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Shift list: All the new cars you can buy with a manual transmission

The overarching trend of the past few years has been that the manual transmission is on the way out. People like automatics, they can be faster than manually shifting, and they're frequently better at saving fuel. But there's still a sizable enough minority of manual fans and buyers that automakers continue to offer a manual in nooks and crannies of the automotive market. And you might be surprised at some of the offerings. We certainly were, so we thought we'd compile a list of cars with an available manual, to narrow the options for those of you who absolutely must have three pedals.

There are a number of surprises on this list. For instance, Jeep has quite a range of manuals. They're available on the Compass and Patriot, and amazingly, they can be coupled to four-wheel-drive and trim levels that aren't completely basic. A weird omission we found was the Mini Cooper Countryman. Every version of it is available with a manual, except the front-wheel-drive version of the Cooper S variant, and (less surprisingly) the PHEV. Then again, BMW seems to be very particular about which vehicles get manuals and which don't, applying many arbitrary restrictions. Likewise, Nissan and Toyota with their cab and transmission configurations for the Frontier and Tacoma. Check out the full list below.

  • Audi A4 (Quattro models only)
  • Audi A5 Coupe (All models)
  • BMW 230i Coupe (RWD only)
  • BMW M240i (RWD only)
  • BMW 320i Sedan (RWD only)
  • BMW 330i Sedan (RWD only)
  • BMW 340i Sedan
  • BMW 430i Coupe (RWD only)
  • BMW 440i Coupe
  • BMW 430i Gran Coupe (RWD only)
  • BMW M2
  • BMW M3
  • BMW M4
  • BMW M6 Gran Coupe
  • Cadillac ATS (I4 RWD only)
  • Cadillac ATS-V
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Chevrolet Colorado (Base I4 RWD only)
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Chevrolet Cruze (2018, all trims/engines except Premier)
  • Chevrolet Sonic
  • Chevrolet Spark
  • Dodge Challenger (V8 only, except Demon)
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A farewell toast to the Jeep 'JK' Wrangler

A farewell toast to the Jeep 'JK' Wrangler

The last of Jeep's "JK" Wranglers is slated to roll of a Toledo, Ohio, assembly plant on Friday. Photo credit: REUTERS

TOLEDO, Ohio -- The Jeep Wrangler JK and Wrangler Unlimited JKU, the latter a great product move for a doomed company, go out of production this week. They represent the bookend of a game-changing, if initially flawed, vehicle that was successful beyond anyone's wildest dreams and completely unmatched by rival automakers.

So how best to mark its passing? I guess we'll find out Friday.

That's when the last two-door Jeep Wrangler JK and four-door Wrangler Unlimited JKU are scheduled to roll down the assembly line in what was initially known as Toledo Supplier Park, ending a production run that began in 2006 and was only interrupted for an extended period by Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy.

For the Jeep faithful, Friday is the delayed end of an era that's already been actively replaced by the next one. The redesigned -- and much improved -- "JL" Wranglers have been rolling off of the assembly line on the North end of FCA US' massive Toledo assembly complex since November. The south end of the plant, the old Toledo Supplier Park, is set to be retooled starting next week to begin building the Wrangler-based pickup next year.

In some ways, the end of the JK is like the child of a thrice-married woman mourning the death of his first stepdad: He was a great guy who did great things in the day, and he definitely helped get mom back on her feet. He made us all a bunch of money, and we're grateful, but mom's found someone better now, so it's time for him to go.

It may seem an ignominious end for what is easily the greatest single product call of the entire DaimlerChrysler era — the decision to add two more doors to the Wrangler and create the Wrangler Unlimited, enhancing the iconic nameplate's popularity globally — but it comes after what can best be described as a product life well lived.

The story begins with the JKU's miracle birth.

REDESIGNING THE INDUSTRY: A SPECIAL AUTOMOTIVE NEWS SERIES

Hyundai: A homegrown game plan

Hyundai Motor Group's go-it-alone strategy banks heavily on the home market and the Genesis premium marque.

