While the popularity of automatic gearboxes has certainly increased in recent years, a manual gearbox is still a must-have for many drivers. Often the manual transmission gives a better sense of ‘connection’ to those behind the wheel, but remains a much-loved way of shifting.
As a result, there are still plenty of great manual transmissions out there. While some manufacturers have started removing them from their models, there are others who still see value in the manual ‘box’. Let’s take a look at some of the best cars with them.
It’s probably no big surprise that the Caterham Seven appears on this list. It’s a car that has its roots in a lightweight, stripped-down design, which is why the manual transmission makes so much sense in a car like this.
Even entry-level Caterham Seven models are equipped with lightweight yet precise gearboxes, giving everyone behind the wheel a lot of fun.
If you put ‘manual’ in the name of the car, then the gearbox better be good. Fortunately for the Toyota GR Supra Manual it is very good and increases the experience you get from this powerful sports car.
It is also not a ready-made gearbox, with Toyota developing the manual six-speed gearbox especially for the Supra.
Although Porsche has used the PDK automatic transmission for many cars, the 911 remains a model that can still be fitted with a traditional six-speed manual transmission. Regardless of which 911 model you choose, if it has a manual transmission, you’re in for a treat.
The rest of the check weights also make this one of the best. The smooth-shifting gearbox, combined with a well-thought-out clutch, makes for a truly exhilarating experience.
The Ford Fiesta ST is all about fun and enjoyment, with sharp handling and a punchy 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine. But the manual transmission is also central to the ST’s appeal, with the precision six-speed manual transmission giving you the freedom to change gears whenever and wherever you want.
The gearbox’s action is excellent too, but isn’t too clunky for more regular, everyday driving.
Okay, so we’ll admit that the Super 3’s gearbox actually comes from the MX-5, but in its move to this standout Morgan three-wheeler, it gets even better. Coupled with a 1.5-litre turbo engine, it makes this car one of the most exciting to drive on the market today.
The Super 3’s impressively low weight also adds to the excitement, while the lack of a roof leaves you free to really enjoy the elements.
Hyundai recently showed how adept it is at making performance cars with a plethora of models. The i20N – the most compact N model – shows Hyundai at its best, with sharp handling and great body control.
The i20N was polished at the famous Nürburgring and it shows; this is an exciting and very successful hot hatch.
A large part of the Skoda range has now adopted the automatic gearbox. In fact, the Octavia is one of them, but Skoda has also given the option of a manual gearbox for its performance-oriented VRS.
It transforms the feel of the sporty Octavia, giving it real personality while encouraging engagement