If you’re reading this website, chances are you’re a bit of a gearhead. And, for whatever reason, gearheads tend to like manual transmissions. Despite recent advancements in automatic ‘boxes, some of which can rip off a 0-100km/h run faster than a human shifting gears manually, a good many of us hold fast to the belief that a stickshift provides a more involving driving experience. We are right in our assertion, of course.
We’ve limited our list to new vehicles on sale in Canada bearing a model year of 2019 or newer since, y’know, that’s when and where we live. Where possible, specific trims are mentioned if they are required to unlock that car’s chamber of manual transmission secrets. Some notable omissions from our list are the Fiat 500, whose return to the Canadian market is uncertain for 2019, and the Jaguar F-Type, which sadly loses its manual transmission for the 2020 model year.
Stick around. This list is longer than you think.
Mazda MX-5 / Fiat 124 Spider
Purists will surely howl that we have packed both of these tasty convertibles together into a single entry. It is true they have different engines and disparate personalities but they share a platform and are born from the same ideals – not to mention the same assembly line. In a Birdbox-style twist, the 124 uses the MX-5’s old manual gearbox but both are a pleasure to drive.
Not only is the venerable Civic offered in three different bodystyles – sedan, coupe, and hatchback – but a manual transmission is available in all of them! In fact, both the cheapest Civic and most expensive on sale in 2019, respectively a DX sedan and Type R hatch, can only be had with a stick. Well-equipped small cars with a manual? Count us in.
There aren’t too many big sedans left in Canada available with a manual transmission, let alone offering it with a choice of engines. The 2019 Accord’s stickshift can be paired with either the 1.5L or 2.0L mills, the latter pumping out a robust 252 horsepower. Plus, you’ll save $1300 over an equivalently equipped automatic Accord.
For 2019, no fewer than three models of Honda’s littlest hatchback offer a manual transmission. Base DX, mid-level LX, and zooty Sport trims all give drivers a chance to row their own gears. Those six speeds stir a 1.5L pot making 130 horsepower while gently sipping fuel.
All variants of the Golf, including the SportWagen and high(er) riding all-wheel drive Alltrack, are mercifully available with a six-speed manual transmission. The latter is an intriguing proposition, as well-equipped wagons with three pedals and power going to all four wheels are a rarity these days.
Long a favourite of shoppers looking for Germanic style in a small car, the new Jetta has been restyled to resemble a junior Audi, both inside and out. A six-speed manual transmission is available on all three trims, from Comfortline to Execline, the latter of which includes a vast screen for its instrument cluster called Digital Cockpit. Audi-like, indeed.
Whether you choose the EcoBoost, burly GT, or one of the Shelby models, Ford keeps the Mustang true to its roots by installing a manual transmission as standard equipment in every single model. The GT’s stick even includes rev-matching technology, allowing your passengers to believe that you can heel-and-toe like Fangio.
There is one way in which the Camaro bests the Mustang, and that’s with engine count. The Chevy offers a 4-cylinder, six-pot, and two 6.2L V8s – all of which are available with a manual transmission. If you’re looking for something that’ll bring big bucks at Barrett-Jackson in thirty years, seek out a convertible with the stick as slushbox droptops are much more common.
A V8 is the price of admission to Club Manual in this car. The R/T is the cheapest Challenger available with a Hemi and, even then, it’ll cost an extra $1000 to fit one with a six-speed Tremec. One can even get a stick in the almighty Hellcat. Those rear tires don’t stand a chance.
It has been argued that the 2er from BMW is the true successor to the old 3-Series so many gearheads hold dear to their Recaro-shaped hearts. Both the 230i and M240i variants are available with a six-speed standard, as is the M, considerately shaving $1600 off the sticker price.
For 2019, two doors apparently means more fun at BMW, as the 4-Series coupe may also be specced with a manual transmission. Even all-wheel drive models with an ‘x’ appended to their trunklid can be built with three pedals, provided you pop for the 320hp 440i version. The M’s available with a stick as well, of course.
Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86
It wouldn’t make sense for these fraternal twins to be engineered without the option of a stickshift, given the goal of imbuing their respective lineups with a dose of sportiness. In fact, these are likely one of the few models on our list whose manual take rate is higher than the automatic option. Good, we say.
It goes without saying that this blue-collar sportscar has a 7-speed manual as standard equipment, appearing on every trim across its model range. Active rev matching provides dandy aural treats in the form of burbles and pops during downshifts. Our pick? The Z06.
Ze Germans, bless them, continue to stuff a 6-speed manual into the Cayman coupe and Boxster convertible. Arguably the best handling Porsche, especially when compared to the 911’s loaded diaper, the 718 is a superb sports car that needn’t live in the shadow of its older brother.
As if ceding ground to its smaller sibling, the new 911 isn’t available (yet) with a standard transmission. The model is mentioned here thanks to the GT3 trim which, technically, is the old car but still available as a current model year today. C’mon Porsche – the new 911 deserves a stick.
Freshly refurbished for 2019, a smooth shifting six-speed manual can be had in both bodystyles – sedan or hatchback. Fans of the stick are out of luck if they wish to sample an all-wheel drive model, but the fact that the new 3’s interior can easily be mistaken as something from Audi forgives that sin.
