The bad news comes at you daily, it seems. No, I’m not talking about the pandemic, the state of our economy, politics, or the dumpster fire that passes for public discourse these days. I’m talking about bad news that hits even closer to our hearts – the slow demise of the traditional manual transmission.
Pundits may wring hands. Activists may cling to Save The Manuals hashtags. But we know that automakers, while occasionally misguided by trends, are not collectively idiots. They only build what can sell – and very few cars with three pedals will sell anymore.
Mazda may be our last hope. The company that singlehandedly revived the affordable roadster market offers a stick in this, the 2020 Mazda 3 hatchback. Might it finally revive the enthusiast we hope lies deep within every compact car buyer?
This one’s a bit of a bummer, though it’s not surprising. The 2021 model year will bring a Hyundai model lineup bursting at the seams with crossovers, but there’s apparently no room for a lowly compact hatchback.
The sun in that photo is setting, not rising.
Offered since the early 2000s, the five-door version of the Elantra sedan (actually a wholly different car underneath) has met its end in the North American market.
Toyota appears to be ready to answer a call, hinting at — but stopping short of confirming — the future arrival of a small car with outsized performance on American shores.
The automaker’s U.S. arm greeted Thursday by gathering up consumers who’d like to hear more about a GR-badged hot hatch from the company. GR meaning Gazoo Racing, an abbreviation already slapped on a two-door Yaris screamer not available on this continent. Boasting a very blown three-cylinder and all-wheel drive, this Yaris is not your coworker’s wife’s commuter. Nor will its one-size-up sibling be anything to scoff at.
Toyota clearly sees opportunity in the compact hot hatch space, and rumors and trademarks have spoken to this for some time. Today, Toyota’s speaking about it.
The AMC Gremlin celebrated its 50th birthday recently, a fact which would have passed by without notice were it not for commenter Steve Biro. And since we’re talking Gremlin today, we may as well take a look at an oddball trim that’s as quirky as it is rare.
It’s a Levi’s Gremlin from 1976, and it comes standard with an invitation to the Pants Party.
With the refresh bestowed upon the wild Honda Civic Type R for 2020 comes a unique variant few Americans will get their hands on. However, unlike European buyers, those 600 lucky customers will at least get a radio and air conditioning.
The Type R Limited Edition takes what’s already a potent, attention-grabbing machine and dials up the track-readiness — but not the power.
Though it plays second fiddle to more popular hot hatches from Honda and Volkswagen, Hyundai’s Elantra GT is not without a generous list of attributes. Space, inoffensive styling, and value play a large role here, even if the N Line variant (formerly Sport) can’t match the output of its boosted rivals.
For the coming model year, Hyundai aims to ensure the Elantra GT attracts more eyeballs.
This should help sweep every last thought of the Ford Mustang and its hip new sibling out of your mind.
Teased not long ago by an excited Mitsubishi, the newest Mirage is now ready for a round of eye feasting. Get your fill. And, while the subcompact model hasn’t adopted a new platform or anything like that, it has donned its largest grille to date, plus some additional finery to drive cost-conscious boys and girls wild.
While it remains to be seen whether non-performance versions of the next-generation Volkswagen Golf make their way to the U.S. (Canadians can expect the basic unit), Europeans now know exactly what to expect.
Launching Thursday at the brand’s Wolfsburg, Germany home base, the new Golf comes packed with technology while retaining the unmistakable profile of Golfs past. Like Jeep’s Wrangler, the Golf isn’t something to be tinkered with by some brash youngster with “big new ideas.” It’s a product of evolution, not revolution.
While Honda is prepping a brand new Jazz for the Tokyo Motor Show, the status of its American-market twin remains unknown. Many wonder if the Honda Fit will persist in the United States, or simply soldier on in other regions under the Jazz nameplate.
Honda has refused to commit to anything publicly, but hope remains. The automaker released teaser images of the model last week, referencing it as the Jazz, but if you zoom in on the back end you can clearly see it labeled as a Fit.
Probe is a significant name in the history of Rare Rides, as the series started off in early 2017 with the Ghia-designed Probe I. That design study was the kickoff of a series of Probe concepts from Ford; a series which ultimately resulted in an aerodynamic liftback that entered production in the late Eighties.
Let’s see a clean, original example of the all-but-vanished first-gen Probe.
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- Sgeffe It still boggles my pea brain that something that was pretty much standard on most cars two decades ago was left off of cars in the early teens! BUT if I understand things correctly, Canadian models had the immobilizers! (Along with heated steering wheels and other bits that would never be found on a car bound for, say, Minneapolis!)
- CEastwood Yep this is the bolt screwers last chance at the big money before all their jobs become extinct to robots and outsourcing to low wage countries . Prediction - they will get some compromise between what they want and what real world economics dictate . Then the car companies will gradually move their operations to other countries or southern states without unions . They are hastening the loss of their jobs and don't seem to care or even be aware of it .
- Jeff I am going to guess Stellantis because they have not yet invested as much in EVs than Ford and GM and they have been slow and very reluctant to enter the EV market. Stellantis is developing EVs for the European market but I don't believe they want to mess with Ram and Jeep their money makers in the US.
- Sgeffe Any PR position seems to require a Marketing degree (which I hope is a Bachelor of Science degree, but I digress! ;-) )And as I've opined before, all a Marketing degree really consists of is a degree in shoveling bovine excrement!
- Dwford Ford. They have over committed to EVs with the cancellation of all sedans as well as the recent cancellations of most of their gas crossovers. Too soon. GM has a whole new lineup of gas crossovers coming, while also introducing new EVs: the correct strategy.