By on June 11, 2021

2022 Honda Civic hatchback. Image: Honda

We reported yesterday that the 2022 Honda Civic hatchback will offer customers a manual transmission.

Could it be the last Civic that does so? Or, at least, the last non-performance Civic (Si, Type-R) that offers a stick?

After all, the Honda dropped the manual from the Accord sedan this year after much talk about keeping the three-pedal flame alive when the car was first redesigned. I don’t have numbers in front of me, but I can’t imagine manual-transmission take rates are high.

Not to mention that electrification is likely on the horizon for compact, mainstream cars like Civic and while it’s not impossible to offer manuals with electrified vehicles — Honda itself offered a manual CR-Z — it is unusual. It is likely easier, from an engineering standpoint, and perhaps less costly, to use automatic transmissions with electrified vehicles. Not to mention that some electrified vehicles don’t even really use a transmission — some vehicles use electric motors to more or less directly drive the wheels.

I’m generalizing there, obviously, but the point is that there’s a chance that this Civic is the last one to offer three pedals. With the possible exception of the performance models, of course.

Or maybe it won’t be. The electrification shift is moving in fits and starts, and the manual may still have a place even after the market moves. Maybe there are enough Civic buyers who will tick the option box for a manual to convince Honda product planners that there will be enough takers to make it worth the cost.

Personally, I am optimistic that the Civic will hold out as a last bastion of manual transmissions for as long it can, but I’ve been wrong before. Many times. And wishful thinking — “I hope the manual remains available in the Civic” — can easily run afoul of reality, and lose.

Then again, sometimes we do get pleasantly surprised.

[Image: Honda]

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40 Comments on “Does the 2022 Honda Civic Represent the Last of a Kind?...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Electrification for passenger vehicles is inevitable.*

    Electrification negates the need for a multi-gear transmission in most passenger vehicle applications.

    The end.

    * Writing is on the wall and I have decided to welcome our electrical overlords.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I disagree it is inevitable, but the reality is its a big club and we ain’t in it so these mofos will just do whatever they want. We have traded our nation and future for “peace in our time”.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        When America will turn electric car fascist state, you will still be able to find your fuel freedom in Russia.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @slavuta,

          “When America will turn electric car fascist state, you will still be able to find your fuel freedom in Russia.”

          [Facepalm]

          With an electric car, you can buy solar panels and batteries for your home and provide your own electric power. This means you can make your own fuel, without being dependent on others for your transportation.

          The EV future is *more* ruggedly individualistic than being dependent on oil companies for your daily needs.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            How many people can afford to buy a house with solar panels and batteries to manufacture their own energy? That’s a kind of out touch statement. Well, it’s consistent with the wishes of our modern Democratic political party, and you’d get a lot of nods at an urban cocktail party, but it’s not realistic for most working people.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “How many people can afford to buy a house with solar panels and batteries to manufacture their own energy? That’s a kind of out touch statement.”

            It’s not out of touch. Plenty of people cn afford a house and the solar panels. Maybe more could afford houses if taxes were fair and they weren’t being drained of their wages by health care costs and being paid a good living wage.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Maybe more could afford houses if taxes were fair and they weren’t being drained of their wages by health care costs and being paid a good living wage.”

            Fair enough, but NIMBY zoning rules and other local regulations deserve a lot of ire on this topic as well.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            “, but NIMBY zoning rules and other local regulations deserve a lot of ire on this topic”

            You’re absolutely right. Land and property values are inflated to ridiculous levels. Even in some urban areas gentrification is driving people out. More needs to be done. Maybe with better transportation, like improved affordable high-speed commuter rail, further out rural areas could be opened for development.

          • 0 avatar

            “they weren’t being drained of their wages by health care costs”

            Are you talking about Europeans? Because in America salaries are high and employers take care of healthcare costs.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        We aren’t driving this bus. The combination of the Chinese and the Europeans have more market clout than we do, and they are both full speed ahead on electric. ICE will soon be a niche product no matter what US regulators do, although it will take a long time for it to go away entirely.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          @dal20402 Exactly this. China has been the largest car economy on the planet for years now. It has zilch to do with US regulators, lazy people collecting unemployment, or any other right-wing talking point.

          It’s about the total population and growth of the middle class.

          China’s middle class has been exploding for years while the United States has been shrinking. ATP for new vehicles is moving further and further out of reach of the average American.

