Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Say it aint so!...Hyundai kills the manual in the 2013 Sonata

But it is...All manual transmissions will be cut from the Sonata line up for 2013. I guess my pipe dreams of owning a Sonata Turbo with a 6spd are over. Damn, that would have been the ultimate family mover. Unfortunetly,  this is a normal occurrence among manufactures now supplying cars to the North American market. Honda, Nissan and a few others have all cut their manual transmissions from their line up. I suppose Hyundai is just following suit. I was told it is because of low numbers and not enough moved volume. Well of course your not going to sell base Sonata's with a manual tranny. Perhaps if Hyundai sold a 6spd manual throughout the line up the numbers would be slightly skewed the other way. Who comes out with a turbo version but then does NOT have a 6spd manual to go along with it? Buick (of all people) has a manual 6spd with their turbo midsized sedan. The last time Buick had a manual transmission, you could listen to Flock of seagulls on the radio.  It makes zero sense to me, but perhaps that is because I am coming at it from a driver's perspective and not a manufactures (number game) perspective. I can understand not having a manual in the Genesis sedan, Equus, and even the Azera. These are larger more luxury type cars. But the flagship family sedan? Even the Elantra is limited to when you can get the manual transmission. The only cars presently that you can buy a fully loaded car AND have a manual transmission are the Gen coupe, Accent (5 door) and the Veloster. Hyundai is leaving out the 30-40 somethings that want a family mover and is fun to drive. It is offered everywhere else in the world, just not here. An auto kills the fun factor...bad!

What happened?

Memorial day has just passed and I must say that it has made me a little reminiscent of our countries past. We are one of the first countries to have intercontinental superhighways, big v8 motors, and NASCAR. Not that I even like NASCAR, it is just what it stands for that gets me invigorated. Taking our alcohol running  cars and racing them! Where has our passion gone? Manual sales in this country used to be much higher. I'm not sure if it is because the automatics have reached the same fuel efficiency as the manual or if people are just becoming lazy. I think that maybe it is a combination of the two. Like everything else in our world, we want technology to do it for us. Just look at some of the features some of the newer cars are coming out with, blind spot detection, active cruise control, back up cameras and cars that parallel park themselves. I do not see these things as improving driving. I see these types of things taking away from driving experience. Maybe that is what people want, the car to do it for them. Why should they have to pay attention to the road when their phone is dinging with text messages and Facebook status's need to be checked? Have you ever tried to text, drive AND shift!  Technology is not helping, it is making people lazy. The insurance companies will tell you that it saves lives. Which I am sure it might, but if we educated drivers on how to drive a car and not on how much a ticket costs then maybe we would ALL be safer. The European union has people pay quite a bit for the privilege to drive. This also includes days on tracks and learning car control. The most I ever learned in school about car control was reading it out of a book. It was not till I was in my 90 excel and hydroplaning down the center grassy median of rt 22 near the Phillipsburg mall in NJ or the time I took a corner way too fast and slid off the road into a pile of mud (inches away from a  telephone poll...I was lucky on that one!)  I then began to understand the physical mechanics of things. These are all things I should have learned in drive's ed class. Perhaps out on skid pad somewhere. I think perhaps I went on a tangent. What I meant to say was less driver "helpers" and more driver awareness and accountability. Accountability in society along would be helpful, but I do not think I could cover that in a couple of paragraphs. That is its own separate book.

People do not know what they are missing, and it is a shame. The feeling you get when you just heel toed into one of your favorite corners press down on the accelerator as you hit the apex and grab the next gear as you move along to the next corner. is what we are lacking. By removing the manuals from the line up your killing it little by little. Luckily, the new Elantra GT will have a manual offering in all trims and same goes for the new Elantra Coupe. Maybe I will have my midlife crisis sooner than later and get myself a rwd sports car...


  1. Automatic vehicles are a joke. Even modern ones are crap. This is crap. I can't believe this is where we are headed. Crap. It's total crap.

  2. While auto's have come a long is definitely NOT my first choice at all!!