20 Best Manual Transmission Cars | 2023 Edition

The “standard” transmission once went by the name of manual. The times have changed, and the stick shift is no longer as standard as it once was. Sadly, the manual transmission is hardly used these days. They won’t be used in our electric vehicles of the future.

Improved automatics outperform manuals today on the racetrack and during the EPA fuel efficiency test cycle. However, the stick shift still provides a more enjoyable driving experience. For some automobiles, the driving experience remains the most critical factor.

These automobiles’ vast and devoted fan bases scoff at “flappy paddles” and demand available three-pedal amusement. And for the time being, producers are meeting their needs. This article has compiled the 20 best manual transmission cars to buy in 2023. Continue reading the article to explore more.

Related: Why is a manual transmission better than automatic transmission? 10 Reasons to convince you!

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Source: Volkswagen

Volkswagen decided to eliminate the manual gear from the standard Golf model, but considering their sportier customers, they retained it in the GTI. Consequently, the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI will retain a third accelerator for those drivers who adore the Golf GTI’s raw power and incredible control.

Including a third accelerator pedal signifies Volkswagen’s commitment to providing an authentic driving experience for GTI enthusiasts. This feature enhances the overall control and handling of the vehicle, allowing drivers to fine-tune their acceleration and optimize their driving dynamics.

The six-speed manual transmission is standard on the new 2.0L inline-four engine with 241 horsepower. Its starting price is $31,625.

Hyundai Veloster

Source: Edmunds

The Hyundai Veloster N is one of the fastest sedans on the market, known for its performance-oriented design and thrilling driving experience. Unlike other models in the Veloster lineup, the Veloster N offers only a six-speed manual transmission, reinforcing its focus on delivering a raw and engaging driving experience.

While the entry-level and mid-level Veloster models have tuned-down engines and automatic gearboxes, the Veloster N stands out with its 275-horsepower turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine. This powertrain provides exhilarating acceleration and ensures that the Veloster N delivers impressive performance on the road.

The manual transmission perfectly complements the engine’s power, allowing drivers to fully immerse themselves in the driving experience and extract every bit of performance from the car. Its starting price is $33,595.

Ford Bronco

Source: Edmunds

Reintroducing the manual transmission in Ford’s Bronco SUV lineup is exciting for enthusiasts who prefer a more engaging driving experience.

The manual transmission in the Ford Bronco comes with seven speeds, providing drivers with a wide range of gear options to suit various driving conditions. Additionally, it features ultra-low-range granny gear, which enhances the vehicle’s capability on challenging off-road trails.

The Ford Bronco allows customers to choose between the engaging manual transmission with the 300-hp 2.3L four-cylinder engine or the convenience of the 10-speed automatic transmission with the more powerful 330-hp twin-turbo 2.7L V6 engine. Its starting cost is $36,685.

Subaru WRX

Source: Motor Trend

The Subaru WRX is equipped with all-wheel drive as standard, a six-speed manual gearbox as the only available option, and a 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that generates at least 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.

With a manual six-speed transmission, the WRX reached 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds, and it finished the quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds when traveling 101 miles per hour.

When you consider the additional features that come standard on this model, such as improved differentials, steering and suspension tuning, and Brembo brakes, you end up with a fun vehicle to drive around town. Its starting price is $31,625.

Subaru Impreza

Source: Subaru

Even though Subaru has one of the greatest continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) available on the market today, the company couldn’t bear to disappoint its devoted customers and take the fun away from them, so they maintained the row-your-own gearbox in the Impreza.

The vehicle features a Subaru boxer engine with 152 horsepower, more than enough power for a passenger car, and Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system, considered among the best in the company’s lineup.

Related: Why is Subaru still using Boxer engines in all its cars?

According to the EPA, the Impreza model with the highest fuel economy scores 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Impreza model with the lowest fuel economy is a hatchback with a manual gearbox rated at 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Its starting cost is $20,815.

Related: Best Shifting Method on Manual Transmission For Fuel Economy

Honda Civic Type R

Source: CNET

The new Civic, one of the automobiles that sell the most units for Honda, is available with a row-your-own gearbox. The new Civic Type R utilizes the same turbocharged four-cylinder as the previous generation but with increased output of 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet torque.

