While the manual transmission continues to slowly die out, a number of car manufacturers stick (pun intended) to them – and one of them is Mazda with the ever-popular MX-5 Miata.
Curious to see just how popular manual Miatas are, Autoblog reached out to Mazda PR program manager Tim Olson and was told that no 76 per cent of Miata buyers select the manual transmission option, with the remaining 24 per cent prefer the six-speed automatic. These figures are specifically for the Miata soft-top and are based on sales data from July 2018 through to April 2019.
As for the Miata RF, 52 per cent of sales in the past 12 months were made up of stick shift cars while the remaining 48 per cent sold have the automatic gearbox.
While it is not particularly surprising to learn just how fanatical Miata buyers are about rowing their own gears, we were recently surprised by news that just 33 per cent of Toyota 86 models sold in the United States last year have manual gearboxes. Like the Miata, the 86 is an exceptional driver’s car aimed at enthusiasts and we would have thought more buyers would be going for the stick shift.
Mazda introduced the 2019 model year Miata in the middle of last year with a heavily revised 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine. This uprated engine features different cylinder heads, revised pistons, new connecting rods, and an optimized air intake, increasing power from 155 hp and 148 lb-ft (205 Nm) to 181 hp and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) of torque.