By on October 3, 2017

gearshift stick shift manual transmission

A telling conversation took place last week. A longtime friend, who’s now more gainfully employed than in years past and owns a current-generation Nissan Rogue, texted me about the 2018 Nissan Qashqai — known as the Rogue Sport south of the border.

As he rarely uses his Rogue for cargo or passenger-hauling duties, the reduction in volume isn’t a concern. My friend wants more content for the same price as his larger vehicle. I informed him that, unlike in America, he could choose a Qashqai/Rogue Sport with a manual transmission, provided he’s willing to live with whatever Nissan Canada’s base trim amounts to.

“No way,” he told me. “I like features. I’ll never bother with standard transmissions again.”

This is coming from a guy who for years drove a base Volkswagen Fox, followed by a base GMC Sonoma, each equipped with a three-pedal setup. Granted, no one looked towards the Fox or Sonoma for spirited driving. Still, it seems age and income has done its work — no longer is my friend interested in anything but enjoying a lifestyle of convenience.

Are you the same way?

It certainly seems the vast, vast majority of the American driving public is. Manual transmissions are vanishing from model lineups like canned food from store shelves ahead of a hurricane. Even dedicated sports car makers are siding with the bevy of multi-cog automatics, dual-clutch trannies and, on the more mundane front, CVTs.

And yet, the stick shift persists, disappearing from one model here and popping up in something like the Nissan Qashqai. It’s not likely you’ll see a fuel economy reward anymore — the longstanding benefit from the era of three- and four-speed slushboxes just isn’t likely in a world of nine- and 10-speed automatics. Are three pedals cheaper to maintain than that fancy new autobox? Who’s to say? Does it matter when you’ll only own it for three years?

It seems that, outside of a true sports car, or perhaps a vehicle unduly sedated by its efficiency-minded automatic or CVT, manual transmissions serve little purpose to a cargo- and feature-obsessed buying public.

So, keeping my Nissan-loving friend in mind, I ask you this: what would it take to get you, and others just like you, into a manual-transmission vehicle again?

There’s a good chance cost factors into the answer. Maybe you’re thinking of a stripper, one class size above your price range, with a shockingly low MSRP. Or maybe a decently optioned-out model served up at a lower price point thanks to that third pedal? Tell us the recipe you’d find irresistible.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

273 Comments on “QOTD: What Needs to Happen to Lure You Back Into a Manual Transmission?...”


  • avatar
    brettc

    I like the idea of a manual, but I also like the convenience of driving an automatic. Seems every manual trim new vehicle I look at is missing something. I like heated seats, for example.

    On the Elantra GT, you have to go to a trim that doesn’t allow a manual to get heated seats. You can get heated seats with a 5 speed manual with a Golf Wolfsburg, but to get a Golf wagon with them, you have to move to the SE trim which is automatic only, or else choose a 4Motion version to get a manual with heated seats.

    So allowing a cold weather package in all manual trim cars would be great in my opinion, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Same thing with lighting packages. The fancy head/tail lights are generally always reserved for the top trims that don’t offer a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Kia has same Elantra GT with manual and all the goodies. Mazda has manuals with goodies. Chevy Cruze? Civic SI/Type R?

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I tried SO HARD to buy a mazda with a manual and the goodies, but they wouldn’t sell it. I tried to import a Mazda 6 GT from canada and they wouldn’t let me :( I even write to corporate, and all they said is “we’ll tell our product planners you want it” URGH. So I said “Screw you Mazda” and bought something else.

        • 0 avatar
          ...m...

          …fortunately, mazda let me order a top-trim 2 with a standard transmission directly from hiroshima, albeit with a bit of a wait for them to manufacture and ship it overseas, but i mightn’t have been so fortunate with a larger model…

          …i will not consider an internal combustion engine without a stick-and-clutch, full stop, so any manufacturer unwilling to cater to me loses my business…

        • 0 avatar
          stuart

          I wanted a Mazda 6 GT with radar cruise control, lane-departure warnings, and *good* headlights, with a clutch. Alas, Mazda doesn’t sell that combination.

          However, Mazda will sell you a 3 GT with those options. I bought one.

          • 0 avatar
            KevinC

            @stuart – We did the same. When my girl sold her ’15 TDI back to VW, the Mazda3 was the only option that ticked all her boxes – manual, xenon or LED headlights, upgraded tunes, and all the other top spec standard features. She ordered in November, delivery this past February. While she was signing the paperwork, a manager dropped by where I was waiting and said “that’s quite a unicorn she’s got there”. Yes, it really is.

            To the original question – I’ve been driving for 44 years now, owned about 25 cars, and.. every single one of them a manual. At this point I wouldn’t mind driving an auto, as long as I have another car that’s a stick as well. That will probably happen in the next year or two. But to this point, I’ve never strayed.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      This is a great point. I very much want ventilated seats in my next car, but the new Honda Accord Sport MT only comes with heated seats.

      • 0 avatar

        Counterpoint:

        Those who say they love manuals but bail on their selected vehicle because the manual doesn’t come with xx luxury option are not actual manual fans.

        They’re just finding things to b*tch about.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          To a certain extent, I think this might be correct. In my case, I sacrificed some features to get the manual transmission on my Toyota Tacoma and my Mazda 6. But, it sure would be nice to have a higher level trim along with the manual transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            What have you sacrificed in Mazda6?

          • 0 avatar
            Funky

            In the Mazda, no heated seats, no high-end stereo, no power seats, no sunroof, no leather seats, no auto-leveling high-end headlights. Mostly, it would have been nice to have the upgraded headlights, a higher-end stereo and heated seats. I don’t need or necessarily desire leather seats, power seats, or a sunroof. The one very impressive item that came with the car was the city safety braking system. I was very happy this came along with the manual transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            Funky

            I misspoke in regard the the power seats. The Touring does have a power driver’s but not a power passenger seat. But, frankly, as I mentioned, I can do without a power seat, anyhow.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Funky,

            I think, Touring is pretty loaded. Now, I like cloth seats, period. This is why I don’t even look beyond Sport in this case. To me power seat is more of a costly hustle than anything else. I can adjust manual seat times faster than power seat. One item however is important – lumbar support. And Mazda6 has it in base model unlike other makes. To me, blue tooth, variable intermittent wipers, lumbar support, supportive seats – this is all I need in the car. I can turn AC handle, adjust seat, look over the shoulder during merge, brake myself. Why do I buy manual T car if I get all the nannies? The whole fun of driving is doing it myself.

        • 0 avatar
          ...m...

          …if model A is only available as a stripper while model B is fully-appointed, that changes the metric by which i compare said models even if i’d clearly prefer model A at equal trim: that’s not bitching, that’s comparison shopping…

          • 0 avatar

            My argument was not base vs. fully loaded.

            When someone is picking out a *single* feature as their reason, they don’t actually want a manual.

            EX. “I can’t get ventilated seats, only heated.”

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            @Corey-

            I have a hard time accepting that as fact.

            I’m a HUGE manual fan. I mean I will pay a massive premium for a manual.

            I bought the Cadillac CTS ST Performance because I needed a sedan, wanted luxury features, and paid a premium to get that car. Unfortunately it was discontinued in 2010.

            So I then combed the entire country, drove half way across it to pick up a Porsche Cayenne 6Spd Manual because having a manual transmission was a key priority.

            That was also discontinued.

            So whats left if you need a larger vehicle?

            I thought about the SS… but I couldn’t handle $50 grand + 14 MPG + maintenance headaches and lack of repair parts.

            Does that all of a sudden make me “no longer a manual fan?” I think thats hogwash.

            I called up and emailed Mazda of North America, tried to work a deal with multiple canadian dealerships (who cant sell a new car to the US by the way no matter how much you beg them due to franchise laws… NOT federal laws), and even tried to hire a broker to work the deal, ALL for a manual transmission in a Mazda 6 GT.

            Thats not being a fan? with what logic?

            And when all else failed and I couldn’t get the car I wanted in a manual, I gave up, bought an Automatic, and then WENT AND BOUGHT A 2nd car that had a manual so I could still drive a manual.

            I don’t think you can be much of a bigger fan than that.

            Why does “being a fan” mean you have to be willing to sacrifice everything thats important to you for one thing?

            Now in my case, your right, it wasn’t “one thing”, but in some cases it could be:
            1. Size- if you have 8 kids, you can’t fit in a Mazda 3 even if you love manuals with all your heart
            2. Cost- Sometimes you can’t pay for the Porsche Cayenne or Cadillac ST performance
            There are “functional” essentials where one thing could come into play.

          • 0 avatar

            The example I gave does not apply to you, obviously. Gotta read what I said ;).

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          There we go. In fact, I ask dealers, show me your base model with manual because I don’t want anything in that car besides variable intermittent wipers and blue tooth.
          The MT models that perfectly fit my needs are
          Elantra Sport base
          Mazda Sport
          Crosstrek Premium

          These cars in my book have everything I need, nothing I don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            I ordered/purchased my Sonata as a manual. Wanted my kids to learn how to drive a stick, for a variety of reasons. Primarily because with a manual their ability to text/etc is dramatically decreased. Also because it helps them learn how to ‘look ahead’ and anticipate traffic and understand the physics of driving.

            Also an additional skill never hurts. Never know when you might get hired by a dealership etc who might need someone who can drive stick.

            The manual came with my all ‘must have’ list (but one). Bluetooth, 4 wheel discs, ABS, ESC, active head restraints, A/C, etc.

            Nobody at the dealership had seen a 3 pedal Sonata of that generation. Had to call head office to find out if it came with a real handbrake. It did, but that deleted the heated seats.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          I love b*itching about things because in rare occasions it helps.

          I also have a gland problem and sweat like a filthy barn animal and realized on a Chevy SS test drive that vented seats are a beautiful thing.

          So yeah, I’m conflicted. Still want the manual. I waited 6 months last time I bought a car for a 3er manual wagon to show up and it did.

          We’ll my patience pay off again?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Audis are fantastic, with great exterior styling (mature, simple yet elegant), fantastic gauges and interior materials and ergonomics, great steering, suspension, chassis rigidity, some decent -to-great motors…

      …but they charge A LOT (especially ala Porsche’s dig the shiv in deep for options trick) for their four rings.

      K miss a stick stuff and clutch and when I move on from the current Mercedes E350, am tempted to get a Golf* 1.8 or GTI, either with the manual transmission, which are really 20% to 30% off Audi A3s.

