Do NOT select the automatic option on these awesome cars.
It has become automotive gospel to preach about the superiority of the manual transmission. We love shifting gears ourselves, but we have come to the realization that certain cars may actually be better with a quick shifting automatic or dual-clutch. Don't worry, we haven’t given up on the old-fashioned manual completely. That is why we have come up with five new cars that we would not order with their automatic option under any circumstances. These cars deserve a manual transmission.
The Aston Martin Vantage is an interesting choice for two reasons. First, the Vantage is now the only Aston Martin that is still offered with a manual. Aston Martin is committed to being the last manufacturer to still offer a traditional manual, but if everyone keeps ordering the Vantage with the automatic, then Aston will be forced to stop offering it. The Vantage still has an old, slow shifting automatic transmission, which isn’t nearly as fun as the manual. The automatic cars have also suffered a recall for losing power, while all manual models were free of the issue.
The Mazda Miata and Fiat 124 are the reincarnations of the classic British roadster. These roadsters were all about lightweight, low power fun and wringing the most out of a tiny engine. An automatic doesn’t give the driver as much control over the car, and goes against Mazda’s Jinba Ittai philosophy. The Mazda MX-5 and Fiat 124 both come with an average six-speed automatic as an option, which is nothing to write home about. A dual-clutch would certainly be a better option for those who simply can’t drive a manual.
The current Subaru WRX is the first to ever be offered with any kind of automatic transmission. In a questionable move, Subaru decided to encumber the WRX with a CVT transmission instead of a normal automatic or dual-clutch. A CVT is good at being smooth in economy cars like the normal Impreza, but we see absolutely no reason to put one in a sport sedan. The WRX is one of the only affordable sport sedans that is offered with a manual, and that is how we’d buy one. Good thing the WRX STI is still only available with a manual.
Like the WRX, the Fiat 500 Abarth was initially only offered with a manual transmission. The 500 and 500 Abarth came with a five-speed manual, which was definitely behind most modern cars. We never had a problem with the lack of cogs in the manual transmission because the Abarth was such a blast to drive. The 500 Abarth has recently been updated with more power and is now offered with a six-speed automatic in Abarth trim, which takes away a bit of the fun. This awesome hot hatchback is much better when you can shift it yourself.
It is becoming nearly impossible to buy a supercar with a manual transmission. Ferrari and Lamborghini have both stopped offering them, but luckily Lotus still makes its cars with three pedals. The Lotus Evora isn’t exactly a supercar, but it is getting close. The automatic transmission in the Evora isn’t as good as the Porsche PDK, and we would want to buy a manual Evora before it gets replaced with a new model that could very well come without a manual option.