It seems like every day you hear news that the manual is dying. Nobody is buying a manual transmission, especially not Hyundai buyers. The take rate on many manual-optional cars is dwindling. But there are a few bright spots in the manual transmission world. The one shining the brightest right now is found in Mazda’s lovely Miata.
Based on the period of sales from July 2018 until April 2019, Mazda told Autoblog that only one in four soft-top Miata buyers opted for an automatic transmission. Admittedly Miata RF buyers, seeking a more Grand Touring experience, were more likely to purchase an automatic, but still (barely) in the minority at 48%.
Personally, I don’t see the appeal of an automatic Miata, as much of the joy is found in the car’s near-perfect notchy gear change. Automatics make a lot of sense for high torque highway haulers, but the Miata’s 181 horsepower engine demands to be flogged up to high revs to extract as much zoom zoom as possible.
It’s unlikely we’ll be “saving the manuals” in mid-sized commuter sedans any time soon, but it’s good to know that the three-pedal crew is still alive and well in two-seat roadster land.