      Did I mentioning I REALLY MISS a manual gearbox and clutch?

      Slushboxes hold no joy or soul.

      *I really dig the idea of an Audi S4, though, too. It looks great, sounds great, is right-sized for me, and I may be willing to pay the idiotic upcharge for the 4 rings because there’s really not much solid competition in that niche segment.

  • avatar
    mr_mike

    For me, it’s content… My ’01 Alero was the GL4… Leather, Moon roof, power everything, and a 5-speed… Also ran a couple of ’06 Vue’s maxed out on options as well. I’m an anomaly, but I’d gladly take a 5 or 6 speed in our Town and Country or Explorer, but they aren’t to be had. But, the cars I can get manual in today, aren’t what my family needs dictate at this time.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    After today I wont own a manual for the first time since I was 15. I imagine I won’t again until I have a garage and more disposable income.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Today is the day?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The Verano’s finally going away?

      Details!

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      So over the last 8 months we have barely driven the Buick and we have put a ton of miles on the beater, due to the lease mileage cap. But the Accent is showing its age and despite our efforts, the Buick is still in danger of hitting mileage penalties and also needs new winter tires. The OEM rubber is pristine.

      So a couple weeks ago we decided it was time to make something happen. You all know I want a truck, and that will happen just not right now. We needed a decent smaller vehicle we can depend on and pile the miles on. This new car will be our primary with the Accent semi retired. And now, we can truly drive the Accent into the ground knowing our primary driver is set. Once the Accent explodes or disintegrates, then my lady will fully take over the new car and I will buy a used pickup.

      So I actually paid the last few lease payments in a lump sum to affect an early lease return, but I’m very happy I did so. The car was gonna cost extra money anyways if I kept it until April, and I really need a car I can drive without mileage worry. I drive a fair amount. Im actually waiting for the lease return inspector RIGHT NOW!!!

      Now, to answer the question I am sure you all have. Paid cash for a brand new 2017 Mitsubishi RVR (Outlander Sport in the US). SE limited trim. So that means a 2.4L with CVT, selectable AWD with a lock setting, heated cloth seats and the usual basic creature comforts. It fit the bill of an economical vehicle with seats we both liked, with a bit of ground clearance. The thing that really appealed to us was the summer special of a 10 year 160,000 kms warranty.

      I pick it up this afternoon. Its not a glamourous choice but I’m excited.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Congrats. And keep us updated.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Very much an overlooked choice Dave, I really quite admire the Outlander Sport’s general form factor. If there was a AWD+stick combo (relevant to this article, eh?) I’d be mighty tempted for all weather commuter duty.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Yeah, Mitsubishi wasn’t really on my radar at first, but then I thought:
          1) The RVR is a nice squared off little hatch, not egg shaped and ugly like the Trax, Juke, CHR and HRV.
          2) That special offer extended warranty is hard to ignore.
          3) One of the better FWD biased AWD systems.

          So, we went and test drove one, then test drove it for 1.5 hours, then test drove it on the highway for 2 hours, did some negotiating, and I am on my way RIGHT now to get it.

          This car needed to be an auto for both of us to use it, so thats not an issue for me on this one, but I agree they should offer stick shifts on uplevel AWD trims.

          And honestly though, I like that its basic. Its got auto climate control and bluetooth and cruise control, you know, the standard stuff, and most of it is operated with knobs and buttons. Nice and simple.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Reader Review Time, Dave.

        Congrats on unloading the Verano.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Mike, I’d be happy to do a full summary of the hell that was the Verano and a review of my new ride… but I’m totally swamped these days. So, I’ll do my best to do some writing in my relaxing time.

      • 0 avatar

        Congratulations on your Eagle Summit, and please rebadge it.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Hmm, Corey is not impressed.

          • 0 avatar

            Hah, as 2.X 4-cylinder and AWD CVT customer lately, I can’t say much. It sounds like that will suit your needs, and I’m sure the Mitsu dealer is willing to deal. Proven bits underneath as none of it is new, so I think you’ll be alright!

            But I do like Eagle badges and Summit wording. I’ve been thinking about them lately with my Colt Vista and Stanza Prairie writing. And the RVR is/was the Summit.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “buy a used pickup”

        I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

        youtu.be/ARJ8cAGm6JE?t=63

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I really think a Frontier is right sized. I just need to buy aftermarket seats, or get an upholstery shop to re-contour the OEM ones.

          I do love the Sierras but thats problematic for a host of reasons. 1 being size, 2 being I don’t want GM having any more of my money.

          I’d consider buying my brother’s Sierra off of him, which might work cause hes got the wandering eye.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    A bionic ankle.

    I’ve broken my left ankle a couple of times. As I get older it gets awfully cranky in the morning. Prolly autoboxes from here on out.

    • 0 avatar

      This issue or one like it involving my left foot/knee is the only thing I can see forcing me to go automatic in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Andrew717

      This. I came very close to getting a manual in my last car purchase. My best friend (and a High Priest in the Cult of Clutch) stopped me. My left knee is a train wreck. There are days I wouldn’t trust it to do the parking brake in my wife’s car, have to use my right. Huzzah for shiftable automatics.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I drive a stick in my summer car a saab 9-3 ragtop and the only way I drive one full-time if I have a choice would be to move out of metro NY, the traffic makes having a stick a nightmare. One other reason is I am the only one in my house who drives a stick so that factors in also.

  • avatar
    BlindOne

    Just went through this a few months back. It was time to retire my ’03 6 speed Maxima. My req’s were 4 doors, at least 250HP, and a manual.

    It came down to 3 choices – Focus ST, GTI, or WRX. GTI didn’t have enough power and the WRX was $5K more than the ST.

    Grabbed a fully loaded ST3 Focus and I’m very happy with it 4 months in.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      A friend had an MY00 manual till over 200K and a deer took it out. Good luck with your Focus.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      When it came time to retire my ’05 Maxima 6MT this year, I didn’t like the juvenileness of the ST, the price of the WRX, and the slowness (for the price) of the GTI.

      I looked every night, for about 10 weeks, for a ’10-’13 G37 6MT, 4DSC. The only examples that were for sale were ragged out or totaled. Apparently the people smart enough to buy the last fast (non-BMW) 6MT sports sedans are hanging on to them.

      Eventually a 57K mile ’05 Rev-Up G35 sedan popped up. I immediately pounced. It’s not very fast at “298” HP (old SAE ratings), but it’s more than enough to slide around with exuberant stabs of the go pedal. Reving that big ol’ VQ to a shade past 7K before shifting… Simply glorious.

      Nothing new with a stick met my criteria. I’m not brave/stupid enough to buy a slightly-used 335i, or willing to drive a few hundred miles to pick one up, not interested in spending two arms and a leg on a M3.

      I finally have a car as nuts as my old ’02 Maxima 6MT, only trading wheel-chirps-into-third-gear for incredible handling.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatic

        I gave up looking for a decent G35 sedan 6MT and purchased my first automatic (04 Jaguar XJ8). I wanted 4 doors, RWD and MT. The G35, CTS (09 or 10) were on my shopping list. I never a saw a decent 5 series that I thought would work. So the Lincoln may have been my last MT car. I think the Ranger has another 10 years in it, by which time I won’t need a truck.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    I’ve been contemplating my next purchase – and would really like to get a manual.
    But, thinking this would be a car I would hold on to for a long time, I’m not sure I want to/or would be able to drive a manual as I got older. It bothers me to think this way – but getting older/crankier/less limber is something to consider.
    So, for me, there really isn’t a recipe – just reality.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Unless you’re suffering from bad ankles/knees, I don’t get this. The cranky part I definitely understand, but that’s the reason TO get a stick. Angry shifts feel good.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Offer them in vehicles and trim levels that I’m actually interested in buying.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Ding ding…

      However since sales aren’t high enough for it to be profitable for the manufactures to go through the trouble of certifying the engine/manual transmission combo with the EPA – I’m not holding my breath.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        A 6spd Charger (even in Pentastar guise) or a Fusion Sport 6spd would definitely get my attention. Stick shift Lexus RC350 would be fanstastic as well.

      • 0 avatar
        nutbags

        Yep – that is the issue – the EPA testing that cars must pass. Does the transmission really make that big of a difference these days? Or how about we eliminate one countries regulations and go global? Euro regulations are catching up, if not passing the EPA’s.
        Every three years I turn in a lease (current is 2015 Civic Si – replaced a GLI) and each time the search for a decent and fun car with a manual gets harder and harder. I don’t need a ton of features, just give me good seats, a/c, decent radio with bluetooth and I am good to go. The problem is usually the seats – to get the better seats you need to go up the ladder with options and that usually eliminates the manual.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Dodge tried to appease all the various types of manual drivers with the Dart and it bit them hard on the backside.

    Nothing will get people back into manual cars apart from debtors prisons becoming a thing again. Cheap/easy credit has come and gone a couple times in my life, and the people have spoken; they’ll sooner buy automatics they can’t afford and watch them get repossessed than to drive modestly-optioned manual cars that cost $40-60/mo less.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGhost

      Remind me: didn’t the Neon launch with a 3-speed automatic in the mid-90’s? If that didn’t drive people to the manual, nothing will.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        That 3-speed wasn’t kept around as long as Corolla’s 4-speed was/is, and it was/is just as bulletproof as the Toyota’s outdated transmission. The state-of-the-art stuff is fine and all, but sometimes I wonder if making a french bread pizza really does require infrared and convection technologies.

        You’ll know your own personal answer to this question– allow others their own answers.

        Neon’s 3-speed got swapped for a 4-speed in about 2001. I feel like the 3-speed stayed around a year or two after the windows went full-frame in 2000.

        Neons were more comfortable than modern cars, even with the outdated transmission. I still can’t find a car that feels as comfortable to me.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I had the privilege of driving a fleet 07 Grand Caravan a couple years back for a work trip with the 3-speed automatic. It was an absolute dog and made a 3-cyl Fiesta look like a Ferrari. The thing maxed out at 60mph.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Not only that but Toyota offered a Corolla with a 3spd auto in CE and VE trim as I recall, up until 2002 iirc.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            28– you’re in the business. You’ll know 2007 was the end of a very long run for that particular product. Use your noggin/logic and put this into the correct context.