DaimlerChrysler President Tom LaSorda was tasked with building a product with great commercial potential but which wouldn't fit in Jeep's current Toledo factory. Oh, and he had no money to build it. So LaSorda turned to suppliers, who built Chrysler a factory adjacent to the one turning out unibody Jeep Libertys at the time, with Chrysler paying back suppliers with a "wheel tax" funding mechanism.

It's also remarkable to recall that when the 2007 Wrangler Unlimited arrived, its popularity was about half that of the traditional two-door, short-wheelbase Wrangler. Early on, assembly workers here built a pair of two-doors for every four-door produced. Now production of the four-door versions outnumber the two-doors by more than 2-to-1.

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13 Truckers Line Up To Save Man From Jumping Off Overpass

13 Truckers Line Up To Save Man From Jumping Off Overpass

Today 12:08pm

Early this morning, thirteen truckers worked with the Michigan State police to form a line of semis under a Detroit-area overpass to prevent a man from jumping off.

At around 3 A.M. today on Michigan interstate 696 near Detroit, a man was contemplating jumping off an overpass to end his life. But police officers from the Michigan State Police, Oak Park Public Safety and Huntington Woods Police Department quickly jumped into action, forcing traffic off the highway and waving through semi trucks so they could line up under the overpass.

According to Lieutenant Shaw, a public information officer with the Michigan State Police, this is actually standard procedure. “This is something that we’ve done for many years,” he told me over the phone. “It’s never really been publicized.”

The whole point, he said, is that if the person were to slip and fall, or if the negotiating officers weren’t successful in talking the person down, “The fall is only a couple feet other than 15 or 20 feet from the overpass onto the concrete below.”

Shaw told me that it’s rare to line the entire highway with trucks. “Usually we only get about one or two semis into position before the person usually...[decides] to come back out and get help,” he told me.

“This one of the unusual times that the person was out there for an extended period of time where we were actually able to line the trucks across the whole underpass.”

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This Custom 1963 Dodge Dart Shows Smaller Trucks Can Be Cool

This Custom 1963 Dodge Dart Shows Smaller Trucks Can Be Cool

This is the Dart trucklet that Dodge never built.

A charming 1963 Dodge Dart pickup is up on eBay in Missouri with no reserve. Bidding was at $3,250 at press time with a few hours remaining in the auction. The seller claims the conversion was done by the original dealer back when the car was new for use as a (barely driven) promotional tool. 

This custom build was posted on the always-delightful Barn Finds earlier this week to generally favorable, if bemused, reader response. It's based on the third-generation Dodge Dart, which was new for 1963. Dodge had a line of full-sized trucks that year, but no smaller, car-based pickups to compete with Ford's Ranchero and Chevy's El Camino. The Dart was sold as two- and four-door sedans, wagons, and convertibles. At about 16 feet in length and 2,700 pounds, the Dart was considered compact in its day, and Hagerty notes they were inexpensive to operate, getting up to 25 miles per gallon of gas.

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We're Heading to Denver to Drive the 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke

We're Heading to Denver to Drive the 2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke

This week, we’ll be in the American Rockies in Denver, Colorado, to get behind the wheel of Ford’s all-new 2018 Power Stroke F-150 pickup.

Ford has been teasing us with a diesel half-ton truck for quite some time now. While consumers can currently go out and buy a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, at Ford, diesel engines have been reserved to the F-Series Super Duty model range.

For 2018, Dearborn aims at escaping its comfort zone with the F-150 Power Stroke, the first diesel-powered F-150 in quite some time. Powered by a 3.0-litre V6 that pumps out a claimed 250 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque, this diesel truck, will come with two or four-wheel drive, as well as a choice of a 5.5-foot (168 cm) or 6.5-foot (198 cm) bed. Both regular and SuperCrew cabs will be available.

Before its launch, rumor had it that the engine would be a variant of the Lion block developed in partnership with the PSA Peugeot Citroën alliance, an engine currently found in some Land Rover products. Turns out the final product isn’t too far off. But while both engines share similar characteristics, Ford has nevertheless tweaked it to its liking.

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Long-Term Test: Third Report, 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab

Long-Term Test: Third Report, 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab

Posted in Features on April 24, 2018

It’s fun to drive a supercar with a bed on the back of it. From the looks to the performance, the Raptor is a blast on the street or the dirt. However, that doesn’t mean its pickup truck roots have been neutered. With 1,000 pounds of payload and 5,000 pounds of towing, plus the extreme level of off-road ability, the Raptor is still a useful tool to have in the driveway.

