Automatic vs. Manual Transmission: 4 Cars That Are Faster With a Stick

  • The 2022 Toyota Corolla gets to 60 mph almost 3 seconds faster with a manual transmission
  • The 2022 Honda Civic might not be faster with a stick, but we don’t care
  • A new Toyota GR86 isn’t much faster with a manual, but it’s worth it

Usually, a car sporting an automatic transmission is going to be faster. The fleshy blood sacks we call arms and feet simply can’t move gears as fast as metal can. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. We decided to find four cars that were faster with a manual transmission and score some points back in the name of our fleshy blood sacks.

A blue 2022 Honda Civic hatchback with a manual transmission shot from the front 3/4
The 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback has a manual transmission | Honda

You might want an automatic 2022 Honda Civic

First, a car that, well, actually isn’t faster with a stick. Maybe. See, it turns out the 0-60 times for the 2022 Honda Civic are identical across both transmissions, at 7.7 seconds. However, the kicker here is that your arms and legs can do something about that. Slip-shifting, or power shifting, might just give you the win over Honda’s CVT in a race.

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The 2022 Toyota Corolla proves a manual transmission is faster

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Apex with a manual transmission shot from the front 3/4
The Corolla is certainly better (and faster) with a manual transmission | Toyota

Now for a car that truly is noticeably faster with a manual transmission, the 2022 Toyota Corolla. How noticeable? How does 7.3 seconds to the automatic transmissions woeful 10.2 seconds to hit 60 miles per. So, a win for the manual transmission here. We can’t wait to see what the new GR Corolla’s manual transmission brings to the table.

You’re better off with a manual transmission Toyota GR 86

A red 2022 Toyota GR86 shot from the front 3/4
The GR86 is massively slower with an automatic | Toyota

While that was a massive gap between manual transmission and automatic in the case of the 2022 Toyota Corolla, the 2022 Toyota GR86 is a little different. The two optional transmissions were only off by about .8 of a second in Edmund’s testing. Still, we’d rather have the stick shift. It’s just more fun in the BRZ. I mean, GR86.

A Subaru WRX isn’t going to be better with an automatic

A pair of Subaru WRX models shot at sunset
Subaru plans to up their auto transmission game for 2022 | Subaru

Finally, one car you should absolutely have with a stick shift: the Subaru WRX. Despite Subaru’s insisting that they’ve improved the CVT for the 2022 Subaru WRX, we’re still taking the manual transmission. Yes, the stick will be faster to 60 mph, but at the end of the day, we just prefer our rally-bred performance sedans with a stick.

Generally, it’s probably a smarter financial decision to get an automatic transmission in your car. Computers can shift gears faster than us, and they know how to save fuel better than we do. Plus, a stick shift will inevitably need a new clutch, whereas the service life on an automatic transmission is almost always longer (and cheaper). In the end, it’s about having your fast car cake and eating it too. We’d rather use our own hands to eat that cake than let a computer spoon-feed it to us.

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