The 6 Remaining Manual-Only Cars in the U.S.

#Ford, #Ford

Sad as it may be, an automaker isn’t all that smart these days if it offers a car in the U.S. with no automatic transmission option. In 2014, automatics are so good that a car exclusively offering a row-your-own gearbox probably can’t match the fuel economy or performance of its slushbox equivalent, not to mention the smaller potential for sales. But there are still five automakers holding out on the trend, and what follows is a list of the six manual-only cars left on the U.S. new car market. If you see one of these cars on the road, rest assured that whoever is behind the wheel knows how to operate a clutch pedal.

Interestingly, if we had made this list last year, it would have been a lot longer. In the past few months, many cars that were previously shift-yourself exclusives have either gone off the market (Mazdaspeed 3, Ford Shelby GT500), or have since gained automatic transmission options (Fiat 500 Abarth, Nissan 370Z Nismo, Chevrolet Corvette Z06). We included manual-only performance variants where applicable, but excluded trim levels that come only with a manual, like the Acura ILX 2.4 and some base model compact cars.

2014 SRT Viper

We were pretty shocked that the only car on this list resembling a traditional supercar is the V-10-powered, all-American SRT Viper. This 640-hp beast has a six-speed manual as standard, and bucks the trend of high-fallutin’ dual-clutch and paddle-shift gearboxes that are all the rage in all other modern supercars. For next year, the Viper will again become part of the Dodge brand as the SRT designation goes back to being a sub-brand under the dodge umbrella.

2014 Honda Civic Si

Honda has always been known for its sweet manual gearboxes, and the Civic Si sport compact of today is still a prime example of the trend. Wringing out the high-revving 2.4-liter four-cylinder is a joy thanks to the slick action of the six-speed shifter and light clutch, and the Si is available in both sedan and coupe forms that don’t give up any practicality to their mainstream Civic counterparts.

2015 Ford Focus ST Homepage

2015 Ford Focus ST

As Ford’s first hot hatch in the U.S. since the Focus SVT departed in 2004, the Focus ST took many by surprise upon its debut in 2012 with its powerful turbocharged engine and sharp handling. It’s a legitimate rival to the Volkswagen GTI, but produces way more power—252 hp, to be specific—through a one-choice-only six-speed manual transmission. It was the winner of an Automobile All-Star award in 2013.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

The Focus ST’s little brother, the subcompact Fiesta ST, packs even more fun into a smaller package. We awarded this tiny hot hatch an All-Star award this year, calling it a “high-technology hot rod that dares you to drive harder and faster.” It mates a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with a standard six-speed manual, and, thanks to its lively chassis, is guaranteed to put a grin on your face through the twisties.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

This one’s a no-brainer: of course the track-oriented, hardcore, stripped-out Camaro Z/28 has a manual…it doesn’t even have a radio! This six-speed gearbox pairs with a naturally-aspirated 7.0-liter V-8 pumping out 505 hp. Everything about the Z/28 is optimized for peak performance, from its carbon-ceramic brakes to its aerodynamic body kit, to its many carbon fiber components that reduce weight by around 300 lbs compared with a Camaro ZL1.

2015 Subaru WRX STI

It’s somewhat odd that this rally-bred turbocharged Subaru is offered only as a manual, because actual rally cars of today don’t have clutch pedals at all. But while the Subaru WRX STI rally car may have a sequential, paddle-shifted gearbox, and the standard 2015 Subaru WRX now offers an optional CVT, the production Subaru WRX STI continues on with a six-speed manual that pairs with the turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder putting its 305 hp to all four wheels.

