QOTD: Where Are We On Manuals?

Civic Stick Shift
Photo: Honda

Used to be, when a company announced the death of a manual transmission option for just about any given model, we’d all freak out and start cursing that company’s name. These days, n it seems those announcements are met with a resigned shrug. The writing is on the wall, if not because the older people who can actually afford to buy new cars don’t tend to have the vigor to drive stick, then definitely because the EV makes transmissions with more than a couple gears unnecessary.


I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to square buying a sporty type car with an automatic, no matter how good they are. It just kind of defeats the purpose of a sporty car for me. So, I guess my hypothetical options are thinning even if there are a handful of truly great modern cars with conventional sticks. And of course, there’s always the used market where there are plenty of pre-depreciated, manual-equipped cars for anyone who wants one.

So where are you? Railing against the cruel hand of the market? Searching Craigslist? Getting ready for your EV swap project? Where are we on manuals?



My frustration is that nearly all manufacturers missed the transition from “manuals are for cheap loser cars only” to “enthusiasts with disposable income want manuals in their enthusiast cars.”

Time and again, manufacturers today only put their manuals in their option-barren penalty boxes, only to swiftly cancel those manual transmissions when they don’t sell, because even cash-starved drivers have alternatives out there. Meanwhile, the higher-end trims with all the bells and whistles get the soul-crushing automatic transmission.

I want a manual transmission, but I also want the most powerful engine, the AWD option, the sunroof and nice leather, etc. But manufacturers aren’t giving buyers like me that option, instead accusing *me* of not wanting the MT enough because I actually foolishly wanted everything AND the MT.

Alas, even old reliable manufacturers like Mazda and VW have since succumbed to this terrible logic, limiting the MT option to their penalty box trims. It’s a shame, but the writing is on the wall.