QOTD: Stick It to the Man?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd stick it to the man

Some days, it seems as if the world is on an unending march to eradicate the manual transmission from our North American automotive landscape. The 911, various trucks, you name it — soon, there won’t be a stick to fetch anywhere.

Or will there? Fresh off writing a roundup of cars available in the Great White North with three pedals, I got to thinking: what would the B&B buy today if they had to select a stickshift vehicle?

This isn’t another post, by the way. I — reluctantly, on occasion — recognize the fact that a good automatic can outperform this bag of flesh and bones without problem. There’s a reason why some new sports cars are auto-only, after all.

Still, there’s a surprising number of new cars out there with a manual transmission still on the options list. Some are at the instant noodles end of the spectrum, offering a standard to placate the penny pinchers amongst us. Some others, like our current crop of hot hatchbacks, install a stick for the fun of it. Rowing your own through a twisty road while piloting a lightweight and stubby hatchback is a great pleasure.

Honda does a great job, with manual transmissions spread throughout the model range like so much kudzu. A raft of Civics are available with three pedals, with a variety of trims and body styles open to those who prefer to row their own. Even the big Accord offers a standard, a rarity in that segment.

That’ll be my pick for this QOTD. How about you?

[Image: Honda]

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9 of 86 comments
  • Stevelovescars Stevelovescars on Apr 09, 2019

    I drove the Jeep Renegade with the 1.4T manual in mid-grade Latitude AWD trim and it was a nice package. Unlike the Jeep version, the 500X could only be found with the manual in base FWD trim. For a brand that is already a niche player that appeals to European car intenders, I would think Fiat could take a risk with the manual transmission more than many other brands. Frankly, I never understood why Fiat has been so stingy with manuals in the US as a whole. Their dealer lots are chock full of aged inventory of auto trans 500s (the small ones) while sticks are hard to find. That car with a 5-speed is fun to drive while the same one with the automatic is just "meh." I'd never consider the 500 Abarth with the automatic but the manual I owned for a couple of years was great fun. Likewise, the Alfa 4C could be an a amazing car if it had 3 pedals. As it is now, the sounds it makes when shifting gears sounds like a cow after eating a bushel of pinto beans... with a real manual it would be a cut-rate exotic. I can't say I'd buy one (budget constraints) but I think they would certainly sell better than they do now.

    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Apr 09, 2019

      If they sold the Giulia with a stick, there would be one in my garage. Which is really saying something considering how much I HATE sedans.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Apr 09, 2019

    Mazda 6 with the turb-oh wait they don't sell a manual with the good engine Mazda 3 with the turb-oh wait they don't sell a manual with the good engine Screw it, GT350.

    • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Apr 09, 2019

      Which Mazda3 has a turbo? Are you talking Mazdaspeed3 from years ago? There is currently only 1 engine available for the new one.

  • Waterloo Waterloo on Apr 09, 2019

    Finally I can tell someone! I just voted with my wallet and ordered a 2019 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS manual. Should be here in July.

    • See 2 previous
    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Apr 10, 2019

      @slavuta I know I'd lay down with a smile on my face thinking about a new 911 in the garage. Unfortunately, I'm in close enough proximity to my Mazda while asleep that I'm subjected to constant nightmares of Japanese soldiers using the weapons created by Toyo Cork Kogyo Co. to commit atrocities against the Chinese, Koreans, and other Asian peoples. Nice choice, Waterloo.

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Apr 09, 2019

    The GTI and M/Fiata. And oddly enough, both are sitting in my garage. Gun to my head to drive a sedan, the GLI would be fine.