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Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
10/13/16 8:37 a.m.

Reading the review of the Accord Sport and the talk of the Cruze hatch brings a sore spot for me. Why is there a lack of fun, family sized manual trans cars? I can't be alone in being a guy with a family who still wants something enjoyable to drive. Specifically the mid to full size sedan/wagon/hatch category.

I drive 130 miles per day, sometimes more. Most of it is highway...65% of that is 80mph cruising, 35% is rush hour traffic. Have 3 active kids...football, lacrosse, etc... Shuttle them too/from games and practice, plus weekend errands/activities, and it's a butt load of driving. I don't need to carry all 5 of us (including the wife) very often, we have a minivan for that. But quite often I do need to carry at least 2 of my kids too/from sports. That means pads, lacrosse sticks, water jugs, etc... So as much as I love Miatas', they aren't the answer for my DD needs (though I'd love to get one for a weekend toy).

Why on earth is there such a lack of bigger, fun to drive cars out there with 3 pedals???? I am actually very fond of the Accord. I have come oh so close to buying a '13 V6 6spd coupe several times, I love the thing. But I didn't because I was concerned about living with a coupe. Ironically I drive a coupe now, but I bought it as a beater, not my "fun" car. I can confirm that while not impossible, the coupe thing is a bit of a pain. How hard can it be for Honda to put the manual trans in the sedan with the V6? The 4cyl Sport is just too slow for what I want. I also really, really like the Chrysler 300C and Dodge Charger R/T. So, so many things about them fit perfectly with my needs/wants...fast as E36 M3, loaded with luxury, can carry everyone and their stuff, because Hemi, awesome highway cruisers, low resale = great bargains used. But can I get a manual?? No....but I can get a manual Challenger, which shares a lot with the Charger/300. WTF??? (I read the comment in the Accord thread about the floor pan snafu on the Challenger/Charger).

My only choices seem to be German cars, which as much as I love how they drive, I don't want to deal with the higher maintenance requirements and spotty reliability. The Infinity G37 is another example. Great car, but a very dated platform and manual sedans are very hard to find. Plus, it requires premium unleaded, which does matter with the amount that I drive...not a deal breaker, but a factor. Things like the FoST are just a bit too small. I owned one, and it was love/hate. Lots of awesome things, but several that drove me bonkers.

Sigh...rant over. Back to my cubby hole I shall crawl.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/13/16 8:50 a.m.

I have two theories:

1) We are so few that nobody cares
2) Automatics allow for software control of the entire drive system and make it easier or possible at all for car companies to meet requirements for emissions, active safety systems like adaptive cruise, engine stop/start, hill descent, crawl control, etc. because the driver's inputs do not directly effect any part of the system. They are suggestions to the computer. They spent a lot of time and money developing these systems and need to sell them to make a profit. Offering simple alternatives is not profitable "enough" (see #1) to overcome the cost of establishing design, assembly line, personnel and parts management changes.

Probably both.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
10/13/16 8:53 a.m.

Sorry...you can handle the maintenance.

Click Here

ChrisHachet
ChrisHachet New Reader
10/13/16 8:54 a.m.

I feel your pain. Thinking WRX at some point perhaps, not much else sporty and manual on the market.

chaparral
chaparral Dork
10/13/16 8:56 a.m.

Do you want my Mazdaspeed6?

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
10/13/16 8:58 a.m.
Huckleberry wrote: I have two theories: 1) We are so few that nobody cares 2) Automatics allow for software control of the entire drive system and make it easier or possible at all for car companies to meet requirements for emissions, active safety systems like adaptive cruise, engine stop/start, hill descent, crawl control, etc. because the driver's inputs do not directly effect any part of the system. They are suggestions to the computer. They spent a lot of time and money developing these systems and need to sell them to make a profit. Offering simple alternatives is not profitable "enough" (see #1) to overcome the cost of establishing design, assembly line, personnel and parts management changes. Probably both.

It's #1. It's because people don't want to do anything..or at least as little as possibe....and it's been happening since 1989.

Lloyd Dobler said: I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.
STM317
STM317 HalfDork
10/13/16 9:02 a.m.

