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Manual transmissions guide Posted in:

What brands are still offering manual transmission cars?


When people talk about a manual transmission car they are typically referring to what is popularly known as stick shift cars. Let’s first establish what constitutes a manual transmission, since there are automatic transmissions that allow some manual control over the gear changes like the sequential manual transmission. So first, let’s go over the different types of transmissions there are:


Automatic Transmission:
You will find that almost every car in the US has an automatic transmission in it, these are the most common. Automatic transmissions make driving a car easy! Since the shifts are handled automatically the driver only has to worry about hitting the gas and the brakes. In the past, these types of transmissions were not as efficient in terms of fuel efficiency and or gear change speed. However nowadays these surpass manual transmissions in both areas.


Manual Transmission:
Manual transmissions are most commonly referred to as a stick shift by the car community. On these cars the driver controls every gear change with a third pedal which is called the clutch. A manual transmission is the choice of the enthusiasts because it gives the driver more control of the RPM’s and torque of the vehicle. At first it requires some practice to get used to it, but as you drive it every day and become familiar with the clutch spring force you will change the gears without thinking.


Continuously Variable Transmission:
Known as CVT or variable transmissions, these are very unique transmission systems that allow the driver to change between gears very fast. Increasing the gear ratio makes it so the gears can be changed on the fly without shifting between them. These are typically the most efficient type of transmissions, and they are used by drifters and racecars. However, it can be costly to repair them if they break.


Direct Drive:
Only really used in electric cars, these are the transmissions of the future. As more and more companies decide to go electric we will see an increase in these types of transmissions. A lot of these transmissions don’t even have gears in them and if they do, the gear ratios on these don’t change. On electric cars, the power transfer technology shows amazing reliability, however this same technology cannot be applied to a combustion engine vehicle because it’s impractical.


In the past there were only the automatic and the manual transmission but as you can see there are a good amount of transmission technologies to choose from in the present. From these, the manual transmission sticks out as the favorite of the average car enthusiast, however cars with stick shifts are beginning to die out.


The End of Manual Transmission Cars

In 2020 only 41 out of the 327 new car models sold in the United States included a manual transmission option. This ratio of 13% is alarming when compared to the 2011 data from Edmunds: according to their data,37% of the new models came with a manual option. So if you are an enthusiast and don’t want it to completely disappear you should buy cars that have a manual transmission.

Here is a list of the 2020 models that still have a manual transmission:

  • Aston Martin Vantage
  • BMW M2
  • BMW M4 (all body styles)
  • Chevrolet Camaro (all body styles)
  • Chevrolet Spark
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Fiat 124 Spider
  • Ford Mustang (all body styles), Shelby GT350
  • Genesis G70
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic (all body styles), Civic Si (all body styles), Civic Type R
  • Honda Fit
  • Hyundai Accent
  • Hyundai Elantra (GT hatchback only)
  • Hyundai Veloster, Veloster N
  • Hyundai Venue
  • Jeep Compass
  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Jeep Wrangler (all body styles)
  • Kia Forte
  • Kia Soul
  • Lotus Evora GT
  • Mazda3 (hatchback only)
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Mitsubishi Mirage (all body styles)
  • Nissan 370Z
  • Nissan Versa
  • Porsche 718 (all body styles)
  • Subaru BRZ
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Subaru Impreza (all bodystyles)
  • Subaru WRX, WRX STI
  • Toyota 86
  • Toyota Corolla (all body styles)
  • Toyota Tacoma (all cab styles)
  • Toyota Yaris (sedan only)
  • Volkswagen Golf, Golf GTI
  • Volkswagen Jetta

Pros and Cons of Owning Car With a Manual Transmission vs Automatic

Pros: Let’s start with the benefits: you can save up to $1,000 buying a car with a manual transmission instead of an automatic one after you compare the price options on several manufacturing websites including Ford, GMC and BMW.

Maintenance costs are another benefit of a stick shift car. It requires less fluid changes and makes your brakes last longer since these are not always in “Drive” like an automatic one. The only component that usually wears out is the clutch but these are easy to replace and cost about half the price of an automatic transmission replacement according to Edmunds.com.

Finally, manual transmissions give the driver more control over the torque and gear selection of the car. This can benefit a driver that gets stuck in the snow, mud or slippery conditions. According to Edmunds if your car gets stuck you can more easily rock it back and forth to get out of the hole if you have a stick shift car.

Cons: Now that we have talked about the benefits let’s discuss the inconveniences of owning one. The very first is that it can be difficult to learn, especially if you have never driven a car before. Also, most driving schools only teach how to drive with an automatic vehicle. If you want to learn how to use a stick shift car you have to find someone who is willing to teach you.

The only other time that you might experience difficulty with a manual transmission is when coming to a stop on a hill since your car will want to roll backwards as you change your gears and your car can stall and turn off. This is why driving a manual car takes skill and not that many people want to make their ride to work any more difficult. In this regard automatic transmissions are more convenient.


Older Cars with Manual Transmissions Conserve Their Value:

If you are an enthusiast and if you seem inclined to buy a vehicle with a manual transmission we recommend it for the easy repairs and low cost of ownership. Also older vehicles with a manual transmission tend to sell for more, this is especially true on sports cars, since many of the new models do not include this option.

If you already own a vehicle with a manual transmission, we recommend that you keep it! Who knows, in a couple years it might appreciate in value. If you are trying to restore it or simply want to have it shift gears like new but do not have thousands of dollars to spend on a new transmission, we recommend you buy a used transmission from My Auto Store. We not only have thousands of used transmissions in stock but also offer free shipping and a 6 month warranty on all transmissions!


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