Which Land Rovers Have a Manual Transmission?

If you have your heart set on a Land Rover with a manual transmission, look for the classic 1984 Defender or the 2007 Discovery 3.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
For the manual transmission fans looking for a Land Rover, you’re going to have to search hard and deep—and be ready to fork up some cash. Land Rover no longer manufactures manual vehicles, but the 1984 and earlier Defender 90 and the 2007 Discovery 3 come standard with a manual transmission.
Manual cars are a lot of fun on the road. They’re peppy, come with better gas mileage, and are generally cheaper to maintain. But if you’re in the market for a new manual car, your selection isn’t huge. As of 2021, just over
40 models
of vehicles in the United States are available with a manual transmission.
If you’re gearing up to buy a Land Rover with a manual transmission and want to save yourself a bit of cash,
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Does Land Rover still make a manual? 

No—Land Rover does not currently produce manual vehicles. If you’re on the hunt for a used car, there are a couple of older models that come standard with a manual transmission
All of Land Rover’s current models come standard with an automatic engine. But if you’re a
classic car
fanatic looking for a couple of collectors, two models can suit your needs—the 2016 (and earlier) Defender 90 and the 2007 (and earlier) Discovery 3. 
MORE: Why you should consider an SUV over a sedan

1984 and earlier Defender 90

Starting price: $48,700
Originally introduced back in 1948, the Land Rover Defender is a classic car connoisseur's dream. With its 2.3L 4-cylinder engine and petrol motor, the Defender 90 wasn’t boasting nearly as much power as current models are. But back then, 73 hp with 120 lb ft. torque and all-wheel drive weren’t intended to be built as a 4x4 utility racecar. 
With a rather cramped driving position and a fuel economy of 30 mpg, the Defender isn’t your typical town car. The Land Rover Defender is an unstoppable 4x4 utility vehicle designed for the ultimate off-road experience. 
And while the cost is relatively high for the manual monster, you’re getting a solid drive with plenty of character and charm. It’s also a true workhorse—something any countryside dweller can attest to. 
The original defenders from 1948 to 2016 were only ever available in manual. Having disappeared off the market for a handful of years, the newer 2020, 2021, and 2022 Defender models just don’t come with the same old-school feel—or the manual transmission.
MORE: Is the Land Rover Defender 90 good at off-roading?

2007 Discovery 3

Starting price: $15,000-$33,000
If you’re looking for a high-end off-road vehicle that’s reliable, the Discovery 3 might be up your alley. It came in three models—the S, SE, and HSE—with your choice of a V6, V8, or turbo-diesel engine and a four-wheel-drive system that allowed it to cross rugged terrain. 
It was the luxury equivalent to the
Mercedes Benz ML
, and
Audi Q7
, except one thing—it came in a manual. The first generation Discovery 3’s came standard with a manual transmission, which was later phased out with the arrival of the second generation. This model was the last Land Rover you could buy in the U.S. with a manual transmission, beating out the Land Rover Defender by a mere two models years. 
If you can find one around, the 2.7 TdV6 has a turbocharged V6 cylinder engine with 187 hp and 328 lb. ft or torque drives like an off-road beast with all the luxuries of a high-end SUV. 
The manual Land Rover Discovery is a lot rarer now than it was back then, so if you’re trying to get your hands on one of these, you’re going to have to do some digging. 

Benefits and drawbacks of a manual transmission

Unless you’re upgrading to a larger vehicle without the manual option, driving an automatic just doesn’t do it for drivers who are fans of the stick shift. However, sometimes manuals come with their own set of challenges.
Personal preference is the major deciding factor between a car with a manual or automatic transmission. But if you’re undecided on which way you want to swing, here are some pros and cons of owning a manual car:
  • Less moving parts in a manual gearbox usually means cheaper repairs
  • Fuel economy is typically better on a manual—although new automatics are pretty fuel-efficient
  • More fun to drive
  • Lower purchase price
  • Better control of the vehicle due to a faster shift response
  • The steep learning curve when learning how to drive manual
  • Few car manufacturers who still produce manual cars
  • Using a clutch in traffic can be a huge pain
The percentage of drivers willing to buy a manual car is small, but for car enthusiasts who want to take on the challenge of owning a manual, there’s still some selection. If you’re someone who enjoys driving and doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a car, a manual might just be for you.
Key Takeaway Manual transmissions typically cost less both upfront and in the long run, have better control, and better fuel economy. But if you don’t know how to drive a manual, learning to drive them—and learning to drive in traffic—can be a major downside.
MORE: Which car should you buy: automatic vs manual transmission?

How to find affordable Land Rover insurance

If you’re buying a manual car in hopes of saving a few dollars, you don’t want to be putting that money towards car insurance. Luxury SUVs can be expensive to insure, but with
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For most people, it comes down to personal preference. Manual transmissions can have cheaper repair costs and better fuel efficiency, so if you’re willing to endure the learning curve to drive one, a manual may be a better option.
Land Rovers with a manual transmission have been phased out of production, but the older models that feature a manual are reliable vehicles. Less moving parts in a manual gearbox means they’re less likely to break, and if they do, repair costs are typically cheaper.
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