By on November 30, 2019

We don’t normally ask questions on the weekend, but in the spirit of the holiday, coupled with the fact that too much excitement could aggravate your already elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, we’d like to know what you’re thankful for in the automotive realm. Hardly original, sure, but bear with us.

There’s one caveat here: this question only pertains to contemporary OEM products and features, not bygone equipment or aftermarket upgrades. There’ll be no giving thanks for three-speed manuals or the Oldsmobile brand today.

With bitching now the top-ranked pastime, let’s speak from the heart and pin down something automotive that makes being alive in 2019 great.

For one, yours truly is thankful that silver paint is continuing its rapid decline in popularity, though that sort of goes against the feel-good spirit of the question. No negativity today! Or at least, less of it.

In this week of giving and thanks and pointed questions from cousin Brayden from Williamsburg, I think many of us can agree that choice is something to be thankful for. And choice is something we still have. Sure, there may not be much on the dinner plate for lovers of cheap FWD coupes, nor a cornucopia of riches for those who harbor a love of wagons, but think of it a different way.

Right now, on this very day, a red-blooded North American can waltz into the dealer (or to their computer) and order a cheapish electric car. They can order an expensive, massively swift one, too. Or one capable of hauling cargo and engaging in some off-pavement antics.

Image: Nissan

There’s still a rear-drive, gas-powered roadster on offer that doesn’t come with a Germanic price tag. A triad of muscle-bound pony cars still awaits those who never plan to use a backseat, but like the idea of having one back there. Dodge has a family sedan topping 700 horsepower. SUVs and trucks in a dizzying number of trims and configurations tempt millions as you read this. Looking for a thousand foot-pounds in your daily driver? Ram has you covered, and Ford would like your vote in 2020. Hyundai feels it’s about time for a unibody pickup/SUV for the kids.

Regardless of your needs, interests, or personal ideology, there’s a vehicle out there for you. Maybe it’s not perfect, maybe it’s not priced exactly as you’d like it, and maybe there’s not enough selection to satisfy your particular kink, but choice remains. If compact cars are your thing, you needn’t worry about the Detroit Three bowing out — Japan and Korea are more than happy to sell you one of theirs. They’re practically begging you to come take a look.

2019 Ram 2500 Tradesman — regular cab

We can gripe all day about what’s fading from the scene, what’s nearly extinct in today’s market, and what the ongoing eco push, cash-saving consolidation, and tech takeover is doing to the vehicular landscape, but this writer, at least on this day, can see the glass as half full.

It’s a broad, all-encompassing view of things; perhaps you’ve got something smaller and more specific in mind. A model, a solitary feature, a bit of content that you find particularly appealing. It could be import (or domestic) build quality that excites you, or even a cheap four-cylinder that returns gas mileage and performance. Maybe you just love wagging your foot under the liftgate and having it magically open on its own.

Let’s have it B&B — what are you thankful for?

[Images: Mazda, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan]

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55 Comments on “QOTD: Ready to Give Thanks?...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    I guess, I need to be thankful for that Miata, Mustang GT, Camaro, and even Mazda3, Challenger, may be some other cars that have some equipment in them, MT and no turbo.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Well….
    • I’m thankful that we finally have decent, “smaller” pickup trucks today as compared to those Road Whale™ full-sized models, even if the mid-sizers are still too big;
    • I’m thankful that battery-electric vehicles are growing in the overall market, even if they still only carry a small share for now;
    • I’m thankful for having owned three Oldsmobile cars in my driving lifetime–my #1 favorite brand;
    • I’m thankful I don’t have to drive a Ford as a daily driver–if it’s a rental, maybe. But I will never own another Ford if I can avoid it.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Jeeps, because they seem to be the only rogue automotive manufacturer left for the middle class. No one makes anything like a Wrangler that real people can afford. They’re segment breakers in that a Cherokee is the only compact crossover that still offers a V6 that’s affordable. The Grand Cherokee is very long in the tooth, but still a segment leader. The Renegade is by far the best sub-compact crossover and the only one that offers any kind of real off-road capability. Jeeps are dinosaurs that should have left the auto landscape 30 years ago, but still hang on, because despite what we’re told we want Jeep still provides what we do want

    Before anyone starts this is MY OPINION and that’s the only one that counts ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Believe it or not, L2m, I agree with THAT opinion 100%.

