Save the Manuals

Cars.com survey reveals surprising facts about manual transmissions

The Volkswagen Jetta is one of the models still sold with a manual transmission.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

It's National Stick Shift Day and while that has little consequence for a large swath of the population, there are still a fair amount of passionate manual transmission advocates out there.

According to Edmunds, in 2020 just 41 of the 327 new car models 13 percent) sold in the U.S. is offered with a manual transmission. A decade ago, 37 percent were sold with that style transmission. Why? Simply put, the demand isn't there so automakers have stopped selling them. Also, automatic transmissions have gotten better generally offering better fuel economy than manuals.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata The Mazda MX-5 Miata is famously sold with a six-speed manual transmission.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Cars.com recently surveyed 500 adults to find out more about their history with the manual transmission and current driving habits.

Sixty percent of women and 84 percent of men surveyed said that they know how to drive a manual transmission. Most learned to drive it when they were young. Twelve percent learned before they were 15, 36 percent when they were high school aged, and 18 percent when they were college aged. Thirteen percent learned when they were over 40.

Moms are generally not the ones teaching manual transmission driving lessons. Thirty-seven percent were taught by their dad and 21 percent responded that a friend taught them or they were self-taught. Seventeen percent were taught by a driving instructor.

Most of the models offered with a manual transmission come from companies that produce products designed to be sold in Europe as well as the U.S. Five- and six-speeds are more popular across the pond. However, the influx of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles as a result of government regulation may be having the percentage of manual transmission drivers decreasing.

In the U.S., 23 percent of those surveyed that said they drive a manual transmission car own a BMW. Eleven percent drive a manual Toyota while nine percent were with Honda. Six percent of the audience drove a Ford or an Audi.

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New sports car

2022 Subaru BRZ pricing announced

The BRZ is all-new for 2022.

Subaru

Earlier this year, Subaru announced the all-new BRZ sports car, which is coming this fall to replace the previous generation of the car that was discontinued in 2020. It, along with its Toyota cousin, the 86, get more power, updated interiors, and better technology than their predecessors.

The BRZ Premium is the base trim of the car. It starts at $28,955 after destination. Adding an automatic transmission drives the price up by $1,600 to $30,555. The BRZ Limited starts at $31,455 after destination, which shifts to $33,255 with an automatic transmission.


2022 Subaru BRZ The BRZ's compact size and manual transmission make it enthusiast friendly.


The 2022 BRZ gets a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine that produces 228 horsepower. Part of the appeal of small, sporty cars like BRZ is that they are infinitely more fun to drive than larger, more computerized vehicles. To that end, the car comes standard with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission. Buyers can opt to swap in a six-speed automatic transmission, but that almost defeats the point of the car. A Torsen limited-slip differential, vehicle stability control with track mode, and 17-inch wheels round out the car's standard performance features.

Inside, the BRZ comes with an 8-inch touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and dual-zone automatic climate controls. A new gauge cluster display can show amps, coolant temperatures, or the car's lateral g-forces, and when track mode is engaged, the tachometer shifts from a circular to a color linear graph.


2022 Subaru BRZ An updated interior and tech are highlights of the new BRZ,

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Discontinued sedan

Volkswagen nixing Passat after 2022 model year

Racing Green Metallic is one of four exclusive colors for the car.

Volkswagen

After five decades on sale in the U.S., Volkswagen is pulling the plug on the midsize Passat. The explosion of SUVs' popularity and the need to shift production power to electric vehicles are behind the decision, which will take place after the 2022 model year. The cars have been built at the automaker's Chattanooga, TN plant since 2011, but the facility is being repurposed as VW's North American hub for electric vehicle assembly.

Volkswagen is giving the car one last hurrah, however, in the form of the Passat Limited Edition. The car features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with an Advanced Front Lighting System, and an easy-open trunk. Inside, the cars come with sport seats wrapped in Vienna leather, memory seating, a Fender Premium Audio System, parking assistance, and parking sensors.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition Each car gets a special model tag with its limited production number.Volkswagen


Only 1,973 of the cars will be built, and it will only be sold in four colors, each with its own limited production numbers that have special meaning for the Passat:

  • Aurora Red Metallic with Titan Black interior: 411 units to represent the original vehicle production code
  • Racing Green Metallic with Mauro Brown interior: 423 units to commemorate the Chattanooga 423 area code
  • Pure white with Mauro Brown interior: 524 units to signify the Chattanooga plant's May 24 opening date
  • Platinum Great Metallic with Titan Black interior: 615 units to signify six generations of imported Passats, one generation assembled in Chattanooga, and five decades of U.S. sales

Pricing for the 2022 Passat starts at $31,290, which includes a $995 destination fee. Adding Aurora Red Metallic drives the price up by an additional $395. Each car will receive a special number plate to designate its place in the limited production run.


2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition The Passat Limited Edition gets several upscale features. Volkswagen

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