By on October 6, 2020

As the manual transmission gradually joins the wheel-mounted throttle lever in the automotive history trash bin, we’ve been wondering which manufacture would be the next to take a bold stance against be-clutched vehicles. Today we have our answer, thanks to a tweet explaining the brand’s research boss had indicated Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have room for manuals in its current restructuring program.

“The head of @MercedesBenz’s R&D operations, Markus Schaefer, has confirmed the company will ‘eliminate manual transmissions’ as part of cost-cutting initiatives that will also see a ‘substantial reduction in platforms’ and a ‘very dramatic reduction in combustion engines,'” automotive journalist Greg Kable explained via social media on Tuesday.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2020

bronco

We wrote last week about rumors that Ford was testing a Bronco with the Sasquatch Package and a manual transmission. That was remarkable because Ford initially said the off-road-performance package would only be available on automatic transmission vehicles.

Which, of course, caused enthusiasts to howl. Especially on Twitter.

(Read More…)

By on September 18, 2020

bronco

Ford Bronco enthusiasts were happy that you’ll be able to get a manual transmission. But they weren’t so happy when the company announced that the Sasquatch off-road package would only be available with an automatic transmission.

The Twitter push back was intense, and Ford PR did say that the company would consider offering the Sasquatch on manual-transmission models (the stick is only available with the 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine) if there was enough consumer interest.

Apparently, there is.

(Read More…)

By on July 22, 2020

bronco

Last week’s biggest automotive product story was the unveiling of the next Ford Bronco.

Last week’s second-biggest automotive product story was that if you want the Bronco with the off-road-oriented Sasquatch package, you won’t be able to get it with a manual transmission.

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2020

2001 Volkswagen GTI GLX VR6 in Denver junkyard, manual gearshift - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I have no idea whether that’s a real group or hashtag or not. Frankly, I don’t care to find out.

Unbeknownst to yours truly, yesterday happened to be National Stick Shift Day, which is an event my fair city did not mark by raising a symbolic flag over city hall (the bike lobby must be baked into that council chamber). Had I known, I’d have driven my discontinued manual sedan with extra gusto.

As you read earlier today, Honda poured cold water on the morning-after glow by announcing the scrapping of the manual-transmission Accord for 2021, not that you ever considered buying one. The stick scarcity grows. So who’s driving them these days? Who even knows how to drive one? (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2019

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra Sport makes a compelling case for saving the manual transmission. But perhaps not compelling enough, as between the time I drove this car and wrote this review, Hyundai killed the stick in the 2020 Elantra Sport.

I daresay that’s not the car’s fault — the stick-shift Sport would be on my shopping list if I were eyeing a sporty compact commuter. Market forces continue to kill off manual transmissions and, while some brands are fighting the good fight, Hyundai must not have seen a business case in doing battle.

That’s too bad, because the budget buyer looking for value in a sporty compact car just lost one option.

(Read More…)

By on January 15, 2019

Count me among the dismayed that Ford’s new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 is only available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

I speculated that Ford made that choice because no human can shift gears faster than the DCT, and because Ford maybe couldn’t find a manual that can handle the estimated torque of the GT500, which is sure to be a high number.

Turns out, I was right.

(Read More…)

By on December 27, 2018

2018 Volkswagen Golf S

Commuting sucks.

It’s especially bad at speeds below “parking lot.” Foot off brake, crawl, foot on brake, repeat. It’s even worse when you’re piloting a stick – shift to first, release clutch pedal, roll, brake, clutch in, shift to neutral. And repeat.

Not all commuting is that slow, of course. There’s also the block-to-block drag race. First to the next stop sign or stoplight wins. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit 30 mph and get to third gear before doing it all over again.

(Read More…)

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