The EPA estimates that the fuel economy of the hot hatch is 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The Civic Type R has a six-speed manual transmission, but the base model does not, so you must spend extra on it. If you upgrade it, you will receive a lot more value for your money. However, its starting price is $44,890.

Mazda 3

Source: Car and Driver

Mazda 3 is another excellent option for those who favor a manual transmission. Mazda offers two engine options for the 3, beginning with a 191-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder. This powertrain is available with front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive system on the Carbon Edition and Premium variants.

A turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with 250 horsepower is available, but only on the expensive variants. The Mazda 3, with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, is the most fuel-efficient, with EPA ratings of 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

The turbocharged hatchback with all-wheel drive is the least fuel-efficient model, with city and highway ratings of 23 mpg and 31 mpg, respectively. Mazda 3 has a starting price of $23,715.

Mini Cooper

Source: Edmunds

The two-door and four-door models of the aesthetically pleasing Mini Cooper offer various manual transmission options.

The manual variant of the Mini is available with a 134 hp turbocharged 1.5L three-cylinder engine, a 189 hp turbocharged 2.0L inline-four engine on the S model, or a 228 hp turbocharged 2.0L inline-four engine on the John Cooper Works.

Models with the base three-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission get 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Models with a manual transmission get 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Its starting cost is $24,395.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Source: Edmunds

Mazda could not have eliminated the manual transmission from their much-loved automobile, the fun, and attractive MX-5 Miata, without shedding tears from the international automotive community.

From the Sport to the premium Grand Touring edition, the Mazda MX-5 gets to keep the legacy alive for driving enthusiasts by offering a six-speed row-your-own gearbox in all versions and packages.

The manual transmission combines a strong 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque 2.0L four-cylinder engine, making the Miata extremely enjoyable to drive. The starting price of the MX-5 Miata is $29,215.

Jeep Wrangler

Source: Car and Driver

In the United States, SUVs with manual transmissions are becoming increasingly scarce. But don’t let it deter you. The Jeep Wrangler comes to the rescue, with minimal choices but a six-speed manual transmission. Because of the limitations, you may only choose one engine: the 285hp 3.6L V6.

Related: 13 Cars Similar To Jeep Wrangler (Look, Specs, Usage)

The manual transmission is also available on all two- and four-door vehicles, from the Sport package to the Sahara. The Jeep Wrangler is a fantastic choice for off-road adventures on fewer trafficked trails. Its starting price is $32,990.

Dodge Challenger

Source: Top Gear

The renowned Dodge Challenger, another car beast, is still an option for those looking for a fun-to-drive manual. Unfortunately, the row-your-own gearbox is only available from the R/T trim level onward, not the less expensive basic SXT. Still, a 5.7L V8 with 375 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque is a lot of bang for your buck.

The R/T Scat Pack adds a bigger V8, a turbocharged 6.4L producing 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. The highest grade, the SRT Hellcat, has 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque. However, its starting price is $33,560.

Jeep Gladiator

Source: Car and Driver

The Jeep Gladiator is designed for individuals who need extra space to carry bulky equipment. It shares similarities with the Wrangler, including the option of a single-engine with a six-speed manual transmission.

The Gladiator is driven by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that generates 285 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque and is paired with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an available eight-speed automatic transmission.

What sets the Gladiator apart is its impressive capability for hauling and towing, surpassing other vehicles in its category. This makes it a superb choice for those who value increased functionality and utility. Its starting price is $40,570.

Subaru BRZ

Source: Car and Driver

While the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ may share a similar look due to their shared platform, the Japanese engineers have specially tuned the Subaru BRZ to prioritize stability and precision.

The BRZ is powered by a 228-hp, 2.4-liter flat-four engine from Subaru, which provides ample speed for this compact 2+2 vehicle. With its assured, low-effort shifter, the BRZ makes a special case for a manual transmission.

Opting for the manual transmission in this model is an obvious choice, as it delivers the timeless excitement that driving enthusiasts yearn for, combined with the cutting-edge performance capabilities offered by the automotive industry. Its starting price is $29,615.

