Why are manual trans so hard to find?


#1

Okay, I get it that most people don’t know how to or don’t want to drive manual anymore. But I really like it. I feel like I’m more more in control of the car (it may be imaginary, but whatever). I also like that its cheaper, that it gets marginally better mpg, and that it’s one less automatic thing to break.
So how come so many models just don’t have a manual option? I want to get a Tacoma, but I can’t get a manual without getting 4x4, which I just don’t need!
Thanks for letting me vent folks…


#2

Mainly demand. Cars are built to meet customer expectations. Cars with manual transmissions don’t sell. Especially with the automatics with paddle shifts, there really is little demand outside of Europe for manuals anymore. It really is a hassle and hard on the knees to constantly shift in traffic.


#3

Be careful what you wish for. I LOVE manuals on sports cars and they are a necessity on economy cars with underpowered engines. However, on a truck I would much prefer the automatic. Have you test driven the Tacoma with a stick? My guess is that it drives, pardon the expression, “like a truck”. And that is not in a good way.

Maybe Ford makes a Ranger in the configuration you like?


#4

For the same reason you can’t get Oat Flakes cereal anymore. I liked them. Apparently no one else did.


#5

Just about every car I’ve owned in 40+ years of driving had a manual transmission, from my first (1967 Porsche 911S) to current (BMW 328i). Today’s drivers can’t shift, text message, look at their navigation screen, put on makeup, change their iPod, shave, etc. at the same time. One of the reasons I stopped riding motorcycles.


#6

Perhaps it has something to do with the aging population. I preferred manuals up until about 6 years ago, but in all honesty as the arthritis creeps in my preferences have changed. I want…no, make that NEED…something easy to drive now.


#7

“Why are manual trans so hard to find?”

Because sales volume is low and achieving emissions compliance is difficult…


#8

2011 regular cab and access cab Tacoma models are available with a 5-speed manual in the 4x2 configuration. I suppose you want the double cab? You could try one of the other two models.


#9

“it gets marginally better mpg”

Old traditions and beliefs die slowly, including this one, apparently.
Nowadays, a vehicle with a CVT can get better gas mileage than a comparable vehicle with a manual trans. The examples that come to mind are the 2010/11 Subaru Legacy sedan and Outback crossover, but there are likely others as well.

As to “less to break”, I have never had an automatic transmission failure, and that includes vehicles with well over 170k miles. On the other hand, I did have to replace the clutch on one of my manual trans cars. Generalizations are not necessarily true, especially as technology advances.


#10

I did a lot of Ford transmission work inthe past and am pretty sure that (for any manufacturer) that the planetary-based (not dual-shaft) are considerable cheaper to manufatcure resulting in overall less cost for an Automatic car than a manual…consider all the clutch linkage, shift mechanisms and interior extras that manual transmisions require. Machining of ALL manual parts (case, gears, etc.) is far more precise and of harderness-matched metal than any planetary-base Auto. I’d guess the manual costs nearly double that of the auto. The “extra” cost at purchase time has to do only with percieved value and not at all related to manufacturing costs. Fuel efficiency is not an arguement for manuals anymore as modern Auto will deliver better performance anyhow–especially dual-shaft. I thinkthat CV autos are interesting but not worth the hassle of the engineering…they’re “infinitely” variable between two finite ratios not infinity on either side of center…great for a lawn mower but sorta scetchy for a Lincoln.


#11

I agree with much of what “kawasaga” has to say. The Autos are nearly as efficient and for many applications as reliable and economical. When the buying public wants a majority of their vehicles one way, it’s tough to find it the other. Besides, there is a lot of pressure by the buying public to drink their latte while driving a truck in traffic.
I disagree on the value of CV. In most applications they have been successfully tried, they tend to be more economical and economy is the name of the game.


#12

I’m speaking from experience with heavy truck…deep ratio 15 speed etc. Most of those are now autos but guess what? the transmission is essentially the same manual transmission but with computer controlled servos controlling the shift forks and no need for clutching because the comuter also synchs the input shaft with desired ratio gear because it controls the engine frequency (aka RPM)…pretty common stuff to do with industrial controls. The driver has has no clutch to operate as it is contrlled by the computer…all relatively easy to do with electronics. Check out the dual shaft Ford focus…an auto in essence but without the traditional tourque converter and simpson sets.
There is an added efficiency by not counter-rotating planet or sun gear stopping and then changing direction during range changes (not an extremely energy-expensive operation but it take a few watts/time of energy to bury that inertia into a band or clutch or some other braking member. The manual trans has no braking members( shafts all spin in thier original direction for all forward and reverse sets of range(s). Inertia is a terrible thing to waste…if you can transfer it to another shaft or dump it back into a battery…you can use it later…just physics. Chaging directions (e.g. RWD ring and pinion 90 degree change) is a very inneficient operation. Anyhow auto and manual transmissions are soon to be essentially the same…the torque converter and planetary sets will become extinct in the not too distant future, I think. ZF is beating Allison autos into the grave in the heavy truck market already…they’re all fork-based computer controlled transmissions. In those cases CVs are a bit bizzare animal to control and have no reiability basis for heavy truck…a sure sales killer for that market,


#13

I will buy my son, turning 16 soon, a stick with a small engine. If I cannot find one he will not get a vehicle. This is so his friends who can’t drive sticks will not be able to drive his car. LOL, I cannot count the number of times I have thrown my keys to one of my friends who wants to drive my car and they come back disappointed cause it is a stick and hand me the keys back.


#14

Well, I love driving a stick - except in heavy traffic! Since I live in a heavily congested urban area, the automatic is more practical. Often, an automatic doesn’t cost any extra now which reinforces what others have said about manufacturing costs.


#15

I drove my company’s Toyota Tundra with an automatic in the rain and that thing almost got me into an accident. I was making a right against a red. As soon as I push on the gas, nothing. Then there was a whole lot of wheel spin with empty bed stepping sideways. Give me a clutch pedal and I would have smoothly let it out and ease on the gas. Manual gives better control, not just with the gears, but also with the power delivery. This is a point lost on so many people who prays at the alter of paddle shifters.

http://gas2.org/2009/01/30/exclusive-interview-with-honda-chief-engineer-part-3-manual-transmission-on-hybrids-and-the-cr-z/

Quote the EPA numbers all you want, Honda’s chief engineer on hybrid says that you can get better mileage with a manual if you drive it correctly.

After driving in LA traffic with a manual for a few years, I find that it is no more work than driving an auto; I pushed on the clutch as much as I would have pushed on the brake. The idea is to keep the car rolling as much as possible instead of stopping and going along with other latte sipping zombies.