By on September 28, 2020

1997 Toyota Camry CE in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsI’ve spent years documenting the rise of the Toyota Camry through the lens of the junkyard, from the homely-but-rugged 1983-1986 V10s through the Taurus-sales-pummeling 1987-1991 V20s to the very last US-market Camry wagons of the middle 1990s. After that, the ubiquitous Camry faded into the boneyard background for me… until about a year ago, when I decided to search for the newest possible manual-transmission-equipped discarded Camry. (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2020

2016 Honda Accord Sport Six-Speed Manual Shifter, Image: © 2016 Jeff Jablansky/The Truth About Cars

It looks like the problem isn’t the damn kids. Well, not in this instance.

The problem is us keyboard jockeys; the corpulent shrimp-eaters of the world.

Clearly, our bitching and moaning hasn’t gotten us anywhere. (Read More…)

By on July 24, 2020

Korea’s answer to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class earned accolades upon its launch, with some kudos reserved for the availability of a six-speed manual transmission paired with the base 2.0-liter turbo four.

You know what’s coming next. Due for a refresh for the 2022 model year, the G70 is in line for an automatic-only future. (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2020

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass - Image: Jeep

When you think of the rapidly dwindling handful of vehicles still available with a manual transmission, you probably didn’t list the Jeep Compass among those remaining holdouts. And yet the compact crossover does offer such a setup, ever since the current-generation model went on sale for 2017.

Well, Jeep offered, but not many buyers took them up on it. Actually, it seems Jeep could barely find any takers — which is why, for 2021, the Compass will carry only an autobox. (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2020

The unbridled enthusiasm and lust over Ford’s reborn Bronco, which greeted hungry eyes on the evening of July 13th, lasted not quite two days before a fly hit the ointment.

Would-be owners were enthused to see that the Bronco’s gnarly, off-road-oriented Sasquatch package, is available even on the lowly(?) base model, but a reality Ford left unmentioned spoiled some of their fun yesterday. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2020

A laundry list of options from the Porsche 911 Turbo S have trickled down to the rest of the 992 Series, plus a few new inclusions aimed at making daily commutes more livable.

The biggest get has to be the expanded availability of the seven-speed manual, but that’s thus far reserved for European customers who still prefer be-clutched vehicles in greater numbers than we do. Still, don’t panic just yet. Porsche hinted in the past that the U.S.-spec Carrera S and 4S models would also be made available with manual options later on.

If it works out like it’s supposed to in Europe, optioning your prospective 911 with the Sport Chrono package opens it up to the no-cost option of choosing either the PDK dual-clutch or seven-speed stick. You’ll also get the associated track goodies, plus a new tire temperature display and some updated ambient lighting options.  (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2020

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon

Jeep is recalling 33,237 Wranglers and Gladiators equipped with manual transmissions because the clutch plate can overheat and fracture. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recall report, the callback encompasses all Wranglers sold with a third pedal from the 2018-2020 model year, with the same being true for the 2020MY Gladiator. (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2020

Cadillac’s CT5-V debuted so far away from its predecessor that you have to wonder what the brand’s marketing team was thinking. Whereas the CTS-V represented a monumental jump in performance over the CTS, its modern-day replacement barely offers more than the Premium Luxury trim with an upgraded engine option.

Stepping out of the CT5 and into V territory is only slightly more meaningful than purchasing an appearance package. The turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is tuned to make an extra 25 horses in the CT5-V, offering a grand total of 360 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. The brand has clearly tried to soften its V-badged models for broader appeal, but enthusiasts cried foul. This wasn’t because Cadillac had built a cheaper, softer sedan but due its overt use of the performance emblem. There’s not enough distance between a V6-equipped Premium Luxury model and the base CT5-V for it to seem truly special.