            It’s not like those were retail units– they were SWB work trucks with no rear A/C, no ABS and 4-Cylinder engines.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            iNeon

            I haven’t been formally in the business in a decade, although I maintain ties. When I was in the business, Chryco was not something we frequented outside of JGCs and occasionally Dodge Rams so I was unfamiliar with the legacy production of DaimlerChrysler. While not being surprised I find it interesting even in fleet configuration this transaxle was still into production so late into this century.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        An awful Chrysler 3-speed is the reason I started driving manuals in the first place. I was shopping for a 4-cylinder wrangler, which was unimaginably slow with the auto. Thanks Chrysler!

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          An awful 3-Speed was also the reason I started driving manuals.

          Ford’s 3-Speed automatic took 3 replacements in my first car, a 1987 Taurus. After that, I’ve never trusted an automatic, no matter the gear count.

  • avatar
    VoGhost

    I share cars with my wife often. I had been hoping to get an MT Civic Si or VW GTI, but she says it hurts her back to drive a stick, so that won’t happen. We are looking at a 2 year old BMW i3 instead.

    At this point, the main reason for me to buy a stick would be to keep the rest of the family out of the driver’s seat.

  • avatar
    brakeless

    QOTD: what needs to happen to lure me into an automatic? Chop off one of my legs.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    What will it take me and others like me to get into a MT again? I can only speak for myself as I have noticed, most of the time, that most of the time emotionally, politically, economically; when the crowd is going one way I am going the other for better or worse.

    Two things will get me back into to a manual.
    1. I am currently looking for a C6 Vette 05-09 vintage most likely (price point) with a MT to round out my stable. Prices have come down for these years to a point that for a reasonable amount of $$ you get a lot of fun without a lot of hassle in terms of constant repair etc. Shockingly, my spouse is kinda geeked up for one as well, I think she is looking forward to driving to school (work for her) with a set loud pipes to get her energized in the AM.

    2. In about 3 years my oldest will be obtaining his DL. He and his brother will both start with a MT for a myriad of reasons. 1 Anything I can do to keep their hands busy in hopes of no/less texting while driving, I am in. 2 I seriously doubt any of their friends will know how to drive a clutch so I won’t have to worry about anyone innocently ‘borrowing’ their car. 3 Theft proof, see #2, even the car thieves of today are fairly useless when it comes driving a clutch. Which will be helpful as my oldest will have to leave the keys in the ignition because seemingly his brain is cottage cheese and he can’t remember $h!$, so the best place for him to not lose his key will be to leave in the ignition.
    I should say truck for my boys as I have pretty much advised them they will have a Ford Ranger MT. Millions of them made with lots of parts readily available for cheap and for the most part you can beat on them and they keep going.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I like this idea. I have my first child on the way, and once she is of age I will definitely get her in a kart, on my sim rig, and when she gets her license behind the wheel of something with 3 pedals. I do think it helps to learn how to really drive rather than just mash the pedal and go.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My one caution is that if you live anywhere where it snows (or hell, even rains a lot), a RWD ranger will be quite a handful for a new driver, but will certainly teach them clutch/throttle finesse away from standing stops in the wet.

      • 0 avatar
        ...m...

        …my wife drove a manual ranger for her first ten years, including minnesota winters: she just threw sandbags in the bed and got on with it…

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          And my family used to road trip in an air cooled ZAZ-966 that overheated on hills. What’s your point?

          …I’d highly recommend a FWD car with a stick shift for a beginning driver if snow is a thing…

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            gtemnykh..
            I grew up in the snow and live in an are that gets snow. I am of the belief that a new driver should be in RWD 2×4 pick up of little to no value. They will learn all the driving skills they need for a lifetime in 2 winters, plus it is a helluva lot of fun.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well more power to you my friend, just pray that the spin outs are of no consequence in terms of bodily injury. Rangers are tin cans in a relative sense. But having a reg-cab that they can’t have a bunch of friends in there along for the ride is a definite plus IMO. And like you said, parts are everywhere and dirt cheap. When I went to buy less-rusty bumpers for mine, I had a pick of at least 8-10 trucks in the yard to pull parts off of. As a serial-not-super-common Japanese vehicle owner, it was refreshing.

  • avatar
    NN

    If Alfa Romeo put a manual in the base Giulia they’d sell more, because people willing to throw money at Alfa Romeo are making a decision based on fun, not practicality. That’s how I would take mine when I’m ready for my midlife crisis in a couple years.

    The closest thing I’ll probably find to what I really want would be a Mazda 6 manual. The Accord, being so plentiful, would just not feel “special” enough.

    I would also take a manual in my Ford Transit Connect since it’s such a eurovan anyways, but I’m an anomaly there.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    There is an easy answer to saving the manuals. Make them have an “automatic” mode where you can relax and let the car do it for you if you want. Turning that into reality, maybe not quite as easy.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      not that far off… its really not any more complex than radar cruise control with AEB (where radar controls brake fluid).

      It can’t cost more to automate a manual than it does to make an automatic transmission, so its doable, just no one cares to do it except on automated manual cars.

      • 0 avatar
        OzCop

        Some of you may be too young to remember Chrysler products “Fluid Drive” which came really close to a full manual/automatic as you could get…that was in the late 40s, early 50s…I saw one at a car show not long ago and talked to the owner about it…young guy, and he wasn’t sure exactly how it worked so he just manually shifted it all the time…

  • avatar
    Dan

    A) Build two additional lanes for every lane that there is now, or

    B) Take 2/3 of the existing drivers off the road, or

    C) Some halfway point between A & B.

    But a stick adds nothing but headache to commuting in a traffic jam and a traffic jam is exactly what commuting looks like virtually everywhere that there’s money for new cars.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Bingo. My wife finally gave up on manuals due to her commute. Spending 40 minutes a day shifting between 1st and 2nd zaps all the fun out of driving. Her current automatically has a sport mode which downshifts aggressively. She commented on how cool it was to hear the engine rev up as she slows. So I chimed in with “oh just like a manual” to which she half admitted she missed shifting her self. Well until we merged onto the highway and she could just leave it drive without having to constantly change gears as traffic varied. Thankfully my commute occurs during off hours so I can enjoy my 6 speed. However there are those rare times in which I would love to throw a switch and have an auto with radar cruise that can fully manage the stop and crawl nature of long, senseless traffic jams.

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        Come on. That must not be a bad commute. Here you spend 40 minutes between neutral and 1st. You see the slow part is actually slower than idle in 1st gear. You of course could just ride the clutch to get the right speed (say 3 mph) Anyway constant stop and go is hard on the clutch and knee. Better to ride the brake than the clutch. Brakes are made for that and cheaper than clutches.

        I think current traffic more than anything else spells the demise of the manual.

        I do wonder however with the state modern automatics exactly what a stick brings to the party at this time.

      • 0 avatar
        Eiriksmal

        I haven’t spent enough years in stop-and-go traffic to make me want to give up a stick. Going on 7 years of VQ35 6MT driving and it still doesn’t bore me.

        I’m working on mastering the smoothness of my heel and toe downshifts in my rev-up G35 sedan… The sound never gets old. <3

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I find manuals much preferable in traffic jams. Even the best autos are laggy and imprecise in the unpredictability of bumper to bumper traffic. Mazda/Honda grade manuals and clutches are way above any auto, but even the G56 in a Cummins Ram beats the corresponding automatic.

      Bikes are the solution to traffic jams, though. Why anyone would subject themselves to just sit there and huff smog at zero miles per hour, when they could be doing something more useful with their lives, is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      This ultimately what it boils down to. Most people drive in heavy traffic and driving is a chore. Most people don’t enjoy driving and never have. Manuals were chosen because they were cheaper, performed better, and got better fuel economy. Now that CVTs, 7+ gear autos, and DCTs outperform manuals there is simply little reason for them to exist.

      I still would like to someday learn to drive a manual and own one as a daily but it is hard to justify other than for the novelty.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I can’t argue with anything you said, but at the same time I’m thinking to myself that you just don’t understand since you don’t actual know how to drive a stick. For most drivers, it’s the pleasure and satisfaction that they get out of it, which is on a level that’s just not possible in a car without a clutch pedal. I can’t help but think you would relate if you actually spent and considerable time driving stick.

    • 0 avatar
      devonair

      This comment thread says it all: remove all of the other drivers from the road, and I would happily return to driving stick. Anytime I find an open, windy road (or whenever traffic is light enough to allow for a bit of sane bobbing and weaving) I definitely miss driving stick. But dealing with LA/OC traffic (which can be nearly as bad in the middle of the day as it is during commute hours) pretty much removed “stick” from my car-shopping checklist long ago — at least until I can afford to have a secondary “weekend car”.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I moved to a new office back in February that is the same distance from my house as my old office, but the old one was a straight divided highway for 95% of the trip. Now, it’s mostly a suburb style highway which means street level intersections with traffic lights.
    Traffic is usually pretty thick and never allows for any shenanigans.

    I had already decided I wouldn’t buy a car with more than 300-350hp in the future as having 400hp in my daily commute is utterly worthless. Now, I am questioning the logic of seeking out a manual transmission since I am still a novice using them and I’m getting older and lazier which compounds the fact that my commute is not a rewarding drive no matter what you are in.

    I drove a low mile used Mazda 6 a couple weeks ago and I absolutely hated the manual in it. It was vague and I was never able to get it to engage right. Plus it was the only car I’ve ever had grind a gear. I can safely assume this has a lot to do with the loose nut behind the wheel, and it makes me question if I am going to wind up doing damage and if I should give up and stick with autos.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      That car has a clutch damper– basically an automatic ‘dropping’ of the clutch at a predictable rate– like an automatic turntable arm dropping on a record.

      They make it easier for beginners, but are much harder for the well-practiced to control.

      I’ve been in manuals for all but a year of my driving life (I’m 37, so 20 years of practice on a manual) and still can’t get my current car’s (1.4t Dart 6-Speed) clutch to drop predictably. It can be quite maddening!

      • 0 avatar
        cognoscenti

        Remove the clutch delay valve, if that’s what the dampener you refer to is. Many BMWs have had something like that for years, and some owners simply remove them – there is even a healthy aftermarket for CDV replacements that do not impede the flow of hydraulic fluid!

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    They just have to offer a manual in a decent car that isn’t a stripper. I would have gladly optioned for a manual in our last car had it been available, especially with the V6. I wish our Rogue had it instead of the POS-CVT. I probably would not get one in a full sized SUV like a Suburban.

