News that the North American version of the Alfa Romeo Giulia will be automatic-only in North America is a sad reminder that the manual transmission is slowly going the way of the dodo.
There’s something about the feeling of rowing your own gears that’s rewarding in a way no slick-shifting multi-clutch automatic can replicate. It’s the ultimate in driver engagement, and it’s dying.
Thankfully, there are still a handful of options out there ranging from mild to wild. Here’s a list, in no particular order, of some of AutoGuide.com’s favorites.
Ford Focus RS
Not only is the hottest of Ford’s hatchbacks still available with a manual gearbox, it’s only available with a manual gearbox. And, with all due respect to the Volkswagen Golf R and its DSG option, that’s the way it should be.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Ford Focus RS Review
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Miata has long been the definition of fun-to-drive, and its manual transmission has played a big role. Tossing the tiny two-seater around is best enjoyed with three pedals and a stick, adding a whole other dimension to the Miata’s engaging driving experience. The tradition continues with the Miata RF hardtop that’s on its way.
Okay, the Tacoma isn’t a car, but it’s still available with three pedals. It’s also the premier off-road pickup on the market, a reputation it will easily retain with its three-pedal setup. (An honorable mention goes out to Ram’s heavy duty pickups, with a six-speed manual still available in both the 2500 and 3500 models.)
ALSO SEE: 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Review
No one would’ve blamed Chevy engineers if they scrapped the ‘Vette’s manual gearbox, but they deserve extra praise because they didn’t. Better still, even the supercar-killing Corvette Z06 can be had with the seven-speed manual.
Yes, the M4 coupe could — and maybe should — be included here considering it features the same engine/transmission pairing. But a manual transmission in a sports coupe makes sense. That one is still offered in a sports sedan is just awesome.