Actually, a row-yer-own six-speed manual isn’t just available on the 3- and 5-door Cooper. It also shows up on the Countryman and Clubman All4 models, making Mini one of the few manufacturers to offer a stick on just about everything it makes. Selecting a manual saves $1000 compared to the automatic on some trims, just not the hi-po JCW models.
This tiny runabout hoovers just over $10,000 from a customer’s bank account. Its five-speed manual transmission moves this little hatchback down city streets with an alertness not found in examples equipped with the optional automatic ‘box.
The diamond-star company sells its Mirage as both a hatchback and sedan, the latter of which appends a ‘G4’ moniker onto its trunklid. Both include a manual transmission in their ES trims, while the hatch allows for three pedals on the ES Plus trim which includes air conditioning.
The cheapest new car in Canada, priced at $9995, is indeed fitted with a manual transmission. In fact, the stick is also available on the more lavishly equipped 1LT trim, a smart choice since it is only $400 more than an automatic base LS.
This compact car from the Korean automaker appends a ‘5’ to its name on hatchback models but if you choose four doors, you can just call it ‘Forte’. Whatever’s on the trunklid, a manual transmission is available, albeit only on base LX models. They’re not exactly penalty boxes, mind you, equipped with standard air conditioning and a heated steering wheel.
As two of the cheapest cars in Kia’s already price-conscious lineup, the four-door Rio sedan and five-door Rio hatch can be built with a manual transmission in both LX and LX+ models. The latter adds A/C but both models come with niceties formerly reserved for much more expensive cars like heated seats and steering wheel.
Both the four- and five-door versions of this sub-compact Canadian favourite can be had with a six-speed manual gear selector sprouting from the centre console. In fact, moving up the Accent food chain to models with features like forward collision warning (on an Accent!) still retain the standard transmission option.
The Elantra line has grown faster than weeds in a field, now encompassing a sedan and GT hatch, plus a dandy N-Line version of the latter which features a 1.6L turbocharged engine. The popular sedan starts under $17,000 and includes gear like air conditioning and heated seats in addition to the all-important stickshift.
The funky asymmetrical hatchback from Hyundai offers three pedals on all trims, including the Turbo and full-fledged N model which goes after hot hatches from VW and Honda. Cranking out a healthy 275hp, this pint-sized funbag made the most out of its tuning sessions during development at Germany’s Nurburgring.
An example might be difficult to find, given Nissan’s penchant for pushing CVTs, but the compact Sentra is available with a six-speed manual transmission. Opting for the stick will also save customers a cool $3000 but, annoyingly, they’ll also have to give up air conditioning.
The company that introduced the beauty of all-wheel drive to a vast majority of Whole Foods shoppers is also closely associated with the inclusion of a manual transmission. These days, only the smallest Subarus are available with a six-cog stick, but that’s better than none at all.
As it has since the dawn of time, the Corolla offers a standard transmission, even in this newest 2020 model year. Shoppers will find three pedals as an option in two trims, base L and sporty SE. While the Corolla Hatch is a slight offshoot of the family tree these days, it too offers a manual for those who like to row their own in an economy car.
Bolstering the Mr. Noodles end of the Toyota lineup is the diminutive Yaris. A five-speed manual shows up in all three trims of Yaris Hatch while the slightly weirdo Yaris Sedan offers a stick only on its base model.
Yes, the Blue Oval is winding down their car business but, for 2019, the Fiesta soldiers on. Most dealers will be a lot more interested in selling you an EcoSport, so be sure to check the back of the lot for these small Fords. The ST trim, if you can find one, has a six-speed manual.
Hyundai Genesis G70
A single, very specific trim of the 2019 G70 can be fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 2.0T Sport RWD model pairs this smooth shifting ‘box with a turbocharged inline four, making it one of the few new sedans in Canada that can be purchased with three pedals. Just be sure to spec yours in Mallorca Blue.
Sure, this model has been around awhile but its inclusion of a stickshift on the options sheet assures it a place on our list. In fact, the Z was one of the first affordable mainstream cars to offer rev matching as a feature on its manual ‘box, providing a perfectly blipped throttle during downshifts.
Yes, Virginia, you can still get a midsize truck in this country with a manual transmission. While other manufacturers have recently (and quietly) dropped the stick from their midsize pickups, Toyota carries the flame in no fewer than three of its Tacomas, including the too-cool TRD Pro.
Jeep Wrangler / Gladiator
Staying true to its rugged off-road persona, each of the six trims of Wrangler and four trims of Gladiator are available with a manual transmission, just like every topless Jeep before them. The day the Jeep lineup does not include a stickshift will be the day the auto industry ends.
When equipped with the 2.4L Tigershark four-cylinder, the Sport trim comes with a six-speed manual transmission – and yes, you can spec your standard shift Compass with four-wheel drive. Jeep also allows Compass customers to select from their jazziest colours, despite Sport being the model’s base trim.
Nissan Frontier Pro-4X
It takes some digging to find a new Frontier in Canada equipped with a manual transmission but the search does eventually pay off. Trimmed with off-road kit like Bilstein shock absorbers and a Dana 44 rear axle, the King Cab Pro-4X model – and only the King Cab, not the Crew – offers the selection of a six-speed manual in 2019.
This list has been edited to include the 2019 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X, which we had originally missed.