Some people believe that manual transmissions were only available in cars with a sporty reputation, but this couldn’t be further from the reality! Because the automobile business is always changing.
Unfortunately, this implies that many of the aspects of cars that people enjoy are gradually fading.
There’s no avoiding the truth that manual gearboxes are being phased out as automakers increasingly rely on automated transmissions and the technology that comes with them.
While there is still hope for the stick shift, there were a surprising number of cars available with stick shifters back when manual gearboxes were more widespread
It’s pretty much universally agreed that minivans are uncool. They’re designed with one goal in mind; to carry as much stuff and as many people as possible, save the style and the dynamics for later. But, Mazda challenged this preconception with the Premacy minivan, called the Mazda5 in other parts of the world.
The 5/Premacy was a lot of fun to drive, despite being a functional minivan with seven seats, sliding rear doors, and obvious minivan proportions. The Ford S-Max was the 5’s only competitor in Europe in terms of dynamics. Not only that, but unlike almost every other minivan on the market at the time, it had a manual transmission.
Porsche Cayenne GTS
Despite its controversial appearance, the first generation Cayenne was one of two automobiles that saved Porsche from extinction, the other being the Boxster. Despite being a large, practical SUV, the Porsche Cayenne was definitely a Porsche, as seen by the way it drove. You could even transform it into a monster off-road vehicle.
The GTS, according to many, was the greatest of the Cayenne lot. The GTS is still available today, but this is where it all began, and it was a lot of fun. The 4.8-liter V8 engine beneath the hood produced 405 horsepower, and it was mated to a classic 6-speed manual transmission with three pedals.
Have you ever heard of a cult following for a minivan? The Toyota Previa, on the other hand, is likely to have the most devoted customers. The Estima was the name given to this egg-shaped minivan when it first arrived in 1990 in Japan.
Regardless of how you looked at it, the Previa was odd. The Previa was a mid-engined vehicle, despite its obvious outward style. It was not rear-mid-engined, as many supercars are, but literally mid-engined, with the engine located between the front seats. It came with a supercharged engine, all-wheel drive, and, of course, a 5-speed manual transmission.Unfortunately, the stick shift was only available on the base engine.
The Jaguar X-Type was a tiny premium sedan that competed with BMW’s 3 Series and Mercedes’ C-Class. It was one of the by-products of Jaguar’s rejuvenation in the 2000s. The Jaguar X-Type is best known for being built on the Ford Mondeo, a car that everyone loved to mock.
Even back then, the X-Type was a compelling proposition. It came with a range of engines, AWD was an option, and, most crucially, a manual transmission was available. The standard engines used a 5-speed transmission, while the more powerful lumps had a 6-speed.
Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Voyager
Whereas the Renault Espace changed the family car in Europe, the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country did the same in North America, and the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country are now synonymous with the term “minivan.”
The original generation Caravan debuted in the mid-1980s with a 4-speed manual transmission, which was quickly phased out in favor of a more convenient automatic transmission in later iterations. The fourth-generation Caravan and Town & Country were sold in Europe as the Voyager, and manual gearboxes were available if the diesel engine was chosen.
Porsche’s first attempt at a large luxury sedan, which debuted in 2009, proved controversial. Many observers panned the car’s outward appearance, but appreciated the luxury and Porsche-like handling and speed. Despite being a large luxury vehicle, a manual transmission was still available.
Only the very first Panameras had a 6-speed manual transmission, and they were quite unusual. It was only sold in a few areas and could only be combined with a rear-wheel-drive, gasoline-powered Porsche Panamera. Many individuals believed the Panamera’s manual transmission to be a modern-day Porsche 928.
BMW X5 (E53)
By the early 2000s, the luxury SUV market had begun to heat up. Not to be outdone, the Bavarians entered the fray with the BMW X5, their first-ever SUV. Although the appearance wasn’t to everyone’s liking, it was a fantastic luxury SUV with plenty of utility and handling skill.
Obviously, an automatic transmission is well-suited to an SUV like this. However, some of the X5’s smaller engines could be combined with a 6-speed manual, giving your huge practical SUV a little three-pedal action. Although manual X5s are now uncommon, they were a terrific choice at the time, and this was the only X5 generation to provide it.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
It’s now, more than ever, that Toyota should bring back this charming off-roader SUV. In 2006, the FJ Cruiser made its debut in LHD markets. It was a small, cool-looking SUV with a strong off-road focus and an outward appearance reminiscent of the original FJ40 Land Cruiser, hence the name.
A sleek 6-speed manual was also available on the FJ, in addition to the standard 5-speed automated. Even better, the 6-speed manual transmission was exclusively available on 4WD vehicles. On the 4WD variant, the automatic transmission with transfer case was still available, and it was a nice choice to have.
The Chevrolet Astro was touted as a fresh approach to the van formula, right up there with the VW Bus. It was very likely one of the coolest vans ever manufactured, right up there with the VW Bus. It was the vehicle that started the vanning (#vanlife today) trend, and it came in both cargo and passenger versions.
The majority of them were turned into conversion vans, complete with bedding and furniture. The Astro van was extremely sturdy because it was built on a truck basis. You were the coolest person on the street if you had one.
What if your father had one? You were the most popular kid in school. The first Astros had 4-speed manual transmissions, but subsequent models featured 5-speed transmissions, which added to the cool factor.
Volkswagen Passat W8
Volkswagen dreamt up the even more ill-fated Passat W8 before the ill-fated Phaeton. Despite its appearance, this unicorn was intended to be VW’s debut into the premium sedan market. The Passat W8 was all about the engine, with loads of features and a surprisingly opulent cabin.
The Passat W8 is powered by one of the oddest and most unusual engines ever created. The engine had a displacement of 4.0 liters and was configured in a W configuration, meaning the cylinders were closer together than in a standard V8.