Nissan 370Z

Source: Top Gear

The Nissan 370Z, known for its sporty heritage, has consistently remained a beloved choice among fans of Japanese two-seater cars. It has consistently catered to its enthusiasts by providing a manual transmission option across its lineup, including the exhilarating NISMO variant.

It is equipped with a powerful 332 horsepower V6 engine and advanced rev-matching technology. The 370Z achieves 26 mpg on highways with the manual transmission and 17 mpg without. Its starting price is $30,985.

BMW 2 Series

Source: BMW.com

Given BMW’s loyal following, the German automaker undoubtedly wants to keep its fans near, so despite eliminating the manual transmission option from its new 3 Series, the 2 Series comes standard with a manual transmission.

The manual transmission is available from the base 230i coupe with its 248 hp 2.0L TwinPower Turbo to the M240. The M240i’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six powers the compact coupe to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. However, its starting price is $36,295.

Porsche 718 Cayman

Source: Motor Trend

Porsche’s driving experience has always come first, and the 718 lineup is not an exemption. All trim levels of the Cayman GT4 and the Boxster Spyder feature a standard six-speed manual transmission.

The entry-level version is a 300-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four. The S variant is motivated by a turbo 2.5-liter flat-four with 350 hp. The EPA estimates that the base Cayman will accomplish up to 21 mpg in the city and 27 highway mpg.

The more powerful S model with an automatic transmission is rated at 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway; a GT4 with a manual transmission is rated at 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. Its starting price is $64,850.

Lotus Evora

Source: Lotus

Despite not enjoying the same level of recognition and popularity as other automakers, Lotus, a British company, has established itself as a prominent figure in sports and racing cars.

Renowned for its luxurious aesthetics, exceptional speed, remarkable performance, and unmatched driving experiences, Lotus has secured a prominent position on our list with its exquisite Evora model.

Every Evora GT comes with a mid-mounted, supercharged 3.5-litre V-6 engine that generates 416 horsepower and 317 or 332 lb-ft of torque; automobiles with a six-speed automatic transmission obtain the additional torque. The manual transmission adds a limited-slip differential to the rear differential for better traction with a starting price of $99,150.

Ford Mustang

Source: Car and Driver

The iconic Ford Mustang is an essential addition to our compilation. It represents a time-honored symbol of American muscle cars, and, true to its heritage, it comes equipped with a standard six-speed manual transmission.

This manual gearbox is paired with a potent 2.3L 4-cylinder engine, boasting 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. However, the Mustang offers additional choices to cater to varying preferences.

For enthusiasts seeking a high-performance experience, opting for a premium package featuring a formidable 5.0L V8 engine is an option. This configuration enhances the Mustang’s track readiness, making it a dream come true for devoted fans of this legendary vehicle. Its starting price is $29,145.

Genesis G70

Source: Motor Trend

There is also Hyundai’s luxury Genesis line of automobiles for those who can afford it. The 252hp turbo 2.0L 4-cylinder engine in the Genesis G70 is more than a capable luxury sport sedan with excellent performance and comes with a manual transmission. The starting price of this variant is $38,895

The 365-hp G70 gets to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. It also reaches the quarter-mile in 1.8 seconds. But unfortunately, the V6 variant is solely equipped with an automatic transmission, which may disappoint enthusiasts longing for the engaging experience of a stick shift.

Aston Martin Vantage

Source: Aston Martin

The Aston Martin Vantage is a high-end sports vehicle that comes equipped as standard with a manual transmission that has seven gears, which should satisfy enthusiasts of the British luxury automobile brand extremely satisfied.

With a 503-horsepower twin turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, the Aston Martin Vantage is among the best in performance. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in only 3.5 seconds and reach a peak speed of 195 miles per hour. It has a starting price of $149,086.

The Bottom Line

The world of manual transmission cars offers 20 exceptional vehicles for enthusiasts and drivers who appreciate the art of shifting gears.

Whether it’s the rugged capability of the Jeep Gladiator, the precision and stability of the Subaru BRZ, the power, and thrills of the Nissan 370Z, or the luxurious performance of the Lotus Evora, these cars exemplify the joy of a manual transmission.

Which of these 20 best manual transmission cars would you prefer to buy in 2023?

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