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Talk to the Press

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  • lucien2lucien2 Posts: 2,984
    My first encounter of the stick kind was as a 17 year old student on a road trip to visit colleges. My high school friend had a 5 speed Bronco II, and he tried to show me the ropes; needless to say the Bronco did more bucking than tally-ho.

    Fast forward to my 2nd year of college. At this point I had a rudimentary understanding of the concept, but my stunningly inane Ford Tempo was an automatic and I was sorely out of practice. That's when I fell in love, and she drove a 5-speed. An Isuzu I-Mark Diesel 5-speed...
    If learning to drive 5-speed from her was a way to spend time with her, then I was ready to sign up for the PhD program. And learn I did, helped by the ridiculously easy clutch and glacial rpms on that old diesel. Well that was over 10 years ago, and I am happy to report we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last October. There are 2 5-speed Subarus in the family; we both autocross, occasionally attend track school together, and wouldn't consider a transmission we couldn't row for ourselves.

    p.s.- has anyone noticed how impatient Americans are with 5 speed drivers? On my way to work today I was stopped at a red light. The light turns green, I depress the clutch, slip into 1st and....HOOONNNK!!!!! Yeesh, maybe 1.5 seconds total elapsed time.
  • A love story and a learn to drive stick story! I knew there was a reason I learned:)
  • I'm from Russia. And Russia is 99.9% stick shift country. :-)
    My dad tried to teach me how to drive (I was fourteen at that time). He had a rugged (jeep wrangler style) small SUV with 4x4. We get to a corn fields area with nice, smooth road and nobody close by. He showed me how to start, shift to second, third, etc. When I figured I understood the trick and got behind the wheel my dad said 'Go! Don't forget not to do it too fast, but don't take you foot off the gas.'. And I didn't :-) The car jumped off the road and I was driving for a half mile through a corn field but I didn't take my foot off the gas ;-) Dad wasn't able to help me or stop the car - he was trying to remain inside :-) Finally I got to a mid-field tractor route and jerking stopped for a moment. That gave enough freedom for him to end my entertainment :-)
    Unfortunately, the driving lessons stopped for me at this (for different reasons). Not that I have missed driving too much - there's an excellent (although overcrowded sometimes) system of public transportation in Russia.
    When I got invited to US four years ago, there was no question 'to drive or not to drive'. Driving my own car was the only option I had. The best thing, my company knew about that :-) and they had a driving school set up for us, so I finally learned in a week how to drive (automatic, certainly).
    There's too much to tell about the learning and everything that happened after that ;-).
    Well, once we went with a friend of mine to check a sports car he was thinking about. And a salesperson generously offered me to try to drive Mitsu 3000GT VR-4 stick shift, saying 'It's very easy' (I warned her ;-). After I killed the car for 5 times in a mile my bud told me 'What you're doing?! You need to learn to drive a stick shift!'.
    I've rented a Geo Metro. I've never realized before that how much fun is 85 horses in a small car!
    Now I own Accord LX with manual, enjoy every moment in it and try to make my wife to learn how to drive stick shift :-)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I traded up from a ford escort to a rodeo to a Trooper, the trooper is pretty Luxurious if you ask me, but I doubt it would qualify :)

    -mike
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    I went from '00 Civic EX to '01 BMW 330i, so I guess that counts. Just felt like driving a fun car for once.
  • skibry1skibry1 Posts: 174
    I traded up from a 14yr old Ford to a Doubleought
    Mazda 626...But at only 16K I also don't think I
    fit there bill...But this is darn close to luxury
    for me...Zoom/Zoom!
  • We have a manual Ford Escort. While it was still under warranty (luckily) we had to have the entire transmission replaced! Kind of makes me wonder if Ford still knows how to make a manual transmission! I know some people think a manual trns. Escort is odd, but I think it's even stranger to see folks in fancy sports cars.....and the car's an automatic!!!

