The 10 Best Manual Transmission Cars You Can Buy Today

The manual transmission is not extinct yet. But, every year it becomes more endangered. The sad truth, for those of us diehards, is the stick serves little purpose. Electric and automated cars of the future won’t have them. Automatics outperform manuals in many cases; many automatics are now also more efficient. Too few people buy manuals to justify the R&D investment required for a company to offer separate transmissions. Even stick stalwarts such as BMW, Audi and Subaru hastened their retreat in 2019.

What sticks do still offer is a more fun and intimate driving experience. For certain vehicles, that experience remains paramount. Robust, loyal customer bases scoff at “flappy paddles” and demand some ungoverned third pedal amusement. Some manufacturers oblige them. Here are ten such awesome cars you can still buy with a manual transmission.

2019 Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche’s PDK (dual-clutch) transmission is an engineering marvel. It may be the best you can buy in a road car. It’s no surprise Porsche has been phasing out manuals on higher-end 911s. PDK is the only option for Turbo and RS versions. The GT3, however, still has a stick option, because American enthusiasts keep buying and demanding them. Porsche, for what it’s still worth, still makes a darn good manual gearbox. Save your arguments about what constitutes a proper Porsche for the message boards. The real issue is whether you want your laps a few ticks faster or your every day driving a few ticks more fun.

Engine: 4.0L flat-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 500
Torque: 339 lb-ft
Weight: 3,116 lbs
0-60: 3.8 seconds
Top Speed: 198 mph
Base Price: $143,600

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

No sensible person would spend north of $120,000 on a Corvette. No sensible person would need 755hp and 715lb-ft of torque injected straight into their rear wheels. How many sensible people are fun to hang out with? The ZR1 looks fast and sounds maniacal, and, unlike some of its predecessors, handles both straight lines and corners with well-engineered aplomb. There’s a particular itch that only the roar of an American V8 can scratch. The one persistent knock on the ZR1 is the eight-speed automatic not quite being sharp enough for this car. Not a problem if you get the stick.

Engine: 6.2L V8
Transmission: 7-speed manual
Horsepower: 755
Torque: 715 lb-ft
Weight: 3,560 lbs
0-60: 3.0 seconds
Top Speed: 212 mph
Base Price: $121,000 base

2019 Jaguar F-Type R-Dynamic

Jaguar won’t produce another icon quite like the E-Type. But, the F-Type looks gorgeous and well-proportioned, it makes a lot of noise and it is a testament to pure, unadulterated impracticality. It hits the right Jaguar note of disreputable sophistication. The F-Type is more of a raucous cruiser than a track demon. For most buyers, that will be more than enough. The rub with rowing your own gears in an F-Type is it is only available in the V6. You can’t get it in the V8.

Engine: 3.0-liter supercharged V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 380
Torque: 339 lb-ft
Weight: 3,492 lbs
0-60: 5.3 seconds
Top Speed: 171 mph
Base Price: $82,050

2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Jeep did the right thing with the recent Wrangler revamp. Instead of reinventing it for the modern cross-compatible platform era, Jeep made the Wrangler better at being a Wrangler. It’s a superior off-roader than the last generation. It delivers better on-road feel. It’s more practical for a family. It even gets better fuel economy. The unique driving feeling is critical with the Wrangler. That feeling, unless you do an extraordinary amount of slow speed rock climbing, should come with a stick. The Allies won the war with a manual Jeep. You can make it through a stop-and-go rush hour.

Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 285
Torque: 260 lb-ft
Weight: 4,579 lbs
0-60: 7.5 seconds
Top Speed: 100 mph (limited)
Base Price: $41,445 (Base)

2019 BMW M3

BMW advertises itself as producing “the ultimate driving machine.” The M3 may be the best embodiment of that mission. It is a potent but practical performance beast. It has enough space and not quite enough power to be overbearing for a daily driver. The suspension may be a bit stiff, but, in a world where you own an M3, you need a reminder now and again that life isn’t perfect. With the still awesome M5 dropping the manual and incorporating all-wheel drive, the M3 remains the BMW purists’ choice, for now.

Engine: 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 425
Torque: 406lb-ft
Weight: 3,575lbs
0-60: 4.1 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph
Base Price: $66,500

2019 Ford Mustang GT Bullitt

Ford does not mess with the Mustang’s success. It looks great. It’s loud. It will go fast in a straight line. It’s not quite precise enough to hang with its sports car competitors in the corners. But, unlike most of those cars, a Mustang comes at a price point the everyman can afford. Are Highland Green paint, a white cue ball shifter, a scintilla of extra horsepower and a whiff of Steve McQueen’s coolness worth paying a substantial premium over the standard GT? Probably not. But, the Bullitt edition gets the shout out here for one main reason: it only comes with a manual transmission.

Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 480
Torque: 420 lb-ft
Weight: 3,705 lbs
0-60: 4.0 seconds
Top Speed: 163 mph
Base Price: $46,595

2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO

Some truck manufacturers offer a token manual on a 2WD work truck. Toyota goes all out with the Tacoma. You can do the shifting yourself on a six-cylinder and in the most premium TRD Pro trim. With the Taco, you want the manual to maximize responsiveness from its underwhelming feeling engine. The Colorado ZR2 has been breathing down the Tacoma’s neck for ultimate bro truck status. Toyota has responded, outfitting the latest TRD Pro with two inches of lift, satin black wheels, a cat back exhaust and, of course, the ever-popular snorkel.

Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 278
Torque: 265 lb-ft
Weight: 4,445 lbs
0-60: 7.1 seconds
Top Speed: 120 mph
Base Price: $42,660

2019 Volkswagen Golf R

The Golf has been on best all-around car lists for decades. It’s the ideal balance of fun, practical and affordable. The Golf R is the hottest of hatchbacks, for those who feel the GTI does not offer quite enough of a tingle, and it comes with a manual. So does the corner-dominating GTI. So does the base model Golf. Expanding the family? VW can offer you two Golf wagon variants, the Sportwagen and the AllTrack, that both offer sticks for significantly less money. Maybe the DSG is a hair faster, but who is standing there with a stopwatch?

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 288
Torque: 280 lb-ft
Weight: 3,334 lbs
0-60: 4.8 seconds
Top Speed: 150 mph (limited)
Base Price: $40,395

2019 Subaru WRX STI

Subaru hit a brilliant concept with the WRX: take an Impreza; turbocharge it; stiffen the suspension. Paint it an alluring blue and add a spoiler and some flashy good rims. Make it just cheap enough that a normal kid can dream. The WRX is the car everyone wanted at 16 and the car that will reawaken the spirit of that 16-year-old in everyone who buys one. The WRX is the exception to Subaru’s current rules: safety, efficiency and borderline glacial acceleration. With the Japanese automaker not wanting to work EyeSight around a manual, it may soon be the only Subaru left with one.

Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 310
Torque: 290 lb-ft
Weight: 3,446 lbs
0-60: 5.3 seconds
Top Speed: 160 mph
Base Price: $36,595

2019 Mini John Cooper Works 2-Door

The nostalgia train has slowed a little. The Mini is no longer that miniature of a vehicle. Still, what you have here is a relatively small, reasonably priced, precise handling BMW hatchback with pep in its step and a manual transmission. However decadent your fantasy car garage becomes, there may be room for one of these in British Racing Green with some white bonnet stripes. Or, perhaps you wait until 2020 for the limited edition GP version.

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Horsepower: 228
Torque: 236 lb-ft
Weight: 2,845 lbs
0-60: 6.0 seconds
Top Speed: 153 mph
Base Price: $31,900
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