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Article Highlights:

  • The new Civic’s manual transmission is a real gem
  • Fuel economy is nearly identical to the automatic
  • You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun entry-level economy car

If you want a manual transmission, time is nearly up. EVs encroach further and further into the territory of 3 pedal gas-powered cars every day, and big trucks, SUVs, and crossovers rarely get that precious thrid pedal. That leaves us with Honda, who might just make some of the best sticks in the business, and has for years. Thankfully, they also “stuck” one in the 2022 Honda Civic hatchback, and the world is better for it.

Honda makes some of the best manual transmission cars

A blue 2016 Honda Civic coupe shot from the front 3/4 angle
The previous Civic generation also got a stick | Jim Mahoney via Getty Images

As we said, the Japanese brand has been making slick-shifting cars for decades. The Integra Type R’s manual transmission is still one of the best in the business. After sitting in a coworker’s Honda S2000 the other day, I was reminded of just how good stick Honda’s are. It puts any BMW M3 to shame. That trademark notchiness found in the brand’s transmissions has become a hallmark that makes its way into nearly every generation of Civic.

The funny thing is, Honda didn’t have to make it so good, as MotorTrend points out. Most of us enthusiasts would be ecstatic at the mere inclusion of a stick (again, BMW M3), let alone one so good. Thankfully, the Civic’s manual transmission is also usable. Peak torque comes in at 1,700 rpm, meaning you can creep this thing through traffic without stalling it constantly.

The 2022 Honda Civic hatchback is a worthy buy

The manual transmission found in the 2022 Civic hatchback
The Civic hatch comes with a stick | Honda

Moreover, the engine the stick 2022 Honda Civic hatchback has under the hood not only works well with the manual trans, it compliments it. That’s a truly rare thing. The 1.5L turbo in the Civic hatch feels like Honda made the engine for the gearbox, and didn’t just build a motor to fit around the inclusion of a stick shift. It’s almost cruel for Honda to remind us all how fun driving a good stick shift car is.

The wildest part is that this isn’t even the fast Civic. There’s still the stick-shift Honda Civic Si, or the upcoming 2023 Honda Civic Type R. We’re sure Honda has upgraded the stick in both cars, but frankly, it’ll be hard to outdo the one mated to the current 2022 Honda Civic hatchback. While the CVT might afford slightly better fuel economy, it’s hard to argue that the gains are worth it over the manual transmission. MT measured just a two mpg difference in the city.

A Civic hatch may not be fastest, but it is fun

A white 2022 Honda Civic hatchback shot in profile on a highway at night
A 2022 Honda Civic hatchback | Honda

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The newest Civic hatch does feel a lot faster than it is, especially if you’re the one zinging that 1.5L to redline. Of course, there’s faster cars out there, even in Honda’s own lineup. But for a cheap way into a fun, reliable manual transmission car? It’s hard to think of a better option.