The beloved manual gearbox is on a steady decline, facing a fate akin to that of the dodo bird. According to a recent study by CarGurus, the number of new cars flaunting manual transmissions in the United Kingdom has plummeted by a staggering 55 per cent over the past six years.

CarGurus embarked on a mission to uncover the sad tale of the vanishing manual gearbox. Their analysis spanned over a decade, scrutinising new models from the 30 most popular car brands in Britain.

The findings are rather grim, revealing that in 2024, a measly 89 new models offer the once-popular manual gearbox option. This marks a dramatic decline from the heyday of 2016 when a whopping 197 models graced the market with their stick-shift prowess. The analysis divulges a somewhat steady manual transmission scene from 2014 to 2018, with the numbers fluctuating by no more than 4 per cent.

2014: 189
2015: 192
2016: 197
2017: 193
2018: 194

However, the plot thickens post-2018, with a consistent decline in new models sporting manual gearboxes. Since 2023, there's been an 18 per cent nosedive in availability, plummeting from 109 to a paltry 89. If this trend persists, CarGurus predicts that manual transmissions could bid adieu to the automotive world by 2029, save for a few niche models clinging on for dear life.

In a twist of fate, several manufacturers have completely abandoned the manual gearbox brigade. Farewell waves go out to Volvo, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Lexus, who have bid adieu to manual transmissions from their new model lineups. Among the current 30 favourite car brands in the UK, only a handful remain loyal to the stick-shift cause. Jeep, Land Rover, Mini, and Honda now offer just a solitary manual gearbox option each. Meanwhile, Volkswagen leads the pack with a generous offering of 10 manual gearbox models, closely followed by Ford and Hyundai, each flaunting six options in their respective ranges. All models currently available in the UK with a manual gearbox are listed below:

Brand

Models available with a manual gearbox

Volkswagen

Amarok, Caddy California, Golf, Polo, Taigo, T-Cross, Tiguan, Touran, Transporter, T-Roc

Ford

Ecosport, Fiesta, Focus, Kuga, Puma, Ranger

Audi

A1, A3, Q2

BMW

1 Series, 2 Series, M2

Toyota

Aygo X, Hilux, ProAce

Kia

Ceed, Picanto, Sportage, Stonic

Vauxhall

Astra, Corsa, Crossland, Grandland, Mokka

Nissan

Juke, Qashqai

Hyundai

Bayon, i10, i20, i30, Kona, Tucson

MG

MG3, MG HS, MG ZS

Skoda

Fabia, Kamiq, Karoq, Octavia, Scala

Peugeot

208, 5008, 2008, 3008

Land Rover

Evoque

Mini

Hatch

Renault

Captur, Clio

SEAT

Arona, Ateka, Ibiza, Leon, Tarraco

Citroen

C3, C4, C5

Mazda

CX-30, CX-5, MX-5, Mazda2, Mazda3

Dacia

Duster, Jogger, Sandero

Suzuki

Ignis, Jimny, Swift, SX4, Vitara

CUPRA

Formentor, Leon

Honda

Civic

Porsche

Boxster, Cayman, 911

FIAT

500, Panda, Tipo

Jeep

Avenger

“Historically, manual gearboxes have found favour for their lower cost compared to automatics, as well as their more responsive nature and improved fuel economy. However, updates in technology mean that many modern automatics are at least as efficient as a manual alternative, and much more responsive than the systems fitted in years gone by,” Chris Knapman, editorial director at CarGurus, commented.

But it's not just about gear-shifting preferences; there's cold, hard cash involved. With the rise of automatic-only driving tests, the analysis has unearthed a startling trend. During the 2012/2013 period, a mere 87,844 automatic-only driving tests were undertaken. Fast forward a decade to 2022/2023, and this figure has skyrocketed by a mind-boggling 269 per cent, reaching 324,064 tests.