    • 0 avatar
      Michael S6

      The only Jeep that is worthwhile is the Grand Cherokee and it was derived from a Mercedes Benz chassis. The rest of Jeep compacts and subcompacts are mediocre Fiat junk that falls apart even before the warrantee is over. The middle class that buys it can ill afford the repair bills. The Wrangler Gladiator are the best off road vehicles assuming you are using it that way.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @Michael S6: Sorry to say that you are wrong about the other Jeeps; they are proving themselves mechanically sound and do NOT fall apart before the warranty is over.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “The Wrangler Gladiator are the best off road vehicles assuming you are using it that way.”

        “The only Jeep that is worthwhile is the Grand Cherokee”

        I’m confused, how can the Grand Cherokee be the only worthwhile Jeep while the Wrangler Gladiator is the best off road vehicle? So, is that two good Jeeps?

        • 0 avatar
          Michael S6

          The Wrangler and Gladiator are niche vehicles designed mostly for off road usage and are very compromised for regular road usage. So they are worthwhile for off roaders or for those who like the image of being off roaders.
          The Grand Cherokee is the only Jeep that I will consider owning although it is due for redesign.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You just pointed out why I’m thankful for Jeeps, they’re “niche vehicles” which usually means out of reach for the average guy, (think Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Aston Martin). They’re something a bit unique in a sea of me too blandness. Subaru used to be that way too, but have now become mainstream

  • avatar
    Boff

    In addition to our 2 sensational cars which represent the best scuderia we have ever had, I’m thankful for Apple CarPlay. Seriously, it is a game-changer for infotainment. I love its simplicity and ability to integrate all the functions I could want on the road (multiple navi apps, music collection, Spotify, WhatsApp, iMessage, phone, calendar, Siri).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “In addition to our 2 sensational cars which represent the best scuderia we have ever had”

      Does this mean you have two Ferraris?

      • 0 avatar
        Boff

        Do Ferrari’s even come with CarPlay? In any event, “scuderia” is Italian for “stable” and I’ve always referred to our cars as such even though we’ve only ever had one Italian car (a 2012 FIAT 500 that was more fun to look at than it was to drive).

    • 0 avatar
      jeanbaptiste

      My first thought went to CarPlay too. It (and the android variant) were the needed next step of in car entertainment.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Horsepower……horsepower everywhere

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I’m thankful for my Honda Accord with the 6 speed manual transmission. Also the horsepower, those of us who drove ’70’s cars know how bad and slow the cars used to be. My Accord has more hp than my parent’s ’72 Impala with the 350 (5.7 liter) V8.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My 73 Chevelle with a 350 was not a bad car nor was it slow. I am thankful for safer and more reliable vehicles and for living in a country where I have so much.

  • avatar
    gasser

    As a driver into his seventh decade, I am happy for AEB, Blind Spot Monitors and Back Up cameras. No longer as quick or agile as I used to be, I am thankful to have a bit of “help” in driving down increasingly crowded streets and highways.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    So thankful for my Toyotas and Hondas which never break. So much better than the Detroit 3 vehicles that I used to drive.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    I can still buy factory OEM parts for my decades-old 911.

  • avatar
    idesigner

    I’m thankful that my new base model 6 speed manual Jetta 1.4 can get 1000 km per tank!
    Those numbers are better than my ex TDI Golf.

  • avatar
    VWGolfGuy

    Thankful that somehow, after 5 years and 120k miles, my VW product has not broken down, not even a CEL.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I, too, am thankful for automotive choices.

    I’m thankful for the cheap, reliable, quiet, and maintenance-free torque from my BEV, and the reliable utility of my minivan.

    I’m equally thankful for Hellcats and Priuses; there really is something for everyone.

  • avatar

    Many things to be thankful for, but the one that popped into my mind is cruise control. It’s a pleasure to not have to “lock my leg” for long trips like I used to – just set the cruise and take speed off the plate.

    I’m thankful for every car I’ve owned with the possible exception of a used Reliant wagon my wife drove. I didn’t do the best job of looking it over and should have passed on it. Learning experience for me.

  • avatar

    I am thankful that I don’t own Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. These are dreadful cars to be in. And I am thankful that Mazda did not go bankrupt yet and still makes multiple sedans which do not cost a fortune.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Current $80,000 pickups, “halo” pony cars, Corvettes and satanic theme muscle, racking up the miles and depreciating like mad.

