If you’re a regular AutoNation Drive reader, you know that we love to row our own gears. Because whether you call it a manual, a stick shift, or a third pedal, we think this old-school transmission is a great way to connect with your vehicle and enjoy the drive.
Now at this point? We should probably issue a apology, as it seems like every time we mention the stick shift, we’re predicting its death. Um, sorry about that. The fact of the matter is that if a manual transmission is one of your must-have features, your local AutoNation dealer has plenty of great choices. So check out our list of five fun stick shift cars!
This rugged, versatile vehicle has been a mainstay of American off roading for nearly 75 years. And while two-door versions don’t have the greatest highway manners, the fun factor here simply can’t be denied.
Among enthusiasts, Jeep stands for “Just Enough Essential Parts,” which alludes to the fact that you can remove not only the top, but the doors too. If you’re so inclined, you can even fold down the windshield, which makes for super-fun cruising — just make sure to remember your shades!
Head here to read our review of this American icon!
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
Remember at the beginning where we said we love stick shifts? Well, we have another, not-so-secret confession to make: We love wagons. Because while crossovers and minivans might have taken the place of this former staple of suburban life, enthusiasts know that if you want to deliver “car-like” handling, it really helps to start with a car.
Fortunately, nobody understands that better than the Germans, and the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen delivers loads of practical cargo room and driving dynamics that’ll make you want to take the long way home.
Ford Focus RS
For years, the Ford Focus RS was forbidden fruit, so enthusiasts were thrilled when it finally arrived on our shores back in 2016. Fortunately, the wait was worth it.
With the current generation, the Blue Oval delivered an all-wheel drive, 350-horsepower, grin-inspiring super hatch — and even added a drift mode! It’s exactly the kind of car that makes you want to light out for the twisties, and then come home and watch hours of European rally videos. Another cool nod to gearheads? Unlike any other offering on this list, it’s not available with an automatic.
Head here to read our review of this potent pocket rocket!
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The origin story of Mazda’s revered little roadster is too good to fact check, so we’re not going to. Basically, it goes that back in the early ’80s, Mazda asked a bunch of American car writers what kind of car was missed, a type of car that no company was making any more, but that folks in the States would love.
The answer was succinct: “Give us a little British roadster that doesn’t leak oil.” And that quip served as the inspiration for what would become the greatest selling sports car of all time. After a couple of minutes behind the wheel of an MX-5, you’ll be in love.
Head here to read our review of this fantastic little sports car!
Few cars hold the place in our country’s collective automotive heart that America’s Sports Car does — and it’s no secret why. Chevrolet’s Corvette is a giant-killing powerhouse of a vehicle that’s as reliable as a hammer and has won at Le Mans.
The first time we drove the C7 on a race track, we were absolutely blown away by how capable it was, and found the seven-speed gearbox to be a joy. One feature enthusiasts are sure to love is the rev-matching, which blips the throttle to ensure every down shift is perfect. When you take a test drive, make sure to check it out.
See something you like? Head over to your local AutoNation to take a test drive!