10 Cars to Buy to Learn the Art of the Manual Transmission

2013 Honda Fit

Way back in 2010, we noticed the auto world’s inconvenient truth: Manual transmissions are dying out. Any red-blooded gearhead will agree that learning to drive a manual-transmission car is a rite of passage, an art form every true CarGuru has to learn. The trouble is, how do you learn to drive a manual if you don’t own one? Many of us learned in our parents’ cars, where the sound of grinding gears didn’t incite mechanic-shop nightmares. Others had friends who cared about sharing the secrets of the stick shift more than preserving the mechanical well-being of their own transmissions.

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The 7 Most Dangerous Vehicles on the Road

2012 Ram Pickup 1500 Laramie Limited

Mention the most dangerous vehicles on the road today, and the Ram 1500 pickup truck isn’t likely to make many people’s list. Dangerous to others, perhaps, but certainly not the most dangerous vehicle to ride in.

The smart fortwo? That would make sense.

But, once again, we have proof that we live in a world that doesn’t make much sense. Because, according to the website 24/7 Wall St, which compiled information from Consumer Reports ratings, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash safety results, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety vehicle scores and J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, the most dangerous vehicle on the road today is indeed the Ram pickup truck. And the smart’s not even on the list.

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If Suzuki Died in America, Would Anyone Notice?

Suzuki Kizashi

When Hummer left this world, there was much applause.

During Pontiac’s slow death, there was much reminiscing and sadness.

During Saab’s (continuing) downfall, there was much protest.

If Suzuki goes down, will there be much… of anything at all?

No doubt about it, Suzuki makes a fine automobile. They are dependable, affordable, and lately, even stylish and sporty. Unfortunately, most of the vehicles it offers in the U.S. are outdated and blown away by the competition. The Kizashi is the lone star right now, a fine entry in the midsize sedan market. The SX4 and Grand Vitara, though, are in desperate need of a refresh.

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The Most Fun Cars to Drive Under $30K

2011 MINI Cooper

There are cars that are “nice to drive,” and there are cars that are “fun to drive.”

Plenty of options exist for the people who prefer a smooth ride, luxurious cabin, numb steering and no real connection between driver and pavement. I won’t name names here, but feel free to make assumptions.

On the other hand, some cars simply beg to be driven hard, because doing so provides an overload of sensory excitement and pure joy. Yes, many of those cost upward of $100,000, but for mere plebeians like me, driving joy can be had for $30K and under.

Keep reading for seven examples of inexpensive greatness.

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The 10 Best Vehicles for Snow and Ice

Toyota_tacoma

I’ve driven a lot of cars in the snow and am surprised at how much difference I’ve seen even in vehicles that otherwise are comparable to each other.

As winter begins to set in across the country, we figure it’s a good time to create a list of the best cars, trucks and SUVs for plowing through deep snow and easing over slippery ice. Here are my top ten, but feel free to drop a comment and let us know what you drive in the snow and how it does.

Toyota 4Runner/ Tacoma

Throw any weather situation at either of these Toyotas and you’ll make it through just fine.

Audi A6 Quattro

I had a boss once who loved his A6 so much he’d take me out on snowy mornings and speed through the twisties, trying to make his car come unstuck. He succeeded only once, and broke an axle for the effort.

Honda CR-V

I chose this over the Pilot because it’s lighter. The Pilot gets a little top-heavy, which makes going down icy hills a heart-racing experience, while the smaller CR-V crawls easily to the bottom.

Subaru Forester

A low center of gravity and all-wheel drive combine to make the Forester a winner in the snow and cold.

Jeep Wrangler

If you’ve got a hard top and doors on your Wrangler, nothing should stop you from reaching the top of the mountain.

Volvo XC90

Lots of ground clearance, lots of weight, but a low center of gravity make the AWD version of the XC90 a great winter car.

Suzuki SX4

Being a 2,500-pound small car, this thing stays planted. And with the ability to choose AWD or lock it into 4WD, the SX4 is a great commuter car for snowy highways. Just don’t take it on the trails.

Lexus RX

As long as you’re not running low-profile 18-inch summer tires, this little Lexus will serve you well through any winter storm.

Porsche Cayenne

This is for those who want a little extra flashiness in the their snowy commutes, plus the added benefit of the residual heating function, which will keep the Cayenne heated for up to 20 minutes after shutting the engine off.

BMW 328i xDrive

With dynamic stability control and intelligent all-wheel drive, what else do you need in a winter car? Oh… headlamp washers? Okay, you get those, too.

What do you drive in the snow?

-tgriffith

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