When your budget is undefined, there are still many lovely vehicles to choose from that feature manual transmissions. In my eye, though, few are genuinely more desirable than Porsche's 911 GT3 in its Touring spec.
The 911 is of course a remarkable platform and the GT3 takes it to another level. In Touring form, Porsche deletes the giant wing and makes this 911 just comfortable enough for a daily driver.
How good it is? Surprisingly good. The day I spent exploring the German countryside in one still ranks up there as one of my greatest days behind the wheel of all time. The GT3 (albeit not in Touring form) inspired our award-winning "Manuals Matter" video, it's so good.
Frankly, even after a recent update, there's not a ton of power to be had out of the 2.0-liter engine -- 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.
Thankfully, that's also kind of the point: The Miata exists for you to serially extract the most from its meager performance and to experience the joy of driving at the limit far more frequently than you can safely manage in other cars.
Mazda's short-throw, six-speed manual and the well-weighted, progressive clutch are the best tools for that mission.
Priced from $25,730 (plus $920 freight) for a base Sport trim with manual gearbox, you can't really go wrong with any Miata, including the fancier folding hardtop RF model.
While there's a conventional automatic gearbox available as an option, the Miata's standard six-speed manual is the most entertaining solution, and it's the one most in-line with this car's minimalist, man-and-machine ethos.
With 252 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque and 19-inch wheels on low(ish)-profile tires, the Accord Sport 2.0T is a really engaging driver, and the six-speed manual transmission makes it even more so.
Even if three-pedal Accords only sell in small volumes compared to other models, I'm glad Honda still offers a stick-shift in one of its most popular vehicles.
This Jeep's manual transmission isn't trying to be sporty. Throws are a bit long and the gearbox doesn't produce what I would call crisp shifts.
Fortunately, the clutch is nicely weighted, and with that low crawl ratio, all drivers need to do is put the gearshift lever in first gear and pretty much stay off the gas. This pickup can climb over a lot of obstacles on its own.
Compared to the standard 718 Cayman, the GT4's shifter is 0.78-inches shorter and crisply slots into gates. Clutch pedal tuning is exactly how I like it, with a grab point in the middle of the pedal stroke.
When I had the GT4 out on track recently in Scotland, I never got hung up between gears. That's thanks in large part to the dynamic transmission mounts Porsche uses to help cut down on movement in demanding high-load situations.
Honda has been responsible for some of the best-feeling manual transmissions ever, from the Civic Si models up to the S2000 roadster. It felt like the company lost its way for a while, and then the Civic Type R showed up.
Not only is the transmission itself responsible for some of the best feel of any MT-equipped car on the road today, the car itself is phenomenal, boasting adaptive dampers that provide for a surprisingly pliant ride when potholes demand it. Yet, when you chuck the thing into a corner, it's ready to have a good time.
The Fiesta ST, especially now, at the end of its run is one of the best performance buys on the market. It's hilariously agile and darty, with plenty of silly lift-off oversteer and three-wheel motion available at real-world speeds.
It's also super quick off the line and willing to accelerate in any gear thanks to its tiny turbo.
If you're not smiling while driving a Fiesta ST, you're doing it wrong.
Ford lists the MSRP for the 2019 Fiesta ST at over $21,000, but we'd be shocked if you actually ended up paying that much for one. It's a niche vehicle at the end of its life in the US, so there are deals to be had.
If you're getting one, don't skimp on the Recaro seat package. It's a lot of money in a cheap car, but you'll be glad of the support when railing down a canyon road.
Type R? Eh. Golf R? Meh. My pick is the 2019 Veloster N, Hyundai's hottest hatchback yet.
Honed at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife, the apex Veloster boasts a laundry list of go-faster goodies, track-tuned handling, a powerful, turbocharged engine and, of course, a six-speed manual transmission with automatically rev-matched shifts.
The quirky, asymmetrically styled Veloster N is more than happy to rev its turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine to the tune of 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The engine's scream is punctuated by a pa-pop from the performance exhaust that makes each shift all the more satisfying.
The automatic rev-matching makes perfectly blipped downshifts possible even for novices, but drivers who prefer to heel-toe themselves can easily disable the aid.
The Veloster N can be a bit of a handful in full "N Performance" mode, but a flick of the blue N Drive Mode selector on the steering wheel toggles more comfortable settings tunes for the adaptive suspension, engine and throttle, a premium trick for an affordable hot hatch starting at $27,500.
I'd recommend stepping up to the Performance Package for upgraded brakes and a handling enhancing limited-slip differential for around $30,000.