Since its introduction, the current generation Mazda6 has always remained a top choice among driving enthusiasts. That's because it's one of the few cars left in its class to still offer a manual transmission, next to the Honda Accord. But sadly, it seems even that's going to disappear for the 2019 model year update.
CarsDirect originally heard through the grapevine that the Mazda6 sedan will be losing its standard six-speed manual while gaining some new safety tech.
At first, we here at Autoblog were in denial. We had to reach out to Mazda to verify this unfortunate news. And sadly, it seems CarsDirect's findings are accurate, with Mazda USA's marketing and brand communications manager, Drew Cary, replying to our inquiry with the following statement:
At Mazda we are always listening to our fans, especially when it comes to what they are looking for from our vehicles. As we have moved the Mazda6 upscale with the launch of the Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models, we have seen less demand for a manual transmission option.
We continue to support enthusiasts who enjoy driving with a manual transmission in the all-new 2019 Mazda3 Premium Hatchback model, and of course the ever iconic MX-5 Miata.
As sad as this may be, it actually does not come as much of a surprise.
As automatic transmission technology has evolved, manuals have simply become more obsolete. Additionally, the take rates for manuals in mainstream automobiles, especially one aspiring to go upmarket, continues to be on the decline. And it was easy to see this coming, since for 2018 the manual could only be had on the base trim of the Mazda6 anyway. So scratch one more model off our list of cars you can still buy with a manual transmission.
To offset the deletion of the manual, the base 2019 Mazda6 will include more safety tech. For instance, the entry-level Sport trim will now come with i-Activsense safety technology as standard, bundling automatic emergency braking assist, lane-departure alert with lane-keep assist, automatic headlights, and radar-guided cruise control with stop-and-go capabilities.
Related: Why the manual transmission can save us from technology
But it doesn't stop there, as the standard options list also includes automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers and Mazda's signature G-Vectoring Control Plus that originally debuted on the high-powered Mazda6 Turbo model only.
This, of course, increases the price of the base 2019 Mazda6, by $1,875. Previously, i-Activsense was a $625 option, while it cost $1,050 to replace the Mazda6's standard six-speed manual with a six-speed automatic.
Prior to the 2019 model year, if you added those options to the base model, the price difference with the incoming and updated 2019 Mazda6 would only be $200