Best Manual Hatchbacks of 2020

With most of every automaker standardizing the use of an automatic gearbox in their vehicles, why even bother hunting for a manual hatchback? Well, for the driving enthusiast on a budget, there is no better means of affordable driving enjoyment. Thanks to their peppy but small engines, nimble, compact dimensions, and, in this case, an engaging stick shift, they’re simply some of the most enjoyable, practical, and easy-to-live-with low-cost cars around. The range is also an expansive one, with options spanning from hot-hatches such as the Honda Civic Type R to more casual, livable commuters such as the Toyota Corolla hatch. 

Specifications of Manual Transmission Hatchbacks

  • Powertrain: Most automobiles in the segment come equipped with a low-displacement naturally-aspirated engine, although a turbocharged mill is available in some cases. A six-speed manual gearbox is the more common constituent, with a five-speed manual featured occasionally and a CVT widely available. A front-wheel-drivetrain is pretty much standard across the board.
  • Performance: Speed isn’t the primary focus for most of these automobiles, with handling taking priority in those that are purposed for performance. Most are otherwise designed for casual and easy drivability for routine, daily use. That means decent fuel economy and a drive focused more on composure than capability. With that being said, however, most inherently feel enjoyably peppy and nimble because of their construction.
  • Features: Lineups within this segment are relatively diverse comprising everything from low-cost, rudimentary options to pricier, fully-outfitted packages. Features like standard air conditioning, limited seat adjustment, and cloth seating upholstery are common. Infotainment systems are pretty comprehensive in most contemporary motors, so buyers can expect plenty of device connectivity and functionality even at base level.

What to Consider Before Buying

Pros

  • Offers a fun and engaging driving experience
  • Gives the driver more control over power outputs
  • Tends to be more affordable than automatic cars

Cons

  • It takes time to learn to drive a stick shift
  • May take practice to navigate inclines from a halt
  • Fewer and fewer vehicles ship with manual gearboxes
  • MPG ratings could be better

FAQs

What’s the best manual-equipped hatchback for sale in the USA?

The 2020 Honda Fit is the top-ranking hatchback equipped with a manual gearbox according to CarBuzz’s Buzz Score rating system.

What’s the price of the most affordable manual transmission hatchback?

The Chevrolet Spark, with its starting MSRP of only $13,400, is the cheapest car available from the class.

What’s the best looking hatch on offer?

The Mazda 3 Hatchback, according to CarBuzz’s reviews, carries the sexiest, sleekest, and most stylish aesthetic out there.
BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2020 Honda Fit
9.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
7
Performance
10
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#2
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI
9.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#3
2020 Volkswagen Golf
9
BuzzScore
10
Design
7
Performance
9
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#4
2020 Hyundai Veloster N
8.9
BuzzScore
10
Design
10
Performance
6
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#5
2019 Volkswagen Golf R
8.9
BuzzScore
8
Design
10
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
10
Value
#6
2021 Hyundai Veloster
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#7
2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#8
2020 Subaru Impreza Hatchback
8.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#9
2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
8.5
BuzzScore
9
Design
7
Performance
9
MPG
7
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#10
2020 Honda Civic Type R
8.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
10
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#11
2019 Ford Fiesta ST
8.4
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
7
Safety
10
Value
#12
2020 Honda Civic Hatchback
8.4
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
9
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
8
Safety
9
Value
#13
2020 Hyundai Elantra GT
8.3
BuzzScore
8
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#14
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback
8.1
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
7
Value
#15
2018 Ford Focus ST
8.1
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
7
Safety
9
Value
#16
2018 Ford Focus RS
8
BuzzScore
8
Design
10
Performance
6
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
7
Safety
8
Value
#17
2019 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback
7.9
BuzzScore
7
Design
6
Performance
10
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#18
2018 Kia Forte5
7.8
BuzzScore
7
Design
6
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#19
2019 Ford Fiesta Hatchback
7.4
BuzzScore
6
Design
6
Performance
9
MPG
6
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
7
Safety
8
Value
#20
2020 Chevrolet Spark
7
BuzzScore
6
Design
6
Performance
9
MPG
6
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
7
Safety
6
Value