Compact SUV with Manual Trans?


I have a BMW X3 with a 6-speed stick, which is terrific to drive, but the lease is ending. I’m looking to see if I have any other choice in a small SUV/stick combo for variety’s sake, but everything comparable seems to only come with automatic or one of those faux automatic paddle shifters that IMHO are for weenies. Anyone have any ideas on alternatives? (It can’t be any larger than an X3.)


Not up to par with a BMW X3 but faster/quicker, the Subaru Forester XT has a stick tranny.

Toyota dumped it in their RAV4 and Honda in the CRV hence the Acura RDX. Manual tranny’s are a dying breed sadly.


Manual tranny’s are a dying breed sadly.

True. Sticks certainly are more fun to drive, but they’re getting harder and harder to find. It used to be that you paid plenty for the luxury (sloth?) of an automatic – they cost much more and delivered far worse mileage. Now they’re almost as efficient as a manual (lockup TC; 4, 5, even 6 speeds) and there isn’t as much of a price premium if the automaker doesn’t have to worry about offering both in a car line. If I did any more city (stop and go) driving than I do now, I’d seriously consider an automatic – clutch and stick in stop-and-go gets old real fast. Just about the only advantages of a stick shift these days is that you can roll start the car and thieves tend to avoid them.

Are any of the “automatics” out there really a manual with computer-operated clutch and shifter, as opposed to computer-assisted descendants of the old mechanical-hydraulic monsters?


Sticks are a personal preference and the poster prefers it. I prefer them too as does my wife thankfully.


Why not buy your bmw?


There is always the Toyota FJ cruiser if you want manual transmission


Why not buy what you have? Buying is almost always less expensive than leasing and it allows you a lot more flexibility.


Good question, Joseph – I’m an independent consultant and deducting a monthly lease payment as a business expense is one of my few, if any, tax perks. I used to drive a RAV4, and am happier with the X3 – I know I can still get a manual in an '08 model, but it’s interesting that BMW is charging the exact same price for the 6-speed manual or the Steptronic (they advertise the Steptronic as a “no-cost option”.) I live in Chicago, but since I make my own hours I can usually avoid the stop-and-go expressway rush hours. Like the look of the FJ but it’s too darn big to parallel park.


They charge the same for a manual since they sell maybe 10% of their X3’s with this transmission. They need to make up for the lack of sales to cover their costs in bringing this configuration to market.


First off what do you consider a Compact SUV?? I think something like the Rav-4 os Suzuki Sidekick a Compact SUV…The BMW, or Toyota FJ are considered Mid-Size SUV’s…nothing compact about them.

In the Mid-size SUV’s the only manuals I’ve seen are the Toyota FJ or the Nissan X-Terra. Their syblings…4Runer and Pathfinder come in Automatics ONLY. You use to be able to manuals with them…They even use to come in 4-cylinders.