    I learned how to drive stick over 20 years ago while travelling the country with another woman in a 1965 VW. Something wasn't working well and I remember having to double clutch while downshifting while driving through the mountains. I also remember the condensor falling off the car while in the middle of the Badlands in the middle of the night. We just nailed it onto the fan plate (I think...) and drove on.
    I love manual transmissions, but now we're thinking of a minivan...wish they made one with a stick!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think Chrysler had a manual tranny with a turbo back in the mid 80s, but I can't think of one recently.

    -juice
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,604
    Well, is a Mazda a "mass-market brand"? I kinda think not. I traded in a Dodge truck on that one, though. And traded the Mazda in for a Volvo. But, if I had better foresight and got my 626 with the power leather seats, I'd still be driving it. I do LOVE the volvo, though. Power leather seats, trip computer, awesome stereo, and FAST (its a T5). Why did I do it? Well, I love power and I needed something that I actually could fit my legs in (hence the power seats). I didn't necessarily care if it was a luxury brand, just that I couldn't find any non-luxury brand cars that fit the bill.

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd say you qualify, sure.

    -juice
  • skibry1skibry1 Posts: 174
    During my search for a newer car I drove a T5
    and I agree qbrozen they are sweet. It had 100K
    on it and the bank wouldn't loan me bucks with
    that kinda mileage....but it's a volvo! Front
    wheel drive,5cyl and a clutch. It bummed me out
    about the bank so I kept lookin' and couldn't
    be happier with the 626.
  • toivotoivo Posts: 12
    I was taught to drive a manual when I was 28, as I had a need for a car and a friend of mine was willing to part with his loyal Honda Accord ('87). Learning the basics took perhaps four, five evenings of an hour or two of personalized training from a friend. After that I still stalled in stop lights every once in a while, but I was never nervous or afraid to get onto the roads. The old Honda's clutch was also infinitely more finicky than those of new cars. I now own a Protege 5 manual, and test drove a number of other modern manuals, and they're all very easy to shift. Especially with a sporty car I wouldn't even dream of an automatic, there's just so much more fun and control to be had in driving. If I was in the market for a minivan, truck, off-roader or similar car that isn't really driving-oriented, I'd probably opt for an automatic.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,604
    Next time, try Peoplefirst.com. Not to do a commercial for them or anything, but they gave me a blank check and didn't care what I was buying, as long as it was from a dealer. I found that much nicer than the banks' policy of having to know what you are getting and dictating what is valid and what isn't.

    The Mazda is still a nice car, though. I think it handles better than my Volvo, but I should be able to fix that with a few suspension upgrades. :)

    '19 Ioniq plug-in, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 50-car history and counting!

  • I was 16 when I was afforded the privilege to drive with a learners permit. My family had an automatic Ford sedan, and to this point, I had never even ridden in a manual transmission auto. Yet, I had a rudimentary understanding that this Park & Drive transmission had different gears, based on the gear snaps and changing motor whine. To this point, my only exposure to manually changing gears was on my 10 speed bicycle.

    With my learners permit, I could drive the family sedan, but they wanted me to take formal driving lessons to properly learn the rules of the road while tempering the expected astronomical insurance costs (I lived in Boston, MA at the time). My choice in the matter was "auto" or "manual" at the drive school. Wanting to really learn how to drive, and get a better appreciation of the mechanical workings of the vehicle I'm expecting to take me on trips, I opted for the manual option. From the first nervous moment when I had to engage the clutch to ease the car out of a parallel parking spot to the full license road test with the Registry of Motor Vehicles inspector sitting next to me, I loved driving the schools 5 speed Chevy Nova around the streets of Boston! To this day, I look back with amusement at the quirks of that car & how it caused me to bungle my driving test.

