The online car shopping vortex sucked me in once again. For months I’d been on the hunt, motivated by whimsy as much as need. Instinctually I punched in my search parameters. Image? Has. Color? Green. Transmission? Manual. Price? Less than the options on the Pacifica reviewed here.
By that point I was used to miscategorized ads, but this one said “five-speed manual” right up top. The photos confirmed it—a shifter wrapped in a rubber accordion boot stood proud on the floor. Calls were made, dollars were extracted, papers were signed. Next thing I knew, I was cruising home in my 1994 Dodge Caravan.
This is no hoity-toity Grand Caravan, mind you—rather, it is shockingly basic. Five seats and a single sliding door is about all there is to it. It lacks a tape deck, power windows, or central locking. A tachometer is another peculiar omission since the 2.5-liter I-4 sends its 100-odd horsepower to the front wheels via that five-speed manual gearbox.
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Pay-no-mind appliances? That's modern cars for you.
The Big Picture
ASTON MARTIN VICTOR
NOT JUST A FIRST DRIVE. THE ONLY DRIVE.
You'd best be geeked about our electric performance future
Change is the only constant in life. So said Greek philosopher Heraclitus some 2,500 years ago. Boy, was he right. Especially, it seems, vis-à-vis the car industry these days.
Trend 9.21 2022 Honda Civic Sedan
An unnecessary upgrade we’ll happily take
THE MOST EXCITING NEW CARS, TRUCKS, AND SUVS COMING IN 2021 OR LATER, ALL IN ONE PLACE
Constructing green gasoline from scratch using renewable methane
Shortly after our June “Green Issue” dropped, an enthusiast reader wrote to us to say we missed a key alternative fuel technology from Houston-based Nacero: green gasoline constructed from renewable natural gas using renewable energy.
CAN YOU REALLY DO THAT?
MOTOR MYTHBUSTERS TACKLES AUTOMOTIVE TALES YOU MAY HAVE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF
2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Don’t call it Carroll
2022 Volkswagen GTI
They still do make ’em like they used to
2021 Acura TLX Type S
The coveted badge is back!
CAME THROUGH DRIPPIN
Most of the world relies on flood irrigation to water crops. A more efficient alternative hasn’t been widely adopted because it’s so expensive. One Israeli soil physicist has the answer: a tiny plastic widget
Mexico's Two-Track Recovery
A U.S.-powered rebound along the northern border has left much of the country behind
HOLD STILL, SKYSCRAPERS
New York’s tallest, most opulent residences can also be headaches to live in. Is that a problem for everyone else, or an opportunity?
THE GOBLIN IN THE BATTERY
To deal with climate change and power the cars of tomorrow, we’ll need to solve the cobalt problem
AI THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
Timnit Gebru, Google’s former co-head of ethical AI research, on how to rethink and reform her field
EASE OF SHOES
Nike’s Go FlyEase sneakers mark a big step for hands-free, accessible footwear. The underlying technology has more places to go
More Debt Ceiling Drama
The national pastime is back, but this time Democrats can finally break the cycle
NARROWING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
With help from Washington, the 120 million Americans without high-speed internet access have their best shot in a generation at getting it—so long as they’re flexible on how
Too Big. May Still Fail
As developer Evergrande faces a debt crunch, China tries to depend less on real estate
Winning a Wager on U.S. Sports Betting
Fantasy football app FanDuel converts players into gamblers