Don’t be disappointed if you were considering one. General Motors has promised that completely insane performance Cadillacs are still to come. While the presumed Blackwing variants appear to have been scrapped, CT5 test mules have been spotted running mystery V8s in the past and new rumors have all but confirmed a variant with a manual transmission.  (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2019

1984 Dodge 600 in Colorado junkyard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOnce Lee Iacocca’s front-wheel-drive K-cars brought Chrysler back from near-death and into profitability, the platform became the basis of a sprawling family of K-related relatives. One of the earliest spinoffs was the E Platform, a lengthened K that gave us the Chrysler E-Class/New Yorker, the Plymouth Caravelle, and the Dodge 600. Just to confuse matters, the Dodge 600 coupe remained a true K, sibling to the Dodge Aries.

That’s what we’ve got here, and this Denver 600 coupe has some stories to tell. (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2019

As we just covered yesterday, the V-Series application to the Cadillac CT4 and CT5 models will don intermediary performance models, similar to the former V-Sport line. The Blackwing nomenclature will designate top-performing models, redefining what the letter V really means to a Cadillac.

During the reveal of the 2020 CT4-V and CT5-V sedans, General Motors President Mark Reuss said, “Cadillac will make manuals in V-Series.” With four V-Series models across the two sedans, which are the likely candidates to receive three pedals? (Read More…)

By on June 18, 2019

Either in response to customer demand, or as part of its plan all along, Porsche is introducing a new 4.0-liter 6-cylinder engine for top-tier 718 models. Mercifully, these will be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard in either the Spyder and Cayman GT4.

The new naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter engine is derived from the current 911 Carerra turbo engine. With displacement increased, power goes up from the last Cayman GT4 by 35hp. The 718 Cayman GT4 will make 414hp at 7600 rpm, on its way to an 8000 rpm redline. In the 718 Spyder, this represents an increase of 44hp over the previous droptop. Torque peaks at 310 ft-lbs from 5,000-6,800 rpm. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

1996 Isuzu Hombre in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSome of the most interesting examples of GM badge engineering during the last few decades involved the Isuzu brand; first, the Chevrolet LUV pickup (Isuzu Faster) arrived during the late 1970s, followed by the Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum (Isuzu Gemini) and Geo Storm (Isuzu Impulse), and finally the Trailblazer-based Isuzu Ascender. Mixed in there was the Isuzu-ized second-gen Chevy S-10, also known as the Hombre.

You won’t find many Hombres in your local wrecking yard, but I kept my eyes open for one until this ’96 showed up in Denver. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2019

Last week, we shared a report on the number of manual transmission-equipped vehicles Toyota sold last year. If you haven’t the time the to re-read the entire post, it was a trifling sum that showcased just how unimportant these types of cars have become among mainstream shoppers — even if there were a couple of bright spots.

However, as the death march of be-sticked automobiles is a topic that gets many enthusiasts out of bed and into the comment section, it wouldn’t hurt to check in on how Honda’s manual tranny sales faired in 2018.  (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2019

As much as it pains us to say it, manual transmissions are on their way out. While car enthusiasts bemoan the matter incessantly, as we just did, the reality is that most drivers aren’t interested in owning something with a stick. It’s gotten to a point where many automakers no longer offer vehicles with a manual transmission, or just keep one high-performance model around with an optional clutch pedal just to appease a subset of their customer base.

Toyota, which sells more manual models than most, recently spilled its guts to CarBuzz after the outlet requested the company reveal the percentage of its new cars still sold with a manual while attending the Supra launch event.

The resulting figures are about what you’d expect.  (Read More…)

By on May 10, 2019

When you give your car over to the dealership for repairs, you’re trusting them to fix it. You’re also trusting them not to take your pride and joy out for a Sunday drive so they can teach a co-worker how to drive stick. We figured this went without saying but a video was posted to YouTube last week showcasing exactly that.

A customer affected by Ford’s head gasket recall on the Focus RS had the good sense to install a dash cam before taking it into Hawk Ford of Oak Lawn, Illinois, resulting in eleven minutes of two men discussing all the odd noises the car makes as they clumsily pilot it around a residential area.

Despite the poor sound quality of the clip, some of those noises are audible and likely to cause minor physical comfort among highly sympathetic types. (Read More…)

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