Manual Transmission SUVs: Slim Pickings

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

If you want a shift-it-yourself SUV, good news: they still exist. The bad news is that you can count them on one hand.

Last time we counted, there were around 60 remaining models on the market that offer manual transmissions. That’s counting all different drivetrain configurations: the actual nameplates that include a third pedal number around half that.

A manual transmission offers an added level of control and interaction, two attributes off-road enthusiasts prize. Manuals are also more affordable than their automatic siblings, especially in the case of this list. That’s because each of these entries pairs a manual transmission with the entry-level engine only. If you want more power, then be prepared for two pedals only.

Read on for the full list of remaining manual transmission SUVs on the market.

SEE ALSO: Highest Ground Clearance SUV: Top Picks

Subaru Crosstrek

SEE ALSO: Toyota Corolla Cross vs Subaru Crosstrek Comparison: Crossfight

Want the most affordable high-rider with a manual transmission? Now that Jeep has made the Renegade and Compass auto-only, that title falls to the Subaru Crosstrek. Sure, it’s a crossover instead of a bonafide SUV, but Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system ensures the Crosstrek is capable when the road disappears. Opting for the manual transmission locks buyers into the 2.0-liter engine, though they’ll have their choice of trims with it. The base model comes in at a very reasonable $23,820 ($25,795 CAD), including destination, and moving up to the next-highest trim nets buyers niceties like heated front seats foglights, SiriusXM, and an extra pair of speakers (for a total of six).

Jeep Wrangler

SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Review

Jeep’s venerable Wrangler comes in a variety of flavors. Two-door, four-door, with four-, six- and even eight-cylinder engine choices, plus a plug-in hybrid—the latter two being strictly limited to the four-door shell. Manual transmission enthusiasts have a much easier time with selection, however: only the 3.6-liter V6 comes with the six-speed manual, instead of the eight-speed automatics that are standard on every other setup. Jeep still offers three-pedal buyers a wide range of trims, however, from the affordable entry-level Sport to the hardcore Rubicon. For 2022, Jeep added the Xtreme Recon package for the Rubicon, which fits aggressive 35-inch all-terrain tires, beadlock-capable wheels, and other off-roading goodies, but it’s incompatible with the manual transmission.

Ford Bronco

SEE ALSO: 2021 Ford Bronco Review: Fewer Doors, More Fun

Rounding out the list is the newest member of this elite club, the reborn Ford Bronco. Like its Toledo-based competitor, the Bronco is available in two- and four-door forms, with removable doors and an emphasis on customization. It uses an independent front suspension, which might rile up traditionalists, but gifts the Bronco with a much smoother on-road experience than the agricultural Jeep. Also like the Wrangler, opting for a shift-it-yourself Bronco locks buyers into the entry-level engine; in this case, a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. If you want more power, either from the regular trims or the wild upcoming Bronco Raptor, you’ll need to settle for Ford’s 10-speed automatic. That being said, Ford offers its Sasquatch package, with a high-riding suspension, 35-inch A/T tires, and other goodies, on all available trims, and with the manual to boot. Bronco pricing starts around $1,000 above the Wrangler, at $32,000 after destination.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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