    The shifter always had trouble getting into the reverse gate. Many times, you would think it was properly shifted into reverse, when actually you were still in neutral. Of course, when does this strike me but on my driving test. Being nervous for the test only added to the equation for disaster. The test went smoothly until the very end, when the inspector asked me to pull into a dead end residential street and perform a 3-point turn. This was on a relatively narrow, crowned road (flat road flared down towards the gutters for drainage). I've just performed point 1 of the maneuver, having driven sharply towards the opposite curb, and am to reverse into point 2 of this 3 pointed set. Knowing the transmission sticks a little going into reverse, I even give it an additional tap as added insurance, all the while ensuring I am signalling and observing traffic appropriately. I ease up on the clutch and add a bit of gas, but my inner ear & eyes cause great confusion in my mind which fully expected a rearward acceleration. This resulted in my gunning the engine to keep from rolling onto the curb, serving only to stall the engine while the front tires solidly stop on the curb stone. With a nervously mumbled explanation of how the transmission sticks a bit, I proceed to restart the car (with the parking brake properly set), and complete my maneuver. The inspector is noticeably silent except for directional commands issued at regular intervals. The only perceptible reaction was a small scribble onto his clipboard with the problematic 3 point turn. Arriving to the front of the registry, I fully expected a "sorry, you have failed the road test..." followed by the inevitable humiliation to come from family and friends. Somehow the Gods were smiling down on my poor soul that day, and the instructor passed me with a suggestion to be less nervous about events like these.
  • Nice story.

    ...I had a rudimentary understanding that this Park & Drive transmission had different gears...

    This line in your introduction made me think the story was going to go a different way... because of a story I have. Fortunately, my wife doesn't read this group, so I can get away with relating it here:

    Several years ago, my wife had a Ford Tempo with an automatic transmission. She was working in Newark, NJ, and her commute was roughly a 20+ mile shot down the I-80 and I-280 Interstates.

    I come home one day and she wants me to go out RIGHT NOW and look at her car. She had a problem on the way home.

    Okay. I grab the keys and ask her what the problem was. She doesn't know.

    Okay, what were its symptoms?

    The car was making a whining sound.

    Me: Whining?

    Her: "Yup."

    What kind of 'whining'?

    "A whiny whining sound. It was LOUD."

    (argh). Okay, let's both go for a test drive. Tell me when you hear this 'whine' sound.

    So I start the car up, pull out the driveway, go ten feet to the street corner, hang a left and start to head up the development's one side street.

    I'm doing maybe 25mph and the car hangs in first gear instead of upshifting to 2nd.

    "THERE'S THE SOUND!"

    Huh? What? (I wasn't expecting anything this early - we weren't even a half block from home)

    "THAT'S the sound!"

    What sound? The car's not shifting out of first. That's just the RPM's increasing.

    "THAT IS the sound"

    Okay, okay...I believe you.

    I slow the car down. Then it hits me:

    Are you telling me that you drove all the way home in first gear?

    "Well, I guess so".

    On the INTERSTATE? How fast were you going?

    "Not that fast - maybe 50mph or so. It was really loud".

    50mph in first gear...Loud? Indeed. I mumbled something about she was lucky that she didn't blow the engine, as she was probably red-lining it for a half hour.

    The good news is that ever since that day, she has known a bit more about transmissions. And oil changes, changing tires and a few other car things as well... even how to survive driving one of my cars with a stick :-).

    -hh
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Who knew a clutch could survive that! Thanks all for your great stories. Keep 'em coming!
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Clutch? Read the post again.

    "Several years ago, my wife had a Ford Tempo with an automatic transmission." (emphasis mine.)

    It's still pretty amazing the transmission and engine held out, though.
  • jpelderjpelder Posts: 235
    Yes, it is amazing, especially for a Tempo!
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Thanks for clearing up my error! (Could a clutch have survived if it had been a manual?)
  • (Could a clutch have survived if it had been a manual?)


    Yes, if it had been a manual, the clutch would not have been the failure point, because there wasn't any slippage, and the system wasn't actively carrying that much power or torque.

    I'm not that familiar with what the Tempo engine's weak points were (other than its failure to keep its timing properly set), but my guess is that the failure point would probably have been a failed piston connector rod, or a valve stem.

