2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ: The Manual Mystique
July 10, 2012
We've had lots of calls recently from journalists who are trying to figure out whether or not cars with manual transmissions are really making a comeback, or whether the manual-mania is largely a creation of carmaker marketing departments.
The sales figures for cars with stick shifts do indicate a slight uptick: a nearly 7 percent "take rate" as of the end of May 2012 versus 3.8 percent in 2011. But that trend might not hold up, and it will be interesting to see where stick shift sales land by December. For those who are interested in stick-shifting, we've put together an excellent story and video, How to Drive a Stick Shift.
One reason people cite for buying cars with manuals is that they wring out better fuel economy, and while that's not true in every case, it's certainly true for the Chevrolet Sonic. Our six-speed manual with its 1.4 liter, 4 cylinder engine is EPA rated at 29 city/40 highway/33 combined. The automatic version is 27/37/31. In our actual driving, the Sonic is averaging 29.2 mpg. You can see a comparo below of the different Sonic engine/transmission fuel-economy numbers (as shown on fueleconomy.gov):
If you own a car with a manual transmission, what drove your decision? Was fuel economy a factor? And if you've forsworn the stick (as so many drivers have), what made you go automatic?
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @9,844 miles