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Dear Chrysler: Please Build a 2015 Dodge Challenger V6 with a Manual Transmission

While the 2015 Dodge Challenger is still a little bigger and a little heavier than the competition, the 2015 models improved in every way except for one – the fact that there is still no manual transmission option with the base model V6 and that is one feature that could further help bolster Challenger sales.

Let there be no mistake – I love the 2015 Dodge Challenger. I love the 1971-esque exterior changes, I love the vastly improved interior, I love the new Scat Pack model with 485 horsepower and, above all else, I love the 707 horsepower Hellcat Hemi. What I don’t love is that there is still no manual transmission option with the base model V6, which gives the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang a significant advantage in the modern muscle car race.

I Understand Why There is No V6 Manual
If you ask a Chrysler representative why there is no manual transmission option with the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT, they will tell you that the take rate for a base model manual transmission model is low – and they would be right. With more and more excellent automatic transmissions including dual clutch gearboxes hitting the US market, we are seeing more performance cars going to an automatic transmission and because of that, less and less cars are being sold with a manual transmission. The sales figures make it clear that there is far more interest in an automatic transmission and the industry has followed that trend, with models like the 2015 Corvette Z06 coming with a fast shifting automatic.

Also, the new 8-speed automatic transmission in the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 makes the entry level Mopar muscle car one of the most efficient options in the segment…even though it is also the biggest.

Challenger Galleries:

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT in B5 Blue
The first images of the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker
Comparison gallery between the 2013 and 2015 Dodge Challenger
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in TorRed
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in Sublime

When you consider the facts that the manual transmission has a low take rate and that the 8-speed automatic does a great job of combining efficiency and performance, it isn’t hard to understand why Chrysler wouldn’t want to spend the money to develop a manual transmission.

The Demand is Clearly There
While fewer people may want a manual transmission, there are still plenty of muscle car drivers out there who want to bang their own gears and that is why the 5.7L Hemi, the 6.4L Hemi and the 6.2L Hellcat Hemi are all offered in different forms with the buyer’s choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is also why the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are offered with a 6-speed manual transmission and 6-speed automatic transmission across all trimlines, but if you want a V6 Challenger – you are forced to settle for the 8-speed automatic transmission.

challenger sxt rear

This not only gives the Mustang and the Camaro an advantage in the eyes of many prospective buyers, but it also gives those two V6-powered muscle cars a performance advantage. Even with the automatic transmission technology advancements that make the Hellcat Hemi and the 8-speed automatic a match made in heaven, a smaller, less powerful engine like the 3.6L Pentastar would benefit a great deal in terms of both wheel horsepower and basic fun to drive factor with a manual transmission.

While Chrysler may point out that the target market for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT prefer the automatic transmission, Ford and Chevy sell plenty of V6 muscle cars with manual transmissions. While a V6 muscle car buyer obviously doesn’t list performance as their #1 concern (otherwise, they would buy a V8 model), performance is still important and there is no question that the manual transmission would make a well driven V6 Challenger quicker. It would also make it more fun to drive and that is why people buy V6 Camaros and V6 Mustangs with the manual transmission.

Unfortunately, it appears that the bean counters who point out the low rate of return on developing a manual transmission for the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT will win out in this case. Fortunately, those same stick in the mud numbers people lost the battle with the likes of the Hellcat Challenger so not having a manual transmission in the base model proves to be a solid tradeoff for a 707hp halo car.

However, if the Chrysler Group was to offer a manual transmission for the “base model” Dodge Challenger with the V6 engine, there is no question that some folks who want more driving excitement out of their affordable muscle car would more closely consider the Challenger against the Mustang and Camaro.


Auto Motive (not verified)    October 2, 2014 - 4:50PM

Please note that the only muscle car is a automatic V8 as manuals are less efficient, fewer consumers in the US want them (85-15) and it cost too much for the auto mfgs to have them on the same assembly line. The death of the 6 cyl is evident as a muscle car since most people buy them since they are daily drivers and I haven't seen more than 2 at a local car cruise. If you get a challenger get the V8 and if you don't have enough cash save like us seniors did to buy our first new corvette.

Skip (not verified)    October 4, 2014 - 8:11AM

I drive the 3.6 pentastar in a 2013 Chrysler 300 with the 8-speed transmission and I love it. BUT... I have to say, drivers would not get much savings with a heavy car like the 300 or Challenger with the V6 and a manual transmission. I am constantly driving my 300 in sport mode and mashing the gas in a city environment, so I get about 14.1 MPG. While I can rake in 23 on a decent high-way drive, I can't imagine getting better than 12/19 in a manual transmission. SO, my point is that the manual transmission would probably come with the gas guzzler tax just like with the manual V8s. In that case, saving 400 bucks or so is really not worth getting a manual transmission for most folks. Low demand and the production factors that the Vette showoff mentioned might be a better set of reasons we won't see a manual V6 from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

josh (not verified)    May 17, 2015 - 1:24PM

In reply to by Skip (not verified)

Your way off. Whereas the 8 speed is a marvel the worst a manual would compare is 1mpg less and equal performance numbers. Not to mention the minimum 1000 bucks you would save on the price. That being said why argue giving people the option? Most I know would drive a stick even if it was a worse choice simply because it's fun and offers control you simply cannot gen in any auto

john (not verified)    December 9, 2014 - 6:58AM

This article is inaccurate the 8 speed cars are faster than the manuals and while I've seen many people say muscle cars need manuals the fact the challenger is as big as a 7 series and rides and feels more like a gt a manual Just doesn't seem to fit it'd personality plus the added maintenance and fuel cost plus it's slower is the nail in the coffin for me on a manual

Lisa (not verified)    March 9, 2015 - 3:02PM

I'm currently leasing a 2013 Challenge,r the only thing I absolutely hate about the car is the automatic transmission (what fun is this) and what's up with the stupid paddle shifters they get in may way?
My lease is up in 2016 please, please put a 5 speed manual transmission with a CLUTCH and I would gladly purchase another Challenger, otherwise I will have to look elsewhere

Mikey (not verified)    February 19, 2016 - 11:50PM

Dodge u should charge the same for manual transmission people will buy people are worried about the eight speed transmission slipping down the road causing thousands of dollars when the manual will just need the clutch to be replaced .i would pay 2k more for v6 5spd. They should be a special order five speed.but if u want 6spd u got go for v-8. does anyone know if there's a conversion kit ? There's plenty of people who rather have manual over the extra power .iam one of the the car is boring in auto

Lucas (not verified)    August 19, 2016 - 4:14PM

I totally agree
Nice to have a challenger v6 with a manual transmission

I got me a 2013 mustang v6 6 speed manual

John Buster (not verified)    January 12, 2017 - 4:52PM

I look every day for a Challenger. However, I want a standard transmission. No exceptions. Will not buy a Challenger until the standard is available. Jump in the Lake Chrysler.