The Thrill of the Shift
Lets face it; when it comes to driving, few things are more fun and exciting than operating a manual transmission. Whether you’re downshifting to make that highway pass, putting it into high gear, or getting out of first for the first time ever, driving stick is just flat-out thrilling.
But lately, car manufacturers are going away from the manual transmission in favor of offering cars that only come with automatics. Even most of the supercar brands have stopped making sticks, claiming that they have created automatics that can shift smarter, faster, and better than any human.
But who cares?! Because sometimes we just want to feel the connection to the car that only a stick shift can give!
And while pricey brands like BMW, Porsche, and Aston Martin still offer plenty by way of manual transmissions, there are plenty of exciting options out there that won’t break the bank.
So here are a few of the best affordable new cars that still feature a manual option.
Hyundai Elantra GT
The Hyundai Elantra GT is a front-wheel-drive hatchback that comes with two powerplant options, the beefier of which, a 201-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, is available to pair with a zippy six-speed manual transmission.
This car can get you from 0-to-60 in a quick 6.6 seconds, a rating that puts the Elantra GT near the top of its class in that category.
And with that optional manual, you can earn up to thirty miles-per-gallon in an Elantra GT, meaning you’ll keep saving scratch long after you drop coin on its super-low sticker price.
Hyundai has recently unveiled its entree to the track life with the exciting Veloster, a versatile and super handsome hatchback that boasts a standard six-speed stick with both the base 2.0-liter four cylinder or the turbocharged 1.6-liter four, which, like the Elantra GT, is capable of putting down 201 horses.
Of course, if you want to get even racier, check out the new Veloster N, which sports a 2.0-liter turbocharged four that produces a 275-horsepower, which is pretty bonkers in front of such a light car.
Manual transmissions don’t always have to equate to the fast and the furious, however, and the Chevy Spark is a perfect example of that.
From top to tail, the Spark was built with economy in mind.
With a sticker price just over $14k and a five-speed manual standard on all four of its trim levels (and yes, a snoozy automatic option available for a few bucks more), the Spark is a fun little car to drive, especially when zipping around town and trying to maneuver into tight places.
Mazda 3 Hatchback
When configured as a sedan, the Mazda 3 doesn’t offer a manual option.
However, in its hatchback platform, you can find a six-speed stick standard paired with a super exciting 2.5-liter, 185-horsepower four-cylinder that all comes together to offer one of the more fun-driving little rides around.