Only about 25% of American can drive a manual transmission and the number of cars with a manual transmission is slowly declining. Anyone who loves to drive loves a manual transmission. If you don’t know how to drive one you should probably learn. Only a few decades ago manual transmissions were the norm and until recently still favored by those who loved to drive, but the manual transmission is disappearing. Now computer aided transmissions can think faster, change gears faster, and are much more fuel efficient when it comes to a car, truck, or SUV.
The modern automatic car monitors drivers inputs up to 160 times a second and takes every calculation to shift at the optimum moment for economy and for the sensation that a manual transmission used to give you. In 1980 30% of nameplates offered a manual transmission, now that is down to just 10% and some of those are disappearing fast. So what cars still come in a manual transmission that are worth test driving? Top of my list is the Jaguar F-Type. Still one of my favorite rides and add in the manual transmission and the ride is spirited and handles much like a supercar on twisty mountain roads.
On the top of the scale for power and speed is the Dodge Viper and at 206 miles an hour in a manual transmission is exhilarating. A throwback to the old muscle style in America but in a modern supercar shell. A 8.4 liter engine and at 645 horsepower. Throw in a six speed manual transmission and you have got a thrill maker, but at $84,000 dollars is out of most budgets.
Closer to reality is the Chevy Corvette Stingray. The Corvette had a game changing redesign in the last few years. A powerful V8 638 horsepower engine in the Z06 and 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. If you take it out on the road with that manual transmission you will have a hard time not to have fun, but fun does come at a price in this case, $80,000 dollars. More realistic and also making the list is the sexy Italian Fiat 500 Abarth. Not only is it sexy but the sound of that exhaust is up-lifting. In fact engineers tried 16 different exhausts until they settled on the one they have now. But the sound is not complete without the manual transmission. It makes this car and for me it would be unthinkable to have it in anything but a manual transmission. The Fiat 500 starts at a reasonable $22,000. Finally one of the best manual transmission is the Jeep Wrangler. Driving a 4×4 in a manual transmission is a very different animal. I am stimulated weather it is creeping over boulders and plowing through the snow. the manual transmission is preferred. Starting price $32,395. Now there are plenty of driving schools around that will teach you to drive a manual transmission, and if you don’t know you should learn because the experience is amazing.