9. Scion iQ
Manual transmissions have typically been offered in two broad and contradictory segments of the automotive market. Naturally they’re very well suited to sporty vehicles where driver involvement is paramount, but they’ve also played a key role in value-focused models.
In years past manual transmissions were cheaper than automatics, something that’s no longer necessarily the case. Along with sporty vehicles they had a place in small, affordable cars where value was king. But today even some cheap-and-cheerful models are automatic only.
Case in point: the Scion iQ. This tiny city car is offered exclusively with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). These somewhat unpopular automatics lack set steps like conventional gearboxes. Instead they use variable-diameter pulleys and a special belt to change ratios.
CVTs tend to be ultra efficient, but less fun than a prostate exam. The diminutive Scion iQ’s transmission makes the most of its 1.3-liter four-cylinder and 94 horsepower, though a manual gearbox would make winding the engine out a lot more entertaining.