The 25 Best Manual Transmission Cars in 2023
In a time when technology makes everything easier and easier, it might not make much sense to look for a manual transmission car anymore. Especially when the automated transmission has advanced so much that it exceeds the manual transmission in all aspects. But for those passionate about driving, this makes a lot of sense even in 2023. Because, let’s be honest, driving a fully auto car is not driving anymore.
So why choose a manual over a good DCT or CVT, especially when the prices of automated transmission cars are dropping, while those of manuals might even start to go up? Short answer, for that feeling of connection with your car. When everything tends to become more and more automated, the user is left with nothing but a dullness that can’t replace the real driving experience of a manual car.
These are the 25 best manual transmission cars you can buy right now
- 25. Honda Accord
- 24. Mazda 3
- 23. Volkswagen Golf GTI
- 22. Hyundai Veloster
- 21. Subaru Impreza
- 20. Toyota Tacoma
- 19. Ford Bronco
- 18. Toyota 86
- 17. Subaru WRX
- 16. Honda Civic
- 15. Mini Cooper
- 14. Mazda MX-5 Miata
- 13. Chevrolet Camaro
- 12. Jeep Wrangler
- 11. Subaru BRZ
- 10. Jeep Gladiator
- 9. Dodge Challenger
- 8. Nissan 370Z
- 7. BMW 2 Series
- 6. Porsche 718
- 5. Lotus Evora
- 4. Ford Mustang
- 3. Genesis G70
- 2. Aston Martin Vantage
- 1. Porsche 911
25. Honda Accord
The Honda Accord is a good looking and fun car to drive, and comes with a calmer version of the Civic Type R’s 2.0 liter turbo four and a six speed manual transmission, which will add just enough joy to any road trip you might wanna take.
24. Mazda 3
Mazda 3 is another good option for those who prefer the old fashioned stick. The car comes equipped with the innovative compression-ignition Skyactiv-X engine, with two flavors to choose from regarding the transmission: the 6-speed Skyactiv-MT manual and the Skyactiv-Drive automatic. Just pick the traditional manual one and off you go.
23. Volkswagen Golf GTI
Volkswagen chose to ditch the manual transmission for the standard model of their Golf, but thinking about their more sporty fans, they kept it for the GTI version. So, the drivers in love with the pure power and amazing handling of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, will get to keep their feet playing with a third pedal with the eighth generation model.
The six speed manual gearbox comes as standard on the new 228hp turbocharged 2.0L inline-four model.
22. Hyundai Veloster
One of the hottest hatches around, Hyundai’s top of the line Veloster, the N version, comes with a manual six speed gearbox as the only option. The entry and mid level models both come with a tuned down engine and automatic transmission as a choice. But we’d say go for the 257hp turbocharged 2.0L four Veloster N. That way, your only choice is the manual. And a lot of fun.
21. Subaru Impreza
Though Subaru has one of the best CVTs on the market today, they couldn’t let down their die-hard fans and simply strip away their joy, so they kept the row-your-own gearbox on the Impreza. The car comes equipped with Subaru’s 152hp boxer engine, providing ample power for a passenger car, and Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system, which is top notch in the industry.
20. Toyota Tacoma
Pickup trucks with a manual gearbox are becoming more of a rare breed these days, but Toyota has decided to keep the option on its new Tacoma. But only on the 278hp 3.5L V6 variant, and you’d also have to make do with one of the options of their TRD (Toyota Racing Development), choosing between the Sport, Off-Road and Pro.
On the plus side, you’ll get a powerful 4WD, locking rear differential and a more than capable crawl control.
19. Ford Bronco
Ford’s Bronco brings back the manual transmission to the company’s SUV line. But the manual is limited only to the turbocharged 2.3L four cylinder engine, as a 7 speed, plus an ultra low range granny gear for those tough off-road trails you might want to take this beauty on. The other choice would be a 10 speed auto paired with a twin-turbo 2.7L V6.
18. Toyota 86
What could you want more from a car than 205 horsepower, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed stick-shift? That’s the Toyota 86, designed with the sports car lovers in mind. It comes with 17 inch wheels, LED headlights, plus smartphone integration and a nice 7 inch touch screen inside.
The only downside, some would say, is the fact that all the driver safety aids that equip other Toyotas aren’t available on the 86. But it’s a sports car, right?
17. Subaru WRX
Standard аll-wheel-drive, six-speed manual transmission as the only option and a 2 liter turbo 4 cylinder with no less than 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, that’s the Subaru WRX. And if you go for the older WRX STI version, you’ll get 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque.
Count in the other features of this model like upgraded differentials, steering and suspension tuning and Brembo brakes and you’ve got yourself a fun car to drive around.
16. Honda Civic
One of Honda’s best selling models, the new Civic comes with a row-your-own gearbox in several of its flavors. It’s a six speed manual that you’ll have to pay extra for, because the base model doesn’t have it, but you’ll get a lot for the buck with the Sport, Sport Touring and Type-R. And with the R’s 306 horsepower 2.0L turbo beast, it’s more than perfect.
15. Mini Cooper
The cool looking Mini Cooper still comes with plenty of choices for the manual transmission fans, both in the two and the four door models. In terms of motorization, the manual version of the Mini comes equipped with either the base 134 hp turbocharged 1.5L three cylinder, the 189 hp turbocharged 2.0L inline four on the S model or the 228 hp for the John Cooper Works.
Unfortunately, the hottest of the Minis, the GP, only comes with an eight speed auto.
14. Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Japanese carmaker Mazda couldn’t have removed the manual transmission from their much adored car, the fun and gorgeous MX-5 Miata, not without the tears of the international automotive community at least. So, the Mazda MX-5 gets to keep the tradition alive for driving enthusiasts, offering a six speed row-your-own gearbox in all its variants and packages, from the Sport to the deluxe Grand Touring model.
The manual is paired with a powerful 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque 2.0L four cylinder engine, making the Miata so much fun to drive.
13. Chevrolet Camaro
The beasty Chevrolet Camaro won’t let you down when it comes to the driving experience provided by a manual transmission. It’s available throughout the entire lineup, from the base model, powered by a modest 275hp turbocharged 2.0L four cylinder to the astonishing ZL1 which comes equipped with a supercharged 650hp 6.2L V8.
What else could you wish for? Perhaps a little addition by choosing Chevrolet’s 1LE performance package, which adds a nice feature – rev-matching. All it does is make your occasional not so good shifts, smoother, by compensating for driver error when shifting.
12. Jeep Wrangler
SUVs with manual gearbox tend to be a rare breed lately, especially in the United States. But that shouldn’t stop you. Jeep Wrangler comes in for the rescue – limited in options, it’s true – but with a six-speed manual transmission. The limitation means you can only opt for one engine, the 285hp 3.6L V6.
Besides this, the manual it’s available on both the two and four door models, from the Sport package to the Sahara. All in all, the Jeep Wrangler is a good choice for some fun on those less traveled off road paths.
11. Subaru BRZ
Though similar in appearance with the Toyota 86, as they’re built on the same platform, the Subaru BRZ comes set up by the Japanese engineers for stability and precision.
The manual transmission is a no-brainer for this model, offering those classic thrills driving enthusiasts long for with the modern performance the industry has to offer. It’s regarded as one of the best cars when it comes to driver experience.
10. Jeep Gladiator
A Wrangler coupled with an all steel cargo bed, the Jeep Gladiator is for those who need the extra space for their big boy toys. Like the Wrangler, it comes with the same one engine option should you want the six-speed manual.
But it offers the best payload capacity and the best towing capabilities in its class, which makes it a very good alternative for those who need that extra utility.
9. Dodge Challenger
Another beast of a car, the mighty Dodge Challenger still is an option for those in search of a fun to drive manual. Unfortunately, the row-your-own gearbox is available from the R/T trim upwards, excluding the cheaper base SXT. But still, a 5.7L V8 with no less than 372 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque is a lot of fun for the buck.
The R/T Scat Pack comes with an even larger V8, a turbocharged 6.4L outputting 458 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The top trim you could have, the SRT Hellcat, goes up to 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque, which is not to miss if you have the money, as it’s going to be quite costly at over $80,000.
8. Nissan 370Z
With its sporty roots, the Nissan 370Z has remained one of the favorite cars of the Japanese 2-seater fans, always offering a manual transmission option throughout its range, including the hot NISMO.
Paired with a 332 hp V6 and that rev-matching technology, the six-speed gearbox will surely impress the car’s fans all over the world.
7. BMW 2 Series
Given BMW’s cult-like following, the German automaker surely wants to keep its fans close, at least some of them, so despite excluding the manual option from its new 3 Series, the 2 Series does come with a stick-shift.
Available from the base 230i Coupe with its 245hp 2.0L TwinPower Turbo up to the hot M2 Competition coupe with a 444hp 3.0L TwinPower Turbo, the manual transmission doesn’t disappoint its die-hard adepts.
6. Porsche 718
For Porsche, the driving experience has always come first and this is the case with the 718 range as well. Both models, the Cayman GT4 and the Boxster Spyder come with a good old-fashioned six-speed manual transmission in all the trims.
Plenty of horsepower, an 8,000 RPM redline, 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds and all you need is… well, a larger than usual budget. You didn’t expect Porsches to be cheap, did you?
5. Lotus Evora
While not as well known and widespread as other carmakers, the British Lotus is among the top names when it comes to sports and racing cars. Luxurious, beautiful, fast, delivering amazing performance and an extraordinary driving experience, Lotus wins a high spot on our list with their lovely Evora. Why? Because of what we just said, plus a six-speed manual transmission.
4. Ford Mustang
The legendary Ford Mustang couldn’t have missed from this list. A staple of the American muscle car tradition, it comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard paired with a 2.3L 4 cylinder engine capable of 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. But there are other options, including a high-end package with a 5.0L V8, making it track-ready, perfect for the die-hard fans of the Mustang.
3. Genesis G70
Hyundai’s deluxe range of vehicles, the Genesis, comes as another option for those who can afford it. The Genesis G70 is more than a capable luxury sport sedan, with very good performance, but unfortunately it only offers a manual transmission for the 252hp turbo 2.0L 4 cylinder engine.
It’s good enough if you ask us, but for sure some would love to have the 365hp V6 variant with a stick-shift, which is exclusively automatic.
2. Aston Martin Vantage
The luxury sports car Aston Martin Vantage comes as standard with a seven-speed manual transmission, something that should bring joy to the fans of the British luxury car brand. Performance wise, the Vantage is up there in the top, with a 503 hp twin turbo 4.0L V8 capable of pushing the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds and at a top speed of 195 mph.
1. Porsche 911
Porsche stays true to its legacy and continues to offer a manual gearbox option on its classic 911. It’s a seven-speed gearbox and comes in either the Carrera S or the Carrera 4S.
The other variants, like the GT2 RS or the GT3 RS, come with an automatic transmission only. Though the manual version comes out as slower in a straight line, it’s a lot more fun to drive overall.