    -hh
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    I truly believe I could ask any question at Edmunds.com Town Hall and someone would answer it expertly!
    Keep it up...
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Hi all,
    A reporter with a major wire service is looking for Baby Boomers (born in 1946-1964) who would describe themselves as new and devoted fans to NASCAR. Being a new fan -- i.e., within the past several years to the present -- is critical for the story; she is not looking for those who have been lifelong fans. If you have a story to share, please post it here or send it to me at [email protected] As always, please remember it is helpful for you to include your e-mail, phone number and city/state of residence when you respond. Deadline for submission to this one is February 27. Thanks as always for your input!
    Very best,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    I was always a drag racer and as such, I stayed away from NASCAR.
    Because, real racers drive "Straight" to the finish line, while all the rest drive in circles looking for it. LOL!
    Anyway, about 5 years back, our local parts store was able to get Jeff Gordon's car and a couple folks from the team to come down. Knowing the parts store owner, my 2 boys and I got to go down and spend some time and got some Jeff Gordon stuff. Ever since then, we have been fans.
    My boys like to keep track and we watched the Daytona 500 and the house exploded when Gordon went into the grass with a few laps to go.
    We have watched alot of NASCAR since then. LOL!
    I think the one thing that they will never forget is when Dale Earnhardt hit the wall. He was one that we liked.
    It is funny how kids will get you involved in things.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Anyone can go fast in the straightline, just get lots of engine! Anyone can make all left turns! Now road-race or rallying, there is skill, they actually make left and RIGHT turns! :)

    -mike
  • megs50megs50 Posts: 10
    I would gladly talk to the press,especially when it is a women buying or selling a vehicle, they always talk to us like we are stupid, and try to pull stuff over on us.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    They never do that to men... :-P
    There are entire forums dealing with your complaint.
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Thanks for your response. You will hear back directly from the journalist if she has additional questions. Stay in touch!
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Thanks much for offering to speak with journalists about your automotive experiences as a woman. Despite lancerfixer's valid point, there are often journalists who focus specifically on women in the marketplace. Please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] with your contact info and anything else you care to share so I can get in touch with you specifically when the right opportunities arise.
    Same goes for anyone else who wants to participate.
    Thanks as always!
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    You should have my number and all.
    I always stay in touch, lots of good folks here. LOL!
  • Of course I've been following/participating in the Toyota sludge debacle.

    I've got to wonder, why the "kid gloves"?
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    February 22, 2002

    Drivers Look to Stick Shifts
    As They Lose Control of Cars

    By JONATHAN WELSH and DANIEL COSTELLO
    Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    Glenn Konze's new car automatically keeps him from skidding, turns up the music when he goes faster and even tells him whether to turn left or right. And the gears? He'll shift those himself, thanks.

    "There are a lot of things I can't control -- but a manual transmission, I can," says Mr. Konze, a Dallas computer programmer who learned to drive a stick last year. His biggest frustration: "First gear."

    That grinding noise you hear? It's the sound of Americans switching back to stick shifts. At a time when computerized cars seem to be making all the decisions, more drivers are seeking out an unlikely sphere of influence: the gearshift. After more than a decade of decline, the percentage of domestic cars sold with manual transmissions rose 10% last year, prompting a slew of makers from Lexus to Infiniti to offer the forgotten third pedals in more models for wannabe hot-rodders and nostalgic boomers. Even high-end Cadillacs, which haven't had sticks since the 1950s, just got them.

    And don't worry if a clutch intimidates you. Now showing at a dealership near you: a new breed of cars with steering-wheel buttons that "shift" gears for the uninitiated.

    Granted, this uptick may be a byproduct of last fall's car-buying craze brought on by 0% financing; manual transmissions, which usually cost less than automatics, should do well in hard times. But analysts say some older buyers are clearly yearning for their "American Graffiti" years, while younger ones have picked up the clutch bug from race-car video games. Ironically enough, the low-tech standard transmission is also emerging as a symbol of driving chic: After all, for years, primarily cool European sports cars had them. "It's a sort of glamorous clutch envy," says Mark Patrick, curator of the National Automotive History Collection in Detroit.

