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Feel the power in the palm of your hand.

Best Manual Transmission Cars | CarMax

Shifting gears lets you feel the power of the engine in your hand. There's nothing better than hearing the revs rise as you downshift, and the excitement that comes with it.

Some might think sophisticated automatic and paddle-shift systems render the stick-shift obsolete. And while manual transmissions aren't as commonly available as they once were, there are still plenty of options that offer the thrill of a manual — everything from sports cars to off-roaders, small hatchbacks to powerful muscle cars.

Take a look at our list of the 10 Best Manual Transmission Cars for 2020, based on CarMax sales data from September 10, 2019 through February 29, 2020.

  1. Ford Mustang
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Ford Mustang | CarMax
  2. Honda Civic
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Honda Civic | CarMax
  3. Jeep Wrangler
    Best Manual Transmission Cars:Jeep Wrangler | CarMax
  4. Chevrolet Camaro
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Chevrolet Camaro | CarMax
  5. Subaru WRX
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Subaru WRX | CarMax
  6. Ford Focus
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Ford Focus | CarMax
  7. Volkswagen Jetta
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Volkswagen Jetta | CarMax
  8. Dodge Challenger
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Dodge Challenger | CarMax
  9. Mazda Mazda3
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Mazda Mazda3 | CarMax
  10. Fiat 500
    Best Manual Transmission Cars: Fiat 500 | CarMax

As you can see, these rankings feature a diverse selection of cars, including hatchbacks, sedans, coupes, and even an SUV. Many of them are performance cars; in particular, the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Challenger. The 2018 models of each car all offer six-speed manual transmissions in their lineup—the Mustang and Camaro from standard, the Challenger from R/T trims upwards—and each has a great selection of engines, including the traditional high-horsepower V8s for that true muscle car experience.

Elsewhere, sporty hatchbacks like the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and Fiat 500 all offer stick shifts in their respective lineups. Each has high-performance options to maximize the driving thrills; the 2017 Honda Civic features the Type-R trim with 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 306 horsepower, and the 2018 Ford Focus RS includes a 2.3L turbocharged engine capable of 350 horsepower, as well as all-wheel drive. The 2018 Fiat 500 includes the Abarth trim with a 1.4L engine producing 160 horsepower, which, in a small car, is a recipe for a lot of fun!

One car that stands out on our list is the Jeep Wrangler, the only SUV on our list. 2018 models include a standard 3.6L V6 engine with 285 horsepower, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. With the Wrangler's reputation for off-roading ability, you can hit the dirt trail and really feel the engine and off-road tires working hard underneath you with a stick shift.

Looking to explore more options? Check out these related articles:

Unless otherwise noted, information related to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.


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