So far we’ve filled the bed with over 1,000 square feet of laminate wood flooring, transported axles for one of our Jeep projects, and filled the bed to the brim with sod for a backyard project. While the long-travel suspension is notably softer, squatting more under load than a standard F-150, it is quite manageable.

We hauled all sorts of heavy and irregularly shaped items in the bed, including this axle for one of our Jeep projects.

To increase the usefulness of our factory-lined bed, we mounted a Yakima CrashPad to the tailgate. With that addition we can easily take our Giant Trance and three of our buddies with their mountain bikes to the trail for a day of riding. As cool as it is to be on the trail with the Raptor, it can get you a little deeper into some cool riding terrain when you want a different type of off-roading.

But rest assured, when the road does turn rough, the Raptor is an absolute thrill ride. With every box checked on the equipment you want on your 4x4 (front Torsen, rear electrically activated locker, performance suspension, towhooks, full skidplating, and a fullsize spare), the Raptor is ready to romp wherever you want to go. Whether it is fast dirt, whooped-out trails, or deep washes, the Raptor doesn’t disappoint.

The SuperCab is pretty tight for front occupants with a rear-facing baby seat installed.

Thanks to more power and lightweight aluminum construction, the current truck feels lighter on its feet than its predecessor. With the advanced Terrain Management System and a unique AWD/4WD transfer case, the Raptor is generally a point-and-shoot affair. Leave on the electronic nannies and the Raptor will let you have fun, right up to the point where you may need saving from yourself. Toggle through the various terrain modes to “Baja,” and you are left to your own devices and rewarded with a raw and visceral driving experience. However, be warned that the 10-speed automatic transmission is ultra-responsive and will downshift with minimal throttle tip in, letting loose those quick-spooling turbos. It’s best to match Baja mode with the manual paddle shifting to better control your desert racing ambitions.

Overall the 3-inch-diameter Fox internal bypass shocks work astonishingly well, but we’ve found the rear, when unloaded, could use some additional rebound control. Also, in certain conditions such as riding the tops of the whoops under power, the truck can become somewhat skittish, an undesirable trait we’ve noticed on-road when traversing broken pavement in turns. We are also disappointed that Ford chose to remove the locker functionality in two-wheel drive, although we’ve heard there is good reasoning behind it, as the 450hp 3.5L EcoBoost apparently wasn’t conducive to keeping the rearend together in certain situations while in two-wheel drive with the rearend locked up.

This status screen represents everything we love about the Raptor.
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Floating on Snow in the GMC Sierra 2500 All Mountain Concept

Floating on Snow in the GMC Sierra 2500 All Mountain Concept

By Matthew Barnes

We recently had the opportunity to drive the GMC Sierra All Mountain concept truck in Park City, Utah. The GMC Sierra All Mountain, affectionately referred to by our guides as SAM, is based on the GMC Sierra 2500 platform with the gas 6.0-liter V-8. There are actually five SAMs in existence across North America right now, in All Terrain X or Denali trims. Some SAMs have the 6.0-liter gas V-8, while others have the more grunt-worthy and powerful turbo-diesel 6.6-liter Duramax.

The most noticeable upgrade to the SAMs are the Mattracks 150 series tracks in GMC Red. These tracks add about the same amount of ground clearance to the truck as a set of 40-inch tires would, which would also require a 6-inch suspension lift. The tracks are 16 inches wide and have a contact length of up to 59 inches in soft terrain. That provides a contact patch (where the tread is making contact with the ground) of more than 900 square inches in soft terrain, which allows it to float across the snow. To allow these tracks to fit under the truck, GMC added a 6-inch suspension lift to make sure nothing interfered with the truck body or undercarriage parts. Apart from that, the truck has special graphics, a GMC Sierra sports bar, 3-inch step bars, snowboard and ski racks from Thule, underbody lights and light bars from Rigid Industries, external dual pod speakers from Kicker and a soft tonneau cover from Advantage.

