Enthusiasts have long since taken advantage of the fact that manual options on cars are generally cheaper than their automatic counterparts. We’d pay less money for more fun, especially if the car in question was a hatchback. It was a bulletproof deal, but now it seems that prices for these manual hatchbacks are starting to creep up. This sucks.
The first example is the 2019 Mazda3, as pointed out by this excellent Cars Direct piece. While the base-trim starts out at a reasonable $21,000 for the sedan, you can’t actually get a manual with it. So far, the manual only comes as an option for the premium package FWD hatch, which costs $27,500.
Then there’s the $19,350 2019 Hyundai Elantra GT, which you cannot option with a manual for the base trim anymore, apparently. If you want three pedals, you need to go with the pricier N-Line version, which costs $23,300 to start.
Then you’ve got the Civic situation:
For 2019, Honda took away the manual option in the Civic LX hatchback. Now, you have to opt for the $23,170 Sport to get a 6-speed manual. Last year’s LX allowed buyers to get it for as little as $21,070, making the newer option a $2,100 step up in price.
And while we are overjoyed with the new Toyota Corolla hatch because it comes with a manual and a starting price of $19,990, also keep in mind that the cheaper Toyota Yaris hatchback was killed off earlier this year, making the more expensive Corolla the only choice.
What’s probably happening here is that automakers are realizing that the only people who buy the manuals are nerds like us, so they are starting to charge a premium on them in the form of killing off the option altogether on the base-trim models.
This is not to say that the end of cheap manuals is here, by the way. The cars that were listed above are very much in the affordable camp. But they’re just not as cheap as they used to be.