June 3, 2023

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Manual Transmission Adventure Vehicles: A Dying Breed

The days of the stick shift may be numbered, but if you’re a diehard manual enthusiast looking for a new 2022 manual transmission adventure vehicle, you still have a handful of options.

The joy of rowing your own gears shouldn’t be reserved for sports cars. And while it’s no secret that automotive manufacturers have been steadily decreasing their manual offerings in favor of automatic transmissions, a few adventure-ready models still come standard (or at least have the option) for three pedals and a stick shift.

And that’s good news if you’d like to add some retro flavor to your modern adventure vehicle. Now you can take your dose of driving nostalgia with a hefty helping of 21st-century tech.

New Manual Transmission Adventure Vehicles

  1. Ford Bronco
  2. Jeep Gladiator
  3. Jeep Wrangler
  4. Subaru Crosstrek
  5. Toyota Tacoma

Whether you prefer the greater engagement and control of driving a stick or simply abide by the adage that there’s no school like the old school, these five 2022 manual transmission vehicles combine the best of both worlds — and are capable enough to get you off the pavement.

Ford Bronco

With the revamped and reimagined Ford Bronco hitting the roads in late 2021, adventurous drivers looking for a manual transmission 4×4 were eager to see Ford’s off-road-ready SUV came standard with a manual transmission — and one that was specifically designed with off-roading and rock crawling in mind.

2022 Ford Bronco

The 2022 Ford Bronco is available in a wide range of trim packages. Luckily for manual lovers, the Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, and Badlands all come standard with Ford’s 7-speed manual transmission, complete with crawler gear.

New for 2022, Ford has also extended the manual to the Sasquatch Package in both the two and four-door configurations. This package adds extra off-road goodies like electronically locking front and rear axels, a high clearance suspension, and a set of 35-inch mud-terrains.

Thanks to the Bronco’s highly customizable build, you can piece together the perfect package starting with whether you want a two-door or four-door version. (Note: Not all packages offer a manual in both options.) The Bronco comes with three driving modes to fit variable conditions like deep sand and steep grades.

2022 Ford Bronco

On the exterior, the SUV is equipped with “bash plates” for full underbody protection. In front, it has a powder-coated steel bumper with integrated LED fog lights and tow hooks.

Inside, you’ll find adventure-ready features like rubberized flooring that you can easily rinse and drain. And not to skimp on the luxury, the Bronco’s remote start feature is sure to be a fan favorite after any adventures in cold (or hot) weather.

Jeep Gladiator

The Gladiator is Jeep’s latest pickup to come with a manual, pairing a 285-horsepower 3.6L V6 with a 6-speed manual transmission. Plus, you can deck out the truck to play in nearly any outdoor arena.

Jeep touts the Gladiator as its first-ever “Trail Rated” truck. This badging simply means that the Gladiator has proven itself capable of tackling tough terrain in harsh conditions.

Jeep Gladiator in the snow

Inside, you get a mix of modern tech and durable materials. Outside, the Gladiator sticks true to its Jeep Wrangler roots with a modular design. You can choose between a hardtop or a soft-top. On sunny days, remove the top and doors entirely for an open-air driving experience.

Nearly all versions, from the basic Sport package to the off-road-capable Rubicon model, can be had with the 6-speed manual transmission. All include a rugged part-time 4WD system with a low-range transfer case, making them one of the more versatile models available for the 2022 manual transmission options.

Jeep Gladiator on beach

Plus with its 4,000-4,5000-pound tow capacity (depending on your trim level), you can hook up a small camper or gear hauler for your next weekend away. (You’ll have to opt for the 8-speed automatic if you want the Max Tow Package, which bumps towing up to 7,650 pounds.)

If you don’t want to mess with towing, the Gladiator’s 60-inch bed offers plenty of space to pop your gear in the back, too.

Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is a legend among 4WD vehicles, adored by off-roaders across the globe. The latest iteration of this iconic 4×4 is available with a 6-speed manual transmission mated to a 285-horsepower 3.6L V6 engine.

Jeep Rubicon short wheelbase

The Jeep Wrangler can be outfitted with a manual tranny in several trim levels, including the beefed-up Sahara and Rubicon models. And with the option to build out a two- or four-door version, you can customize the Wrangler to fit the number of passengers (or amount of gear) you want to take with you on your outdoor outings.

The Trail Rated Wrangler is extremely capable off-road, especially when modified with some quality off-road parts. Even without any aftermarket mods, the 4WD system, which uses a 2-speed transfer case, will be right at home on dirt roads or crawling over moderate obstacles.

Jeep Rubicon

The exterior of the Wrangler still sports a rugged, retro look that hearkens back to its beginnings in the World War II era. Similar to the Gladiator, you can opt for a hard or soft top for a convertible 4×4 with plenty of ventilation.

Unlike its Willys ancestors, the newest Wrangler gives you creature comforts on the inside with a modern infotainment system and optional upgrades like heated leather seats.

Subaru Crosstrek

The all-wheel-drive Subaru Crosstrek has scads of personality and a go-anywhere spirit. The crossover, which is based on the Subaru Impreza, delivers comfortable performance in a compact package — complete with 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

Opt for the Base or Premium (not the Sport, Limited, or Hybrid), and you can also get a 6-speed manual. Power comes from a 2.0L horizontally opposed engine making 152 horsepower.

The 2022 edition of the Crosstrek won’t get any major upgrades from the 2021 model. Though if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive, basic package that delivers your stick shift smiles per mile, Subaru delivers with this compact crossover.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

The Crosstrek also comes with standard raised roof rails that pair with an extended line of Thule accessories making it great for hikers, bikers, kayakers, and skiers who might want to add a roof rack or cargo box. On or off the highway, the 4WD Crosstrek is a good option if you may often encounter bad roads or foul weather.

Toyota Tacoma

If you are looking for a pickup, the Toyota Tacoma is a solid option. You’ll have to opt for a TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, or TRD Pro model to get that third pedal and stick shift. These models pair a 6-speed manual behind Toyota’s 278-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine.

2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

If you’re looking to head into more technical terrain, the TRD Pro gets off-road additions like 2.5-inch internal bypass FOX shocks and an aluminum front skid plate.

It also comes equipped with Multi-Terrain Monitor. This feature allows you to check your immediate surroundings on the 8-inch multimedia touchscreen through the front, rear, and side cameras — handy when navigating technical obstacles.

2022 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

All trim levels of the Tacoma offer an available 4WD system with a high/low-range transfer case to get you through snow, sand, mud, or rocks. And with a towing capacity of up to 6,500 pounds, you can bring all your toys along, too.

Every New Manual Transmission Vehicle

If you want three pedals and a stick to row your own gears with, but don’t find what you’re looking for on our adventure vehicle manual transmission list, be sure to check out the full list of 2022 manual transmission vehicles on our sister site AutoWise.com: All The 2022 Manual Transmission Cars.

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