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2023 manual transmission cars that run on regular gas


There are more of these out there than you think.

Two questions answered up front first:

Why would anybody want a car with a manual transmission?

A few very good reasons.

Note that I said presently, which leads to question #2:

Is the manual transmission making a comeback?

Yes and no. I'll start with no first.

Where EVs are concerned, no. EVs don't use manual transmissions and never will. I'm certain that some automakers will release EV cars with a pseudo-manual transmission. You'll see the 3 pedals and stick, but it will all be fake and computer controlled since there won't be any real mechanical manual transmission in the car.

Where gas and diesel cars are concerned, yes, the manual transmission is making a comeback, albeit slowly.

The reason for the mechanical manual transmission comeback isn't for car enthusiast reasons, but rather because it's more cost effective for the automakers. America is one of the few places in the world where automatics are driven more than manuals. For just about anywhere else on the planet where cars are sold, people drive manuals.

Automakers are slowly coming to realize that where a world market is concerned, it's cheaper to sell the manual transmission gas and diesel cars everywhere including the United States. That whole "America only gets the automatics" method of car distribution is falling by the wayside. Again, slowly.

Believe me, if Ford released a mechanical manual transmission version of the Maverick mated to the 2.0L EcoBoost engine with NO turbo (so it runs better on regular gas) and cruise control, they'd sell a ton of them. And I'm not talking about some special edition enthusiast model. Just a plain slightly-better-than-base model with steel wheels. They could build it easily and people would be clamoring to buy it.

But since we don't have that, here's what we have for manuals that run on regular gas for 2023.

This list is based on fuel economy from best to worst.

2023 cars available with manual transmission option, regular gas only, non-hybrid models

  1. 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage - 33 city MPG, 41 highway MPG, 36 MPG combined
  2. 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 - 33 city MPG, 41 highway MPG, 35 MPG combined
  3. 2023 Volkswagen Jetta - 29 city MPG, 42 highway MPG, 34 MPG combined
  4. 2023 Honda Civic 5-Door w/1.5L engine - 28 city MPG, 37 highway MPG, 31 MPG combined
  5. 2023 Nissan Versa - 27 city MPG, 35 highway MPG, 30 MPG combined
  6. 2023 Volkswagen GLI - 26 city MPG, 37 highway MPG, 30 MPG combined
  7. 2023 Mazda 3 5-Door - 26 city MPG, 36 highway MPG, 30 MPG combined
  8. 2023 Honda Civic 5-Door w/2.0L engine - 26 city MPG, 36 highway MPG, 29 MPG combined
  9. 2023 Volkswagen GTI - 23 city MPG, 32 highway MPG, 27 MPG combined
  10. 2023 Subaru Impreza 5-Door - 24 city MPG, 31 highway MPG, 26 MPG combined
  11. 2023 Subaru Impreza 4-Door - 23 city MPG, 31 highway MPG, 26 MPG combined
  12. 2023 Kia Forte - 22 city MPG, 31 highway MPG, 26 MPG combined
  13. 2023 Subaru Impreza Sport 5-Door - 22 city MPG, 30 highway MPG, 25 MPG combined
  14. 2023 Subaru Crosstrek AWD - 22 city MPG, 29 highway MPG, 25 MPG combined
  15. 2023 Ford Mustang (2.3L 4cyl) - 21 city MPG, 29 highway MPG, 24 MPG combined
  16. 2023 Ford Mustang Convertible (2.3L 4cyl) - 20 city MPG, 27 highway MPG, 23 MPG combined
  17. 2023 Ford Mustang HO Coupe (2.3L 4cyl) - 20 city MPG, 27 highway MPG, 22 MPG combined
  18. 2023 Ford Mustang HO Convertible (2.3L 4cyl) - 19 city MPG, 25 highway MPG, 21 MPG combined
  19. 2023 Ford Bronco 4WD (2.3L 4cyl) - 20 city MPG, 21 highway MPG, 20 MPG combined
  20. 2023 Jeep Wrangler 2-Door 4WD - 17 city MPG, 25 highway MPG, 20 MPG combined
  21. 2023 Chevrolet Camaro (3.6L 6cyl) - 16 city MPG, 26 highway MPG, 20 MPG combined
  22. 2023 Jeep Wrangler 4-Door 4WD - 17 city MPG, 23 highway MPG, 19 MPG combined
  23. 2023 Jeep Gladiator 4WD (3.6L 6-cyl) - 16 city MPG, 23 highway MPG, 19 MPG combined
  24. 2023 Toyota Tacoma 4WD (3.5L 6-cyl) - 17 city MPG, 21 highway MPG, 18 MPG combined
  25. 2023 Toyota Tacoma 4WD D-CAB MT TRD-ORP/PRO - 17 city MPG, 20 highway MPG, 18 MPG combined
  26. 2023 Ford Mustang (5.0 V8) - 15 city MPG, 24 highway MPG, 18 MPG combined
  27. 2023 Ford Bronco Black Diamond 4WD (2.3L 4cyl) - 16 city MPG, 18 highway MPG, 17 MPG combined
  28. 2023 Ford Bronco Sasquatch 4WD (2.3L 4cyl) - 16 city MPG, 18 highway MPG, 17 MPG combined
  29. 2023 Ford Bronco Badlands 4WD (2.3L 4cyl) - 16 city MPG, 17 highway MPG, 17 MPG combined
  30. 2023 Ford Mustang Mach 1 (5.0 V8) - 14 city MPG, 22 highway MPG, 17 MPG combined

Best cars for specific categories based on the list above

City car: Nissan Versa. You've heard the horror stories about Nissan transmissions. That only applies to the automatics. The manual version is great. Quick, zippy, small-but-not-too-small, easy to drive and low in price. This matters, because in the city, a car will get dinged and beat up. Better to have that happen to a Versa instead of a Civic or other higher priced car.

Highway cruiser: Subaru Impreza. This is for people with long commutes or just have long highway drives in general. Comfort is a high priority for a highway cruiser. Any of the Impreza models can eat up highway miles easily and do so with better comfort compared to smaller cars. The interior space is very nicely designed and is a nice place to be.

Truck: Ford Bronco. The Bronco has the largest amount of secured storage from the list above. Pickup beds are only good for those that actually use them. If you want a 4x4 with the most day-to-day usability and utility on or off-road, the Bronco is it.

Sports car: Ford Mustang Mach 1. For a sports car, this is as good as it gets for a true American V8 with a real manual transmission that runs on regular gas.

(Side note: Yes there is a new Mustang coming in '24 and I don't know if the Mach 1 model will continue using the same V8 that can run on regular gas. It would be nice if it did.)

"Hey, you didn't mention [insert this make/model here] and it offers a manual!"

There are several cars not mentioned and it's for one reason - they don't run on regular gas.

An example of this is the '23 Chevrolet Camaro with 4-cylinder engine that is offered with a manual. That engine requires premium fuel. Why? It's most likely because it's turbocharged and runs hotter, so it needs the premium fuel to prevent engine knocking. However, the 6-cylinder version - which is noted above - runs on regular gas just fine.

Also remember that since none of the above models are hybrids, you don't have to worry about the hybrid system battery going dead in 10 years.

Published 2023 Mar 7

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