You don't own the FoST anymore?

Automatics sell better, especially in big sedans where buyers tend to lean more towards luxury and tech. About your only option is a G8 GXP, Chevy SS or second gen CTS-V at this point. Is an ATS or Mazda 6 too small?

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
10/13/16 9:04 a.m.
Tyler H wrote: Sorry...you can handle the maintenance. Click Here

That is not a large sedan!

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
10/13/16 9:05 a.m.

My father just bought a new Mazda 6 with a manual. Yes, it's only available as a 4 banger. No, it's not fast. However, it is smooth, nimble for it's size, and the gearbox feels like it was taken out of a Miata. Despite the car's lack of power--- it's still engaging to drive, and totally spot-on ergonomically.

Mazda always finds a way to make their cars fun to drive.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/13/16 9:06 a.m.

Oh, and FWIW, I just bought a '17 4 door Tacoma to sortof solve this problem ... and it's a lot like a family sedan with a six speed manual and a giant outdoor trunk. It's not really sporty or chock full of techno-whizbangery (I almost drove home last night without headlamps because... not automatic!) like a german car. It's got a real key. The seats are manual. The "climate system" is three knobs and button. It's got a real locking diff and the nannies it does have all have real off switches.

But, it's got a 7" display with XM, Bluetooth, appropriate charging tech for my phone, backup camera (read: hitch viewer :) ) dual variable cam timing to make the torque curve flat and fat and that sort of techie niceity.

Like a non-commital luddite's half measure. So far, me likey. I wonder if I can rally-x it... or is that cheating?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/13/16 9:07 a.m.

It's simple economics: People don't buy many new cars, especially family sedans, with manuals.

You can buy a new Mazda6 with a six-speed manual, by the way.

cdowd
cdowd HalfDork
10/13/16 9:07 a.m.

you can get an Acura Tl with a stick. I have an 05 with 200k that has been flawless. My father has a 14 tl with a stick as well with the AWD it is a hoot to drive.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
10/13/16 9:08 a.m.

Ran into the same issue shopping for a family car, although in my case I was looking for a used car and not new. Turned up some Maximas and Cadillac CTSs with a stick, but in the end settled for an automatic Buick Regal with the supercharged 3.8 because I got a clean one at a good price. I still think a Buick Regal would be a better car with a stick shift. Maybe I'm the only one.

I think you can get an Ecoboost Fusion with a stick, although it's a bit of a unicorn. Can you get a manual transmission Mazda 6, Nissan Maxima, or Altima?

car39
car39 HalfDork
10/13/16 9:22 a.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: It's simple economics: People don't buy many new cars, especially family sedans, with manuals. You can buy a new Mazda6 with a six-speed manual, by the way.

What he said. The last statistic I saw was less than 8% of the vehicles sold here had a manual transmission. On the sales floor, it's pretty much a non-issue. Some of my delivery vehicles were manual transmission, and we had to pass on some job applicants because they had no idea how that worked. The phrase "millennial anti-theft device" is not entirely a joke.

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
10/13/16 9:27 a.m.

Yeah, I know the root cause is that it's not a money maker for the manufacturers and I'm a 1 in a 100 consumer, but it sucks to be that one.

Cars like the Mazda6 and Accord Sport are really, really nice cars. Haven't driven the Mazda, but have the Accord. However...if I'm going to cough up good coin (i.e. $20-$24k max), that would probably make the car my one and only vehicle. Power is one thing high on my list, I'm done doing the "drive a slow car fast" thing, I like fast cars. The Mazda6 and Accord 4 pots lack that power. The Accord V6 has enough to satisfy me, but auto only in sedan.

The CTS-V is cool, but reliability/maintenance are rough. Remember, I'm driving a ton and will rack up the miles in a hurry. So a "diva" car that needs a lot of upkeep won't work for me...don't have the time, skills, or want to spend the cash to have someone else do it. I prefer something newer, lower mileage, as in 2012+ with under 50k miles to start. Plus I'd be financing, and you can't do that on an old, high mileage car. Hence why I'd love the Accord or 300C. Maxima is a nice car, plenty of power, but again auto only. Lots of cars would fit most of my needs and wants (fast, large enough, some luxury, respectable handling, reliable, great cruiser), but they're all autotragics.

