Vehicles with manual transmission

As a child of an earlier generation, I learned to drive in a 1977 Ford Transit van with a manual transmission. Call it nostalgia or a glutton for punishment, but I want to teach my children to drive a stick. All of the online search engines start with make/model not manual/automatic so searching online is pointless. I?m looking for a used vehicle with a manual transmission, preferably small SUV or truck. Any suggestions on what make/models I should start researching before going from dealer to dealer?

I like the M/T, too. For a small SUV with manual, try a 4 cyl./5 spd. Mazda Tribute. I owned one, the clutch has a nice action, and mileage is excellent for the vehicle size. You might also check out Toyota or Nissan pickups. HTH.

Most small pickups and SUVs will at least have a manual transmission available. In the USA the dealer inventories are heavily laden with automatics, but if you look around you will find a few 2WD pickups with stick shifts and some stripped down versions of SUVs also. In my experience looking at used cars and trucks the ad will almost always mention automatic, but if it doesn’t say then probably it’s a manual.

Finding a small pickup that isn’t 4WD is the same sort of problem. There are far more ads for 4WD small trucks and SUVs, but if it does not specifically say it, then it’s likely a 2WD.

So, with a good search engine you can look for ads that don’t contain the words “auto” “AT” “4WD” or “AWD” to narrow it down to the most likely candidates.

Well, depends on how old you’re looking at. In just the last 5 years or so as SUV’s have become more of a luxury vehicle class most of the manual transmission versions have disappeared, though you can still get them in pickups. Before that, though, most SUVs had them avaliable, although depending on the specific model it may be difficult to find many of them on the used market. The imports tend to have more of them due to their worldwide markets and more economy-minded buyers here.

GM and Chryster only really offer sticks in economy cars, but Ford, oddly enough, up until the late-90’s sold a lot of manual transmissions in vehicles you wouldn’t think would have them like Tauruses and Explorers. Really the only thing systemically wrong with Ford cars during the 80’s-90’s was the automatic transmissions, so the oddball Ford stickshifts are actually pretty nice cars. They also usually had about a 5mpg advantage over their slushbox cousins and, due to their age and being Fords, usually sell for dirt cheap.

You want a 2 wheel drive Ford Ranger, '92 and under, before they went to the shared Mazda B series platform. Parts are dirt cheap and plentiful, they’re very easy to service, and they’re just sturdy little trucks.