All the AWD Manual Cars You Can Buy in 2022
If you’re after an analog driving experience in 2022, these are some of the last remaining models that happen to offer AWD traction with a stickby Khris Bharath, on LISTEN 13:11
There is currently no shortage of cars that either offers some sort of All-Wheel Drive (AWD) or Four Wheel Drive (4WD) on the market. There are over 200 of them. However, if you want those same benefits of added traction along with a manual transmission thrown in, well your choices are pretty limited. Let me explain.
To dig a little deeper into that very pressing question, I fired up trucar.com (not sponsored) checking just the AWD and manual transmission boxes, to see just what’s out there, and to my surprise, the system returned just five models. Now the manual transmission is on its way out, but there are few automakers who still continue to offer cars with this super rare combination of AWD and stick shift, that caters to a very small niche audience.
Why All-Wheel Drive
But before I even begin, let me quickly clear the air between AWD and 4WD. With an all-wheel-drive system, power from the engine is sent to all the wheels all the time. Newer variations of AWD systems can alter the amount of power and torque being sent to different wheels and axles in real-time, in a bid to improve fuel efficiency, as cars with such systems tend to be thirsty. To top make it even more effortless, an AWD system requires minimum input from the driver.
Four Wheel Drive or 4WD meanwhile is a system that gives you the ability to have a greater degree of manual control over how power is distributed to the final drive. You’d typically find a 4WD system on an off-roader, where you can either direct power going to different axles manually or by using something known as a differential locker. You have additional drive modes like 2L, 4L, and 4H that give you ultimate control over the vehicle’s drivetrain.
Pros & Cons of AWD
- Better Traction on loose and tricky surfaces
- All year driveability rain, snow
- An added sense of confidence
- More confidence in the twisties
- Heavier than 2WD counterparts
- Uses more gas
- Front biased AWD systems have a tendency to understeer
- Higher maintenance and running costs
Why Drive Stick?
With that out of the way, why a manual? Well for some people out there, myself included, there’s nothing that gives you a better sense of control from behind the wheel than changing gears yourself. Add all-wheel drive to the mix and it makes for a fantastic driving package.
Now, I’m really excited to dwell deeper into this list as I’ve owned an AWD Golf derivative with three pedals and a stick for the better part of a decade. Now if you want to know more about why the manual transmission is going extinct, you can watch this video by CNBC below.
Let’s kick things off with the automaker that has had a long history of offering AWD convenience for the masses for decades. Subaru has been in the game long before the SUV/crossover craze came along and the Impreza was one of its greatest nameplates. Let’s face it, the Impreza has its weight in gold, but I’m afraid the same can’t be said about the current model.
All this changed when the WRX and STi split away from the Impreza. Having said that, despite the Impreza being nothing more than basic transportation today, it still has the ingredients that make it a proper Subaru. Four doors, AWD, and a flat four-boxer engine. Throw in a manual gearbox and you can still have a lot of fun for not much money.
The compact sedan is only available with a single-engine, a 2.0-liter flat-four that produces 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. In addition to a 5-speed manual transmission that comes standard on entry-level models and is available on the Impreza sports hatchback.
Those who prefer not to control their own transmission will appreciate the CVT automatic transmission that comes standard on the premium limited and sports sedan. In both body styles i.e four-door sedan and hatchback, the all-wheel-drive on the four trims offered are largely the same. The four trim levels available are the base model, premium sport, and limited trims.
|Engine||Naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder|
From one Subaru to the next, the Crosstrek debuted as a completely new model in 2018 and was recently updated. Currently, in its fifth year, the Crosstrek has a robust design compared to most of its competing all-wheel-drive crossovers and host of SUVs.
You’ve got a tough front-end appearance with body cladding on the bumper, hefty fenders, and a lofty ride height. The Subaru Crosstrek also continues to use more durable materials than its competitors that are easy to maintain and emphasize its robust nature.
Coming to the oily bits, the base engine is a 2.0-liter flat-four with 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The same engine that we saw in the Impreza. However, that same engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. You can also pair it to a CVT or continuously variable automatic transmission.
Higher trims with the CVT will be equipped with a 2.5-liter flat-four engine rated at 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. The larger engine will only be available with a CVT, and standard all-wheel drive across the range.
|Engine||Naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder|
As I mentioned above, the WRX split away from the Impreza. The all-new 5th generation Subaru WRX features Subaru’s worldwide platform for the first time and does not share any sheet metal with the Impreza. None of it, not even the roof. The design remains aggressive and readily recognizable, with aerodynamic cladding, fender well air vents, and a deck spoiler.
To my eye, there’s something missing here, maybe a bigger wing. But as Doug DeMuro pointed out in his recent review of the WRX, those aero cladding for some reason just don’t seem to work. They don’t stand out as much in a darker color.
While exterior style and design are totally subjective, what Subaru hasn’t thankfully skimped on is performance. You’ve got an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer, a potent engine that punches out 271 horsepower punch with a nicely spaced out 258 pound-feet of torque and a 6-speed manual transmission.
A CVT is also available and just like the other Subaru’s above, symmetrical AWD comes as part of standard equipment. What is also standard is torque vectoring. Since the WRX is after all a rally-bred model, its suspension setup has been track-tuned to offer excellent driving dynamics. One of the WRX’s new direct competitors is the new 276-HP Elantra N, however that car doesn’t feature AWD.
|Engine||2.4-liter Turbo four-cylinder Boxer|
Fresh off the oven, Toyota just took the wraps off the much-awaited GR Corolla. Ever since its little brother, the GR Yaris made its debut a few years ago, fans of the Toyota brand, particularly the hot hatchback crowd in the U.S. have yearned for it. It was thanks in part to its cracking performance hardware, all in a bite-sized package with the Toyota stamp of reliability.
While that car never made it here, the next best thing in the form of the GR Corolla did, and thankfully with much of that hardware carried over and thankfully, the power to weight ratio of both cars is around about the same.
Let’s talk numbers. Toyota’s sporty hatchback features a 1.6-Liter 3-cylinder that produces a whopping 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Now, this has to be one of the most powerful 3 cylinders out there and it sure packs plenty of punch. The AWD system can do a 60:40, 30:70, or 50:50 torque split depending on the mode that the driver chooses and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
The limited-run circuit edition adds stuff like a carbon roof to shave off a few more pounds, and limited-slip differentials on both axles. The GR Corolla Core will hit the road, sometime in fall, this year with the Circuit edition to arrive in 2023.
|Engine||1.6-liter Turbo three-cylinder|
Now if you want a car that does pretty much does it all, then the Golf fits that definition of being the perfect all-rounder rather well. The Golf R with its AWD (4 Motion) and blistering performance takes that narrative one step further. While the R first hit the road only about a decade ago, Volkswagen has made all-wheel drive Golfs for decades.
They used the old-synchro box that took part in Group-A Class back in the early 90s. Fast forward to today, and it pretty much follows the same recipe as its predecessors, combining AWD traction with everyday usability and a more mature European driving experience.
The Golf R is still powered by a 2.0-liter turbo i-4, but VW is getting some serious power out of it these days, with 315 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. If you’re trapped between sticking with the standard 6-speed manual transmission or going down the automatic route with a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG, keep in mind that the manual transmission, while more exciting, has 15 pound-feet less torque as compared to the DSG.
The electronic locking differential and adaptive damping have been upgraded, but the biggest change is a new torque-vectoring rear setup that can send 100 percent of torque to either of the rear wheels, primarily the outside wheel when cornering is made possible with the new drift mode.
|Engine||2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo|
The 911 really needs no introduction. It has been regarded as one of the most, if not the most usable everyday sports cars of all time. Just like the Golf R that I just spoke of, the 911 too has a broad appeal. Its legacy stretches over eight generations and Porsche has refined and perfected the 911’s magic formula over five decades.
With its engine in the back, the 911 never really had a trunk, but its two extra seats (best for kids) and some cargo room up front and stupendous Porsche build quality, made it a far more rational performance car for the sort of people who wanted a daily driver as well.
When you add AWD (which has its roots in Porsche’s racing history) and manual transmission to the mix, you really couldn’t ask for much else. Bad weather? No problem PTM takes care of it. Coming to transmissions, while the PDK is going to be faster by a long shot, there’s nothing like working the cogs yourself isn’t it? Even in 2022, you can get an AWD 911 with a stick across a wide range of body styles with everything from a Carrera 4S (443 horsepower 390 pound-feet of torque) to a Targa 4 GTS(473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque).
Spec it up in a more understated color like silver, white, black, or gray and you can literally fly under the radar where you can exploit the true potential of that twin-turbo flat-six without being too shouty about it. You can’t get any more inconspicuous can you now.
|Engine||3.0-liter four-cylinder twin-turbo flat six|
|Horsepower||443 - 473 hp|
|Torque||390 - 420 lb-ft|
4WD With A Manual Transmission
What 2022 cars offer a manual transmission in 2022?
Out of the 350+ new cars on sale in 2022, you can get a manual transmission on just 38 .The cheapest car on the market that offers a manual transmission is the Chevy Spark while the most expensive is the Porsche 911.
Can you get a manual transmission AWD?
If you want a manual transmission AWD car in 2022, you’re limited to just six models. The Subaru Impreza, Subaru Crosstrek, Subaru WRX, Toyota GR Corolla, Volkswagen Golf R and the Porsch 911.
Why are manual transmission going away?
The days of ICE-powered i.e gas and diesel cars that use a transmission are numbered. Most EVs don’t use a transmission. As a result, this could also mean the end of manual transmissions.
Will there be manual cars in 2030?
With many counties and regions around the world working towards reducing their carbon footprint and EV’s going mainstream, it is unlikely that manual transmission will survive until 2030.
Will manual cars go extinct?
Yes, manual cars are likely to go extinct soon.