    ANY sports car should have a manual. I know the Viper would have shaved time off laps during the last trip over to the ring, but who cars if you aren’t racing. If it is a track day or a bit of spirited back road driving it is more fun with a manual. Nearly all driving is more fun with a manual. If I lived in LA I can see the merits of an auto if you deal with gridlock everyday.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I like a big engine that offers effortless power for relaxed wafting. Could not care less about changing the gears myself, in the same way I’m not interested in rolling my windows down manually.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Depends on the car.

    For my current car (’17 Jetta), the manual was definitely the way to go. Matter of fact, it sold me on the car. In objective terms, my car’s no quicker than most of the cars in its’ class, but it sure feels that way. It’s a blast to drive, and the manual saved me a grand or so. Sold!

    A few weeks ago, I tried out a manual and DSG GTI, and if I were buying one, I’d probably go with the DSG model. As much as I love the manual in that car (and the golf ball shifter), the DSG offers better, more easily accessible acceleration.

  • avatar
    TNJed

    Maybe some marketing targeting hipster/DIY/craft/artisanal types might create some interest. Pointing out the control and satisfaction that shifting a manual trans car can provide plus the additional focus and safety that results might generate some interest. There has to be some value in identifying those who feel a bit smug about being able to do something most can’t or won’t. Doing things your own way and all that.

    It might also help if automakers didn’t penalize those who prefer manual transmissions. The 2018 Kia Rio is so disappointing in that regard.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I have not abandoned manual for a minute. I have 3 manual cars and 1 auto. I always had at least 2 manual cars simultaneously. Sometimes 3. Now it is 3 for some time.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    I stopped driving a manual in 2012, not because I stopped liking them, but because I was driving as a courier and needed an automatic to save my ankle.

    Since I have owned four vehicles, two that were for courier work. The last two I considered a manual, but couldn’t find one in my price point, and got a 1998 Camry (had to cheap out on that one) then a 2006 Lancer. I almost pulled the trigger on an Ion with a 5 speed, but there was too much wrong with it for the money they wanted.

    If, when the Lancer is on it’s last legs and I am searching for a car at about $4000 or less, and I find a manual that ticks the few boxes I have (good on gas, decent stereo, cruise control) I will buy it.

    Although I’m closing in on 50… will I want to shift on my own in a few years? Guess I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The main problem is that the German dual-clutch is just so good.

    It will never be as fun as nailing it 1 thru 6 on the on ramp but it can be just as fun in it’s own way…

    Driving and maintaining older cars will keep me in manuals.

    • 0 avatar
      dawooj

      This. Tried out Silvercar over the weekend and really liked the DSG on the A4. If my next prospective purchase has a DSG, I’ll probably get it. If it’s the choice b/w CVT and manual, 3 pedals please.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      They are often faster, too. The DCT version of my E90 M3 is faster, and has seven gears instead of six. No matter – I still spent over a year finding the right one with a manual transmission. Faster is not as important as engagement for me (I know, I’m a dinosaur, apparently).

  • avatar
    random1

    I’m likely done with manuals. The DSG on my GTI is so good, it becomes a “why bother” thing. I use the paddles maybe 50% of the time, the other half in full automatic mode. If it was only offered with slushbox or manual, I’d go manual. But dual-clutch gizmos that shift faster than humanly possible are just great. Especially near NYC, bumper-to-bumper in a manual still sucks, no matter what.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Hell, the ZF8 is good enough to leave manuals for. Doesn’t have the same snappiness in shifts, but it shifts quickly, has great ratios, and is obedient to manual commands.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I imagine my RX-8 will be my last manual. I’d have to move out of a densely populated metropolitan area and not have sciatica to buy another one.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Read “The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler: Journal articles : 1910-1913”

      It will explain that sciatica is one of the common symptoms of psychological condition. May be this is a sign for you to move out from densely populated area. You may subconsciously hating people and that can bring sciatica and other symptoms.

  • avatar

    After 320K with a manual in NYC traffic for work driving, I went to an automatic. When you are in stop and go misery, there is zero upside to a manual.

    Toy car, manual all the way.

    Sit in an hour traffic to go 7 miles, “D” please. Suburban windy roads or open slab, Manual.

    Pretty much if your world mostly flows, manual. If not, “D”.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Yeah, I used to be a manual snob, but now I just prefer them. What changed my mind was the frustration of Neutral-1-2-brake shifting in LA traffic. Completely understandable why people shun manuals in awful 2 lane or congested commuting on freeways.

      But….

      If you live and work in the burbs and only go into the city on occasion, manuals are still a lot of fun. That’s still a lot of people.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Keep them available in the sort of cars I want.

    I just bought a manual 2008 Infiniti G35S. That’s a fully-loaded full-size sedan with 300 horsepower, a stick shift, and the best steering this side of a Lotus.

    Infiniti no longer makes the G35 or anything like it. You can get a Q50, with a nice 400 horsepower engine, but it has either steer-by-wire or an electrically-boosted rack that’s almost dead, and the manual has been gone that whole time.

    This went so badly for Nissan that they brought the old car back! For a year or two you could get a “Q40”, which was the last G37 with a new badge.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agree on the G35/37 – that was a criminally underrated car.

      FYI, the Q40 was never “reintroduced” – it began life as the G25, which was a G37 with a smaller engine and less options, and then was renamed Q40. They sold it alongside the Q50 for a couple of years.

    • 0 avatar

      The take rate is too low to bother. Those manual Q50s would sit on lots withering away, until the dealer could sell it at discount.

      And FWIW, the Q50 RS400 has mandatory steer-by-wire.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        The Q name changes was SO stupid… especially since it occurred a year before the car itself changed. They should have kept the G name for the last year on that platform. My wife has a Q60 coupe and I so badly want to change the badge to reflect what it really is: a 2014 G37

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Corey, I did some searching for an acceptable G35 or IS manual. Every. Single. One. was “madd modded bro”. *sad trombone* I’m so sick of stanced this and tuned that, so many cars just plain ruined. Call me old hat, but I just don’t want anything like that. A set of nice rims, tinted windows and a stereo system is as far as I’m willing to go.

        Yeah, I’m sure I could find newer examples that are still stock, but I already went into why I want to pay cash, and therefore I’m not going to be looking at late 00s unless they’re beat up and worn out. Obviously that’s not what I’m looking for, I already have one high mileage car I gotta keep going, for this car, I want something I can get in and drive without rebuilding everything.

        The TSX I (sorta) fell in love with sold. 80% of those I have found since are also “built” (lowered and with useless “performance” add-ons like fart cannons and the like). Finding one as clean and reasonable as that initial one won’t be impossible, I just gotta travel forever and a day to buy it.

        Since I’m not anywhere close to being ready to buy, I just have to hope the decent ones aren’t all gone when I am. I still wouldn’t mind a clean 97-01 Prelude, and a couple have cropped up, one-owner, unmodified examples. I did look for manual TL and CL examples, they just don’t do it for me.

        Giving up the manual opens up possibilities, however it would cross Honda/Acura products off the list completely. It also means I probably won’t consider any car that could be had with a manual, so that definitely includes the G35.

        If I went that route, I’m thinking of one of those odd-ball first gen Infiniti M45s, the ones based on the JDM Gloria/Cedric. Always liked them. It would certainly be a nice car to go out on the town with, and I most assuredly wouldn’t lose it in the parking lot. I found a few of them, very nice condition, but at (or over) the top of what I want to pay. I can’t argue with the prices too much, the cars are very nice.

        Have you any experience with the early M45? I do not like the following bodystyle nearly as much. Little too derivative of the G.

        I could just go that route and, before or later, pick up a decent 98-02 Accord manual sedan to get my desired stick shift in the fleet.

        • 0 avatar

          I think you’re limiting yourself too much with “I won’t buy an automatic version if a manual was offered on the same car.”

          The manual IS the reason those cars are part of Stance Nation and ruined. If you can find a clean one with an automatic, it’s still got the same looks/engine/interior you like.

          No experience with the M45, but I know that engine can develop oil consumption issues if the oil has not been changed regularly. You’re gonna pay a big penalty in fuel economy with that, and parts may or may not get sketchy. Certainly body repair/trim will be nearly impossible to find. I find that particular interior has aged quite poorly as well – orange gauges and the like. Some of the examples I’ve seen for sale have had trim issues.

          My mind comes again to Lexus since you don’t like the GS, and says look for a tidy IS.

          Overall, I say don’t write off an automatic version of a car you love when it’s got a manual. People with automatics take better care of their cars, and don’t hoon them around and glue parts on them.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Well, the reason to not buy an automatic version of a car that had a manual option is that I’d be filled with regret every time I drove it. I love having a 3 pedal setup so much, I’d be constantly thinking “you should’ve got the manual”. Buying a car that was automatic-only eliminates that.

            Thanks for the info about the 4.5L, I will do my best to make sure its been maintained well, if I decided to go for one. I may feel as you do about it (the dated interior) after I drive one.

            I did find an M50-swapped 318Ti last night, always have liked those hatchbacks. Again, my preference for odd/uncommon cars is at play there.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            *M52 swap https://neworleans.craigslist.org/cto/d/bmw-318ti-with-m52-swap/6312980422.html

            A Prelude contender: https://tampa.craigslist.org/psc/cto/d/1997-honda-prelude-one-owner/6292329119.html
            Weird that he doesn’t list miles, but I’m betting its because there are quite a lot on it. Not a fan of the wheels, I’d swap ’em for some newer Accord alloys, like some on the 2006ish cars don’t look bad to me.

            Btw, found this 1989 Legend coupe 5spd in case anyone is interested.
            https://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/cto/d/1989-acura-legend/6321204410.html

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          John, I’ve driven examples of the late-2000s G35/37 with manual and automatic…honestly, it’s damn quick no matter how you slice it. They seem reasonably priced as well.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Well, of that I have no doubt. But, the fact is I want a car with a manual (especially a sportier car like a G, IS or the TSX), not because its faster than the automatic, or that I can shift better than the automatic, because I know that probably isn’t true in either case (for certain with the latter), nor does it matter to me.

            I know modern automatics are superior to a human (esp. this human) using a stick-and-clutch in every measurement possible…except for the joy experienced by the human shifting for himself. You know as well as I do, working a manual tends to focus your attention on the task at hand (driving), rather than just tuning out and going through the motions in auto-pilot mode.

