One of the biggest decisions when it comes to buying a car is the type of transmission you want, and being able to shift your own gear instead of having the car do it for you will obviously make a world of difference to your driving experience.
Of course, there are many aspects to consider before making the decision since you will be stuck with it for the duration of your ownership of the vehicle and you can't exactly change it, at least easily, later on in life.
Most will take all the tangible aspects into consideration, ranging from your location to the traffic of your commute. But more often than not, buyers forget to take the intangible part into consideration. The single most important aspect to consider when deciding the type of transmission you want is the "fun-factor."
So if you are in the market for a new vehicle, please consider the manual transmission as it is simply more fun. Here are a few examples.
10 Porsche 718
One of the best sports cars Europe has to offer, the Porsche 718 is a car meant for driving enjoyment and not pure lap times. Coincidentally, we recommend, if you are in the market for Porsche's youngest child, to seriously consider the manual option as we don't see any other real reason to go the other way around.
The base 718 is equipped with a 4 cylinder Flat 4 engine producing 296 HP and 280 LB-FT of torque. If money isn't a concern then the top of the line GT4 ups the performance to 414 HP and 310 torque.
9 Toyota GT86
Time and time again we have stood by the GT86 as the angry mob with pitchfork complain about the power output. The Subaru provided Flat 4 sitting in the engine bay of this Toyota delivers roughly 200 naturally aspirated horsepower, which is plenty enough to make this a sports car meant to be enjoyed at any speed. Which begs the question why would anyone buying this even consider an automatic option, as it goes against the very nature of this sports coupe.
8 Subaru WRX
This generation Subaru WRX lost three things compared to its predecessors. A proper rival in the form of the Lancer Evolution, the Impreza name and an actual automatic option as it was saddled with a CVT transmission. With the two available options, the choice is clear. Even without the CVT there, the WRX was meant to have a manual transmission in all its glory. As the WRX continues to lose more and more of its identity, an automated transmission is the last thing it needs.
7 Volkswagen Golf GTI
We strongly believe that the Golf GTI is by far one the best complete package the industry can offer. The little VW hatch offers a fantastic drive, practicality, and daily livability all wrapped into one convenient package. So much so that it borders on being completely boring, even its automated option comes in the form of a highly competent DSG transmission. Needless to say, that is the whole car ends up being too good for its own good. In the end, flaws make the personality, and the manual transmission is there to give some much-needed excitement in a chase for perfection.
6 Nissan 370Z
If car age were measured in dog years, it would effectively make the 370Z a senior citizen. On the plus side, like a bad Family Guy joke, the 370Z had the time to go from good to bad to good again, ironically making it now one of the best sports cars on the market. And despite the new automatic transmissions being better than ever, the manual is still definitely the way to go here.
5 BMW M2
The BMW M2 is one of the most universally-liked M cars of recent, receiving positive reviews from virtually everywhere. There are great things to say about both the automatic and manual transmissions alike. But what we are chasing is the concept of fun, which begs the question if going a few milliseconds faster around the track more fun or is it simply more efficient. Although the answer might be totally subjective, we still completely guarantee that nailing every shift is more satisfying.
4 Ford Mustang GT
Even though it might be 2020 now, it won't stop certain opinions in the automotive world to keep resonating from the past. The concept of muscle cars is simple, a big V8 coupe and manual transmission. As progressive as we are, this is still a belief we can still get behind. The Ford Mustang here is meant to have a manual linked to that 5.0L V8 in the front. Anything else isn't a muscle car but a sports coupe at best.
3 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Like the Ford Mustang above, the same caveman philosophy also applies to the Chevrolet Camaro. The only thing better than a big V8 is a big V8 that you have complete control over. Speaking of V8s, the Camaro SS offers a massive 6.2L V8 with 455 HP and pound-feet of torque. Is there anything better than reaching that 60 miles per hour in a personally shifted four seconds.?
2 Mini Cooper S
If there was something that the Mini Cooper S wasn't, it would be a fast lap time-chasing supercar. The Mini Cooper is a fun, driver-focused, ridiculous little hatchback. Despite how it makes you feel behind the wheel the Cooper wasn't born to be a track star. It is at the end of the day a small city car that was born to put a smile on your face as you commute to your possibly boring 9 to 5. Making shifting your way to and back from work the best part of your day.
1 Mazda MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 is the very definition of the sports car, the way God intended it to be. The only reason it even comes with an automatic is that Mazda doesn't have the courage to offer it in manual trim only. If you are looking to buy an MX-5 and you are considering an automatic-equipped model than the MX-5 isn't the car for you. For those looking to get into learning to drive a manual car, the MX-5 has one of the easiest and most user-friendly clutches ever, so you don't have to worry about stalling as much.