If you’re looking to buy a manual transmission, it’s slim pickings all around—but Kia still offers two options in the 2022 lineup plus an older model. The 5-door Kia Rio and the Kia Forte both come available with a stick shift. If you’re looking for used, you can check out the Kia Soul.
Manual cars can be a lot of fun on the road and they’re great for putting some savings back into your pocket. But while some car fanatics are die-hard manual fans, the lack of consumer interest in manual transmissions means car manufacturers are phasing them out. A CNBC report showed that 37% of cars in 2011 had manual transmissions, but since then, that number has dropped to a mere 13% in 2022.
If you’re in the market for a fun drive or looking to save a few bucks on gas and repairs with a reliable vehicle,
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Kia car insurance costs.
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Does Kia still make a manual?
Yes. The 2022 line-up of Kia cars currently offers two models with a manual transmission—the Kia Forte and the Kia Rio 5-door.
Cars with manual transmissions are few and far between, but Kia has maintained their commitment to the clutch through its signature Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) that can be bolted into a 6-speed automatic if chosen. Kia also offers the option of a classic 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
If you’re opting for a used car, 2021 and older models of the Kia Soul are also available with a manual transmission.
2022 Rio 5-door
If you’re looking for cheap, simple transportation at its finest, you’ve found it with the
Kia Rio 5-door. It’s fuel-efficient and inexpensive but still drives with a surprising amount of sophistication and a list of standard and optional features for a reasonable price. And bonus—it comes in manual!
It comes equipped with a 1.6L four-cylinder engine specifically designed for efficiency. Certain models are also paired with Kia’s own Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) to help drivers achieve maximum fuel efficiency.
Here are your picks for manual options with the Kia Rio 5-door:
LX and MT come with a 6-speed manual
The LX+, LX Premium, and EX Premium come standard with the Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT)
If you’re in the mood to save money while riding in style, the Kia Rio is for you.
Bringing a sleek and stylish exterior, plenty of features, and admirable fuel efficiency to the table, the 2022 Kia Forte offers drivers some major brownie points. It comes standard with a 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine with 147hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, or an optional upgrade to a turbocharged 1.6L inline-four-cylinder engine with 201hp and 195 lb-ft.
That said, not all models of the Forte come with an option for manual. Here’s what you have to pick from:
FE, LXS, and
GT Line come standard with an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) and 2.0L inline-four-cylinder engine
If you’re a die-hard manual fan, you’ll have to upgrade to the Forte GT for the 1.6L Turbo Inline-4 gas and pick of a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission
Compact or not, the 2022 Kia Forte brings major energy and fun for manual transmission lovers out there.
2021 and older Kia Soul
If you’re looking for a tried and true 6-speed manual in a reliable, quirky, and fun-to-drive crossover-esque vehicle, you’ve found it in the
Kia Soul. Modest in disposition and rather petite, the 2021 Kia Soul turns heads with its contemporary and eccentric design.
The Soul is a compact 5-door car that has peppy drive dynamics and a surprisingly large cabin. Competing with the
Honda HR-V and
Hyundai Kona, the Soul is front-wheel drive with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine offering 147hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. If you want more, you can find the upgraded model with a 1.6L turbo-4 motor with 201hp and 195 lb-ft.
The Kia Soul base model
LX comes in either 6-speed automatic or IVT, while the S, X-Line,
EX all come IVT only. The top-of-the-line Turbo—which you’d probably expect to be manual—comes standard with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Most models dating before 2021 offer a 6-speed manual in the base model only.
Benefits and drawbacks of a manual transmission
When you’re a manual driver, stepping into an automatic car just doesn't quite do it. But for people that have never driven a manual, there’s a steep learning curve that can be a major deterrent.
Whether you buy a manual transmission car comes down to personal preference—but if you’re not sure which side to fall on, check out some of the perks and pitfalls of owning a manual vehicle:
Pro: Cars with a manual transmission typically cost less than those with an automatic transmission
Con: There are few manufacturers that still make cars with a manual transmission
Pro: Driving a manual is more engaging on the road
Con: The learning curve associated with a driving stick can be steep and challenging
Pro: Repair costs are lower on a manual transmission
Con: Mechanic costs may be cheaper but fuel efficiency is comparable to that of an automatic (you won’t be saving much on gas)
Pro: Has better control due to faster shift response
Con: Three-pedal driving can be a hassle in bumper-to-bumper traffic
There’s a small percentage of drivers who willingly choose to buy a manual car—but for those people, finding the right car in a manual will likely prove difficult. The steep drop in manual interest means that many car manufacturers are foregoing the manual in lieu of high-performance automatic transmissions.
Key Takeaway If you want to save money on the upfront cost and maintenance of a car, the manual is the way to go. But learning how to drive manual and managing traffic can steer drivers away from a manual transmission.
How to find affordable Kia insurance
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