            I am not saying any of this to put down or antagonize those who prefer an automatic, not in the least. You have your preferences, just like I have mine, and neither of us are necessarily “wrong” for the way we feel and/or for what we like/prefer.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I think that if the car is driver-focused, an automatic works just fine…and the G37 definitely fits that bill. Some also have a really nice paddle shifter system, as I recall.

            Try one out. You’ll like it. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Eiriksmal

            @John: Took me ~10-12 weeks to find my ’05 G35 6MT sedan while looking for a ’10-’13 G37 6MT sedan. Saw this model with 57K miles (AFTER 12 YEARS. ONE. OWNER. TWELVE. YEARS!? Sob emoji)

            100% worth the wait. 100%.
            Check it out:
            https://g35driver.com/forums/new-members-check/460015-who-owned-twilight-blue-05-6mt-sedan-santa-monica.html

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            @Eiriksmal
            Beautiful car! Glad it ended up with someone who would appreciate it. Enjoy it, as I’m sure you do.

            I would be tempted to put JDM badges on a G35/7. I even like the way the JDM Gloria/Cedric (forget which one, exactly, maybe its both) grille looks compared to the U.S. market M45…but I’m not complaining about the V-8 we got over their 6!

            I also though about Honda badges on the TSX if I get one, but I decided against it, think I’ll keep the Acura calipers.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’d have to win the lotto or otherwise experience a step-change in income that allows me to get another sports car. I’d love a new 6MT GT3, or even a 7MT Corvette Gran Sport. But I can’t afford either, not by a long shot, so I’ll stick (hehe) with the 6MT sports car I have.

    For daily drivers, there’s really nothing that could get me back into a stick, I like the relaxed cruising of an automatic, and I need to share my DD with my wife so I can swap with her to take the kid-hauler CUV as needed, and she can’t drive stick and has no desire to learn how.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Heh, this is the same as my automotive relationship with my wife – I’ve got a 6MT, and she doesn’t want to learn how to drive it. That’s okay, as she bought a kid hauler I wasn’t happy about so we both learned to be more flexible about our 4 wheeled preferences.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I had the pleasure of driving a GT3 RS at Atlanta Motorsports Park on one of those supercar track day experiences. The DSG is simply brilliant, and I wouldn’t trade it for any three pedal setup.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    It’s tough. Of the 8 cars I’ve owned my current one is my first automatic. I honestly don’t mind it. G37 has enough power and short enough gearing down low that the 7AT is OK. Plus something people never seem to talk about in the context of “saving the manuals” is that some manuals aren’t worth saving. Every Nissan manual transmission I’ve had was awful, from Zs to Sentras to Maximas.

    Next go round I’m probably going German (GTI or 335i). The autos in those are both really good and make shopping a lot easier. Between motorcycle track days, karting and sim racing I have more than enough opportunity to connect with machinery at a deeper level.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My current car is a manual, and I think most new cars I’d consider have stick as an option. That said, I’m also in a single-car household and my wife doesn’t drive stick. Since I can’t see us wanting to move anywhere that would allow for (let alone necessitate) a multi-car household, odds are our next car will be automatic.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I would always have a manual if it was offered and wasn’t in the most stripped down weakest engined model in their line-up, which more and more seems to be the case.

  • avatar
    ddroadkill

    The 2018 Honda Accord. Up until 2014, on honda.ca, I could build a 4 door Accord Touring with manual for the 4 cyl engine. Only thing is you then missed out on adaptive cruise control and Lane keep assist (not necessarily a deal breaker but a bummer non the less). From reviews of the 2018 Accord Sport with 2.0T, you don’t seem to miss out on much from the Touring trim and get to keep LKA and adaptive cruise control. The only thing is we are now currently thinking of upgrading our 2007 Honda Odyssey and there will definitely not be enough cash for a while for that damn Accord. But when I am ready to buy my next car, it will definitely be a midsize sedan with Manual transmission. Here’s hoping there will still be one around!

  • avatar

    Never owned a manual in me life. ;)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Answer: Younger knees, and a wife who drives a manual.

    I like a manual, but I never miss them, either.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      One side benefit of having a manual: my kids will never hoon around in Daddy’s car.

      And that’s a good thing, because if the cops had busted me for a tenth of the Baby Driver crap I pulled in my dad’s cars growing up, I’d still be on the DMV’s s**t list.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    No need to lure us back; we never left. That includes my wife who used to drive a school bus with a 4-speed manual and a 2-speed rear axle. Furthermore, discontinuing manual transmissions is a sure way to eliminate a model from consideration for purchase. We are very satisfied with our Focus SE hatchback with its 5-speed manual. Since Ford has stopped offering it with a manual, its successor won’t be another Focus. Likely choice is the Mazda3.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    The days of driving my loved ones around in small cars are lone gone due to the number of other drivers I see everyday paying more attention to their cell phones than to the road.

    Because of this, I drive a full-size SUV. Unlike my old Z3 Roadster, it would not be entertaining to drive this huge family truckster around with a manual.
    But, take distracted drivers out of the equation, and I’ll be back into a small car–with a manual.

  • avatar
    arach

    My first non-manual was an automated manual and I love it- it seems like the evolution of the manual in many ways. When I was looking for a DD, since automated manuals didn’t exist on affordable cars (I know the Porsche Panamera PDK, but that wasn’t in my price range), I really wanted a stick… but I wasn’t willing to settle for an optionless car to get it. I looked high and low- even tried to import a mazda 6 GT from canada (where the stick is sold on the GT!) urgh.

    The Acura MAY have my money, as they are claiming the stick WILL have a lot of features, like radar cruise and whatnot that I love. But we have to see how that plays together.

    getting a car with a very firm torque converter however makes me more comfortable with an automatic. I searched high and low and finally landed on the Hyundai Sonata… the only car with a firm enough torque converter, and tight responsive shifts.

    I would still prefer a stick, but I won’t give up the tech anymore to get it because the autos have gotten a lot better, and the DCTs and automated manuals are pretty solid.

    That changes when I’m talking about a spare car for sporty driving only, where the tech is less important (corvette, camaro, miata, etc.) there I’m willing to sacrifice more.

    I wish I could have a car thats “stick” when I want it to be and “auto” when I don’t… kind of like my automated manual. The default is paddle shifters and then you can hit the “auto” button to switch it to auto mode. I like that a lot. The paddle shifters on auto cars aren’t nearly responsive enough though to replace that (aka – auto with manual mode is bad. Manual with auto mode is good).

    I think it was Toyota that was talking about having some sort of electronically controlled manual shifter. That might allow for the magic of “both”? but I doubt without compromise.

    The short answer is that I understand WHY the stick is dying, even though I LOVE stick and so does my wife. She even drives a Porsche Cayenne… MANUAL.

    But unless a car company can give you ALL, then sticks may just need to be relegated to the fun to drive cars.

    I’m fine with DCTs Thats probably the happy medium between sticks and autos that both sides can agree on.

    I just wonder about racing and effective downshifting. I race in the SCCA… the ultra quick shifting though in modern DCTs should make that close to null… although for racing you almost need a gear readout to effectively downshift multiple gears.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Arach, You and your wife should do a reader review of the Cayenne manual. Man, talk about a unicorn.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        We’ve had it for quite a while and have very little interest in getting rid of it. Its a really impressive car. I know I’m a little bit of a “fanboi” with it, and that can get annoying, but part of that is because it is a unicorn. Its like the only “enthusiast” SUV I’ve ever driven. In fact Hit the curves and you actually forget that you are in an SUV… it drives like a quality sports sedan… that some how tows almost 8000 LBS…

        I live about 10 minutes from Corey Lewis. I just got to convince him to come tag team it with me to give my fanboism a little bit of credibility.

        Corey? if you read this, you should think about it! I’ll even help you write it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll add this thought: 30 years ago, cars were generally underpowered, so you really needed a manual to wring decent performance from them.

    If you graphed the historical take rate on manuals versus the average historical horsepower over the last 30 years, I bet you’d see a direct inverse correlation. Manuals aren’t as popular anymore because they aren’t as necessary anymore.

    Therefore: to bring back more manuals, bring back underpowered cars. Problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      This is a funny statement to me. I HATE driving manuals in underpowered cars. If I have to DOWNSHIFT on the highway to go up a hill, the CAR SUCKS.

      This is why I absolutely HATE my Jeep Wrangler. I have to downshift ALL THE TIME on the highway. Up, down, up down. That 4.0L V6 can’t stay at highway speeds in 5th gear for the life of it. My camaro, corvette, and other sports cars however could cruise in 6th all day. Even if my speed dropped down to 30/40, or I had to go up a big hill, they had the torque and HP to handle it.

      I would never buy a sub 290 HP Manual again for that reason. Manuals need horsepower. Autos however can shift up and down all day and who cares? Autos are better for underpowered cars. When I replace my wrangler, I’ll get an auto wrangler.

      I only bring that up because thats like the opposite of your statement!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d blame your Wrangler’s lack of testicles on the highway on a) immense aerodynamic drag, and b) overly tall gearing, versus lack of power per se.

        But back in the ’80s, most non-performance cars were slow, and the reason was simple: they were generally underpowered. Getting a manual was the only way to make them even remotely entertaining to drive.

        Just goes to show that progress marches on.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGhost

        Back when Wranglers were considered off-road vehicles, people rarely became traumatized by the need to downshift to go up hills on a highway. Life is hard.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Arach, I had the same problem in my 08′ Wrangler MT with the V6.

        I found some easy upgrades significantly enhanced the driving experience. A flowmaster axle back, cold air intake, and finally a new tune from a programmer worked wonders. Generally, I do not believe the exhaust or cold air does squat to hep performance, but in the Jeep it made a massive difference, more so than a new tune download. However, all 3 together made it livable on the highway and around town.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          87 Morgan…

          I can’t even imagine how bad the I4 is… Especially when people throw 35s under them… haha. I’ve seen some of those on CL, and I’m thinking about how bad the I6 is on 31s… can’t even imagine.

          I did notice some hurt when I took off the CAI and swapped it for a stock intake. I bought the jeep as a spare mudder beater car, so figured protecting the intake was more important than CAI, plus CAI does squat… but it actually seemed to help. You’d think the V6 wouldn’t need a “tune, intake, and exhaust” though, you know? Even a V6 Pickup Truck holds its own. Good to know though. I wonder if the same is true with the I6, very possibly.

