Buying a Car - Manual Transmission Loss Leaders Still Around in 2018

Despite the rapid disappearance of manual transmission vehicles, it appears that many automakers have decided to keep a loss leader in their stables. And as it usually goes for manual transmission loss leaders, some are sticking around on dealer lots up to a year later presenting an opportunity to negotiate some great deals on top of the cash incentives already offered.

For instance, at the time of writing there is a single 2017 Hyundai Elantra (Archive) still sitting around, with about $3,500 in incentives plus a mysterious $1,000 incentive called loyalty service rebate.

Looking ahead to the 2018 year

Gone are the days where cars didn’t come without remote keyless locks and power windows/mirrors (with a couple exceptions). Almost all of the base level compact cars even come equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission - a significant upgrade from the 4-speeds that were still available a year ago. If the price isn’t enough to sell you, don’t forget that often these “no-frills” trim levels actually come with quite a few frills - thanks to technology cutting the cost of many of the devices. Also giving out a free touchscreen or rearview mirror on the lowest trim levels gives the marketing department a lot more free reign with words - think rearview camera and Bluetooth audio standard as lines you may have heard in passing on a car commercial.

thanks to the progress of technology and competitiveness of the market making it cheaper to toss in touchscreen mp3 players or rearview cameras rather than create a longer order sheet full of even more customizations.

Here’s the laundry list of 2018 manual transmission loss leaders from the compact car segment and some of the interesting perks that come with it. I’ve pulled out just the manual vehicles because those are the ones you can expect to languish on dealer lots a year from now into 2019.

  1. 2018 Kia Forte ($15,495) - No A/C, no remote keyless entry, heated side mirrors, 4-speaker system (AM/FM/MP3/Satellite/AUX/USB)

  2. 2018 Nissan Sentra ($15,898) - A/C, 5” non-touch screen, 4-speaker system (AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/USB/AUX) Bluetooth audio, rearview camera

  3. 2018 Mazda3 ($15,900) - No A/C (+$1,350 option) Non-touch audio display screen, 4-speaker system (AM/FM/USB/AUX), push button start

  4. 2018 Hyundai Elantra ($15,999) - No A/C (+$2,000 option), heated front seats, heated side mirrors, 6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/MP3 with USB/AUX)

  5. 2018 Ford Focus ($16,178) - A/C (?), 5-speed MT, USB port chargers, 4-speaker system (AM/FM/MP3), 4.2” LCD Display running SYNC, rearview camera

  6. 2018 Chevrolet Cruze ($16,295) - No A/C, manually adjustable side mirrors, 4-speaker system, Bluetooth audio, 7” touchscreen (Chevrolet MyLink), OnStar 4G LTE with WiFi hotspot

  7. 2017 Volkswagen Jetta ($16,395) - No A/C?, No keyless entry, rearview camera, 5” touchscreen display, Bluetooth audio, AUX/Satellite (VW appears to be skipping the 2018 model year)

  8. 2018 Honda Civic ($16,690) - A/C, Rearview Camera, Bluetooth audio, Speaker system (AM/FM/MP3/Windows Media/USB)

  9. 2018 Toyota Corolla ($16,790) - No A/C (no option), 6.1” Touchscreen and 6-speaker audio with Bluetooth (AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/AUX/USB), backup camera, lane departure, pre-collision system

Interestingly, the Nissan Sentra and Honda Civic come out as the most well-equipped, not only having A/C but also lots of tech goodies. The Mazda3 has A/C as a ‘Comfort Package’ option… which also comes with such “luxuries” as a trip computer, tachometer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. I suppose there is some comfort in seeing that you’re not redlining your car.

As an added bonus, let’s not forget the new 5th generation 2017 Hyundai Accent that was first unveiled at the Canadian International Auto Show last year.

2017 Hyundai Accent ($13,999) - No A/C (+$2,422 option), no keyless entry, 6?-speaker system (AM/FM/CD/MP3/iPod/USB/AUX)

The compact segment loss leader is far from being terribly decontented. You just have to drive stick.

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