10 Cars You Forgot Had A Manual Transmission
The manual transmission; you know it, you love it, and if you believe the hype, it's not long for this world. A decade from now will there be any vehicles that are sold new with a manual transmission? If Aston Martin is still in business, the answer will be yes. Even then, I'm still confident that the manual transmission will be around for a long time coming, even if it is in much lower volume. Why? Because regardless of what the media has to say (damn media), at least one percent of people will always enjoy the feel of a good ol' fashioned do-it-yourself shifter. Should new cars ever cease to offer us the choice of selecting our own gears, there will always be some available on the used market. Here are 10 that you might have overlooked. 2009-2011 Mercedes-Benz C300
The W204 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the official car of UCLA graduates, dental assistants, and starving artists with trust funds. But how many of those folks do you think selected the 6-speed manual option? If your answer was zero, you'd be right, because the only people who bought the C300 Sport with a third pedal were white collar types who felt the need to row their own as a way of relieving stress.
1992-1997 Lexus SC300
Imagine the Lexus of today producing a manual transmission sports coupe. It's a tough concept to grasp, but back in the 1990s, Lexus offered the SC300 with a DIY gearbox, and though I've never driven one personally, word on the street is that it was a blast
This probably has something to do with the presence of the naturally-aspirated version of the motor found in the Mk IV Toyota Supra residing under the SC300's lengthy snout, or it could be that with this car is super quiet and comfortable. I'm going with the former.
2011-2015 Buick Regal
This car I have driven, and it was one of the most pleasant surprises I've had in the past couple of years. From it's re-introduction to the American market in 2011 up until last year, you could get a Regal with a manual so long as you opted for front wheel drive. The Regal GS is a very enjoyable vehicle to drive, and that 2.0-liter turbo goes in the 'better than average' category, so long as there's a stick in between the seats.
2001-2006 BMW X5 3.0i
Unless you're a big time Bimmer fan, or are one of my industry peers, there is no way you knew that the BMW X5 was once available with a manual transmission. They were produced in very low quantities, and the 6-speed was only available in the 3.0i model, which made them easy to miss because everybody was too busy fawning of the 4.4i and the X5M.
2004-2015 Porsche Cayenne
Here's another luxury SUV that came with a manual transmission. But what makes the Cayenne more interesting than the X5 is that the 6-speed manual was offered on more than one model. First it was the powerful Cayenne GTS, meant to appeal to enthusiasts with families, and then it was the base Cayenne with the V6, which you could get up until last year.
While the GTS models are more desirable because of the increased power output, there's something oddly satisfying about knowing you could snag a Porsche SUV with a six speed for a very reasonable price thanks to the V6.
2005-2015 Mazda 5 Sport
Of all the vehicles on this list, the Mazda5 Sport probably makes the most sense, even though it's a freakin' minivan. As Mazda likes to say "driving matters" and what better way to show it than by offering a family hauler with a manual transmission? To my knowledge, the only other time that happened was back in Chrysler's 'anything goes' days when you could get a Dodge Grand Caravan turbo with a stick shift.
1999-2003 Jaguar S-Type
The Jaguar S-Type was aimed at young professionals, but ended up being more popular with the silver haired set. Bland as it was, the S-Type did have one or two redeeming qualities, mainly that you could row your own gears in the V6 model. The other was the "R" trim level, but you couldn't select the manual if you wanted the potent V8, so that goes down as a missed opportunity.
2006-2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
This makes sense in that Hyundai was still building bargain basement vehicles when the Santa Fe was available with a manual transmission. Years from now, I think people will look back and be shocked that base models from any brand came with the enthusiast's choice of gear selector, let alone a Hyundai.
The fetishization of the manual has made it a selling point rather than a way to potentially save some money, at least that's what I'm told by sales people at the BMW dealership.
2010 BMW X3
I know what you're thinking—I'm wrong about this one, but I'm not. I checked, and then I checked again, because I really thought the X3 was never available with a manual transmission in the United States. As it turns out, I was wrong, it was, I've just never seen one anywhere. Not at a meet, in a dealership, or for sale online. If you can't find a vehicle on the internet, does it even exist?
2015-Current Chevrolet SS
Ah the Chevrolet SS, the most underrated American passenger car currently on the market. Every time I realize that the SS is still a car you can walk into a Chevy dealership and purchase new, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. So long as this four-door Corvette is on sale with a manual transmission, all is right with the world.