          @FreedMike- very valid. I still doubt a manual Metro would be much fun. I had a manual Cadillac CTS and it had plenty of power. My wife had a manual V6 Camaro and it had plenty of power too, so your totally correct. However, I still don’t think a 64 HP 3 cylinder would be more fun with a manual at least for normal driving (like highways). That would very likely change around the curves, but I say even a modern 300 HP automatic is a bore around curves in my opinion. the minute you hit curves manuals are a lot better. The highway is the tradeoff point from my experience, and since I live in the country, its 30 minutes of 75 MPH on the highway to get anywhere (nearest restaurants are about 20 minutes, work is 35 minutes, sporting events and such are about an hour) so that’s where I spend most my life unfortunately.

          The Porsche Cayenne manual has a really short 6th gear. It drives around at like 3000 RPMs, but somehow still gets about 21 MPG. It compensates for its heft with good gearing for the motor, which gives it good towing and good pickup/ability to handle hills while staying in 6th gear, which is one thing a lot of German cars do well (And I’m not generally a German fan…) they do a great job of putting together the right drivetrain for a car. I feel like a lot of US cars develop the transmission, differentials, and engine by 3 separate teams and then just sandwich them together.

          Now I’ve only owned 3 german cars (BMW I6 330 M-Sport, Porsche V6 Cayenne, and Mercedes SLK 320) but I hate their repair bills and love their engineering and tuning.

          But valid points all the same.

          @VoGhost –
          I hear you. I did buy mine as an offroad beater truck, but the nearest offroad park is a bit over 2 hours, so to get there I need to drive 75 MPH for 4 hours (round trip). I guess I just need a trailer to haul it there and back!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Little, underpowered cars can be a blast, like the ’81 Rabbit and ’85 Civic I owned back in the day.

            But you’re right…I can tell you from experience that they’re no fun on the highway. And that was back in the ’80s, when the average speed on the Interstate was more like 60-65 mph. That’s not the case anymore – I did a Denver-St. Louis road trip in my Jetta a couple of months ago, and in general, traffic ran around 85 mph. I don’t remember even trying to do 85 in the Rabbit, much less sustaining it for nine hours. I do believe it would pulled a Kevorkian on itself.

            (And the Jetta was absolutely superb on that trip, by the way…fast, quiet, and 35 mpg with the A/C at full blast.)

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      ” to bring back more manuals, bring back underpowered cars. Problem solved.”

      You’d like the Mitsubishi Mirage then, lightweight, 78hp, and pretty compact! Welcome to 1986!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        In fact, I did like the Mirage quite a bit back in ’86!

        (Ended up with a Civic 1500S)

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Didn’t​ older Mirages have a weird dual stick set-up?

          I just double checked and the new Mirage offers a 5-speed stick, so it’s light, cheap, basic, and puts out vintage eco box numbers. Seems like the ideal auto enthusiasts car to me!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Wow, the dual stick. That brings up memories.

            http://barnfinds.com/twin-stick-champ-1982-plymouth-champ/

            But I think that was on the late ’70s – early ’80s ones. I think the later Mirages ditched it. Cool feature, though.

            And the current Mirage…nope. Just nope. Too sad to live. I’d take a Versa…and that tells you all you need to know.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            That ones in surprisingly nice shape, if cool name too “Champ”, why not bring that back as a trim line?

            Imo the latest Mitsubishi “Eclipse” is their saddest offering. I’m not an Eclipse fan, but to real fans I’m sure that it hurts.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    What will get me back into a manual car is for my wife to learn to drive one. I’ve attempted multiple times to teach her, but she keeps getting frustrated and gives up. Honestly, I told her she was doing well, but just stalling it a couple of times was enough to turn her off of it. I gave in a couple of years back and both of our vehicles are automatics.

    Oddly enough, my son is turning 16 next spring and my wife insists that he learn to drive stick (I agree). There will be a manual in our house by this time next year.

  • avatar
    VoGhost

    I actually think manuals will make a comeback soon. As the market shifts to autonomous vehicles over the next decade, a minority of people with disposable income will still want a car to drive with a deep sense of engagement, including manual shifting.

  • avatar
    rkflitcraft

    In the past, I’ve always felt that manuals gave me more control when driving the vehicle along with better gas mileage. Today, with the increasing amount of vehicles on the road, and commonly getting stuck in stop and go traffic, is an absolute exercise in frustration. The constant engagement and release of the clutch pedal in traffic is hard on the left foot and leg, never mind what this does to the wear and tear of the clutch itself. Today’s automatics are smooth, efficient, and get better gas mileage than manuals – BTW, the CVT in my new 2018 Outback with the 3.6R engine is so smooth in fact, that compared to my wife’s Acura RDX with it’s shift points, that I’m sold on the CVT! So, no more manuals for me. – their time has past.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I’ve only had manuals since I got my first car 20 years ago. However, now that cars can drive themselves in traffic, I can’t see getting a manual. With an A4 for example it can drive at highway speed, come to a complete stop, inch forward in traffic then accelerate back up to highway speed all while staying in its lane. If you opt for the manual the system doesn’t work below (IIRC) 30mph.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Just bought a new-ish Focus with a 5-speed to replace our 2001. I wanted a Michigan built one with a manual before all that’s available are Chinese built autos (except for RS)

    I think what would have to change are driving conditions, too many people crawling in traffic every day and you don’t want a manual for that. Also instant gratification of i-everything makes people not want to shift for themselves. There’s an app for that.

    I think we’ve long passed the tipping point and the manual equipped car is doomed, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying mine.

    Or teaching my 16 year old son to drive a stick. He asked me the other day “Why am I doing this? why does anybody do this?” So I tried to frame the answer for him to understand, and said “It’s like a video game, this is level 2. Automatic is level one. It’s more fun to play at the higher level when you have the ability”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nice catch!

    • 0 avatar

      All yor base are belong to Level 1 player.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Also instant gratification of i-everything makes people not want to shift for themselves. There’s an app for that.”

      oh, for f***s sake. People don’t want manuals because driving is something they *have to do.* Not something they enjoy doing. A manual transmission is a needless hassle for 99% of the driving public.

      • 0 avatar

        Jim’s got it, it’s an inconvenience in something they have to do.

        Nobody uses manual lawnmowers either – it’s inconvenient. When better, more efficient and pleasant choices become available in mundane tasks, people take them.

        Like FreedMike mentioned, we don’t need to wring the power out of a little engine any more, we have plenty of power. And having an automatic is no longer a 3-speed PowerGlide punishment. They’re fine.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “A manual transmission is a needless hassle for 99% of the driving public.”

        Correct, but keep in mind that at one point, cars became so underpowered that there was a need for the hassle. People put up with manuals because it was the only way to get decent performance. The ever-increasing horsepower curve has solved that problem.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          why should I keep it in mind when that’s 30 years in the past? At least here.

          Europe still has tiny, low power engines (the base Fiesta has about 65 horsepower) which is why manuals are still a lot more common over there. not because everyone on the continent takes a pass on the Nordschleife on the way to work.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Well put, Jim.

  • avatar
    john66ny

    Well, I’ve never daily driven anything but a manual. Initially they were strippers or beaters but over time they have been more loaded (’98 Maxima, ’03 MINI, currently ’05 Legacy GT).

    However, there’s a real possibility that my next may have to be two-pedals, due to the lack of features and power to which I have grown accustomed.

    I had high hopes for the MINI Countryman S, but looking at one parked on the street last night, the rear cargo hold doesn’t seem to have room for the black lab.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    It just needs to be offered as an option. Also, it’s just an option regardless of trim. My desire to have heated and cooled seats shouldn’t be tied to whether I want to row my own or not.

    Not one vehicle I’ve purchased since 2001 had the option to select a manual, and all but one I would have elected to row my own.

  • avatar

    I never left the manual camp, and I live in crowded, always congested West LA. I enjoy the engagement and involvement a manual requires, and like someone else mentioned, it can act as a theft deterrent. My husband cannot drive manual, and three of the five cars we have are manual and undriveable to them.

    Our most recent new car purchase was a Chevy Sonic and finding a manual was tough. It took much scouring and searching. Luckily, the dealer that had a few couldn’t move them off the lot, and was willing to negotiate. In addition to the other perks, the value proposition was there too.

    In reverse to the question, what would it take to get me out of a manual? Probably if they’re only available on high end expensive sports cars or I end up being with a disability that would make it impossible to drive

    On a business trip to South Africa in 2015, I noticed that the proportion of manual cars was the reciprocal of the US; about 95% of cars were manual, even the luxury brands. When I asked a local colleague about it, his response was: “automatics are only for the disabled and elderly”.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The manual as a mainstream item died when it was taken out of full size trucks. It’s a niche product now demanded by those loud in voice and quiet in wallet.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      they were taken out of full-size trucks once automatics became stronger. a single-countershaft manual can only handle about 700 lb-ft or so; parallel gearsets attempt to force themselves apart under applied torque. Also there’s the limitation in the physical strength of the solid shafts. Planetary gearsets can be made incredibly strong.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Apart from sporty cars like mustang/camaro/corvette Most manuals are only offered on base models. Heck Ferrari doesn’t even offer a stick anymore. My old ford escape daily driver with a stick was great and got 28MPG. But come on no sunroof no heated or leather seats no upgraded stereo. Heck I was shocked that it had power windows. And no matter what people say apart from the magnificent ZF 8 speed auto, most auto still suck. Shit I would take a Chrysler Torqueflite 727 with the slap stik over what most manufacturers offer today.

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    With my not so good manual transmission skills, the model with a manual transmission would have to have better fuel economy over its automatic counterpart, has to have a hill-hold feature and must have a mechanical hand brake and not an electrically actuated parking brake.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    For me, stick shifters need to stop being message board warriors, they shame us for automatic driver’s but then turn around and do this stuff:

    1. Riced out Nissan S13, couldn’t up shift to do 40mph, just redlined at 20.

    2. Riced out Cobalt, downshifted so rough so you could see the exhaust shake!

    3. Riced out 90s Civic posse, why corner at 20 when 10 will do?

    4. Scion FRS: Ugh a train! I’ll just sit here and pop the rear wheels loose.

    But really, what needs to happen is that I need a good reason to have a stick. I owned a few and I’m not bad at driving stick, I just don’t see the practicality in it.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Not an issue here. My first car was a manual, and the only time I haven’t had manual transmissions (in cars) was the first three years of my first marriage when the wife and I went down to one car and she absolutely would not drive a manual.