  • avatar
    How_Embarrassing_4You

    “With bitching now the top-ranked pastime”

    *Posts 3 black friday ads*

    Thanks?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “pin down something automotive that makes being alive in 2019 great”
    – I am thankful for modern clear coat paint systems.
    – I am thankful for modern tire technology.
    – I am thankful for modern safety engineering – airbags and crumple zones and stability control.
    – I am thankful for modern sunroofs which aren’t too bad about leaking.
    – I am thankful for current factory audio systems which generally are not bad even in the base configuration.
    – I am thankful for modern brake technology including ABS.
    – I am thankful for modern engine management systems and their generally excellent reliability.
    – I am thankful for widespread parts availability – whether OEM or other.

    Specific to my activities of the past few days with kid home from school:
    – I am thankful that the turn signal switch can be readily replaced without pulling the steering wheel or dealing with the airbag. (There are huge gaps/blind spots in my automotive repair ‘education’ since I grew up working on 60’s/70’s technology in the 80’s, then drove new cars as an OEM employee in the 90’s/00’s, then am back to working on 00’s/10’s in 2019.)
    – I am thankful for rear brake lights which are fairly easily accessed, for on-hand 3057 bulbs, and for LED CHMSL’s which heal themselves after disconnecting/reconnecting.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I’m thankful that I drive the exact car I have wanted since 2012 when I drove a Challenger with the 392 engine in it. When the fantastic 8 speed auto came along in ’15, it was only a matter of when I could buy mine. In July ’18, a couple of weeks before my birthday, I finally got the Challenger I never thought I could buy off a showroom floor after having missed out on the original one. A year and 4 months later, zero issues, and the thing just makes me smile everytime I drive it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This ^^ is what being an enthusiast is all about, getting just the right car for you that still makes you smile a year and 4 months after buying it :)

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I concur. I never owned a new vehicle but figured I’d finally treat myself to one. I had previously rented the Charger and Challenger and was impressed. Being a long time Ford fan I wanted a Mustang but couldn’t find one optioned (Premium Ecoboost etc.) to my liking at several dealers. It was either base or Shelby in stock.

      I found a leftover 2018 Challenger GT AWD for $28k that fits my needs. Roomy, AWD with decent fuel economy and the Pentastar 8 speed auto is smooth as silk.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    I like to listen to old radio shows from the 30’s to the 50’s on the Internet. Included in the shows are advertisements from the time, often for cars and gas stations. Cars used to require a chassis lube every 5,000 miles or so and points and plugs every 10,000 miles. Tire blowouts were a common problem, a battery that required water only three times a year was something to brag about. In the stories, car crashes were often fatal, and cars often refused to start. I am old enough to remember the last being a huge problem in the 70’s. A cold engine required nursing for the first five minutes or so or it would stall.

    The idea of getting in your car and touching a button and having it start and run instantly perfectly every time is literally a modern miracle. However, if I have to choose the most amazing bit of kit in my modern car, it’s my voice activated NAV system. Just push the button and say “Starbucks” et al, and it will find the nearest few and offer you a choice, and then navigate you to the selected one. Very easy, very automatic, and I use it all the time to navigate around our city of 3 million. So much better than the days when you had to pay $30 for a Realtors Map book to get around.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’ve hit 93k miles with just washer fluid, wiper blades, a set of tires, and a $70 12v battery replacement. And of course, no gas or oil needed.

      Voice recognition has vastly improved. I have voice navigation, but also house control and messaging. The best feature is the audio system that will play anything I can think of and request of the system. You can even ask it what were the albums by a specific artist in a particular year. Amazon Echo Auto combined with unlimited music. You can even ask questions since the system is based on Alexa. Everything works with the steering wheel controls so I can still skip songs on albums if I want. Another nice feature is that the nav system will pause the music and resume. Makes sure you hear the “police ahead” and “debris on-road” warnings. Time in traffic estimates called out too.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Good points, Lokki. Regarding old-time radio, do you recommend any sources? I know Archive.org has numerous collections, but I get the feeling there’s a lot more out there beyond that site.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m just thankful that cars and public road driving still exists.

  • avatar
    watersketch

    Just got back from a 1500-mile drive from Michigan to the East Coast with 2 kids spouse dog and all manner of gifts and luggage.

    I am so thankful for the 3 row minivan with fold flat seats. Ours is a little old (an ’09 Chrysler T&C) but is the best for road trips and even handled having 6 people, 2 large dogs and a cut-your-own christmas tree for our Black Friday tradition.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m very thankful for some modern equipment.

