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20 Cars With a Manual Transmission You Should Buy Right Now

Vukasin HerbezApril 2, 2019

The statistics don’t lie. The manual transmission is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Automatics are taking over, regardless of the vehicle class or price segment. On the one hand, this is good since automatic makes the car more comfortable but on the other, this is bad since it makes driving less engaging and interesting.

However, there are still plenty of cars that offer a true manual transmission to eager buyers. So here are the 20 best that represent the perfect combination of modern engineering with the old school “shift-by-yourself” attitude. These are the cars that will be extinct in a few years, so if you find one that strikes your fancy, you’d better buy it while you can.

  1. Mazda Miata

Ever since Mazda presented the first Miata, it has been synonymous with those light, open-top roadsters with perfect balance and a thrilling ride. Of course, a manual transmission is the best way to go if you are going to buy a Miata. That close ratio six-speed box will give you the excitement and satisfying feel of truly driving your car.

  1. Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ

The GT 86 and its twin brother, the Subaru BRZ entered the car market in 2012. Immediately, it drew attention from performance car fans for its raw driving dynamics, low weight, and uncompromised handling. The GT 86/BRZ technical layout is basic with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine that sends its power to the rear wheels over a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox.

  1. Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 2

So, what exactly is the Mustang GT Performance Pack 2? Well, it is a GT, which means it has a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 with 460 HP and 420 lb-ft of torque. And they mated it to a six-speed manual transmission in the best tradition of classic muscle cars.

With the 0 to 60 mph times in the low four-second range, the Performance Pack 2 is fast. But the impressive numbers are just half of the story. The essence of the Performance Pack is in handling, braking, less weight and many more driving dynamics.

  1. Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The base C7 Corvette is more than capable of delivering an exhilarating performance. But even so, Chevrolet quickly introduced the crazy Z06 package that transformed the design. It included a 650 HP supercharged engine, manual transmission and a host of performance upgrades.

Basically, the Z06 is a hot-rodded C7 Corvette. It comes with nervous handling, fantastic power, and a dramatic appearance. And these are all the things sports car fans crave.

  1. Porsche 911 GT3

The announcement of every GT3 model is a special moment in Porsche history. And Porsche fans just received the news of the new and improved 2018/19 GT3 model. The GT3 is practically a greatest hits compilation of all the best components of the current model.

In this new form, you can expect a 530 HP engine and a lightning fast PDK transmission with a six-speed manual option. It has a full roll cage, Michelin Pilot Cup 2 racing tires and a fire extinguisher since this is practically race car for the streets.

  1. Ford Focus RS

The new Focus RS has a 2.3-liter turbocharged unit that delivers 345 HP to all four wheels, making it a capable hot hatch beast. And better yet, the performance is incredible. To go from 0 to 60 mph, it takes the RS only 4.7 seconds and the top speed is 165 mph.

This kind of performance deserves special packaging. So, the Focus RS has a unique front spoiler, bulged fenders, side skirts and a spoiler. Of course, it comes with a six-speed manual as standard.

  1. Fiat 500 Abarth

The ordinary Fiat 500 may look cute, but it is nothing more than a stylish micro car with a poor performance and a terrible ride. However, its evil twin, the Abarth 500 is a different story. Although the 500 Abarth gets only 160 HP from its tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, it is a seriously fast, fun little car.

And that’s due to its low weight and compact dimensions. Even though the automatic transmission is available, you should get the manual.

  1. Honda Civic Type R

As you may know, Honda has resisted the temptation to turbocharge its performance engines for a long time. But the Civic Type R has exactly that under the hood, like any other competitor in its class. The 2.0-liter turbo four delivers 306 HP.

It can propel this nasty-looking Civic Type R from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. In fact, the Type R is the polar opposite of those regular Civics you see every day.

  1. Shelby GT 350

The Shelby GT 350 is a pure sports car that delivers fantastic driving dynamics and experience to the driver. And, it is much closer to the Porsche GT3 in terms of precision driving and cornering speeds than it is to those humble Mustangs of yesteryear.

But the main feature of this car is the high-revving powerplant with flat plane crank technology. It allows the big V8 to scream to almost 9,000 rpm and deliver over 500 HP. And all that power goes to the rear wheels over the six-speed manual.

  1. Volkswagen Golf R

The R is the top of the line Golf with a powerful four-cylinder turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive and brutal performance for a family hatchback. The latest version features a powerful 2.0-liter turbo four that cranks out 308 HP.

