There is something incredibly satisfying and rewarding in driving a car with a stick shift. It allows the driver to listen to the roar of the engine and connect with the car in a way that would be impossible if the gear shifts were dictated by the vehicle. And this kind of driving experience is something that many gearheads wouldn't dream of giving up. Be that as it may, manual transmission cars are all but extinct in the modern car industry. And for good reason: automatics are simpler and less tedious to operate, and large cities make this a pretty important purchase factor for many.
This leaves dedicated drivers who care more about the experience and enjoyment of operating a car upstaged by the average consumer. The good news is: some companies are still producing excellent manual transmission cars. So today, we list the best of them. Enjoy!
10 Honda Civic Type R
Like its larger sibling Accord, the Civic has been consistently upholding a high standard of quality within its segment. Upping the antee and going for the Type R is perhaps a better choice than ever, as it manages to balance comfort with top-notch performance. When it comes to the drive, the Type R is not only good, it's the best in its class. The steering is great, while the handling makes its turbocharged 2.0L producing 306 horsepower feel like it's giving 500. Thankfully, the car offers a manual transmission. But the experience would not be complete without a great manual gearbox which, thankfully, the Type R provides.
9 2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
You've surely heard about this car already. With the new Giulia, Alfa Romeo has managed to make a midsize sedan that competes with, and effectively trumps, most of its German competitors in terms of performance and driving experience. However, the Quadrifoglio takes it to the extreme, claiming the fastest Nurburgring time for any production sedan promptly after its 2016 release. The featured compact 2.9L V6 will freeze the blood in the veins of anyone foolish enough to doubt it, as Alfa Romeo made it efficient enough to pump out no less than 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. This allows the car to reach 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of 191 mph. The best part? It comes with a marvelous and beefy six-speed manual able to take the beating of the engine.
8 2019 Lotus Evora Sport 410
Ever since their quick Elise debuted in 2005, Lotus has been synonymous with fun. The tradition continues with the new Evora. But this one is a little different. Instead of the usual 280 horsepower, the 3.5L V6 inside the Sport 410 model is supercharged to produce a whopping 410 horsepower, shuttling the car from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds. With this one, you have the option of either the automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. Opting for the latter will not only provide a more pleasurable and exciting drive, but also bump the top speed to 190 mph, versus the automatic's 174. The choice is clear.
7 Honda Accord 2.0T
We won't beat around the bush here, the value this car brings is practically unparalleled in its segment and market in general. No, the Accord is not a performance car or a sportster, and those looking for a thrill can revert to our other entries. It is, however, the best midsize sedan you can buy, hands down. It boasts an upscale interior experience rivaled by some cars twice its price, incredibly comfortable and providing a blissful ride, while its ubiquity easily puts it among the world's cheapest cars to maintain and repair. On top of that, a surprisingly competent turborcharged four-cylinder producing 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque thankfully connects to Accord's six-speed manual transmission, guaranteeing the most pleasurable and engaging driving experience.
6 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Miata is arguably better than it has ever been. It's still the perfect example of car that proves that you don't need a lot of power to have a lot of fun. On top of that, the Miata consistently tops reliability and user satisfaction charts, with the newest iteration adding even more power the car's same lightweight frame. Best in its class, extermely fun, what could possibly make the Miata better than it is? A great manual transmission of course. And indeed, it offers a manual that truly elevates the car to the very top of the entry-level sports car segment.
5 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The ZR1 is the car that puts Chevy in direct competition with the most exotic european supercars. As their flagship model, the ZR1 offers as-of-yet unprecedented power and road competence, bumping the Z06's supercharged 6.2L V8 churning out 650 horsepower to a baffling figure of 755. If you like numbers, here are some for you: 2.85 seconds to 60 and a 212 mph top speed. The best part? It comes with a good ol' manual transmission. Hard-core petrol heads will be glued to the ZR1's sports seat as they shift the seven-speed manual and experience a profound driver-car connection thanks to the transmissions dedicated rev-matching system.
4 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
Jeep made headlines last year with the long-awaited Wrangler model revision. This is on arguably the best there has ever been, and stands firmly among the world's greatest and most competent off-roaders. A 3.6L V6 sending 285 horsepower to all four giant wheels makes the Wrangler a virtually unstoppable off-road machine. To give the driver the ability of having proper control and connection with the car when hurdling steep and treacherous terrains, Jeep put in a six-speed manual transmission.
3 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Porche has always equipped their sports cars with some of the best manual transmissions in the world. They still do, but the increasing demand for automatic transmissions has left many models without a manual alternative. And while the manufacturer's PDK dual clutch transmission is nothing short of a masterpiece and may even be the best transmission in the world, the company still equips its higher-end models with top-notch stick shifts. Probably the best among them is the 911 GT3 RS, which features a marvelous six-speed manual option alongside its standard PDK transmission. The engine is a 500-horsepower six-cylinder that sends power to the rear wheels, allowing for a 3.9s 0-60 acceleration and a top speed of 199 mph. As icing on the cake, the manual transmission saves another 37 lbs of weight.
2 2019 Subaru WRX STI
Everyone's familiar with the STI. As one of the most iconic sports sedans and rally legends, the WRX STI has always been purely a driver's car. So naturally, a manual transmission is necessary to complete the STI's impression, and the one in the newest model trumps all the others. Since the first Impreza debuted in 1992, it has continuously used a 2.5L boxer engine. Today, that engine produces 268 horsepower and connects to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that routes the power to all four wheels. The result is a 0-60 in just under 5 seconds and a 159 mph top speed. The WRX STI is still only a 36,000 car, mind you.
1 Jaguar F-type
We've been without a sporty Jaguar coupe for too long, and in 2014 the company has answered the calls of the automotive community by finally introducing the magnificent F-type. A nudge back to the legendary E-type coupe, this car is an exciting and competent roadster. Buyers can choose from several trims, including the ridiculous 550-horsepower R trim, but Jaguar was quite stingy with manual transmissions and attached it only to a 3.0L V6 sending either 340 or 380 (depending on the trim) to the rear wheels. Nevertheless, the car is an excellent example of a new manual-transmission sports car, able to hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds as well as a decent top speed of 171 mph.