For years, it has been all but a certainty that the manual transmission was going to fade from existence. Several automakers had decided to do away with stick shifts completely, including in the production of the high-performing Audi R8 sports car and throughout the whole line of Lamborghini models, but this trend may be turning around.
A recent surge in popularity has manuals accounting for 6.5 percent of new vehicle sales during the first quarter of 2012, according to Edmunds.com. This is the highest rate for stick shifts since 2006, and is almost a 3 percent increase from last year (stick shifts accounted for 3.8 percent of sales in 2011).
What accounts for this recent boost in popularity? There are a number of factors that make manual transmissions more appealing. The stick shifts generally run about $1,000 cheaper than their automatic counterpart, and a lower sticker price is more attractive than ever in the current economy. Manual transmissions also last longer in the long haul than automatics, but what most car enthusiasts will tell you is that stick shifts are, quite simply, more fun to drive.
Nissan’s bestselling manuals include its sportiest rides – the 370Z and the GTR – as well as its truck lines. These rough-and-tumble rides are ready for anything, and manual transmissions may give you a little more bang for your buck.