The good news is that yes, they still do manuals in 2021. The bad news is that only a few dozen cars are still being offered with a manual, and it seems that manual transmissions might even perish completely from the mainstream car market in the coming years.
The reason behind this is simple as dual-clutch transmissions are becoming more efficient and seamless, and the demand for mainstream manual cars in the US is continuously dwindling. In 2021, 27 cars new cars are still available with a manual, but these are mostly enthusiast cars with only a handful of them being “regular” cars.
BMW M cars are still being offered with a manual, but it seems like DCT is the more popular option. The Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger are the only three remaining pony cars with a manual gearbox. Mainstream manual cars include the Corolla, Nissan Versa, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mini Cooper and the Mazda 3.
A few sedans like the Kia Forte GT, Genesis G70, Hyundai Accent are also still available with a manual. Manual sports cars include the Aston Martin Vanquish, the Porsche 911, Toyota GT86, Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Porsche GT4 and the Lotus Evora.
#SaveTheManuals – Why are they not being saved
We, car enthusiasts, love an exciting driving experience, and for some cars, nothing can replace a manual gearbox. Even though a 911 GT3 PDK is leaps and bounds above any other dual-clutch gearbox out there, a manual 911 GT3 is and always will be the original recipe for a true track-focused 911 GT variant.
However, it is impossible to deny the convenience that comes with modern-day automatic transmissions. Long gone are the days of automatics being less fuel-efficient and more prone to malfunctioning because modern-day DCTs are so advanced that you don’t even feel the gearshifts taking place.
This is especially important when it comes to urban driving because you don’t need to manage three pedals and a gear knob which makes the entire experience a lot easier. Even though car enthusiasts love a good manual, most of them still prefer DCT road cars because that makes more sense for everyday commuting.
Best manual cars on sale today – Enjoy them while you still can
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, manual cars are not dead yet which means that you are still able to buy and enjoy a manual in 2021. If you want a comfortable daily driver that still offers a lot of “umph” for both the track and the winding road, you should pick any manual car from the BMW M catalogue.
The M2 is the best and most dynamic M car on sale today, but the BMW M3 is the most practical and most usable manual car BMW currently offers. Best everyday manual cars are the Mazda 3, Genesis G70 and the Toyota Corolla.
If you want a true sports car, the manual Porsche 911 GT3 Touring is the best manual sports car for the road currently on sale. The Cayman GT4 is not far behind, and the same story goes for the jawdroppingly beautiful Aston Martin Vanquish.
Benefits of a manual gearbox – Why they should be saved
As mentioned previously, the reason why manuals are dying is that the demand for them is lower and lower, especially when you consider certain segments such as SUVs or large sedans which are predominantly not available with a manual for a while now.
However, manual transmissions have fewer moving parts which mean that they are easier to fix if something does go wrong. Furthermore, manual gearboxes offer you an entirely new level of control over your car’s speed and RPM which means that you are more engaged in the driving experience.
However, the primary benefit of a manual gearbox is the cost because manual gearboxes almost always cost less money to buy or to maintain. Nonetheless, the demand for manuals is lower and lower because they have long reached their plateau while automatic transmissions are constantly improving further.
Does a manual gearbox use oil?
A manual gearbox does use oil, and you should replace your manual gearbox oil every 30-50k miles or so depending on your manufacturer’s recommendations. Automatic gearboxes also require an oil change, but they are known to last between 60-100k miles which is a significant improvement.
Skipping regular maintenance is a huge no-no when it comes to transmissions because they are prone to serious issues if they are not maintained correctly. Even though many people believe that automatic gearboxes are still not as reliable as a good manual is, they are wrong because a manual gearbox is usually being driven by a more experienced driver.
How to tell if my manual gearbox is low on fluid?
The easiest way one can tell that their manual gearbox is due for a fluid top-up is when they experience gearbox grinding. A well-oiled manual should shift smoothly and seamlessly, while a badly lubricated one usually feels forced and overly mechanical.
However, the best thing you can do is to follow the regular service intervals which almost always include transmission checks and replacements for the gearbox. This is extremely important for the longevity of the gearbox as well, so be sure to do this thoroughly.
Which type of car transmission is the best?
There are many different types of car transmission out there. A manual can be a regular manual, but it can also be a dog-leg manual or a manual with a computer-controlled clutch called a synchro manual gearbox. Between these three, a regular manual is the best way to go because it lasts the longest and is the easiest one to use and maintain.
Automatic gearboxes can be single clutch, dual-clutch or even multi-clutch. While an MCT or a DCT gearbox is the fastest and most seamless one to drive on a daily basis, they can often be jittery at lower speeds if they are not properly calibrated. A single clutch torque converter is usually smoother but is also slower to respond when compared to a high-end DCT gearbox.