Automatic transmissions are trending, and most modern drivers want to take the hassle of gear shifting off their hands. America’s fondness for automatics may have stemmed from convenience, but these transmissions have proven to be inherently faster-shifting and more fuel-efficient than manual transmissions.
Nonetheless, some enthusiasts are unwilling to give up the increasingly rare thrill of driving a tall vehicle with a stick shift. Unfortunately, automakers have been on a manual transmission axing spree recently, with only four SUVs surviving the onslaught into the 2022 model year. On the bright side, the shrinking demand for three-pedal SUVs means a handful of MY2021 SUVs are still lurking around dealership lots. Here are some of the last SUVs you can still buy with a manual transmission.
10 2021 Mini Countryman
The MY2021 Countryman maintains the Mini Cooper quirkiness and fun-to-drive nature that most enthusiasts expect from the British brand. It also boasts the largest cargo and passenger space of any Mini, making the Countryman an excellent crossover SUV for families.
Mini offers the Countryman with either standard front or optional all-wheel drive in several powertrain combinations, but the eight-speed manual is available only with front-wheel-drive. Trim options include a base model, Cooper S, John Cooper Works, and Oxford Edition.
9 2021 Kia Soul
After a 2020 refresh, the Kia Soul’s distinct boxy design undoubtedly looks better than ever, and the cabin is now remarkably roomy. While Kia presents the Soul as an SUV, the limited ground clearance and lack of all-wheel drive make it seem like a large hatchback.
Despite an impressive trim lineup, only the LX trim, the lowest and cheapest MY2021 Soul option, is available with a standard six-speed manual. Kia pairs the manual to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 147hp and has an 8.0-second 0-60 time.
8 2021 Hyundai Tucson
Whether we like the Tucson’s bold grille with the Parametric Hidden Lights is debatable, but we all agree that the design revolution is certainly attention-grabbing. Hyundai backs the strident yet sensible exterior styling with a tech-packed interior and an abundance of good-quality and soft-touch materials.
The Tucson is offered in two wheelbase lengths, with markets outside Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico receiving the long-wheelbase version. For MY2021, only the short-wheelbase Tucson received a six-speed manual transmission, offered alongside the 1.6-liter T-GDi Smartstream gasoline engine.
7 2021 Hyundai Venue
Surprisingly, the Hyundai Venue is one of the cheapest urban crossovers on the market. Still, its bargain price should not be confused with a lack of desirable features and comfy amenities. On the contrary, the small yet funky subcompact crossover boasts a spacious interior, a robust infotainment system, numerous standard driver assists.
Although Hyundai announced the manual transmission option would not be available in the U.S., Canada is the only North American market that retained the stick for MY2021. The Venue houses a 121hp Smartstream G1.6 engine, offered with a standard 6-speed manual transmission or available Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission.
6 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
The compact SUV segment is loaded with numerous good options, but the VW Tiguan is arguably one of the most well-rounded choices. Well-equipped, handsomely styled, versatile, and practical, the Tiguan is one of only two in its segment that offers optional third-row seat configuration, not forgetting a fuel economy that rivals the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.
In MY2021, North America received 2.0-liter TSI petrol engine options mated with an 8-speed automatic. Only the markets that received the 1.5-liter TSI gasoline engine options enjoyed the choice between a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG transmission.
5 2021 Mazda CX-30
The Mazda CX-30 may be close in size to the CX-3 SUV, but it borrows its modern styling and hugely desirable interior design from the Mazda 3 hatchback and sedan. The CX-30 satisfies all the standard performance, technology, comfort, and safety requirements, making it an excellent choice in the extra-small SUV segment.
The most popular powertrain choice for the CX-30 is the 250hp 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, paired to Mazda’s six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission. Mazda offers the stick-shift with the less powerful 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter non-turbo engines, available with the six-speed Skyactiv-MT manual or six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission.
4 2022 Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage has emerged as a strong contender in the compact SUV segment. It separates itself from the herd with an extroverted styling that features a distinct grille and alien-like headlights. The dimensionally bigger bodywork translates to more cargos space and a roomy interior, packed with the latest tech and a striking design.
Kia developed two Sportage versions with different wheelbase and body lengths, with North America getting long-wheelbase models as MY2023. Unfortunately, only short-wheelbase Sportage models receive a six-speed manual transmission, offered standard for all variants.
3 2022 Subaru Crosstrek
There’s arguably a lot to like about the Crosstrek, but it receives numerous accolades for balancing versatility, capability, performance, and value. The comfortable ride, accurate steering, and impressive ground-clearing capability ensure that the Crosstrek is fun to cruise on the road and toss around off the beaten path.
Subaru fitted the Crosstrek with standard symmetrical all-wheel drive and a powerful 182hp 2.5-liter boxer engine. One of the most exciting features in the Crosstrek is the six-speed manual transmission, offered only with the base model.
2 2022 Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is an off-roading icon, a definite favorite since it’s one of the few SUV trucks capable of offering a convertible experience. Although it stays true to the retro exterior styling adopted from World War II, the Wrangler is packed with downright luxury, modern technology, and capability-enhancing features.
Jeep offers the Wrangler in two or four-door body style with several powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid, boasting standard four-wheel drive. Most Wrangler versions come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, excluding the eTorque hybrid, 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6, and 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four.
1 2022 Ford Bronco
Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford Bronco is configurable with a convertible top, removable doors, and two or four-door body styles. Nonetheless, the Bronco is a better daily driver than its nemesis with civil on-road manners, raising the bar for all off-road-oriented SUVs with excellent trail-tackling ability.
All seven Ford Bronco trim levels have all-wheel drive and are fitted with a standard 300hp 2.3-liter turbo-four or a 330hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6. Transmission options include a ten-speed automatic or a seven-speed manual, technically a six-speed with a super-low first gear suitable for rock crawling.
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