    And even then, there was at least one motorcycle in the garage, so I was still driving a manual transmission.

    What will make me stop? Health. And I fully expect that if I get to the point where I can no longer: 1. Ride a motorcycle, and 2. Drive a car with a manual transmission; I will probably no longer be driving at all.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    For me it would require a manual option in a family-friendly vehicle, i.e. reasonably comfortable seating for 2 (tall) adults and 2 kids. My wife’s DD is a 2006 Honda CR-V with 5-speed stick, the last year it was offered. We’ve been very happy with the CR-V and I don’t know what we’d replace it with. Possibly an Accord, if one can still be had with a manual by the time we’re car shopping again, which probably won’t be anytime soon.

  • avatar
    EX35

    not far from me there is a 2014 CPO 535i 6-speed manual available for fairly cheap ($28K). I’m very tempted since this is such a rare car at an affordable price. Am I crazy to consider?

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I won’t ever buy an automatic car for my own use. If they don’t offer a manual equipped as I’d like, I don’t buy.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I’d have to move my centrally-located home office to a more rural area, and avoid the city during daytime hours.

    Here in Ottawa, traffic gridlock is becoming an all-day affair that turns even the simplest afternoon errand into a chore. What sick, self-loathing person wants to crawl to Costco at 10 mph with a clutch?

    Fortunately I have a motorcycle to satisfy those gear-shifting urges when and where I choose. But even the most selectively-timed leisure ride can turn into a knuckle-swelling festival of tendonitis as I wait in line to escape the city.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    i need to move to a sparsely populated area of my state and not the bumper to bumper BS traffic I have to put up most of the day in So Fla. I would be nuts to buy a manual over here, most people who do, end up selling their vehicle soon after.

  • avatar
    darex

    My brand-new 2018 MINI Countryman S All4, fully-loaded, has a manual. Every MINI except the PHEV Countryman, can be had with a manual, regardless of options chosen. It even has rev-matching!

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Better performance over an automatic was the big draw for a manual, at least for me. That window has closed to the point of irrelevancy.

    For something like a weekend car, I would want it to be a stick shift as there is still the fun factor. But for an everyday commuter, no way.

    • 0 avatar
      SteveMar

      Agreed! I love manuals for all of the nostalgia and control reasons. But the current slate of automatics is vastly improved over the ones many of us were driving 30 years ago. When you factor the better performing automatics, the reality of daily driving in most major US cities and the nonexistent mileage benefit (in some cases, penalty), it’s hard to justify keeping a manual on the list.

      I tried earlier this year when I was looking at a BM<W 2 series to buy. Even though BMW makes still makes them, there were maybe only a handful in the US to choose from. All RWD because Xdrive requires the 8 speed automatic. I even contemplated buying one from a dealer 900 miles away so I could get one. Then a fellow car enthusiast recounted his experiences driving a RWD in snowy traffic with a manual and I thought, why bother. The autimatic in the car is fantastic, I have paddles when I want them. So I went with an automatic 228i xdrive. Maybe I gave in to convenience — but I actually dont't feel like I gave up on performance. And my 50 year old ankles will probably thank me.

  • avatar
    HahnZahn

    Nothing could.

    Okay, one condition: delete 50% of the traffic from all roads, cut my morning commute by 75%. Otherwise, I’m sitting in traffic, and no point to having a manual.

  • avatar
    ionno

    I’m still a manual holdout (5 cars with manuals) but I could be persuaded to go automatic if I drove a lot in traffic or had mobility problems.

    That being said, the thing to remember is that the manufacturers are still making the manuals, just not selling them in North America. I was in South Africa last week and decided to sample the first ten cars I saw. Nine were manuals. I suspect the story is the same in most markets.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      ” or had mobility problems.”

      My dad’s friend in Russia upon his first exposure to driving an automatic-equipped import (Nissan Cefiro for those who care) after a lifetime of stick shift Ladas:

      “A car for invalids”

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Pretty much nothing anymore. There are no real advantages, lots of disadvantages.

    Maybe one that could be engaged and disengaged at will?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Getting enough income to buy one in addition to my automatic car.

    To get me to go back to owning *nothing but* manuals, I’d need several successful surgeries on my neck, back and feet. Unless that happens, I will always keep an automatic in my “fleet”. If something irreparably damaged my current Taurus, I’ll have to find another automatic that can be a daily driver, simply because a lot of the time, I’m physically unable to deal with a clutch pedal.

    But, I do plan to have one or more manuals in the future, I miss having them so much. Even if its just for a “Sunday driver”, at least I’ll have the option when I feel like it.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    I love manuals. My wife can drive stick, but prefers an automatic for day-to-day driving. But when pressed, she does admit manuals are more fun. My son is learning both auto and stick, and recognizes immediately manuals are more fun.

    Commenters have already suggested making a manual model with all the goodies in the colors we want. But the response has been the cost of crash testing is too high for so few copies sold.

    Maybe automakers need to think about it as a “halo trim.” Like a halo car, sales aren’t the goal. Rather, it’s to showcase the prowess of the automaker. Make a halo trim with a great tactile manual and clutch that enthusiasts lust for and race car drivers prefer.

    Miata is always the answer. Maybe the Honda Civic Type-R. But we need more.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …yeah, i think that eventually we’ll see a market shift from manuals being associated with stripper economy cars to halo drivers’ cars, a luxury indulgence not unlike sailboats…

      …at least until shiftless electric drivetrains become ubiquitous…

  • avatar
    greatpaper

    A Passat in British racing green with tan leather seats. 6 sp.
    Nothing like pipe dreams. Vw needs to work with some focus groups if they truly want to sell cars in America.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    The real question is what could lure me *out* of a manual.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      This. Bought my 2008 Bullitt Mustang in part because they only CAME with MT (no secretaries need apply). Of course, the Healeys are manual only, unless you consider the electrically-operated Laycock De Normanville overdrives–an early planetary gear arrangement–to be a sort of automatic (but you still had to manually throw the switch).

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I bought a 2016 Mazda3 with a manual transmission because I could get the top trim and the color I wanted. I’ll keep buying cars like this as long as they’re offered. Then I’ll buy used.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    I got my first MT when I was 18 and MT is all I’ve driven for the past 38 years (driving my wife’s AT excepting). I had my left hip replaced 16 years ago – working the clutch was great rehab. I have no issue with driving an MT in stop and go traffic. I don’t care if DSGs or new ATs are “better”. A computer can beat me at chess and a drum machine is a better drummer than me, so should I give them up too? A plus is that choosing a new MT car gets easier and easier (b/c the options are fewer and fewer). So, to answer the question, I can be lured into an MT car so long as they exist.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Never understood the ‘I need a manual because I commute in traffic’ argument. I commuted for years in SF Bay Area traffic–now some of the worst in the nation–in a MT Mustang. Just sit 8-10 car lengths back, drop it in first, second or third traffic permitting, and let the torques idle you along. Sure, you’ll get idiots riding your ass, but there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it (except try to pass on the right but, if I was feeling particularly ornery I could speed up to prevent that, and they’d be stuck in the slower #2 or #3 lane).

      • 0 avatar
        volvo

        I am in the SF bay area and my experience with traffic here differs from yours.

        If at less than 35 mph (which is most of commute time speed) I leave more than 1-2 car lengths trailing distance then someone will slip in front of me and I will need to slow down to reestablish a comfortable distance.

        Since I am not comfortable following as close as most folks here I just get in one lane left of the off-merge lane and take my time.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    It’s not me.

    I never wanted a manual in the first place, because why would I want to do more work to make the car go?

    (And, yes, I do “love driving”, and drive in a spirited manner on occasion, through curves and in hills.

    Turns out you don’t need manual gearing and a clutch to do that any more than you need manual choke or timing advance.

    “You’re so much more connected to the car if you have to double-clutch and don’t have synchros” is about as convincing to me.)

  • avatar
    mchan1

    I like manuals but prefer the convenience of an automatic.

    Really dislike using a manual in city-like driving with stop and go traffic which got worse over the years. Even on highways, there are lots of traffic in my area. Grew up driving a manual but switched over years ago to an automatic. It’s harder to find any vehicles with an manual nowadays.

    It’s one less thing to deal with in driving in stop and go traffic. Some automatics come with the manual gear option, which isn’t bad as it’s clutchless.

    The fuel economy difference has almost been eliminated as automatics get very good mileage today than in years past.

    Possible cost savings also since auto makers don’t have to make separate transmissions and charge you for the automatic though it’s really built into the price of the vehicle nowadays.

    Lastly, get older means that one doesn’t have to drive around like a young racer to get his thrills especially when traffic conditions are bad.

    Just want to enjoy the ride now.

  • avatar

    BMW has figured out that you don’t need to give us a price break when selecting the manual transmission. We’ll pay the premium for the experience and they can use that extra profit to offset the additional design and per-piece cost that comes from the development of the low volume manual transmission parts. Stop restricting manuals to the base models (MAZDA) and sell it as a feature!

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Back? I never left. Everything in my yard has a clutch except the Dodge, and I have the parts to do an NV4500 swap on that whenever I get to it. As for features, a base Mirage has more gadgets than I need so yeah, I’m that guy.

  • avatar
    TTCat

    Nothing, all my cars have sticks already…

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    Generally, it has to be the weekend. I use public transportation to get to work during the week, and use my manual equipped car during the weekend. Next week I have a doctor’s appointment, so I get to drive on Tuesday too. Yippee!

  • avatar
    focal

    as long as I can.

    BMW F30 328i 6MT and a Porsche GT4 that only comes manual. Glad to see I still have a few options with VW, Subaru, MINI and the new Accord.

  • avatar
    focal

    as long as I can.

    BMW F30 328i 6MT and a Porsche GT4 that only comes manual. This makes for a perfect garage.

    Glad to see I still have a few options with VW, Subaru, MINI and the new Accord if I need a new daily driver.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I was happy to learn that even though they don’t offer a coupe or a naturally-aspirated I-4 anymore, that there will be a manual available in the new Accord, and with either engine!