          Plenty of the B&B wags their fingers at people taking out 72, 84, and 96-month car loans while grumbling about how China is running us over.

          I’ve written on these pages since 2008 – if the person metaphorically building the Toyota, can’t buy the Toyota, we’re kind of screwed when the question then becomes – who exactly buys the new Toyota.

          Anyone who has traveled extensively and visited countries with massive gaps between the haves and has not can see what is coming for the United States. And it isn’t the purvey of any one particular political party at fault.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            “Who exactly buys the Toyota?”

            The same people you see wearing Sweat Pants and a stained T shirt in Wal Mart.

          • 0 avatar
            la834

            This is all true, but let’s not ignore that manual transmissions have been disappearing for years – decades really – for reasons unrelated to electrification.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            “Who exactly buys the Toyota?”

            Anyone who likes a car which starts every morning.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Enthusiasts seeking out manuals, tend to like driving. Many go on road trips. Specifically to drive in an enthusiastic fashion. Which, by any reasonable standard, battery cars absolutely suck at.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @stuki,
        Go drive a Tesla.

        They accelerate hard enough to shift your organs. Like flying aerobatics.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          I’ve driven most of them. From the Roadster on. They accelerate hard enough for a two ton car. But I’ve got a ZX14R….

          Fast cars are for doing 1000 mile days ot West, as far away from donut shops as possible. Or from getting from Hamburg to somewhere with acceptable weather and a beach on some semblance of dispatch. Neither of which any battery car, current nor realistic future, is capable of.

          For the kind of distances-from-home, and places, where BEVs make sense, bikes usually make more sense.

          Heck, even when it’s too cold for bikes, so you’re stuck in a cage, it’s also cold enough that BEVs barely make it to the end of a decent length Jackson Hole driveway. Pulling a 4K trailer behind the longest-offered-range X in temps around 0 to -5, the battery was flat in barely over 100 miles. And that was across reasonably flat terain, albeit with a bit (1000ft) overall rise…

          For something marketed as “disruptive” to be usefully so, it has to be meaningfully better than what’s there. In some areas, specifically short range urban/suburban, BEVs are. But for all the rest, they’re little more than a sad reflection of a West in continuous free fall.

    • 0 avatar
      Derbagger

      Electrification is a weird term…

      Full electric,yeah no gearbox needed (or maybe a simple twospeed)

      Mild hybrid, those can still rock three pedals.

      I don’t understand why basically everything isn’t mild hybrid by now,but it will take some time for everything to be full electric.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “Civic will hold out as a last bastion of manual transmissions”

    I think, VW will last way longer

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I believe the Miata will be the last manual standing.

      I would be shocked if the manual survives another generation in the Civic. It might stay in the R or Si or whatever trim wears the boy-racer crown but for your average Civic? Wave bye-bye. How do the workers at the dealerships even move these around? I am under the impression that only boomers know how a clutch pedal works.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I drove Regular manual Civic and wasn’t impressed. VW and Mazda manual setup is way better. Although Honda beats Hyundai/Kia, I admit. Italian Jeep, i.e. Renegade is a mix of Mazda/Kia by feel. Mustang GT, pretty good in this component.

        What do I say here? I will not miss the manual Civic for as long as it is functioning the way it does,

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The Jeep Wrangler would be another choices for the last manual standing.

        My oldest has a bit of a love for the archaic, so maybe we’ll pick up one when he learns to drive. If you can drive a manual Wrangler, you can drive anything.

      • 0 avatar
        Varezhka

        When the only manual transmission available in Mazda is the Miata and a single trim of Mazda3 (I have both), it’s really scary. With 3/4 manual take rate in Miata, I would assume it will be among the last of the manuals though.

        I’m guessing Mustang and WRX will be the others.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Every car buyer selecting a stick shift in 2021 is doing so on purpose, there are no more “loss leader” stick shifts, and no one who accepts one because it’s the last car left on the lot and they decide they can live with a stick.

    That means manuals will last where customers choose them enough to fund their development. At least until ICEs are legislated away.

    That means things like Mustang/Camaro/Challenger that use off the shelf MTs and things like Porsche 911s where the option price can be absorbed more easily will keep them, and stuff like base Civics will not.

