By on February 2, 2016

01 - 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

While it was possible to buy a new W-body late-1980s/early-1990s Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, or Grand Prix with a five-speed manual transmission, almost nobody did so. These cars have become pretty rare by now, so the chances of finding a five-speed Grand Prix in the junkyard are about the same as finding a five-speed BMW 7-Series; it’s possible, but not likely.

Here’s an ’89 coupe I found in a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2016

Flint_River_in_Flint_MIchigan

Flint, Michigan’s water system is in dire straits thanks to a bad decision made by emergency managers. Now lead that’s seeping into drinking water is poisoning thousands of children in the city.

That, Dubuc Motors really wants you to think they are related to Tesla, Jeep might be going commando, Porsche will continue to beat others over the head with a stick, and reviews for the Cadillac CT6 have hit the interwebs … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on December 3, 2015

Volkswagen has recently confessed admitted to a steep decline in sales this past November thanks to a 25-percent decline for the Volkswagen brand and a mind bending, 60-percent cliff dive for the soon-to-be replaced Volkswagen Passat.

Apparently, there are still plenty of 2015 Passats and Jettas available to loyal would-be owners along with a variety of other weird birds, such as the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line Convertible and whatever dark backlot corner is still molderizing the aptly named Final Edition Volkswagen Eos.

All this corporate bloodletting brings on an interesting distinction for the Passat. You can now buy the very last, brand-new mid-sized sedan in America that is less than $15,000: a 2015 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T S with a 5-speed manual.

Should you?

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

JAGUAR_XE_S_01

When Jaguar’s latest-and-greatest sedan arrives on American shores next spring, it will do so with an extra option on the order sheet — a manual transmission.

According to Car & Driver, the Jaguar XE will get a third pedal and a stick in the middle of the center console that does things. Apparently, there are still enough people out there that know what to do with that thing in the center console that Jaguar believes it will make up between 10 and 20 percent of overall sales.

“It is enough to be worth the investment, and we are happy with our decision,” North American CEO Joe Eberhardt told C&D.

(Read More…)

By on October 29, 2015

Capture

Peter writes:

Hi Sajeev,

My mother-in-law in New England drives a fifteen-year-old Mazda Tribute with a manual transmission that is way overdue for replacement. She won’t settle for anything that doesn’t have 1) the ability to power all four wheels equally at the same time (I think her Mazda has a button or lever to engage the 4WD, so it doesn’t have to be a full-time 4WD system), and 2) a manual transmission. She is suspicious of the modern “all-wheel-drive” systems found on Subaru, etc., and swears that nothing works in the snow like 4WD.

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015

Honda-Accord-2008-091

Joel writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I am having an issue with my 2008 Honda Accord EX 5MT. I bought it with about 90,000 km (less than 60,000 miles) from a Honda dealer nine months ago. It was in good shape but was not babied. On the upshifts, there is a momentary … what could I call it … overrun? overspeed? Clutch in, accelerator off, the revs don’t drop right away; they almost seem to increase, but only for a moment.

On the downshifts, blipping requires more than a stab; I would call it a prod, a sustained stab of the accelerator.

(Read More…)

By on August 30, 2015

bmw-228-track-7-1

UPDATE: According to commenter krhodes1 and Facebook commenter Michael Smith, the 228i manual (order code 162A) is still available and there is a bug in the configurator. Which reminds me, you should like The Truth About Cars on Facebook.

Jalopnik is reporting that a number of BMW models — namely the 228i, 328i, and 428i — have lost their manual options for 2016. BMW’s online configurator for the 2016 model year shows the cars as automatic-only options, effectively making the manual transmission a premium option by forcing manual-loving customers into higher trims.

Does this mean the end of the manual transmission as we know it? Probably not. (Yet.)

(Read More…)

By on July 6, 2015

2015-BMW-M3-M4-Main-Art

New BMW M boss Frank van Meel says buyers may still have a choice between two transmissions, just between two types of automatics.

Talking to Autocar, van Meel said: “From a technical standpoint, the future doesn’t look bright for manual gearboxes.”

So goes another nail into the coffin.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2015

2015 BMW M235i Exterior1

We’ve talked about BMW’s portfolio expanding faster than an American on a midwest diet before, but I’m going to do it again because it’s the key to understanding the 2-series in general and the M235i in particular.

The M235i is not an M2, it is not a 235i M Sport, and it is more than the former 135is. Are you confused yet? The M235i is the first of BMW’s “M Performance” vehicles which are not to be confused with “M Sport.”

Here’s how BMW’s new four-tier system works:

Things start with M Sport which is a “looks fast/handles well” package, then we get “is” which adds a dollop of performance, followed by the new M Performance where we put M in front of a three digit model number (M235i) denoting increased power, improved handling, improved braking and suspension tweaks, before going full-on-M.

In theory, the full treatment includes body modifications like wheel well enlargements, carbon fiber bits and a dual-clutch transmission. If you’re not totally confused yet, continue reading.

(Read More…)

By on March 16, 2015

12MustangBoss302_39_LR

In my column on manual transmissions, I touched on how the only way to ensure the survival of the manual gearbox is to keep buying them. But a significant number of commenters expressed the sentiment that rowing your own was no longer worthwhile.

(Read More…)

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