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Here are 20 of the best cars with a manual gearbox available in the US

You get fewer options to pick from each year, but the manual isn’t dead yet. Here are some of our favourites

Ford Mustang Dark Horse
  • Toyota GR Supra

    Toyota GR Supra

    We’re going to be upfront in saying Toyota is going to carry a large amount of this list. That’s mainly due to former Toyota president Akio Toyoda’s dedication to upholding the brand’s motorsport heritage. With that said, it’s perhaps a bit sardonic to kick things off with the Supra, a sporty coupe with a bit more Bimmer in it for some people’s liking. Still, its short throw shifter and waggy backside can’t help but endear you to it.

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  • Kia Forte GT

    Kia Forte GT

    We’re hard-pressed to call the Forte GT a “favorite” but apart from pickings being terribly slim these days, it bests each car on this list in one specific area - affordability. Starting at around $25,400, the Forte GT is a reasonably priced car that’s fun to toss around, something we have a particular history with.

  • Volkswagen Golf R

    Volkswagen Golf R

    What’s rarer than a manual gearbox in the States? A hot hatchback. Volkswagen’s tried and true Golf has been fighting the good fight for a good long time, and just the sporty GTIs and Rs remain on dealer inventories. Now’s as good a time as any to get yourself a 325hp AWD manual hatch because they are not long for this world.

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  • BMW M2

    BMW M2

    The short and stubby M2 is a playful sports coupe that's a little more refined over its predecessor. It's bigger, more grown up and less wearisome than before, but we felt it lacks its own proper personality. Still, it's one of the last BMWs to get a manual shifter.

  • Nissan Z

    Nissan Z

    Interestingly, to score a manual gearbox with this one, you have to forego the more performance oriented NISMO version of the car. That said, the base car isn’t exactly dull. 400hp sent to the back wheels bundled in a sleek Fairlady-inspired package is modern retro done right, we say.

  • Mini Cooper

    MINI

    We’re long past the Austin Powers-y wave of nostalgic kitsch that made the Mini shine bright here in the States, but the plucky Cooper still has its mojo. It may be quirky but the BMW guts of the Cooper have made it a respectable driver’s plaything. There’s lots of variety here, too, with manual gearboxes available for the 2dr hardtop, the 4dr, and the convertible. Each have a selection of engine choices that range from 134hp to 228hp.

  • BMW Z4

    BMW Z4

    As the Supra gained a stick shift, so too does its twin, the Z4. Fans were kept for a while, though it can’t be said the drop-top Bimmer was particularly lacking without it. The 382hp roadster is decent to drive regardless of who’s in charge of the gearbox and its design has escaped some of the more egregious BMW style choices of late.

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  • Subaru WRX

    Subaru WRX

    The WRX STI has been an instantly recognizable performance icon for some time, which makes its absence hurt just a bit more. We still get the standard WRX, though with all-wheel drive and a punchy boxer engine to play with, it just feels more matured than before. All told, the fun that can be found with the WRX and its gearbox is particularly engaging.

  • Hyundai Elantra N

    Hyundai Elantra N

    Bet you didn’t expect to see the Hyundai Elantra on a list like this, huh? Hey, we’re just as surprised, but pleasantly so. The current version with the N treatment looks strikingly rad, and it serves up 276hp which is sent through a six-speed manual.

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  • Lotus Emira

    Lotus Emira

    Lotuses are fairly rare here, made even more so when new regulations limited the road legality of the brand’s already slim lineup to just the Evora here in the States. That trend of exclusivity continues with the Emira, the last Lotus powered with a combustion engine. We’re going out on a limb here and guessing the manual transmission will go once it completes its run, if not sooner. We’ve said it before, but grab one while you can.

  • Toyota GR86

    Toyota GR86

    Toyota’s GR86 is the affordable rear-wheel drive sports coupe that enthusiasts always claim they want, but almost never actually buy. Thankfully, enough drivers spoke with their wallets for the GR86 and its Subie sibling the BRZ to give a second-generation run. Both cars are vastly improved, too, with quicker throttle response and nimbler handling.

  • Chevrolet Camaro

    Chevrolet Camaro

    The Chevrolet Camaro is off to hibernate once more, and as it does so, we’re thankful it returned to make the reemerging pony car scene an interesting place. The car endeared us as “Bumblebee” but it managed to escape typecasting, particularly after its platform shift in 2016. It truly became the muscle car for drivers looking to take a corner.

  • Ford Mustang

    Ford Mustang

    The classic, archetypal all-American ride. For all the changes Ford has made in recent years, it knows not to mess with their superstar car. Well, not too much, anyway. While it’s evolved away from things like the live rear axle and incorporated numerous powertrain layouts, the V8-powered manual remains the perfect spec.

  • Porsche 718 Boxster

    Porsche 718 Boxster

    You’d be wrong to dismiss the Boxster and its hard-top sibling, the Cayman, as runts of the Porsche litter. The punchy flat-four power plant gives this pair between 300 to 414hp depending on spec and displacement, all channeled through a manual gearbox if you so choose.

  • Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

    Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

    The grown-up muscle car. Caddy’s CT5-V Blackwing is the ultimate “dad’ car, blending beefy power with contemporary American luxury in a fairly practical sedan body. It eschews the usual raucousness for a very smooth and focused experience, particularly with a stick shift. This certainly does not mean a compromise in power, however. Over 660hp wielded with patience and control? You’re in for a wild one.

  • Toyota GR Corolla

    Toyota GR Corolla

    Sporty, fun and practical, the GR Corolla is the hottest hatch out there these days, and we’ll likely be saying that even when there were lots more around. The rally-ready ride is incredibly balanced, sending power to all four wheels, with the front/rear bias of your choice available with the twist of a dial. Can you get one in manual? My friend, you can only get it in manual.

  • Acura Integra Type S

    Acura Integra Type S

    The return of the Integra had its eager fanbase buzzing, and for good reason, particularly when it came time for the Type S. 320 horsepower squeezed from its four-pot and Civic Type R underbits make the Integra a stealth superstar.

  • Porsche 911

    Porsche 911

    Sports cars come and go, but the 911 has a permanent seat on the performance pantheon. Power, handling and status? The 911 has it all, and, for now, that includes a manual option.

  • Mazda MX-5 Miata

    Mazda MX-5 Miata

    The question doesn't really matter, because the answer is always Miata. Mazda’s sprightly roadster has long been the go-to car of choice for enthusiasts who know how to have a good time. A forgiving car for beginners and a rewarding car to master, there aren’t enough good things to say about this thing.

  • Honda Civic Type R

    Honda Civic Type R

    If we’re talking hands down the best manual transmission in cars today, the one in the current Civic Type R is tops. The engineering gone into the gearbox’s feel and function is uncanny. Smooth, confident, and responsive, the Type R’s stick shift will spoil other manuals for you. Oh, turns out the rest of the car is pretty good, too.

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