    – Automatic multi-zone climate control. In every car I’ve ever had with it except for my 2013 Subaru Forester, it just works. It puts an end to the infernal, unending cycle of dial-fiddling that greets me whenever I encounter a three-dial car. I’m glad it’s turning into standard equipment instead of an exotic option that you only found in super-loaded trims, which is how it was pretty much throughout the ’90s and oughts.

    – Seat memory. If you have more than one driver in a household, it’s invaluable. My ’95 Legend has an early version but it’s gotten much more common.

    – Fast-lightoff catalytic converters. Even with modern emissions equipment, cold-start exhaust is nasty stuff. With early cats, it used to be 5-10 minutes of driving, enough to get the engine mostly warm, before the cats started working. Today the cats light off well before the engine warms up and you’re only stinking up the joint for a block or two.

    – Modern in-car lighting systems. As I’ve gotten into my 40s, the first part of my vision to get worse has been the ability to distinguish between levels of darkness. (Yes, this makes safe night driving harder!) Modern dashboards and interior buttons are lit in a way that makes them much easier for me to see at night than older ones.

    – Modern safety systems. They don’t fully show in the statistics because we’re getting more distracted and killing way more people outside cars, but modern safety systems have made the same accident at the same speed way more survivable for the people inside the car. My Legend was one of the safest cars on the market when it was built. Today, compared with the more modern equipment we’ve got, it doesn’t even seem responsible to put my kids in it for anything more than a drive on slow neighborhood streets.

  • avatar
    TheBlueSoap

    I am thankful for the Nissan Juke. It is distinctive in outward design, unlike the rest of the suvs on the road. Small enough to be zippy around town, easy to park, holds me and 3 dogs fine, and gets decent fuel economy.
    Currently getting around 9L/100km = 26.14mpg.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m thankful for heated seats plus a sunroof in Minnesota. I like the ambient temp low in the cabin so I turn on the seat and set the thermostat to 67, and crack the sunroof if the snow isn’t falling and I don’t have a passenger.

    Safety kit that doesn’t cost a fortune and decent vehicle choice are a close second.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I’m thankful for luxurious HD trucks that can carry the whole family in comfort and safety for 500 miles of bad weather and arrive home ready to plow.

    For as much as cars have improved in the last several decades, the improvement in trucks is an order of magnitude higher.

    I’m too much of an enthusiast to limit myself to owning one vehicle, but if I had to, it’d be tough not to make that vehicle a crew cab HD truck.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I went to a local car show recently and sat in a bunch of cars, ate hot dogs and disposed of a day. The Miata was the only car that excited me and that I actually wanted to buy, for absolutely no good reason. I’m thankful there’s one new car I actually desire. The rest they can crush.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I am thankful for market perception and the effect it has on depreciation. This has allowed me to save a lot of money on some very satisfying CPO cars that some people dismiss (Cadillac Northstar STS, Lincoln AWD 3.7 MKZ)

    I am thankful that I can still swing a leg over my motorcycle and that my wife still wants to get on the back and go with me.

    I am thankful for my flying club (of which I am President) and the two ancient Cessna 150s we own that keep me involved with maintenance, air-cooled engines, magnetos and the thrill that comes with taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being even when operating old machines.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    I’m thankful that I finally got to buy “my” car. A car that was a bit of an indulgence but was within my budget. It ticked all of the boxes that I wanted in a car.
    My 2017 Buick LaCrosse Premium.
    I’ve already waxed poetically about this car here, so I won’t bore you all again with the details.
    But nary a day goes by that when I walk up to get in and drive off, that I don’t mutter to myself, “I love my car”.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I am thankful that VW offered an extended warranty on a few cars I’m thinking of getting used in the next year. Looking at you GLI, you little tart.

    I am thankful that Toyota decided to make the Avalon with some style. I now want an Avalon? What next, I like Buick?

    Yeah, I like the freaking Regal GS Sportback. Dammit. Still think GM sucks, but the GS does not.

    …… aaaand I like the stupid CT6 too. After driving back from Vegas this weekend, thoughts of the car driving itself danced through my mind.

    Still won’t spend any more on BMW though. They’re dead to me. Even though I like the 340i.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can’t get fooled again.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    I’m thankful I got my snow tires on before the snow hit instead of after like an idiot (like I did last year).

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      You and me both. I got mine on last Wednesday and they got a good workout today. They are magical. Combined with AWD, I had no issues getting up some steep hills.

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