    But no sooner are people climbing behind the wheel than they're remembering why they abandoned these things in the first place. In case you've forgotten, a clutch can be tough to master -- with plenty of unexpected jerking, grating and stalling. Safety First Driving School in South Brunswick, N.J., started offering lessons on stick two years ago, and says first-timers generally need three sessions. How tough is it? Most drivers have to wait until lesson No. 2 to venture beyond the parking lot.

    Stalling and Lurching

    But don't even mention parking to Alix Sapot. When the Los Angeles-based actress was learning to parallel-park her new Ford Explorer last year, she repeatedly popped the clutch and lurched into cars parked ahead and behind. "It's going to cost me a fortune to fix all of the dents," she says. Keith Duross, too, thought it would be a snap, so he bought a new Hyundai with a manual transmission and spent the next four weeks stalling on hills and sniffing burnt clutch. "I'd get to work and I'd be sweating so much my co-workers would say, 'Hey, do you need a Xanax?'" says the Los Angeles advertising associate. "But I just had to learn."


    All of this is a big change from just a few years ago, when it looked like the clutch-and-stick would be relegated to the junk heap of 20th-century history. Back in 1950, half the cars sold had manual transmissions, but by the year 2000, despite a few up years, the figure had plummeted to 8.7%, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank. As demand shrank, entire model lines by companies from Ford to Volvo stopped coming with sticks.

    But news of the stick's demise was greatly exaggerated: In a subtle but sure rebound, the share of domestic cars with clutches rose to 9.6% last year. Subaru's sales of manuals, meanwhile, jumped by more than one-third in 2001. While overall sales -- including imports -- haven't turned the corner yet, economic forecaster DRI-WEFA expects manuals to go from 9.3% of all passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. this year to 9.7% in 2003. (Its forecast for 2005: 12% will have sticks.)

    And already, auto makers are putting sticks in more kinds of cars, about 130 models in all by next year. Many are entry-level hot rods for twentysomethings -- low-riding, pumped up models like the Pontiac Vibe, Ford Focus and Honda Civic Si. And for the boomer who's bored with cruising in comfort, Lexus just started offering sticks in its IS 300 sedan, and Acura is putting them in its fast CL coupes after two years of saying it wouldn't. Says Jay Spenchian, brand manager for the Cadillac CTS: "Having a manual was a no-brainer."

    Those who drive sticks aren't shy about pointing out the advantages. Sure, they're usually cheaper to buy, get better mileage and cost less to fix when they break (typical bill for repairing a blown clutch: about $500). But really, it's all about bragging rights that come with starting on a hill without rolling backwards, or popping the clutch on the fly to start a rig with a dead battery. "Automatics are for girls," says Kim Lampe, a 41-year-old furniture restorer from Pompton Plains, N.J., who drove them for years before learning to "stir" the gears. "You're considered more accomplished if you can drive a stick."

    Nonsense, says Chris Daley. He had his first shifting experience on a friend's car a few years ago -- and still hasn't recovered. "I felt like an idiot sitting at green lights trying to restart the car, and then hopping away like the Easter Bunny," says the Web-development company CEO from Mountain View, Calif., who nonetheless drives one now and then. "I still hate driving a stick in traffic."

    Push the Button

    So imagine how the people behind him feel. Patrick Sears says there's nothing worse than being stuck in back of someone who hasn't mastered their manual -- people who take forever to move at a light, stall in traffic, or worse, drive with a cellphone in their left hand. "If they have one hand on the stick and the other on the phone," says the engineer from Holyoke, Mass., "how are they holding onto the wheel?"
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Didn't mean to avoid your question...just wanted everyone to see the WSJ article asap, since so many were quoted.
    Who's wearing kid gloves?
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    February 15, 2002

    Driver-Seat Dialing Can Be Avoided,
    So Start Looking for a Phone Cradle

    By JONATHAN WELSH
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    There's mounting evidence that driving with a cellphone can be hazardous to your health. But as more people like Dan Young have discovered, it can also be hard on the wallet: Recently, the whole-foods distributor was pulled over in Hilltown, Pa., for driving with a cellphone in his hand. "I had never heard of such a thing," says Mr. Young. "I didn't see any signs."

