Get a Stick Shift Chevrolet Cruze While You Can, Because the 2019s Won't Have 'Em
There’s two bits of bad news in the lineup of refreshed Chevrolet small cars announced today. Three, if you’re a fan of the Sonic. You see, the automaker doesn’t mention either the Sonic or the Impala in all of this 2019 model madness — lending credence to a report claiming GM plans to ditch both of those models. It’s rare for an automaker to invest in an 11th hour refresh of a model it plans to kill.
Sure, the Sonic’s last refresh came for the 2017 model year, one year later than the introduction of the current-generation Malibu, Cruze, and Spark. So maybe it’s just not due yet. But the Impala bowed for the 2014 model year and there’s still no word on any refresh or redesign.
The other bad thing will be felt only by lovers of the three-pedal, row-your-own lifestyle. What we reported in December is now confirmed: the Chevrolet Cruze goes fully automatic for 2019. It’s time to cross another affordable, manual-transmission car off a shrinking list.
Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture: New Package Arrives for the Dodge Challenger
Law enforcement officials across the nation will be eager to learn about Dodge’s new Shakedown package for the Challenger and … oh, what’s that, Steph? Not that kind of shakedown? Alright then.
In an effort to inject a bit of interest in a car that was introduced a year before Barack Obama took the Oath of Office for the first time – beyond, y’know, psychotic 707- and 840-horsepower editions – Dodge has tossed a stereo and a bit of wallpaper at its retro two-door.
Subaru Exec Spins Frightening Vision of a Stickless Future
Is Subaru, a scrappy-but-approaching-the-mainstream automaker, about to ditch the manual transmission? That’s what some are gleaning from comments made by Subaru UK managing director Chris Graham on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show this week.
Speaking to Auto Express, Graham mused about the brand’s EyeSight driver-assist technology and Subaru’s desire to include the suite of safety aids on all of its cars. The trouble is, EyeSight isn’t available on Subarus equipped with manual transmissions. If you’re looking for goodies like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings, a Lineartronic CVT had best be on your wish list, too.
Graham’s comments point to a Subaru that’s prepared to weaken the bond between driver and car in the name of increased computerized control.
Ace of Base: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Classica
Many corners of the internet expected the roadster shown here to show up as an Alfa Romeo Spider, not a Fiat 124 Spider, when rumours surfaced all those years ago about the MX-5 donning a natty Italian suit. Perhaps Fiat Chrysler made its decision at the time based on Fiat’s larger dealer network or some sort of answer provided by Sergio’s Magic 8 Ball.
Whatever the reason, we now live in a world where a brace of affordable and fun two-place roadsters are on offer. While the fraternal twins share a great deal, their clothes are different, as are their hearts. We’ve already deemed the base Mazda MX-5 to be worthy of AoB mention; can its Italian brother turn the same trick?
Say It Ain't So! Docs Suggest Chevrolet Cruze Losing Manual Transmission
After a year of good news (McDonald’s all-day breakfast came to Canada), it seems only fitting that 2017 will end in tears.
The Chevrolet Cruze, one of a shrinking number of models in which one can easily find a manual transmission, appears set to lose that option after the 2018 model year. As the owner of a manual-shift Cruze, no words can ease the pain.
2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Kills the Manual Transmission
For the 2018 model year, Volkswagen of America is adopting an entirely different approach to its sports sedan transmission lineup than Honda and Subaru.
Unlike the Honda Civic Si, which is available exclusively with a manual transmission, and unlike the Subaru WRX, which is available with a manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic, the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta GLI will drop the manual transmission option.
Mazda CX-3 Wants to Save the Manuals, Too
Every Sunday or Monday, a very generous man appears in my driveway with a new car. The same man, in not as generous a fashion, also removes a car from my driveway. The most recent exchange involved the arrival of a fourth-generation 2018 Kia Rio and the departure of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe we reviewed last week.
“Chilly one today, eh?” I say.
“I’m preparing myself for some cold days in PEI this winter,” Mr. Sowerby says with a chuckle. We chat for a moment about a recent Chevrolet Traverse event that was slathered across my Twitter feed, and as Garry gets into the Mercedes-Benz to depart he says, “You’re getting a Mazda CX-3 with a six-speed stick next week.”
Huh? It can’t be. Seriously?
2018 Honda Accord First Drive - Like It or Not, Honda Will Sell a Lot
Let’s get this out of the way up front – I’ve always had a soft spot for the Honda Accord. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fanboy, but I am a former owner of an ‘90s-era Accord coupe (I bought it used in 2005 or so and sold it in 2012) and I always felt that the Accord was sportier, generally speaking, than most other mid-size sedans.
Sure, the Mazda 6 has been the best driver’s car in the class for a while, and the Ford Fusion is fun to drive, but I’ve long thought the Accord had a sporting character the Camry and others lacked, at least until recently. Honda seemed to get more vanilla with the Accord in the past generation or two, even though the car still presented a strong package overall. Would the newest Accord, which comes with a choice of turbocharged engines and is available with a three-pedal setup, bring back the flavor of yore?