wayne rhode
My wife has a 2014 fiesta SE sedan, automatic 6 speed naturally aspirated 1.6 liter I.4 mill. I love the little go-cart so I'm all in for the either 2014 or 2014 Fiesta ST turbocharged 1.6 liter mill. Either in race red or white. Via abate the base none option model, the base model has more than enough built in standard bell's and whistles.I like to keep everything as it left the factory, absolutely no after market add owns. A oil change as soon as possible. and a K&N air filter. Take care of the little fire cracker, keep up the services and tire rotations.If I did add something it would come from Ford built for the ST products.
Keith Andoos
You forgot the two Buicks: yes, I said Buicks!
There is nothing wrong with highlighting the vehicles here, but neglecting the base model manuals seems misguided. Manual transmissions add life to any car--regardless of the equipped content level. The 1.0 Fiesta, the 1.6 Soul, et al, are more fun for the stick between the seats. 
A more compelling article would have been to check ownership length and satisfaction compared to automatic variants.
You put the Z/28 in, but forgot the Camaro 1LE.  I realize it's just a performance package, and not a trim level, but you can't order it with an automatic transmission.... :)  I admit I'm a little biased though.  I love my 1LE!!!
Jesse Ru
Autumn Skye Moise
Subaru all the way: )
Timepass of India - TOI
. ! .
I like the idea of the Camaro Z/28, but am not excited by a 7.0 liter V8 only pumping out 505 hp. I think they could have impressed me more with a supercharger on a smaller engine making the same or more hp. 
Carpee Noctem
Subaru WRX STI
Danny Kuai
Xavier Borkowski
Forgot the 2014 Shelby Gt500, manual only as well.
Darin Wright
Ken Manket
How absolutely disappointing!!!
Adam Singletery
I like STi for everyday use.
Ford Fiesta SFE 1.0 turbo 3 cyl is avail ONLY with a manual.  Not that I'd want other trans offered with that car. 
Wade McGaghey
John Smith
Fiesta ST
Andy Brown
I'll keep my manual-only Cobalt SS Turbo, as it currently makes 330hp and can get 30mpg :). But, if I had to choose, I would probably go with the Z/28. I miss RWD...
Robert Perdue
I don't see the point in the article. Most cars in the US are sold with automatic transmissions and selling a manual only car reduces the amount of cars that a manufacturer can sell.
John Koniak
I've got one too and plan to hold on to it for dear life. (We don't need no stinking flappy paddles!)
John Koniak
Your thoughts on the gearbox?
Shafnas Sha
Brie Barcomb
Stan Smith
"manual only" more cars should come with that feature.
Vipul Raj Singh
Venkateswara Rao Manchineni
Trei Stevenson
Z/28 anyday
Richard Allman
If you can't drive stick, you can't drive.
Judd Osborne
Luis Calderón
Z/28. Plus, I regret not buying a manual-equipped Impreza (but, no buyer's remorse here, and the CVT is not bad.)
Bhargav Manne
Greg Lane
the title of this is So Wrong saying Manual Only - ha they All have an Auto version yes the Genesis has an Auto, a 5 and 6 speed version ( and a far better car than camero, mustang and challenger )
Kyree S. Williams
Very nice. You know, I really couldn't stand the WRX in any form for a long time, because of that boy-racer styling. But this new one looks very mature, in my opinion.
Kyree S. Williams
You should know that the Genesis Coupe has an automatic-transmission option...
Juanmanuel Guerrero
I'll choose the Z/28 and the Viper hands down.
Greg Lane
Um What about the Hyundai Genesis coupe?
Ian Eaton
Subaru for sure
Aaron Pollock
The Z/28
Héctor Efraím Uribe
Hugo Cruz
George Miller
I'll take the Subie..
George Witman
Funny it's the same tranny as my '04 MINI, Getrag 6 speed.
Alex Mawhinney
Richard Hawkins
Screw fwd.... If I'm getting a manual it's gone be rwd....
Richard Hawkins
Maybe two sets lol
Richard Hawkins
True Alessandro but it's not out yet, and for all we know they may be auto optioned, I mean even the 370z nismo is now....
Clara Tsai
Chris Hughson
Jeff Savastano
#SaveTheManuals and foil a car thief!
Josh Storlie
A car has to be thoroughly reworked to put in an auto, they tend to be much larger and heavier. Allows them to keep it focused on the crowd they intend to sell them to. With the exception of the Viper, all these cars have comparable "brothers" that come with an auto option for those that want it.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles