Are you shopping for a car with a manual transmission? Unless you have a sports car in mind, you may find only a few models have them. That’s too bad, because manual transmissions can provide a more engaging driving experience than you’ll realize with other options. Consumers have an overwhelming preference for buying automatic-equipped models, and this has caused automakers to cut back on the number of vehicles with manual transmissions that they produce. As a result, the choices are limited if you’re in the market for car that allows you to shift your own gears.
Looking beyond sports cars and compacts where such gearboxes are still common, the following 2017 models offer a manual transmission.
Nearly every manufacturer offers a midsize sedan, and these are typically front-wheel-drive models with room for five. But only two sedans offer manual transmissions.
Honda Accord — With the 2017 Accord, Honda gives customers a choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a six-speed manual transmission.
Mazda6 — Mazda offers one engine choice with the 2017 Mazda6. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with a standard six-speed manual gearbox in Sport and Touring models.
Wagon body styles are uncommon these days, especially among domestic manufacturers. If you prefer this traditional layout over SUVs, only two wagons are available with a manual transmission.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen and Alltrack — Volkswagen may have abandoned diesel engines, but manual transmissions are still an important part of the brand’s product line. The Volkswagen Golf SportWagen offers a five-speed manual transmission on the base S trim only with both front- and all-wheel drive. With its higher ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive, the Golf Alltrack is essentially a variant of the Golf SportWagen that’s been crafted to deliver improved off-road performance. A six-speed manual transmission is featured on S and SE trims.
Currently, only three luxury brands offer manual transmissions on non-sports-car models — Audi, BMW and Cadillac. Most other manufacturers offer traditional or dual-clutch automatic transmissions, typically with a manual mode.
Cadillac ATS — Cadillac’s smallest sedan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The SUV segment offers a fairly generous assortment of choices with manual transmissions.
Fiat 500X — Fiat’s little SUV is powered by 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and offers a six-speed manual gearbox.
Honda HR-V — Honda’s smallest SUV, the HR-V, offers a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission in front-wheel-drive models only.
Jeep Renegade and Patriot— Like the similar Fiat 500X, the Jeep Renegade offers a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine wedded to a six-speed manual gearbox. The Patriot matches a five-speed manual transmission with either a 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter engine.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — Mitsubishi’s smallest SUV offers a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Nissan Juke — Nissan’s funky Juke is available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Subaru Crosstrek and Forester — Two of Subaru’s SUVs, the Crosstrek and Forester, both offer manual transmissions. With the Crosstrek, you’ll find a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. In the Forester, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
Jeep Compass — All-new for 2017, the Jeep Compass offers a six-speed manual transmission paired with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and it replaces the previous five-speed gearbox.
Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited — Jeep’s traditional 2017 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine, and a six-speed manual transmission is offered.
It has been many years since full-size pickup trucks offered a manual transmission. On the other hand, every small pickup truck sold today offers at least one manual gearbox choice.
Toyota Tacoma — The 2017 Toyota Tacoma remains America’s best-selling small truck, and the automaker still offers manual transmissions. A five-speed manual gearbox is paired with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. and a six-speed manual gearbox is paired with a 3.5-liter V6 engine. Manual transmissions are available in most Tacoma trims.
Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon — GM’s pickup truck duo offers a six-speed manual transmission with the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Available on rear-wheel-drive Colorado models only, the manual gearbox is offered on base and WT trims only. As for the GMC, base and SL models offer the manual.
Nissan Frontier — Among small trucks, the Nissan Frontier offers the lowest starting price. Both the S and SV models with rear-wheel drive are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission. A six-speed manual gearbox may be paired with the 4.0-liter V6.
Choosing a Manual Transmission
Although the number of manual transmission-equipped models is small, they’re still favored by enthusiasts. In choosing a manual gearbox, you’ll typically save at least $1,000 when compared with a similarly equipped model with an automatic transmission. However, today’s automatics will usually offer superior efficiency to a manual transmission, eliminating an advantage once offered.