As you can expect, the performance is quite brutal for what is basically a family compact. To get from 0 to 60 mph takes 4.5 seconds. Also, this car can top 155 mph, which is amazing.

  1. Jeep Wrangler

For decades, the Jeep Wrangler has been the perfect off-road vehicle for any use. A direct descendant of the famous original Jeep Willys, the Wrangler is the idea of a small, compact, capable and everyday usable all-terrain vehicle. The Wrangler is one of the models that has endured all the market changes. And it never compromised the characteristics that have made it legendary.

Despite the necessary improvements in design, safety and fuel efficiency, the Wrangler is still the rugged and dependable Jeep it has always been. And, if you’re a true driving enthusiast, you can option the latest Wrangler with a six-speed manual for more control.

  1. Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Chevrolet has just released this version of the C7 Corvette. It features an improved Z06 chassis, suspension, and drivetrain and an absolute beast of an engine. The 6.2-liter heavily supercharged LT4 engine pumps out 755 HP and 527 lb-ft of torque, sending all that power to the rear wheels through an automatic or manual gearbox. Of course, you should take the manual.

  1. BMW M4

The BMW M4 is a magnificent street racer with sublime handling, thanks to its turbocharged 3.0-liter six cylinder engine delivering a head-spinning 460 HP. It provides a brutal performance and BMW made the M4 for that perfect mountain road and breaking lap records. The automatic gearbox is standard, but you can get a six-speed manual, which is the only way to drive an M4, to be honest.

  1. Cadillac ATS-V

Under the hood of the Cadillac ATS-V is a twin turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine that pumps out a whopping 464 HP with 445 lb-ft of torque. And that is enough to launch the ATS-V from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds with a top speed of an astonishing 189 mph. And even though the ATS-V doesn’t have a V8, it is still a proper muscle car and precision machine available in two-door form and as a manual.

  1. Dodge Challenger Hellcat

It’s only when you press the throttle to unleash the fury of those 707 supercharged horses when you can feel the brutality of the Hellcat package and all the power going to the rear wheels. The 0 to 60 mph times are in the high three-second range. Also, this car can top 200 mph. The Dodge Challenger Hellcat is a muscle car coupe that can go fast and burn rubber in any gear. And best of all, it with a six-speed heavy duty manual transmission.

  1. Jaguar F-Type

Decades after Jaguar produced a proper sports coupe, they offer the F-Type. It’s a crazy and brutally fast muscle car from England with a powerful supercharged V8 and glorious soundtrack. Despite being somewhat heavy for a sports car and rough around the edges, the F-Type is fantastic, fun to drive, and a properly fast machine. There are several engines to choose from and almost all come with a six-speed manual.

  1. Ford Fiesta ST

The Ford Fiesta is one of the smallest, most inexpensive and least powerful cars on this list. However, it is one of the exciting, none the less. The Fiesta ST is one of the few cars in the compact car class that gets 197 HP from its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Of course, it comes with a six-speed manual for the ultimate driving experience.

  1. Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport

The Toyota Tacoma is a good truck, capable of towing, carrying and crossing rough terrain while still looking presentable. And it comes with a comfortable, high-quality interior. The engine lineup consists of several good engines starting with a fuel-efficient 2,7-liter V6. For off-road fans, there is the TRD Pro trim, which adds the components to make the Tacoma into a rock crawler and desert warrior. The interesting thing is the fact that you can get it with the manual.

  1. Porsche Cayman S

For over 20 years, the Porsche Boxster/Cayman has been one of the best, most affordable cars. The mid-positioned flat-six engine, rear wheel drive, signature Porsche quality, and perfect handling made the Boxster or Cayman a favorite for twisty roads. It offers you 90 percent of the Porsche 911 driving feel for 60 percent of the 911 price, which is a great deal. However, in true Porsche fashion, the Cayman comes with a manual transmission. Although it is slower than the automatic model, this is the one you should get.

  1. Mini John Cooper Works Clubman All4

The Mini is a benchmark car in terms of driving dynamics, precision steering and a pure hot hatch feel. And the newest John Cooper Works edition doesn’t disappoint. With a 228 HP four-cylinder engine, it is one capable urban runabout. That is especially true if you get the Clubman with all-wheel drive and a manual transmission.

These are the 20 cars with a manual transmission you should buy right now. Which one was your favorite? Now you have a good reason to learn how to drive a stick.

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