What’s the Worst Manual Transmission You’ve Ever Driven?

A photo of a blu Chevrolet Spark parked on a beach.

Please God, don’t let it be a manual Chevy Spark?
Photo: Chevrolet

I’d never driven an automatic car until the start of this year. Before, it had been an onslaught of manual transmissions in hot hatchbacks, vans, sedans and everything in between. And while, yeah, it’s a lot more fun being able to cycle through the gears and have the satisfaction of shifting up from third to fourth (the best gear change), not every manual box is created equal.


With that in mind, today we want to uncover some of the worst manual transmissions out there. Gearboxes so bad that you wish there was no third pedal to worsen your drive.

Maybe you found yourself behind the wheel of an early 2000s Ford pickup truck with a manual transmission and got stuck dealing with miles of travel and very little engagement whenever you mashed the pedal. Or perhaps you learned to drive in a Vauxhall Corsa with a 1.2-liter engine and gear ratios so wide you could probably fit in at least one more transmission in between each one.

In a similar vein, what about the Chevrolet Spark? Which Steve DaSilva says is the most “rubbery, numb and bad transmission” that he’s ever driven. So, another firm contender for the worst manual transmission of all time.

It could be way too much play in the gearbox, out of proportion ratios to try and gamble on, or just not enough feeling of connection between you and the car whenever you sit behind the wheel. Whatever the reason, we want to hear all about the awful manuals you’ve driven.

So, what do you think could take the crown of world’s worst manual car? Whether it’s a truck or a sedan, a gas or a diesel, let us know your picks for the worst manual transmission that you’ve ever driven.

Head to the comments section below to let us know your worst suggestions and we’ll round up some of the top offenders in a slideshow on Monday.

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