During our drive in the 6.0-liter version of a SAM in All Terrain X dress, the first thing we noticed was its massive size, both in height and width. The tracks are much wider than a set of tires would be, and with the lift and tall tracks, it's very tall as well. To climb in, we had to step up use the almost thigh-high step bar. Upon getting into the driver's seat, we were met by the same comfortable interior of a GMC Sierra 2500 All Terrain X.

After getting a short overview of the course, we had our turn to tear it up. We drove across snow more than 3 feet deep, and up and down some steep slopes. It was impressive to see how well the truck could handle the terrain. While I sank to my hips trying to walk on the snow, the SAM drove along without getting stuck, almost floating on the surface of the snow. Even with the tracks on, the truck provided excellent feedback. It was easy to tell exactly what the pickup was doing. The steering was a little bit heavier than a factory truck, and the turning radius was understandably larger, but it wasn't difficult to control by any means. The SAM was pleasant to drive and wasn't fatiguing at all. One thing we wish we could have tried was the Duramax diesel version. The gas-powered SAM pulled through everything we attempted, but it would have been interesting to see how the extra torque of the diesel performed in the same environment. Our guess is that it would have flung the snow even farther into the air.

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Nine of the most impressive off-road trucks and SUVs

Nine of the most impressive off-road trucks and SUVs

Robert Ferris | @RobertoFerris
 Mon, 23 April 2018 Updated 5 Hours Ago
The rise of off-road trucks   4 Hours Ago | 02:59

The U.S. car market may be entering into something of a golden age for off-road-capable vehicles, thanks mostly to an overall shift in consumer tastes away from cars and toward SUVs and trucks. Manufacturers in the U.S., Asia, and Europe are refreshing old designs and releasing new models.

Here is a list of some of the more noteworthy ones.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Guests drive a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on a simulated off-road course at the Chicago Auto Show on February 8, 2018 in Chicago.

The highest trim level available on the Jeep's most capable off-road vehicle, the Wrangler. Two locking differentials, choice of automatic or manual transmission, and a bunch of other features. Jeep redesigned the Wrangler for the first time in 10 years for the 2018 model year. The newest version aims to make the vehicle more "livable," said Jeep.

Starting price: $40,995 (Base model Wrangler starts at $30,995.)

Ford F-150 Raptor

Source: Ford Motor Company
The Ford F-150 Raptor was modeled in part off desert-racing trucks, and is best suited for "overland" off-roading as opposed to rock crawling.

The Ford F-150 Raptor is an F-150 truck essentially modded to include many of the attributes of desert racing trucks, with some added technology. Like many of the models on this list, the truck has a single locking rear differential. It has several drive modes, including a dedicated "off-road" setting. Ford Performance chief engineer Jamal Hameedi told CNBC the Raptor's suspension makes it the most comfortable F-150 to drive on roads as well.

Starting price: $50,115

GMC Sierra AT4

Robert Ferris | CNBC
The GMC Sierra AT4, the first of several models that will offer the off-road package. GMC is aiming the truck at customers who want a more premium pickup with off-road kit such as a locking rear differential and a 2-inch lift right off the shelf.

GMC unveiled the AT4 package prior to the New York Auto Show. GMC is positioning its off-road line as a more premium off-road vehicle, in keeping with the brand's overall identity. The truck has a locking rear differential and different drive modes, along with features typical of GMC trucks, such as the brand's unique lift-gate and a carbon-fiber bed.

Starting price: Not released

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

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2018 Ford F-150 can turn a ‘want’ into a ‘need’

2018 Ford F-150 can turn a ‘want’ into a ‘need’

  • By Robert Duffer Tribune News Service
  • Apr 23, 2018

The 2018 Ford F-150 has just the right balance of capability, comfort and convenience to make you feel that what you want is what you need. That is the success story of America’s best-selling vehicle for nearly four decades: to convince the market that want and need are the same.

I know I’m not alone in this not-need. “Daddy, I want a truck,” says my daughter, all the time. The guys in the neighborhood give trucks the thrice-over much more thoroughly than any luxury sports cars I’ve tested.