I know no such beast that I describe exists, I'm going to have to compromise somewhere. It's just frustrating because it wouldn't be hard for the manufacturers to build such a car.

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
10/13/16 9:28 a.m.
Tyler H wrote: Sorry...you can handle the maintenance. Click Here

Wheels look great! Specs/details? Nice work!

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
10/13/16 9:30 a.m.

In reply to Huckleberry:

I've been preaching this for a while but nobody listens. Modern small-ish trucks with a manual go, stop, and almost turn as well as the big sedans from 20 years ago that people pine for. People here are very hung up about the idea of using a truck as a car.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/13/16 9:30 a.m.

8% of the total US auto market? In 2015 the automakers sold 17.5 million cars/light trucks in the US. Nobody sees 1.36 million sales as a target demographic? Unlikely to be the whole answer. I think my #2 answer above has atleast as much to do with it. Automakers are under market and legal pressure to meet all kinds of EPA and safety numbers and save us from ourselves too. It's easier to do those things with a computer controlled everything.

So, then, you get internal pressures to not offer options and a catch-22... people don't buy them because they can't and they can't because they are not offered because no one was told that they wanted them.

captdownshift
captdownshift UberDork
10/13/16 9:37 a.m.

You can go get a twin turbo V6 awd fusion at any ford dealership right now. Though no manual.

I feel that flappy paddle boxes getting better 0-60 than manual boxes was the last nail in the coffin except for those who live for corners.

Klayfish
Klayfish UberDork
10/13/16 9:44 a.m.
captdownshift wrote: I feel that flappy paddle boxes getting better 0-60 than manual boxes was the last nail in the coffin except for those who live for corners.

Yup...I agree. And I'm that guy who lives for corners. Though for me, it's not really about the corners, my driving is a lot of highway, so cruising is just as important as cornering ability for me. I just like to row my own gears, using an actual pedal and shifter, not floppy paddles. Not only are manufacturers on my damn lawn, they're peeing on it...

captdownshift
captdownshift UberDork
10/13/16 9:47 a.m.

In reply to Klayfish:

I'm in the same boat as you. I know it's slower, but I don't care, the process gives me not only control but the ability to adjust my response and or input during the process if needed.

Rodan
Rodan New Reader
10/13/16 9:48 a.m.
car39 wrote: The last statistic I saw was less than 8% of the vehicles sold here had a manual transmission. On the sales floor, it's pretty much a non-issue. Some of my delivery vehicles were manual transmission, and we had to pass on some job applicants because they had no idea how that worked. The phrase "millennial anti-theft device" is not entirely a joke.

I recently test drove a used '16 Mustang GT 'vert because I've wanted to drive the new Mustang, but the local Ford dealer never orders manual trans cars. It was at the local Nissan dealer, and the sales kid didn't know how to drive manual trans...

New autos are getting better. I drove a friend's PDK Cayman, and I would buy one of those over a manual, but most autos aren't that good... yet.

STM317
STM317 HalfDork
10/13/16 9:49 a.m.

Is your 130mi/day drive mostly highway? I prefer manual transmissions too, but a modern, rwd sedan is going to have enough power to comfortably cruise the interstates, as well as make the auto trans more tolerable.

Foregoing the manual requirement would really open up your options. In addition to the cars you mentioned like the Charger/300, things like the Hyundai Genesis and Chevy Caprice become options for under your budget.

The new Caprice has a stone reliable LS engine, a wheelbase similar to a 7 series BMW, a giant trunk to swallow the kid's gear, and an interior that should be super easy to keep clean. It's not going to be high tech or luxurious, but it's a big, powerful, RWD, simple, option with a decently sporty chassis that can usually be purchased for sub 15k. The want is strong.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
10/13/16 9:56 a.m.

In reply to Klayfish:

Preach!!

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/13/16 9:58 a.m.

FWIW, it's not an emissions thing. Manuals are not that hard to deal with. BTDT.

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