      I thought I had read that they would be going CVT-only, and I’m thankful they didn’t.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Maybe insurance cos should give discounts to owners of manual vehicles because of their theft-deterrent properties.

    As a driver of a 6sp manual I will say the EPA est are very off as I well exceed the mpg est and do better than the CVT est of the same model. Hwy mpg for long trips on variable terrain is @43 while EPA est are 34 for the 6sp.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    My next vehicle will be a AWD/4X4 with stick; even if I have to put it in with a god-damned sawzall.
    >:-(

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Give me a garage and a car, a stick works great for a second fun car, not so a DD when you live in CUV strip-mall stoplight city

    My first stick was a Honda Z600, tough to learn due to the POs not timing the timing chain right, ended up breaking the clutch I think? It was too long ago, I sold the car since parts were near impossible to find at the time.

    My second was my favorite, a ’75 Beetle. Too slow to harm anything, good gear ratios, and it had a robust clutch. It just wasnt practical for one who still had a learners permit. An automatic fox Mustang sealed my automatic preferences for good.

    After that I’ve driven a few air-cooled VW vans, and an early Golf GTi. I’ve been out of practice but I dont find manuals to be too hard to learn, just annoying to live with.

    In little slow old cars sticks work wonders, yet in modern cars with modern 6-speed autos and 3-digit hp I see little reason for a stick beyond subjective preferences.

    TLDR: Gimme an old air-cooled VW, I got my cozy car for commutes.

  • avatar
    brakeless

    Every “paddle” shift I have driven has been a joke, whether it was a conventional auto or dual clutch. Most have long delays, inconsistent responses, and sometimes they just plain ignore perfectly legitimate shift requests.

    Only the sportiest sporty cars have anything close to acceptable for manual-mode automatics, but usually it is just sad and pathetic.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Basically, all it took was my wife to say yes. My car is usually only me driving or it’s at the airport. She’s driven my Cruze 4 times in two years. We decided if we need an automatic to borrow, we borrow one or rent one. She said she’ll learn, but I don’t know if she ( or I ) will feel comfortable enough to brave our streets (and hills, we have lots of those)

    As far as equipment, my 17 Golf Wolfsburg with a stick lacks nothing. No, it’s not leather, it’s VTex, but it’s fine ( I do not like cloth interiors ). They (seats)do heat, the large sunroof is great, the infotainment isn’t “wow” but it works well and fairly intuitively,and it sounds ok (eight speakers!). The seats are a bit lacking compared to the GTI I wanted and it’s not a GTI in performance or handling. But it wasn’t GTI price either. At just under 21k out the door, I thought it was a good deal. I enjoy my 3/4 GTI and driving a stick again.

  • avatar
    vindasrama

    So here’s my story. I’m 23. I used to drive automatic transmission cars, but after I learned manual transmission in college from friends I kinda wanted one myself. I also wanted a high end car. I recently got a 2018 Audi A4 manual transmission. It’s really good. I drive in constant stop and go traffic. It’s not bad at all. I enjoy it a lot, lot more than paddle shifters. Newer manual transmission vehicles have hill assist and electronic parking brakes, which makes it easy to drive in San Francisco. Audi A4 offers manual transmission on even the highest trim level. As long as I can get a manual transmission on high end cars (and trim levels), sports cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs I will buy them over their automatic counterparts.

  • avatar
    raph

    The inverse would be true for me – “What would it take to get me into an automatic”?

    I enjoy the manual driving experience so much traffic isn’t a problem.

    Probably the simple lack of a manual option is the right answer. Given the choice Ill always go manual. I like fast cars but I’ve reached a point in life where I’d rather enjoy the overall experience rather than trying to put notches in my belt and claim king of the street or track title.

  • avatar
    rreichar

    It’s already happened for me. I bought a 2017 GTI SE manual a few months back. It has lots of features. Leather, upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, auto wipers but oddly partially manual seats. It’s a reasonably nice car with enough features to make me happy and fun to drive with the manual. My wife has a 2017 GLI with the dual clutch and it’s very good. But I still enjoy rowing my own. The DSG is faster than I am but I’m not racing anybody.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Wonder why it took so long for a commenter to observe that GTIs come with either the 6MT or DSG, no restrictions on options or model trim.

      Load a manual GTI and a DSG GTI to the gills on VW’s configurator – every option you can get. The MSRP will be different by the exact amount the DSG transmission costs. And it’s that way from the base GTI to the Autobahn.

  • avatar
    Zane Wylder

    My Audi’s manual, ’07 A4. Drive it everywhere, including Manhattan

    Only wanna drive manual’s, only reason if I need to get a suv, I’d get a Taco or Wrangler or find something older and badass, probably both

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I think the only way would be to acquire Marty McFly’s De Lorean and to go back to 1955…

    the world has moved on and there’s too much traffic to bother

    HOWEVER… if you have a full on EV one day, say in 2020 then why not have a 2nd car that’s something in a format that harkens back to Marty McFly’s mum’s age… a V8 manual?

    Occasionally you can put up with the issues of a manual but also use it for an occasional pleasurable country drive.

    Also funnily enough, remember the ‘hubbub’ around the Toyota GT86? Well early ones are getting around to 50% depreciation so if your want is a traditional manual rwd quasi ‘sports car’ then there’s plenty out there…

    I’m sure Scion 86s are pretty cheap too.

  • avatar
    YeOldeMobile

    I will only drive a manual in a classic car. I don’t need it in a modern one.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Move to a rural area, get away from traffic, retire and drive less– all those changes could being me back to the manual, but by the time I accomplish that, the left knee and bunion might be gone. So too late, I had my fun with a half-century of shifty motoring.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    There is pretty much nothing that will get me back in a manual, as that would mean driving (at least in the US) either a compact or sub-compact vehicle (either base spec like described here or a ridiculously expensive for its size hot hatch like a Focus RS), a pick up (likely a base/work spec), or a Jeep Wrangler. I’m not interested in vehicles in those classes/sizes.

    If a manual was available in a vehicle I would use as mostly as a daily driver that can also haul people ad gear most weekends, then I’d consider it. But I don’t see manuals as an option in any mainstream full size sedan, CUVs, or SUVs. I’ve driven manuals and automatics and have no preference. If the price was right on a vehicle I wanted, it would be neither a deal sealer or deal breaker.

    For instance, I love the idea of a Chevy SS…on paper, but I have never seen one in real life, so I don’t even know if its something I would like to drive. I suspect its relative rarity will price me out of the used market by the time I am ready to buy again. Plus, its a niche product that has limited parts availability, as I understand it. They have to come from Australia, correct?

    Is there any other SS-sized sedan, wagon, or mid-sized CUV/SUV that could be a family hauler that offers a stick in the US that also isn’t some niche, higher-performance version with stupid sized wheels and stiffer suspension?

  • avatar
    Noble713

    What will it take to get me back in a manual?

    Only free time.

    I have a NA 2J-swapped Altezza (US IS200/IS300) and a Supra, both with manuals. Both need their ECUs wired up, and some other work.

    What would I need from a new-production car? RWD, lightweight sedan with driver-oriented sporty controls and mod-friendly. Basically a GT86 with 4 doors…..and preferably an I6 or V8 engine.

  • avatar

    I love a stick in a Mustang, Camaro, Mini, Miata and most tiny econo cars. . . but want the modern automatics available in new cars. Now, I’d even buy a Mustang or Camaro with an Auto. Manuals rock, but modern autos do too (excepting CVTs).

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I’m a little late to the party, but I came to say that you can have your cake and eat it too, as long as you have deep enough pockets. Then again, your pockets don’t need to be that deep! Just look at some of the more affordable Audis, like my A5. Mine has a stick and the full boatload of options that are available on all versions of the car. Audi lets you option up a stick car just like any automatic version of the car.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I’m dyed in the wool manual fan…that said, try being a guy in his mid 70s or older, and walking into a dealership requesting to look at a particular model sport coupe or hatchback that comes only in a manual…The young 30 something sales person quickly attempts to steer you to another model, that is similar but automatic…I had a friend who was a sports car enthusiast a few years ago, at 80 years old who went in to buy a Civic Si, and actually ended up leaving the store and going to another dealership to buy what he wanted, even though this dealership had what he wanted. They simply tried to talk him out of it…

    I recently purchased a Focus ST, and was met with the same rhetoric. I quickly informed the young lady that I knew what I wanted, and if she didn’t have it, or didn’t want to sell it to me, I would happily go the the next Ford dealer about 10 miles north. She sighed and advised she would bring one up. I ended up buying the car, but the initial experience was unpleasant.

    I have been driving stick shifts all my life, learning to drive on a 1949 International one ton wrecker, and owning nothing but stick shifts until I married several years later. First new car was a 63 Valiant Signet, with 6 cylinder and automatic, mainly because my wife could not and did not want to learn to drive a stick shift. We divorced not long after that purchase, and a lady in a Buick rear ended the 63 at a crosswalk in Norwalk, California, and destroyed it. Lucky for me, the 64 Valiant was out and low and behold, it had a V8 and a 4 speed. I bought it…fun car, and never looked back when it came to buying cars for myself.

    I currently teach a stick shift module with Skills Driving in DFW, and I use the Focus ST most often for those two hour sessions. I have another stick shift car available if needed, but the Focus is the smoothest and less clutch effort. Students include small, Asian women, young guys who just want to learn, and older men such as a 34 year old attorney who wanted to learn because a girl he was dating had purchased a new Corvette stick shift and he was afraid she would ask him to drive it. Some delivery services require knowing how to drive a stick shift, and I get several of those.

    Unfortunately, I am afraid stick shifts are a dying breed. I read an account somewhere this year, and it may well have been TTAC, that prior to 2015 only 19% of vehicles sold in the US, and possibly Canada, were stick shifts. The most recent study advised that number had dropped to 15%. I for one, even in my mid 70s, really hate to see the passing of the stick, but it appears the numbers are slipping in that direction.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • SD 328I: Isn’t the current Ranger outselling everyone but the Tacoma? The current Ranger is nowhere near the...
  • SD 328I: You can blame VW for the larger Ranger, the next Amarok is going to be based on the Ranger, and they needed...
  • Jeff S: I enjoyed the one finger steering as well.
  • Arthur Dailey: I know that it is dangerous and downright moronic but one finger steering was one of my favourite...
  • Inside Looking Out: “Why would the British join the French Revolution? ” To replace unelected King with...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber