Which Volkswagens Have a Manual Transmission?

Despite the decline of manual models, Volkswagon offers five manual options: Golf, Golf GTI 2.0, Jette, Jetta GLI, and Beetle R-Line.
Written by Sarah Williams
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 17, 2023
With the Golf, Beetle, and Jetta models available with a manual transmission in 2021, Volkswagen continues to produce high-quality manual cars. Promises of new manual options come with the news of an all-new eighth-generation Golf featuring a manual transmission for 2022. 
Although manual transmissions remain a favorite amongst car enthusiasts, we are seeing a decline in production. 99% of all new cars sold in the United States in 2019 were automatics. 
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In this article, we will take a closer look at the various manual models offered by Volkswagen: Golf, Golf GTI 2.0, Jette, Jetta GLI, and Beetle R-Line. 
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Does Volkswagen still make a manual? 

Yes—in fact, Volkswagen still produces five manual models, two of which made Car & Driver’s 10 Best list again this year. 
2023 has been announced as the final year Volkswagen will make a manual, so now is a great time to read up on what they have available. 

Golf (2017)

Starting price: $23,195
This seventh-generation Golf is both economical and fun to drive. The 2017 Volkswagen Golf comes with a turbocharged Inline 3-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. 
This front-wheel drive (FWD) can still take on the challenge of trickier roads and has a respectable maximum speed of 122mph. Going to zero to 60 in under 10 seconds, it’s no race car, but its power-steering and 110HP make it a satisfying drive.
The eighth-generation Golf will arrive in 2022, also featuring a manual transmission.

Golf GTI 2.0 (2017)

Starting price: $29,545
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is a sporty car with sharp steering. Its spacious cabin and cargo hold make it practical and comfortable for everyday driving. It comes with a turbocharge Inline 4-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. 
Car and Driver consistently place the Golf GTI in their 10 Best list saying that it is “practically perfect.” Quick and spacious, this is a car you’ll enjoy whether you’re hitting the open road or taking the kids to soccer practice.

Jetta (2015) 

Starting price: $20,195
The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta is quite the improvement from previous Jettas. Its turbocharged Inline 4-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission make it a fun and smooth drive.
In terms of speed, the Jetta can hit zero-to-sixty in 10.9 seconds with a maximum speed of 118mph. The icing on the cake, however, is the great fuel economy. 
Whether you’re looking to save money on gas or do your part for the environment, the Jetta is a great option. 

Jetta GLI

Starting price: $30,995
The Volkswagen Jetta GLI has it all—it’s affordable, fun, and practical. It is a compact sedan with many desirable and upscale features. 
Some say that the Jetta GLI is the sedan version of the Golf GTI. Both come with a turbocharged Inline 4-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. 
Another annual contender for Car & Drivers 10 Best list, the Jetta GLI is one to keep an eye on. 

Beetle R-Line (2015)

Starting price: $15,799
The Volkswagen Beetle R-Line is another option if you are looking for a manual Volkswagen–and if you like the look of a classic bug, it’s a solid option with top-of-the-line detailing. 
The most affordable of our five manual Volkswagens, the Beetle R-Line also comes with a turbocharged Inline 4 cylinder engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. 
Under the hood, you will find it is very similar to the Golf GTI, which was a top-rated vehicle. When it comes to this Beetle R-Line, it’s all about the look.  

Benefits and drawbacks of a manual transmission

Manual vs automatic is an age-old debate amongst car enthusiasts—and well, just about everyone. We all have an opinion about which we prefer, but there are some pros and cons to consider before marrying yourself to one side or the other. Here are the positives:
  • Cost: A manual transmission is typically less expensive than an automatic. 
  • Safety: Because between 44% and 84% of drivers in the US don’t know how to drive stick, the likelihood of your manual being successfully stolen is low. 
  • Repairs: It is cheaper to repair a manual than an automatic transmission. 
  • Fun: Believe it or not, driving a manual is a lot of fun! 
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Manual transmissions come with their own list of disadvantages
  • Effort: Three-pedal driving is more work than it seems! In stop-and-go traffic, you may find it tiring. 
  • Difficulty: It can’t be denied that learning to drive a manual is more difficult than an automatic. With the declining numbers of people in the know, you may find it difficult to get yourself a teacher!
  • Fuel Economy: Unlike the good old days, these days manual transmissions have lower fuel economy than their automatic counterparts. 
As time goes on, it is getting harder to find manual transmissions. In 2021 we only saw 21 new cars made available in the US. 
Key Takeaway Although manual transmissions are more affordable and fun to drive, they require more effort to learn and are difficult to find. 

How to find affordable Volkswagen insurance

Now that you’ve done your research on which manual Volkswagen to buy, it’s time to think about car insurance. 
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