There are plenty of people who actually need a pickup for work, but Ford and other manufacturers know it’s the millions of undecideds who move the needle on these higher margin rigs. I’m a suburban-living office-commuting father with enough home projects and weekend warrior parenting duties to want the uncompromising capability of a pickup, even if it doesn’t fit in my garage. We fit five easily in the heated luxury of the Supercrew cab, and threw hockey bags and other gear in the 5.5-foot bed without the regard you’d have for other enclosed vehicles. If other rides feel like a Swiss army knife in their functionality, then the F-150 is the entire tool shed. And when the season’s worst snowstorm blanketed the area, this beast’s 4x4 capabilities came in handy.

Just like that, I have a need.

Turning a want into a need really depends on the specific iteration of truck in a seemingly endless list of styles and options. But let’s start with what’s changed across the seven trim levels in Ford’s plan to stay ahead of the redesigned 2019 Chevy Silverado and 2019 Ram 1500.

The midcycle refresh streamlines the grille into two bars instead of three, and those two bars stretch more broadly over the fascia, connecting the revised headlights in line with the superduty truck designs of Ford’s heaviest lifters. It looks more commanding, and in rearview mirrors, more bullying. The taillights have more LED flair, and the gate is stamped with the trim level, which was Platinum in our case.

The Platinum Supercrew is second only to the Limited luxury trim. It came with 20-inch wheels, which come in six different styles because selecting a truck is like mixing and matching from the world’s coolest Lego bin.

All the engine offerings are enhanced for 2018 thanks to two fuel injectors per cylinder. The free-breathing 5-liter V-8 engine in the tester gets 10 more horsepower to 395 hp and a boost in torque to 400 pound-feet, affirming its best-in-class 3,270 pounds of payload capacity, or the stuff it can haul in the bed and the cabin. That’s more than a hockey team and gear.

The V-8 rumble is present but insulated by the comfy cabin. Feed the throttle and it reacts immediately, sublimely. The 10-speed automatic transmission that replaces the six-speed has more work to do but it’s not as noticeable as the increase in fuel efficiency. We averaged 18 mpg combined in our week with the Platinum, which is outstanding for a 4X4 vehicle of this size.

The inside is where the Platinum trim really shines, and further blurs the demarcation between want and need. The tester came with the $1,295 twin-panel moonroof, which wasn’t as cool as the power rear window that comes standard. The heated rear seats also fold up for that Costco run in the rain or to let Fido have access to stuff a snout out either window.

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That College Kid Whose Jeep I Saved Has Three Days To Fix His Vehicle Or It Gets Towed

That College Kid Whose Jeep I Saved Has Three Days To Fix His Vehicle Or It Gets Towed

Photo: Matt Calhoun

Last summer, I drove eight hours to pick up a Jeep that a reader named Matt had offered me for free. But after fixing the boxy SUV, I didn’t have the heart to take it from the college student. A few months later, Matt blew up the engine, but planned to install a new one. Sadly, now he’s got even more problems.

The saga of Matt Calhoun—the college student who offered me a free 1992 Jeep Cherokee Briarwood, then kept the Jeep after I installed four flex plate bolts and didn’t have the heart to take his beloved vehicle, then blew up his motor 1,000 miles later—is coming to a critical point this weekend. His landlord has issued an ultimatum.

Unable to resist the lure of a free Jeep Cherokee, I drove to Columbus, Ohio this weekend to meet…

“Gentlemen,” the landlord’s email begins, “There is a disabled vehicle...that we believe to be yours. Please note that this violates city code and the vehicle must be removed as soon as possible.”

The message goes on, saying “If you are unable to remove the vehicle, it will be towed Monday, April 23rd.” That’s in three days.

I talked with Matt over the phone, and he admits that it’s a violation of his lease to have an unregistered or disabled car in his apartment’s parking lot. He also admits that he has had a number of months to install a new engine after blowing up his old one last year, though bitter cold weather and a drive to improve his grades has made wrenching tough.

“I kinda slacked off in the beginning of the semester,” he told me. “So the last couple weeks have just been hellacious ... getting myself back on track so I can graduate.

“I was just going to wait until graduation ... and really work on it afterwards. But now I’m kinda backed into a corner. I’ve gotta get it done.”

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