My problem with the "3" is that at the time I bought my "6" they wanted MORE MONEY for the "3" in an equivalent trim AND it had the "burnt toast" audio/display system, so I could not upgrade or change it.
The 3 hatch (IMHO a decent compromise between a sedan and a CUV) was even MORE money (and not a couple hundred bucks either.)
The CX-5 was obnoxiously de-contented in the only offer with a stick (*rubber* steering wheel, only the 2.0L engine, etc) *and* more money than the "6".
Pay more, get materially less. Pass.
Now they're "doing it" even worse in that the MTX option has been deleted from the sport models. I didn't buy a stick to save money, I bought it because I prefer it and get at the same time improved driveline reliability and, over the long term, MUCH lower operating cost since the gearbox ITSELF has a near-zero risk of catastrophic failure even over ridiculous (e.g. 500k) mileage. Which clutches do (eventually) wear out they're a heck of a lot cheaper than transmissions. Since I tend to put 30+k miles per YEAR on my vehicles all of this matters, and quickly.
I really like my "6" but I'm not a brand fanboi. When the time comes to replace my 6 Sport if Mazda tries to back me into a corner on the value proposition I'll buy something else. Manufacturers that take that sort of approach to "customer relations" deserve a big fat middle finger in response, and from me they'll get one too.
I figured out one of the main reasons why the manual transmission is do how we buy cars. Since, by law, we have to go through a dealer to buy a new car we are almost at there mercy.
So most dealers have an inventory manager who orders cars for them to stock. They will focus on trims and options that are easier to sell. Way more people know how to drive a automatic compared to a stick-shift, and if you know how to drive stick then you can easier drive an Automatic. Since the dealers do not order these cars, they become hard to find. And buy a new car is pretty exciting, and being able to talk the car home that day makes it even better.
If you want to get a car that is not in stock at that dealer or any near by, then the dealer has to order the car for you which will take months.
The trim level/option thing a big factor as well. If you look at the Toyota Tacoma, you can only get a manual on the base level, and one of the higher levels. The new 3 in fact will only offer a stick on the high level hatchback, for now at least.
Car companies also don't real tell anyone that you can get a stick. If you looked at the media items for the newer 6, there are no pics of a manual car or much marketing talk that you can get one.