The life of the manual transmission may seem fleeting, but we're not writing an epitaph yet. Sure, the Italian thoroughbreds like Ferrari and Lamborghini are receding from the row-your-own style, yet every single major automaker in the U.S. still offers standard transmissions, sometimes as the sporty pick, but often as the budget model.
The manual transmission remains plenty available in the market, and sometimes in the most unexpected places. To wit, how about three SUVs and a minivan? Or an upcoming Buick? Forget enthusiasts’ cars. Chances are your neighbor's "boring" mid-size sedan is available with a six-speed and a clutch, too.
We scoured the lineups of the biggest automakers in North America to find the most peculiar offerings. Then we found out the percentage of said offerings actually sold with a manual, and the take rate. And then we calculated some rather surprising odds. Here are our findings.
Sources: Respective automakers' 2010 sales data; "Life: The Odds: And How to Improve Them" by Gregory Baer; www.Veegle.com; Golf Digest; MSNBC; www.NSC.org