Toyota's New Patent Screams 'Regulate the Manuals!'
In this day and age, when a “coupe” often means a four-door SUV and automatics, DCTs, and CVTs perform almost all gear-shifting duties, it’s nice to see a patent from a major mainstream automaker concerning a manual transmission.
However, Toyota’s recent patent for an electronic tranny nanny might spark worry that the three-pedal experience, as endangered as it is, could become watered down by technology. A manual transmission that doesn’t let you make mistakes? Who’s in charge here?
Survey Says: Drivers Almost Never Use Paddle Shifters, Yet Paddle Shifters Are Everywhere
Many new automatic transmissions are capable of shifting with a level of enthusiasm foreign to owners of cars that are only moderately old. Like, say, from 2009.
Many new automatic transmissions also shift faster and more intelligently and more consistently than you or I could ever hope to with a manual transmission.
And with manual transmissions dropping like flies, the quality of a these intelligent, consistent, rapid-fire automatic transmissions’ shifts should theoretically matter more than ever. Yet automakers are increasingly turning to paddle shifters as a means of giving control back to the driver. According to Edmunds, 186-percent more new vehicles feature paddle shifters in 2017 than in 2007.
Despite the fact that drivers don’t want the control.
Manual Dexterity: Improved by New Clutch, 2018 Nissan 370Z Maintains $30,875 Price Point
Nissan has revealed that modest improvements to the 2018 Nissan 370Z will not result in any increase to the 370Z’s base price.
In the United States, 370Z pricing will start once again at $30,875, including an $885 destination and handling charge. But Nissan believes the 2018 370Z, while still very much the same sixth-generation car it’s been since the 2010 model year, is better than the 2017 car.
You can’t get a manual transmission in a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. You can’t get a manual transmission in a Ferrari 488 GTB. Yet for its ninth model year, Nissan saw fit to improve the 370Z’s manual experience.
How ’bout that?
Nissan Rogue Sport Is a Truly Cheap Qashqai In Canada, But Has Six-Speed Thirst
Nissan USA will not. In changing the name of the pre-facelift Qashqai upon its import from Kyushu, Japan, Nissan has determined a manual transmission does not meet the requirements of the U.S. market. With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission, the 2017 Nissan Rogue Sport has a starting price of $22,360.
Yet north of the border, Nissan Canada has determined that the Rogue Sport — which keeps the Qashqai name in Canada — ought to be available with a six-speed manual transmission.
Not only a boon for small crossover buyers keen on maintaining a level of interactivity during the morning commute, the manual transmission drops the CAD base price by $2,000.
The result is a Nissan Rogue Sport, or rather a Nissan Qashqai, at a USD-equivalent MSRP of just $15,850.
Ace of Base – 2017 Toyota Yaris 3-Door L
Last week, my Ace of Base selection was met with loud derision from certain corners of the web. My intent was to prove how it’s possible for one to get into a comfortable, well-equipped, diesel-powered Canyon pickup without springing for an SLT or Denali trim. Nevertheless, my efforts were met with a chorus of WHY DON’T YOU JUST DO AN ACE OF BASE ON A ROLLS-ROYCE RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.
Well then, without further delay…
Clutch Performance? Even BMW Is Eliminating The Manual Transmission
The manual transmission isn’t dead. But it appears to be dying. Now Munich is making sure everybody knows BMW has a hand in the demise of the third pedal.
At the traditional core of BMW’s U.S. lineup, the manual transmission 7 Series disappeared three decades ago. So foreign is a manual shifter to buyers in the full-size luxury limo category, this seems entirely natural.
M models aside, the U.S. market lost BMW 5 Series manual transmission availability after the 2014 model year.
“Across the world, virtually all of our 3 Series models and above already have automatic transmissions,” BMW sales boss Ian Robertson tells Car And Driver.
“We will certainly see fewer and fewer manual transmissions being offered,” says Robertson.
Ultimate Driving Machine?
Another Manual Transmission Bites The Dust, Mazda Kills Popular CX-5's Unpopular DIY Shifter
Mazda, heretofore an avid provider of manual transmissions, is killing off the manual transmission in the brand’s most popular product, the CX-5.
CarsDirect’s pricing analysts informed TTAC of the CX-5’s exclusively two-pedal future, having received confirmation from Mazda.
Few consumers were taking Mazda up on the company’s offer of an entry-level CX-5 with a manual transmission, so while the CX-5’s advertised base price shoots up by $2,290 with the loss of the standard shift, the typical transaction price for the typical CX-5 buyer won’t change.
CarsDirect says the CX-5’s manual transmission will continue to be offered north and south of the border. But for American consumers in search of a manual shift crossover, where are they to turn?