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The Honda CR-V is the brand’s best-selling vehicle. In 2022 alone, the Japanese automaker sold 238,155 CR-Vs in the U.S., so it’s easy to see that Americans love the popular crossover SUV. After all, it’s comfortable, fuel-efficient, and easy to drive. Speaking of driving, we know that it comes equipped with a CVT, but is the CR-V available with a manual transmission as well?

Can you shift the gears yourself in a 2023 Honda CR-V?

2023 Honda CR-V exterior view
2023 Honda CR-V | Honda

The short answer is no; you cannot get a 2023 Honda CR-V equipped with a manual transmission. That’s a bummer. Instead, every trim level of the current Honda CR-V comes standard with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for optimal fuel efficiency. It can also be connected to a Real-Time all-wheel drivetrain, should buyers need the extra traction.

We recently had the chance to drive the 2023 Honda CR-V and can attest to the driving smoothness of the automatic transmission. It didn’t make the car drone at highway speeds or when accelerating heavily – like many CVTs in the past used to. To circumvent the droning issue, Honda programmed fake gears into the CVT’s operation so that it “shifts” at the higher rpm range. These shifts allow the car to accelerate like a normal-geared car, which makes for a familiar driving experience for most buyers.

Did the Honda CR-V ever come with a manual transmission?

2005 Honda CRV
2005 Honda CRV | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Yes. The Honda CR-V was available with a five-speed manual transmission during its first (1996-2001) and second generations (2002-2006). The CR-V came with the shift-it-yourself transmission in either its front-drive or all-wheel drive form. The latter configuration makes used CR-Vs with manual transmissions a rare and highly sought-after car in the used market.

As you can guess, the CR-V with the manual transmission didn’t sell too well when the car was new, which is likely why it only comes with an automatic transmission now. Most drivers would rather not have to row their own gears.

Is a used Honda CR-V with a manual transmission worth buying?

2023 Honda CR-V interior
2023 Honda CR-V | Honda

Yes, if you can find a clean example of a used Honda CR-V with a manual transmission, we think it’s definitely worth picking up. A nationwide search on CarGurus revealed 18 results, which ranged in price from $5,000 to $9,000, depending on the car’s condition, age, and location. It’s worth noting that considering most of the CR-Vs have over 200,000 miles on their odometers, which is not uncommon for a nearly 20-year-old car.

Which current Honda models can be equipped with a manual transmission?

Buyers itching to feel more connected to their cars may wonder which Honda models currently come with a manual transmission. For 2023, the Civic Hatchback (Sport and Sport Touring), Civic Si, and the Civic Type R are the only models that come with a manual transmission.

Every other model in the lineup is only available with a CVT, which shows that Honda has its sights set on fuel efficiency and a smooth driving experience. We just hope that it keeps the manual alive in future generations of the Civic.