With sales of manual transmission cars in steady decline, it’s easy to see why many automakers are no longer offering the option between two pedals and three in many of their cars.
Despite waning interest in manual transmissions, there are still many cars on sale today that offer them. What you may find even more surprising is that there are a number of vehicles in Canada that are only sold with a manual, offering buyers no automatic transmission option whatsoever.
What’s not surprising is that all of these are performance cars or a performance trim level of an existing vehicle. Many people who still own and buy manual transmission vehicles in North America are car and/or driving enthusiasts; whereas in Europe and Asia they remain popular among all types of motorists.
Scroll down to read about the last remaining cars that are sold with a manual transmission only. Just a few years ago, this list used to be much longer – cars like the Fiat 500 Abarth, Volkswagen Golf R, and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE used to be manual-only but now offer drivers the option of an automatic. Many cars that were manual-only – like the Dodge Viper, Ford Fiesta ST, Focus ST, and Focus RS – are now also discontinued, so today’s list is quite short.
Subaru WRX STI
The Subaru WRX STI is a car that is really only purchased by the types of people who like to drive a manual transmission. This rally-inspired sedan has a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine rated at 310 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, which is linked up to a six-speed manual transmission and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. It will do 0–100 km/h in around 4.9s and top out at 251 km/h. Another interesting thing is that the WRX STI remains one of the only AWD cars with a manual transmission – that combination is tough to find.
It should be noted that the more approachable Subaru WRX model is offered with a CVT transmission, but the high-performance STI is offered with the six-speed only.
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (Upcoming Spring 2020)
The well-loved Porsche Cayman GT4 went away for a few years when the German manufacturer introduced the updated 718 Cayman for 2016, but we’re happy to report the model variant has returned for 2020. Just like before, this driver-focussed Cayman is offered with a six-speed manual transmission only. The gearbox is paired with a 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six engine developing 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. This is enough to propel the car from zero to 100 km/h in 4.4s and onward to a top speed of 302 km/h.
Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder (Upcoming Spring 2020)
The droptop Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder is based on the aforementioned Porsche Cayman GT4 and features the same six-speed manual transmission and 4.0-litre naturally aspirated flat-six engine. It also boasts identical performance figures, despite the aerodynamic challenges convertibles sometimes present.
Hyundai Veloster N
The Hyundai Veloster N is a newer entry to the hot hatch segment, but comes at just the right time, filling the gap left by the Ford Focus ST and serving as a less expensive alternative to the Honda Civic Type R. It is offered with a six-speed manual transmission only, which is paired with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine making 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Sending power to the front wheels, the engine helps hustle this asymmetrical hatch from zero to 100 km/h in around 5.6s, topping out at 249 km/h. The Hyundai Veloster N has been spied testing with a new dual-clutch automatic transmission, however, so expect this list to get even shorter in the future.
Honda Civic Type R
Speaking of the Honda Civic Type R, it’s another vehicle that is offered with a manual transmission only. The five-door hatchback’s six-speed manual transmission is paired with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine making 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, giving it a 0–100 km/h time of around 5.6s and a top speed of 272 km/h. The manual transmission in the Type R is one of the best around.
Honda Civic Si
If you like the idea of the Honda Civic Type R, but find it a bit too extreme, you may be interested in the Honda Civic Si. This sporty Civic model variant has a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine making 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, along with a six-speed manual transmission. Sending power to the front wheels, the Civic Si will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in about 7.2s.
Ford Mustang GT350
The Ford Mustang GT350 is still in production, thankfully, and is still only offered with a six-speed manual. The gearbox is paired with Ford’s now legendary 5.2-litre V8 engine, which makes 526 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. This Mustang, second only to the 2020 Mustang GT500 in the lineup, will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in around 3.9s and tops out at 289 km/h.
Ford Mustang Bullitt
The Mustang Bullitt is for the Mustang buyer who wants a bit more performance than your usual GT customer, but can’t justify the manic Shelby model variants. As such, its 5.0-litre V8 engine makes 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0–100 km/h time of around 4.3s and a top speed of 262 km/h. Of course, the Bullitt is only available with a manual transmission and this one's even cooler because the shift knob looks like a cue ball.
Honorable Mention: De Tomaso P72
The De Tomaso P72 is a new supercar built by the Italian brand, which is now under the ownership of Hong Kong’s IdealVentures. That’s the same holding company that bought German automotive manufacturer Gumpert and subsequently built the Ferrari V12-powered Apollo Intensa Emozione. As such, the P72 is based on the Intensa and has the same V12 engine, but instead of pairing it with a paddle-shift automatic, it is available with a six-speed manual. Details on the project are slim, so it’s unclear if an automatic will be offered to buyers, but the car debuted with a manual and De Tomaso did not make any mention of an automatic variant. Just 72 examples of the achingly pretty supercar will be built.