2020 Vehicles You Can Buy With a Manual Transmission

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Why Are Cars with Manual Transmissions Going Away?

Learning how to drive a car with a stick was once a mandatory step on the road to adulthood. Today, it's an art form mastered by driving enthusiasts or a task tolerated by buyers of the cheapest econoboxes.

Manual transmissions excelled in the days where they were simple, robust, and more reliable than automatic transmissions. Shifted properly, they could far outperform the fuel efficiency of automatics. They provide a connection with your car in ways that an impersonal automatic never could. 

For some drivers, however, today’s more congested roads, plus infotainment systems and cell phone connectivity competing for your attention, make driving a manual more of a chore than a pleasure. 

At the same time, automatic transmissions, and their soul-less continuously variable automatic transmission cousins, have gotten better and better. As they’ve gained more gears and complexity, automatic transmissions have also become better for fuel efficiency than their manual counterparts. The newest designs are more reliable than those of the past and provide smoother shifting. As a concession to those who like to shift their own gears, many automatics now come with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, allowing drivers to select their own shift points. 

Eliminating manual transmissions allows automakers to save money in engineering, manufacturing, and merchandising dealerships. By only having to design one drivetrain, they don’t have to test multiple versions and get each certified by the EPA for fuel economy. Many automakers, including Mercedes-Benz and Audi, no longer sell any cars with row-your-own transmissions in the American marketplace. The list of vehicles available with manuals for 2020 is 11 models shorter this year than last year.

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