    To many motorists' surprise, holding a phone while driving is illegal in many spots across the country, from the state of New York to places like Nutley, N.J., and Sandy, Utah. Pennsylvania is a patchwork of hands-off communities such as Conshohocken, York and Lebanon. The maximum fine in Santa Fe, N.M.: $350.

    What's a driver to do? The safest thing, studies say, may be to shut off the phone until the car's parked. For those who can't do that, the electronics industry has its own fix -- the hands-free phone cradle, a microphone-and-speaker combo that lets you talk while keeping both hands (presumably) on the wheel. Sales of such phone accessories are up 77% through November 2001, year-over-year, says market-researcher NPDTechworld.

    To see how they work, we hit catalogs and the Web and ordered cradles from $30 to $130. We picked ones that don't require clip-on microphones, ear buds or other entangling attachments, and that plug into the cigarette lighter. The first thing we discovered: Your hands may be free, but there are other distractions, from poor sound quality to a certain lack of grace.

    "Are you in a mineshaft?" one friend asked when we talked using the bulky $130 Sharper Image set. The cradle also houses a speaker and is about the size of a large hand, so it tends to block radio knobs and other controls. It also boasts an array of buttons -- one of which lets you record and replay up to 20 seconds of a call. When was the last time you needed to do that? (Factors like poor cell connections or car noise may compromise sound quality, Sharper Image says.)

    At $80, Motorola's Original Portable Hands-Free Kit, ordered from 800.com Electronics, was the second-priciest model. Designed specifically for the StarTac phone we used in all our tests, it looked sturdy. But there were too many components -- a speaker that clips to the dash and a microphone that hangs from a cord -- and too much wire flopping around. Our phone kept flopping around, too, because the kit didn't come with a cradle. Worse, the acoustics were wanting: On the other end of the line, our worried mother said we sounded like we were "underwater."

    Conversations in Stereo

    Our cheapest models -- the FM Hands-Free Kit from Cellular Accessory.com and the Wireless Co-pilot from S.M. Distributors -- let you play conversations through the car's stereo speakers. We found the sound fuzzy and hollow -- plus, we had to tune the radio to a certain frequency to take a call. (Even when we set the station on a preset button, we had to adjust the stereo before talking.) Still, the model from S.M. Distributors did the job -- and at $30, it's our Best Value.

    Our favorite unit, the $60 Navigator from auto-supply catalog Griot's Garage, was small and simple. Its compact cradle and adjustable mounting arm helped keep it from interfering with knobs and shift levers. Most importantly, it was the only unit whose sound quality didn't have our callers asking if we were phoning from a car, or a cave. It comes with a clip-on microphone and a built-in one -- people on the other end of the line said the sound was clear using either one, so we ditched the annoying clip-on.

    So now we're more likely to be legal. But will we be safer? Although manufacturers say their devices meet legal requirements, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and American Automobile Association say studies so far indicate the real concern isn't busy hands, but a diverted mind: Holding a conversation, and particularly answering and dialing, can cause dangerous distraction.

    That's why Jolie Morris steers clear of the phone altogether. The mother from Clear, Alaska, says she cruised through a Fairbanks intersection recently while talking on the phone, to the horror of her kids, ages seven and five. "Now when we're in the car," she says, "I just turn the phone off and stick it in my purse."

    Griot's Garage
    Navigator, $59.95
    800-345-5789
    www.griotsgarage.com

    Quality: Best Overall. Simple, compact design, with two microphones. The Navigator also had the best sound quality.

    Shipping Cost/Time: We paid $18.95 for three-day air shipping. