It is no secret that the small-car segment is really heating up in the United States. All of the manufacturers are targeting young and new drivers with trendy designs and outrageous colors. Chevrolet offers Siri Eyes Free functionality on their smallest of cars, and the new Toyota Corolla is the least expensive automobile with LED headlights standard. However, younger people cannot necessarily afford high-end vehicles, so they have to penny pinch when buying a new car. Some people like to check all of the option boxes to have the best-equipped vehicle. The best way to “step up” to a well equipped vehicle without stepping up in price is to purchase the well equipped vehicle with a manual transmission.

Manual transmission

Manual transmissions are often several hundred dollars less expensive than automatic-equipped versions. (Photo: Shutterstock)

For this comparison, the 2014 Ford Fiesta hatchback will be the base vehicle. This vehicle can be equipped with next to nothing (it is Ford’s entry-level vehicle), or it can be equipped with a satellite-navigation system, rearview camera, keyless drive and more. For a buyer who wants all the tech goodies that he or she can get, but cannot drive a manual transmission, they might want to look at a fully-loaded Fiesta SE.


The Fiesta SE fully-loaded is $20,410.

In the configuration above, the $20,410 MSRP Fiesta has 16″ alloy wheels, a moonroof, heated mirrors and seats, automatic climate control and MyFord Touch with navigation. This is definitely a well-equipped vehicle, and the MSRP is a reflection of that.


A manual-transmission equipped Titanium Fiesta is only a few hundred more.

At $20,685 (a difference of $275) a purchaser can have a fully-loaded Titanium trim Fiesta with a manual transmission. But that’s not all! Along with everything the loaded SE is equipped with, the Titanium features push-button start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather seats and a rear-view camera system. To option those separately, it would be significantly more than $275. The difference? One has a manual transmission.

This is not to say there aren’t benefits to an automatic transmission, but in a small car like the Fiesta, the manual transmission makes the everyday commuter vehicle a bit more fun to drive, and with all of the extra options, a much more enjoyable vehicle to live with daily.

Unsure how to drive a manual transmission? Watch below.