Great Affordable Sports Cars for Drivers Who Want to Learn Stick Shift

Manual transmission cars might not be as abundant as they used to be. Even the new Corvette ditches the option for a manual transmission with its latest model. If you are just learning to drive a stick shift, you probably don’t want to drop a ton of money on a nice, exotic sports car and risk having to replace an expensive clutch. But you don’t have to drive an exotic sports car to have a responsible first option for a car to learn stick shift in.

Pontiac Solstice

The range of Pontiac Solstice cars isn’t very wide. While there are some differences in the drivetrain, you can find them in abundance with the option of a manual transmission. These sporty-looking cars have the cool-factor of a hood that opens forward, a trunk that opens backward, and isn’t all that common.

A Pontiac Solstice GXP is displayed at the 36th Annual South Florida International Auto Show | Victor Malafronte/Getty Images

Toyota MR2 Spyder

The Toyota MR2 Spyder might not be the first used car option that comes to mind, but there is something pretty unique about this simple-looking Toyota. While it doesn’t provide any impressive amount of power, the engine’s placement behind the driver and passenger seats lets the car handle with incredible agility.

A silver 2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder parked at a scenic outlook.
2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder | Toyota

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Ford Mustang

If you are a fan of American muscle cars more than smaller options, perhaps a manual Ford Mustang is what you’re looking for. With several drivetrain options across many generations, you can find used Mustangs on the market with a manual transmission for incredibly low prices. They are so common that you can find plenty of options for aftermarket modifications, too.

Black-with-gold-stripes 2006 Shelby Mustang GT-H on a curvy desert road
2006 Shelby Mustang GT-H | Ford

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Chevrolet Corvette

Just because the newest mid-engine Corvette doesn’t have the option for a manual transmission doesn’t mean you won’t find older models with some. In fact, you can find every generation of Corvette before the C8 with the option for a manual transmission. Similar to the Mustang, you can find them at affordable prices pretty often, with lots of aftermarket support for lower-cost parts.

2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Commemorative Edition
2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Commemorative Edition | Bring a Trailer

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For some people, learning to drive a manual transmission can be tricky and intimidating, especially if you are concerned with these repair costs. Luckily, there are plenty of options for affordable and fun sports cars with manual transmissions.