Manual transmission cars are a dying breed these days. Even cars that are known for the driver-friendly platform and manual transmissions like the C8 Corvette have ultimately adopted automatic transmissions. Big-name brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari are joining suit, and it seems like the days of buying new sports cars with a manual transmission are ending. If finding a new sports car with a manual transmission is like finding a unicorn, what about a fan favorite like the Mazda MX-5?
A true light-weight roadster
The Mazda MX-5 has been in production for decades as a small, two-person roadster. Available in every generation is the automatic transmission many people can handle, and some version of a manual transmission. For the 2020 model year, this is no different. It is clear that Mazda is making a statement with the MX-5: they won’t let the manual transmission die out. As one of a handful of sports cars produced this year with a manual transmission, owners are nothing but satisfied with their compact roadsters.
A best seller with hope
The Mazda MX-5 isn’t just popular; it is one of the best selling sports cars of our time. The front mid-engine placement helps provide the car with performance weight-balance without the hassle of having an actual mid-engine sports car. They are notoriously reliable, and you can still see many generations of the MX-5 on the streets today. They are lightweight like a Lotus Elise or Alfa Romeo 4C without the price tag or expensive maintenance and repair costs, but they do well to rival those cars in handling and agility.
The ND MX-5 Miata
As the fourth generation of the Mazda Miata, the ND runs from 2014 to current models, and it is debatably the best MX-5 yet. The aggressive front end still has the adorable face that Miata owners have loved for ages. They are still small, lightweight, and excellent handling vehicles. But, more importantly, you can still buy them with a manual transmission. They don’t have any impressively large displacement motors or pump-out high-end horsepower, but that isn’t what the car is designed to do anyways. The MX-5 Miata is intended to be a proper driver’s car, and it does that very, very well.
Even better, Mazda has seemingly no intention of ditching the manual transmission anytime soon. While you can of course get these fan-favorite roadsters with an automatic transmission, it is still important to many car enthusiasts to see a manual transmission offered. Not only does the 2020 model have a manual transmission, but it is also likely we will continue to see them in the Mazda MX-5 for many years to come, too.