Another manual transmission has bit the dust. For the first time ever in North America, the entry-level Corolla will not be available with a manual transmission. Toyota’s product info for the 2023 model revealed that the six-speed manual gearbox has been dropped from the lineup.
For a company that has gone to great lengths to offer enthusiast cars with manuals, the move may come as a surprise to some. After all Toyota just rolled out a manual transmission option for the Supra and is offering the GR Corolla exclusively in three-pedal form.
However, the sales numbers are likely what killed the basic manual Corolla in North America. The take rate for manual Corollas in the U.S. has been hovering around 1% for some time now. Supply chain shortages likely haven’t helped matters, so Toyota didn’t have much of a business case to keep the manual Corolla around.
The death of the basic manual Corolla is another sign that affordable enthusiast cars are on their way to total extinction. Sure, the current non-GR Corolla wasn’t exactly the sports car most enthusiasts dream of. But the six-speed manual at least made the car more engaging to drive than those equipped with that CVT. Toyota isn’t the only one pulling the plug on basic manual models. Subaru just revealed that the new Impreza will be CVT only.
That said, Honda does still offer the non-Si Civic with three pedals, but only in the hatchback Sport and Sport Touring trims. Similarly, Mazda still offers the 3 with a manual in a few select trim levels. Mini also refuses to give up the ship and brought back the manual option for the Cooper hardtop after supply chain issues forced them to axe it earlier this year.
Though few self-shifting zealots will mourn the death of the Corolla’s manual, its worth noting that many drivers likely learned how to row through the gears in a stick shift econobox like a Corolla, Civic, or Sentra. These cars were once the gateway for drivers to learn the joy of shifting for themselves. Sadly, that gateway is rapidly closing now that those cars have become an endangered species.