    • 0 avatar
      KOKing

      ^^^ This. It’s what kept MTs in E60M5s in the US, and brought it back to 991.2 GT3s. Supply and demand.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      There are still a few price leader manuals. Nissan Versa, Kia Soul, Hyundai Accent, Mitsubishi Mirage, although some of those are supposedly available with a manual but there is no actual inventory. I’m looking at what’s available new around here for less than $22,000 with an MT, and what I see are Sentras, Jettas, and one Forte.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The Hyundai Venue was produced for about 10 minutes in a stickshift version. If the customers (i.e. dealerships) won’t buy them for stock, the manufacturers won’t build them.

    There is precisely ONE new Honda with a manual transmission available for sale in Las Vegas.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Here’s an answer. Not from the automotive world, but from photography. You can still buy film cameras. My daughter loves to take photos with her phone, but when she wants something special, she pulls out the art supplies.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/film-camera-roundup-what%E2%80%99s-available-these-days

    I not only have neighbors with some amazing car collections (and not just Leno), but several have stables with horses. I’m sure there will still be cars like the Miata with manuals and ICE just like we have the Nikon F6.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m honestly surprised they did the manual Sport at all this time. The manual take rate on any mass-market car (i.e., not a 911 or Mustang) is going to be in the low single digits at best, and there’s no reason to offer more than one configuration. I would have thought the Si would have been enough.

    With that said, the Corvettes and 911s of the world will probably have manuals until they don’t have conventional gas powertrains anymore. With those cars, the take rates are high enough that if you can justify developing the car itself you can probably justify the manual for it. (And maybe even after; I can imagine a world where we have 3-speed electric sports cars.)

    But those of us who like a sedan and a manual in the same car are done for. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if there were no more manual sedans by 2027. Today it’s a small club: Accent, Civic, Corolla, Forte, Jetta, and the outlier BMW M3. I can’t imagine the business case is there for any but the Civic, Jetta, and M3.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    “Personally, I am optimistic that the Civic will hold out as a last bastion of manual transmissions for as long it can…”

    I wonder why that vehicle is chosen as the stalwart, it seems much more likely to be pony cars, jeeps, and broncos, and other ‘toy’ vehicles. If you are serious about performance you get a dual clutch, if you are serious about economy in a gas vehicle you get an automatic or cvt. Outside of specialty civics, civics make their name on economy and reliability – automatics/cvts get better economy and they are generally more reliable. There are other vehicles FAR more likely to be the last bastion of manuals imho. A manual regular civic is appealing to a very narrow slice of people.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I wonder why that vehicle is chosen as the stalwart”

      Car journos have a weird nostalgia thing about Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      “I wonder why that vehicle is chosen as the stalwart, it seems much more likely to be pony cars, jeeps, and broncos, and other ‘toy’ vehicles.”

      He did say “a” stalwart, not “the” stalwart. Civic most likely has the benefit of economy of scale, thanks to the Si and R. If those didn’t exist, the take rate would certainly be too low for it to continue to be offered in the lower trims.

      Also, to continue your thought process… if you are serious about driving for fun, you get a manual.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I suspect the manual Civic hatch will be like the HRV or the Venue, available with a manual for a year or two, after which the minuscule take rate will cause Honda to stop ofFering it. IMO if someone wants a fun to drive new Civic, they’ll spend the money for an SI.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I’ve purchased 3 manuals in the past 3 years (2 new). The Fiesta ST is gone. And if I had to have a new Vette, it is gone. The Challenger is the only one of the 3 I could still get new with a stick.

    Live it up while you can. They will live for a while, but you will have to drop Porsche money.

    I’m surprised Ferrari hasn’t brought it back in a limited run. I feel like they could charge whatever they wanted so long as the product run was limited. Just a guess though, but the last manual ones seem to be in demand.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    It’s a vicious circle, the dealers don’t order manuals/people who want them can’t find them…the manufacturers penalize those wanting manuals by making them available ONLY in the the lowest spec trim/most putrid color combos…all of which (IMO) has driven down the take rate. Honda no longer makes ANYTHING that I’m interested in, since they dropped two door coupes. But then, I’m no longer the target demographic! It’s hell growing older! :-)

  • avatar
    Derbagger

    This is blue water thinking. While everyone is in a feeding frenzy for crossovers,continue selling a manual compact. While there are fewer people who want one,there are fewer options giving you a more captive market.

    Hey,an Si hatch will be on my short list…

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