Manual transmissions have fallen out of favor among motorists, now accounting for only an estimated 2 percent of U.S. new-vehicle sales. While 47 percent of all new vehicles offered a stick shift as recently as 2006, the number now stands at around 20 percent.
Today’s automatics shift smoothly and quickly and provide good fuel economy. Still, a stick remains the transmission of choice among driving enthusiasts, and it’s considered essential in many sports cars.
Let’s briefly consider some of the benefits that come with a manual gearbox:
- Improved vehicle control and increased driver engagement. A manual transmission allows you to use the momentum of the car’s engine to slow the vehicle.
- Better fuel economy. Automatic transmissions have grown more fuel-efficient over the years. Still, in many cases, a stick-shift gearbox can bring improved fuel economy.
- Simpler maintenance. A manual transmission has a more straightforward setup than one that’s automatic, and this often translates into easier maintenance. The key part that’s at risk for failure is the clutch, and this component can last beyond the 100,000-mile mark if it’s properly cared for.
- Affordability. Cars with manual gearboxes are usually more affordable than those with automatic transmissions. This is especially true among budget-priced cars, and this can make a huge difference for cash-strapped shoppers.
Fortunately for those who aren’t averse to working a clutch pedal, there are still quite a few models on the market that can be equipped in a way that allows you to row your own geats. Below we’ve identified vehicles from the 2019 model year that are available with a manual gearbox.
Stick-Shift Small Cars
Subcompact and compact cars are among the most common vehicle types to offer a manual transmission. This is often to maintain a low sticker price for cost-conscious buyers.
Our list below includes lots of stick-shift cars with five-speed manual transmissions, and there are also quite a few picks with six-speed manuals in the mix. As you’d expect, this segment is dominated by cars with a four-cylinder engine under the hood.
You’ll find economy-minded rides like the Chevrolet Spark. The Spark delivers lots of feature content and excellent fuel economy for a low, value-oriented price. It pairs a five-speed manual transmission with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 98 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque.
Another budget-friendly choice in this segment is the Ford Fiesta, which offers sporty performance and a handsome cabin. Base models team a five-speed manual transmission with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque.
For those who want more muscle, the Fiesta offers a high-performance variant known as the ST. This model provides a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that kicks out a bracing 197 horsepower and 2020 pound-feet of torque. The ST is governed by a six-speed manual transmission.
Ford’s Fiesta ST isn’t the only small car with a manual gearbox and high-performance driving dynamics. The list also includes the Honda Civic Type R and the Subaru WRX.
A full range of choices is shown below.
Manual Midsize Sedans
Due to a dearth of demand, it’s nearly impossible to find a family-sized sedan offering a stick shift these days.
The Honda Accord offers a manual transmission as a no-cost option. It’s available solely on the Sport trim level, and it can be paired with either of the car’s two four-cylinder engines. A manual transmission is also offered with the Mazda Mazda6.
The Mazda6 and Accord are the only remaining midsize cars that can still be fitted with a stick shift, and availability is limited with both models.
Stick-Shift Coupes and Convertibles
Given their popularity among motoring enthusiasts, it’s not uncommon for sporty cars to be available with manual transmissions.
The choices offered in this segment are pretty appealing. For example, the Mazda MX-5 Miata impresses with its engaging handling and budget-friendly price. Another solid pick is the Toyota 86, which matches keen handling with a generous range of standard equipment. The 86 comes with a six-speed manual transmission that ups the car’s fun quotient on winding roads.
For those who need a roomier cabin, there’s the Dodge Challenger. Unlike many sports coupes, the Challenger offers comfortable seating for adults in the second row.
A classic choice in this segment is the Ford Mustang. The Mustang blends a potent engine selection with a ride quality that’s smooth enough to make this car an agreeable choice for commuters. It offers appealing amenities like a digital instrument cluster whose appearance can be customized by the driver in countless ways.
Here are the 2019 coupes and convertibles that can be purchased with a manual transmission.
Luxury Cars with a Manual Gearbox
The upscale rides still offered in the U.S. with a manual transmission are all higher-performance models. These include multiple offerings from BMW and Porsche, and the new-for-2019 Genesis G70. Of note, with its 2019 redesign you can no longer buy the venerable BMW 3 Series luxury/sport sedan with a manual transmission. The company is planning to include one in the next M3 model, however, coming for 2020.
Stick shifts can only be found on a few of the smallest SUVs, and most are car-based crossover models.
With their petite dimensions, choices like the Fiat 500X and Mini Cooper Countryman are small enough to serve as agile companions in city driving. For those seeking a choice that’s a bit more suitable for off-roading, there’s the Subaru Crosstrek. All Crosstrek models come standard with all-wheel drive, and they offer enough ground clearance to tackle adventures that veer off the paved path.
For those who need an SUV with a stick shift and a truly fearless disposition, there’s the rugged Jeep Wrangler. The Wrangler’s six-speed manual transmission is paired with a 3.6-liter V6 that generates 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Offering four-wheel drive and lots of ground clearance, the Wrangler holds the distinction of being arguably the best SUV on the market for hardcore off-roading.
A complete selection of SUVs that may be equipped with a stick-shift gearbox is shown below.
Pickup Trucks with a Manual Transmission
You won’t find any full-size pickups being sold with a clutch pedal, so if a stick shift is your preference, choices are limited to midsize models. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon only mate a manual with a four-cylinder engine, while the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma can pair a stick shift with either a four- or a six-cylinder powerplant.
A final note: Given that there’s limited demand for vehicles with manual transmissions these days, new-vehicle dealers tend not to keep many of them in stock. If you’re a stick-shift aficionado, you may have to check multiple dealerships to find a particular make and model with the optional equipment you desire.