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NowCar Manual Transmission Dead

Is Manual Transmission Dead?

Written By, Jordan R.

No, the manual transmission isn’t dead. If anything, it’s still alive and well in many vehicles from various automakers. The reason consumers may think manual transmissions are disappearing from the industry is because these days, automatic transmissions are the norm. Letting one’s vehicle shift between gears without driver intervention was probably one of the best inventions for the automobile. At first, many consumers weren’t a fan, claiming that automatic transmission reduced fuel economy, but such claims were quickly resolved as automatic transmission systems developed and advanced, whereas manual transmission systems are nearly the same as they’ve always been. However, there are various automakers that still offer manual transmission as an option, and those that don’t tend to have an automatic transmission that offers the ability to shift between gears manually.

Vehicles With Manual Transmission

The plethora of vehicles that still offer manual transmission is just too large to cover. If one were to think about it though, possibly the easiest vehicles to find manual transmissions in are high performance cars. The 2018 Dodge Challenger is a perfect example. Although no longer the default option on every trim, several trims in the 2018 Dodge Challenger lineup offer six-speed manual transmission as the standard option. Select Kia models also have several trims that come standard with manual transmissions.

Both, the 2018 Kia Forte and 2018 Kia Forte5 have six-speed manual transmission as the standard transmission on the base trim. In addition, the 2018 Kia Forte5 does offer six-speed manual transmission on one of the more high-end trims, the Forte5 SX. Naturally, it comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but consumers can opt-in for a six-speed manual transmission if they wish. The 2018 Kia Soul also comes paired to a six-speed manual transmission as the standard for its base trim, the Kia Soul Base, but consumers can opt-in for an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic.

And that’s the key in some vehicles these days. Sportmatic, Autostick, Paddle Shifters - they’re the saving grace for manual transmission lovers. Many vehicles are starting to add these systems into their vehicles for the transmission, and it satisfies both worlds.

Automatic Transmissions with Manual Shifting Capabilities

Knowing that some consumers prefer shifting gears on their own, automakers came up with transmission systems that offer the best of both worlds. Take the Autostick automatic transmission. It’s found in many Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group vehicles, but pops up the most in vehicles such as the 2018 Dodge Charger, 2018 Dodge Challenger, and 2018 Dodge Journey. Vehicles with Autostick automatic transmission have automatic transmission as the standard, able to allow the vehicle to switch gears automatically like usual. Why Autostick is different is because, like some gear shifts these days, it has a driver-interactive transaxle shifter that allows the driver to shift the gear shift knob to the side (left) and boom! Manual transmission is engaged, and the driver can manually shift as they wish. If the driver forgets to manually switch gears, the automatic transmission takes over again without fail.

Paddle shifters are also found in various Fiat Chrysler Automobile vehicles as well as Chevrolet and General Motors. This type of transmission is surprisingly found as an option in the Chevrolet Camaro, a high performance vehicle. Paddle shifters, like Autostick automatic transmissions, are an alternative to the transaxle shifter. Instead of making an automatic transmission that needs to be manually shifted into manual mode, paddle shifters are vertical tabs integrated into the back of the steering wheel. All the driver needs to do is tap it on the high-end to shift the gears up or tap it on the low-end to shift the gears down. Some people prefer this method because the driver’s hands are already on the wheel and in close proximity to the paddle shifters.

Then there’s also Sportmatic transmission, found in many Kia Motors vehicles. It’s nothing new though. Like automakers who like to brand name their special tweaking of an engine’s variable valve timing, Mitsubishi we’re looking at you with the brand-name Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) system, Kia did the same with Autostick automatic transmission.

The manual transmission isn’t dead. It may be a little less common, and sometimes it’s just under a different name. All you need to do is look. Would you be interested in more vehicles with Autostick and/or paddle shifters implementations? Let us know on NowCar social media.

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