This year, a lot has changed in the automotive industry. Ford ended production of most of their passenger vehicles, Cadillac moved back to Detroit from New York, Nissan's Carlos Ghosn went prison, BMW killed off the 3-Series GT (thank goodness), and Elon Musk introduced one crazy electric pickup. And that's just what we can remember after too much bourbon last night. It's been an eventful year so far (we have a month left, so more can certainly happen). This Thanksgiving, we're taking the time to be thankful for a handful of truly good things in the automotive industry.
1. Manual Transmissions
We know, the manual transmission will be a thing of the past in the future. Maybe ten years, maybe 20. Who knows, but it will die an ignominious death thanks to people who hate having fun while driving. Ferrari and Lamborghini have gotten rid of them, but other brands are stalwart like Porsche, Mazda, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Genesis, and Volkswagen. But the number of models offering a stick is on the decline, and that's bad news. Still, we're thrilled some automakers still care about us.
2. All-Wheel Drive Sedans
The horde of crossovers must be put to a stop, and all-wheel drive sedans are part of that rebellion. Though there aren't many of them out there, the field is growing. The Camry and Avalon are getting AWD next year, the Nissan Altima has it, and then there are the premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Genesis. They blend great driving dynamics with four-seasons traction, and we love that combo. Thanks for keeping the sedan hope alive.
3. Hot Hatches
Hot hatches let us channel our inner hooligan. The field isn't as voluminous as it once was since the Focus RS, Focus ST, and the Fiesta ST are no longer available new. But there's always the venerable VW GTI, VW Golf R, and the excellent newcomer, the Hyundai Veloster N. Hell, we'd even take the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, despite its lower power output. The bottom line is, as long as we can get a stick shift hatchback that has great steering and handling, we're pretty happy. Let's just hope they never go away.
4. Heated Seats
Say what you will about the wonders of modern car tech. Bluetooth, 360-degree cameras, lane departure warning, rain-sensing wipers. We'd trade 'em all for heated seats especially on frigid winter days in Chicago when the season lasts five months of the year. We especially love the ones that have multiple heating levels. Combine them with remote start, and you have a recipe for morning happiness before you have to slog to the office.