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Updated: 6/6/23

We know that the manual transmission is quickly leaving our world. What might feel like a bit more of a shock is that only one new car on the American market still has a 5-speed manual transmission. The 5-speed is the transmission. It’s as culturally significant as the V8, and we are down to only one. Equally noteworthy is that the last 5-speed manual car is America’s cheapest new car, the 2023 Nisan Versa. 

The cheapest new car is the last 5-speed manual car in America

The 2023 Nissan Versa is racking up laurels left and right. With a starting price of $15,730 MSRP, the 2023 Nissan Versa is the cheapest new car in America. This comes after the 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage nixed its 5-speed manual car. The 2023 Mirage, also one of the cheapest new cars in America, starts just a smidge higher than the Versa at $16,245 MSRP. 

The Nissan Versa tops the list of cheapest new cars. Here are the contenders: 

  1. 2023 Nissan Versa: $15,730 MSRP
  2. 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage: $16,245 MSRP
  3. 2023 Kia Rio: $16,550 MSRP
  4. 2023 Kia Forte: $19,490 MSRP
  5. 2023 Hyundai Venue: $19,500 MSRP
  6. 2023 Kia Soul: $19,790 MSRP
  7. 2023 Subaru Impreza: $19,795 MSRP
  8. 2023 Nissan Sentra: TBD (2022 Sentra: $19,950 MSRP)
  9. 2023 Nissan Kicks: $20,290 MSRP
  10. 2023 Hyundai Elantra: $20,500 MSRP

There is only one 5-speed manual car left

2004 Peugeot 407 5-speed manual shifter
Stick shift | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

We have enjoyed the 5-speed manual since the 1950s. However, the 5-speed didn’t hit in earnest until the ’70s. Although 6-speeds came around in the ’90s, the 5-speed was still the transmission of the people. It was in everything. 

The Drive points out that there is one caveat to make; the outgoing Subaru Impreza still has a 5-speed, but that will only last a few more months. The next-gen Impreza will join the rest of the defectors. 

To be clear, this doesn’t mean there aren’t other manuals still available. The Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, Nissan Z, Subaru BRZ, Subaru WRX, and others still rock three pedals, but they have more than five gears. This may not mean much to everyone, but to the car nerds, the 5-speed holds a place in our hearts.

Can you buy a 2023 Nissan Versa in manual? 

Yes, you can, but only technically. The Drive notes that although the 2023 Nissan Versa still comes with a 5-speed, it is only available on the base model. Currently, there are only three manual examples for sale in the whole country. 

The point here is that Nissan most likely wanted to have the clout of the cheapest car in America, so it put the base model with manual transmission on the list just to technically offer it. 

So where does this leave us? The reality is the 5-speed manual car is effectively dead. There are technically a few out there, but the 2023 Nissan Versa isn’t a breath with hope behind it; it’s a death rattle.