At this juncture, there are just a few dozen cars offered with manual transmissions, and the vast majority of them would have to be considered “driver’s cars” or off-road type vehicles. It’s the end of the era for stick-shift-equipped vehicles, and the list of them lost to time includes come famous marques indeed.
It has become so horrific that it’s no longer possible to get a Fiat 124 Spider or a Chevy Corvette or a Mustang Shelby GT350 with a manual transmission.
But it appears there are a couple of dozen cars left on offer in the U.S. with a manual gearbox and yet a few more sport-ute models as well. That’s why it was a bit of a shocker that Ford Motor announced that the 2021 Ford Bronco would be available with a manual. Even more shocking is the fact that fully one in four new Bronco buyers has opted to bring one home to their driveways. That’s a fairly evocative number of 2021 Ford Broncos which will roll off the assembly line featuring a seven-speed gearbox.
And that number might well serve as a wake-up call for Ford as the manual will only be available as a package with the 2.3L EcoBoost I-4 and not the much more popular and beefy 2.7L EcoBoost V6.
The Bronco is a clear hit for Ford – indeed it’s one of the most talked-about vehicles in the last ten years – and the fact that 25 percent of all first-model-year Bronco purchasers are specifying the manual transmission could be a harbinger of things to come.
While the Sasquatch package will offer a manual option next year, some sixty percent of the total Bronco output is powered by the V6, and it won’t get a manual transmission. It may well be that only the hardcore Bronco buyers were first in line for a 2021 car – mostly enthusiasts and hard-core off-roaders. But who knows, it may prove a signal to automakers that the manual transmission might just live on regardless of the changing winds among carmakers.
But don’t count on it. As Bronco production climbs to meet growing demand, most of those vehicles will go to generic buyers and the new Broncos will see more Walmart parking lot time than they ever see muddy two tracks.
Source: Ford Authority