The Regular 2023 Toyota Corolla Just Ditched Its Manual Transmission
Toyota put a lot of effort into this gearbox, developing it specifically for this Corolla and saddling it with auto rev-matching. Only 1.7% of buyers chose it.
Unless you get the godly high-performance GR version, the Toyota Corolla will no longer come with a manual transmission as of the 2023 model year. Now, the only transmissions available with the Toyota compact are of the continuously-variable variety. Every day we stray further from greatness.
As specified in a factsheet outlining what exactly has changed with various 2023 Toyota models, the manual transmission has been dropped from all versions of the Corolla that offered it previously, namely the gas sedan LE, SE, XSE, and all versions of the hatchback. As far as manual transmission discontinuations go, this one comes as a bit of a surprise considering Toyota made a reasonably big deal out of this gearbox's introduction at the top of the current Corolla's launch back in 2018.
Specifically developed for this car, the six-speed here had "iMT" rev-matched downshifts, stall prevention, and a smooth-shift feature that all combined to make manual driving easy for novices. It even had a dedicated physical button to turn rev-matching on and off, something I wish I could say for a lot of actual performance cars out there.
When I reached out to Toyota to ask why it's ditching the manual from the Corolla, a spokesperson predictably replied saying the take rate was just too low. Just 1.7% of Corolla buyers opted to row their own gears.
The manual Corolla's death is also disappointing considering the Corolla is actually one of the more fun-to-drive compacts out there, even without the GR stuff. As our own Peter Nelson points out, it's got a lot of tuning potential despite being often overlooked by most tuners.
But it's not like buyers don't have other manual options in this space. The Mazda 3 Hatchback, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru Impreza, and Kia Forte GT—as of this writing, at least—can all still be had with a manual in one form or another. That's ... not exactly a short list, all things considered. Whether or not one can actually find such cars with manuals on dealer lots is another story but, for whatever it's worth, those cars are still indeed in production with sticks.
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