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Vehicles rarely come with manual transmissions in 2023. There isn’t a high demand for stick-shift vehicles compared to automatic ones (which many consumers find easier to drive). Some gearheads may love manual transmissions, but there isn’t enough overall interest to convince automakers to cater to that niche market. So, only a handful of SUV models still offer this outgoing feature. Which is the cheapest 2023 SUV with a manual transmission?

This affordable 2023 SUV has a stick-shift option

Can you drive stick? Millions of drivers across the globe enjoy manually shifting gears. Some auto enthusiasts believe that the best iterations of certain vehicles are manual. SUVs with manual transmissions are often superior for off-roading. Unfortunately, many of the remaining manual transmission models cost big bucks.

The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek is the most affordable SUV with a manual transmission option. The Base and Premium configurations are the only models that offer an alternative to the continuously variable automatic transmission.

The Crosstrek starts at $23,645. It uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to make 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. The subcompact SUV achieves 28 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. Its base model comes with a six-speed manual transmission.

Why does the Subaru Crosstrek have a manual transmission?

A red 2023 Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV is driving on the road.
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

The Subaru Crosstrek likely has a manual transmission because of its mild off-roading capability. Off-roading enthusiasts often prefer manual vehicles to automatic models because manually shifting gears can come in handy when dealing with obstacles. Off-roading can be incredibly risky, and drivers that partake usually want as much control of their vehicle as possible.

The SUV’s manual transmission options are a nod to Subaru’s off-roading heritage. The Japanese brand is well-known for producing capable SUV models. In fact, its line of Wilderness vehicles has prioritized capability and is gaining plenty of attention.

A manual Crosstrek is preferable over an automatic version if you plan on tackling mild trails. Drivers praise the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek for its standard all-wheel drive and ability to handle itself off-road. It’s one of the best options in its segment.

The most notable new version of Subaru’s subcompact SUV is the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Wilderness. It starts at $31,995. The Crosstrek Wilderness comes standard with 9.3 inches of ground clearance, dual-function X-Mode, and a front skid plate. Subaru clearly knows how to produce adventure-ready SUVs.

What SUVs still have manual transmissions?

Two Ford Bronco SUVs are parked side by side.
Ford Bronco SUVs | Ford

Aside from the Subaru Crosstrek, two other SUV nameplates have manual transmissions. The Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler have stick-shift configurations as well.

Manual transmission models, like V8 engines, are a dying breed in America. The automotive industry experiences fads and regularly adjusts to the market, often completely phasing out certain mechanical features and making others standard.

The days of stick-shift SUVs may be coming to an end, That being said, automakers like Jeep may continue to offer manual transmissions because they have been such an essential part of the Wrangler’s legacy. Are automakers missing out on a huge demographic of consumers, or are the days of manual transmission vehicles long gone for the average driver?


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