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Subaru Still Offers You 2 Of The Last 8 Cars That Only Come With A Manual Gearbox

Cars that only come equipped with a manual transmission are a dying breed. Subaru has two of the last eight available in the U.S., the Subaru WRX STI, and STI S209.


If you want to be fully engaged with your car, you’ll need a manual transmission, but there aren’t many left in North America that only come equipped with a manual gearbox. There are only eight cars produced for performance buyers that are manual-only equipped. Subaru offers two of the performance cars, the 2019 Subaru WRX STI performance-tuned sedan, and the limited edition STI S209. The Subaru BRZ tS sports coupe was another Subaru model equipped only with a manual rower, but only 500 were produced in 2018.

Along with the WRX STI, and STI S209, the other six cars that only come with a manual gearbox are the Hyundai Veloster N, Honda Civic Type R, Honda Civic Si, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, Ford Mustang Bullitt, and Camaro 1LE. So if you want one of the last manual-only performance cars, you have a very short list to choose from.

2019 Subaru WRX STISubaru WRX STI Type RA

You might be wondering is there is any difference between the WRX 6-speed manual transmission and the STI manual gearbox. There is. WRX uses a wide ratio spread and incorporates carbon synchronizers on first and second gears. Subaru enhanced shifter feel for the 2018MY 6-speed gearbox, with a new synchro design and reduced friction, along with smoother clutch take-up.

WRX also offers the Sport Lineartronic CVT automatic with stepped manual and automatic shift modes controlled with steering wheel paddle shifters. Most enthusiasts don’t want a CVT automatic in their sport-tuned sedan, and it’s not offered in the performance-tuned STI.

2019 Subaru WRX STI

The 2019 Subaru WRX STI is equipped exclusively with a specially reinforced close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission to handle the extra horsepower and torque over the WRX. No automatic transmission is offered.

STI S209

Subaru launched the highest horsepower WRX STI in the companies history and it’s coming to the U.S. market later this year. Before now, the only place you could get an S-line STI was in Japan. Subaru Corp will only build a very limited run of 200 examples for the U.S. market. This performance car is technically not a Subaru, but specially-built for Subaru by Subaru Tecnica International. It also only comes equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Subaru STI S209

Only 500 examples of the Subaru BRZ tS were produced and they’ve all been sold. So if you want one, you’ll need to get a previously owned model. Torque News drove the new BRZ tS when it was first released in early 2018. We wished for more power upgrades, but the 205hp BRZ naturally-aspirated boxer engine had enough power for most driving situations, even at altitude in Colorado where we tested the BRZ tS trim.

Subaru BRZ tSBRZ tS

With the 6-speed gearbox, it allowed us to keep the revs high and the power band at optimum levels. The 6-speed manual gearbox engaged easily, and the short throw made it a joy to drive. The standard BRZ comes with the optional 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the Limited model, but the 6-speed manual is the gearbox for driving enthusiasts.

If you want one of the last performance cars in the U.S. to only offer a manual gearbox, Subaru still offers two of the best. You can buy the 2019 Subaru WRX STI or STI S209 with a manual-only, and if you want the limited edition BRZ tS, you’ll have to find one on the resale market, or a dealer might still have one tucked away.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Subaru via Minhaz Ahmed


John H Melms (not verified)    July 11, 2019 - 8:13AM

Your article is incorrect. Mazda offers 2 2019 models with manual transmissions: Mazda 3 and Miata

sam (not verified)    July 12, 2019 - 9:57AM

In reply to by Jason (not verified)

the title of the article has the word "ONLY" in it, indicating that the 8 cars in the list ONLY come with manual, to say it another way, these cars cannot be had with Automatic transmissions. While titles can sometimes be very misleading, you need to check the meat of the article to see if it corroborates the title. It does. The first sentence states there are 8 cars that come ONLY with a manual. To say it another way, the article states there are 8 cars that do not offer an automatic transmission.

Glenn Rossney (not verified)    July 12, 2019 - 2:20PM

In reply to by sam (not verified)

People have said it before, but the 2019 BRZ is manual standard on all models. Premium models ONLY come in manual. The limited can be upgraded to automatic for an additional fee, so the article is incorrect.

The article also suggests that if you want a manual BRZ, you have to track down a prior year tS model, which is also incorrect. Again, BRZ come with manual transmission standard on all platforms, manual is the ONLY option on the Premium model.

Nick Jasper (not verified)    July 11, 2019 - 2:18PM

I’m one of the lucky few that was able to buy an Outback with a 6-speed manual before Subaru Canada dropped it. It’s not exactly a speed demon but I love that I can row my own gears in a family hauler.

mutugi (not verified)    July 11, 2019 - 3:45PM

I think people will always have an option. I think traditions are not always wrong... Don't be pushed by current of toyotaphilic enthusiasm. watching from a distance...