things I did want to get the manual.

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