4 Affordable, Fast AWD Cars With Manual Transmissions

You’re in luck if you want a fun car to tackle winter weather. Any of these four fast, affordable all-wheel drive (AWD) cars will deliver sure-footed winter handling. Better yet, each of these vehicles has a manual transmission option for drivers who want to pick their grin-inducing gears, like the AWD Volkswagen Golf R. 

  • Subaru WRX STI
  • Volkswagen Golf R
  • Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
  • Ford Focus RS

How fast is a Subaru WRX STI?

The Subaru WRX STI doesn’t just pack standard AWD for grip in inclement weather; the STI has AWD for serious rally racing levels of handling and speed. Specifically, iSeeCars says a 2021 Subaru WRX STI will hit 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, roughly as fast as a 2022 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD. However, the four-door Subaru started at around $37,245, about $17,000 less than the comparable Kia sports sedan. Unlike the newer Stinger, though, the WRX STI is rally-bred. 

Better yet, the 2021 Subaru WRX STI offers a six-speed manual transmission for drivers who want to choose their own gears. 

Is the Golf R a fast AWD car with a manual?

The Volkswagen Golf R takes the pedigree and track-ready credentials of the GTI and adds more in every category. However, the Golf R doesn’t lose the manual option; Volkswagen has a Golf R with a six-speed manual transmission. Unfortunately, TrueCar says that the manual-equipped Golf R loses the emergency driver-assist technology that the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic version offers. 

The AWD Golf R is a fast AWD car with an optional manual transmission.
Volkswagen Golf R | Volkswagen

Of course, the Volkswagen Golf R is a fast AWD hot hatch with a manual transmission. Still, if you want the quickest Golf possible, the dual-clutch hatchback will smash a sprint to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds. That makes the practical hatchback automatic Golf R faster than many sports sedans and muscle cars. 

How fast is a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?

While the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution isn’t still in production, it’s a natural competitor for the Subaru WRX STI. Both cars are AWD four-door sedans with rally stage potential and everyday practicality. In the Mitsubishi’s case, the Lancer Evolution Final Edition packed a 303-horsepower turbocharged inline four-cylinder mill. As a result, the AWD sports sedan could hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. 

Moreover, the last Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions offered five and six-speed manual transmissions depending on the trim level. Better yet, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR has a fair purchase price of around $30,415. 

Is the Ford Focus RS a fast AWD car?

The Ford Focus RS, like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, is out of production. Still, the Focus RS presented a high-speed AWD package with a row-your-own three-pedal manual setup. The 2018 Ford Focus RS packed a 350-horsepower 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder mill married to an AWD platform with a practical hatchback configuration. Ford’s hot hatch engineering resulted in a Focus RS that could hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.

The Ford Focus RS is a fast AWD car with a manual transmission.
Ford Focus RS | Jonathan Brady, PA Images via Getty Images

Further, KBB says the 2018 Focus RS has a fair purchase price of about $34,977 with average mileage. As a result, the Ford Focus RS is definitely a fast manual-equipped AWD car with a wallet-friendly price tag. Check out more MotorBiscuit content to read more about sports cars and hot hatchbacks!

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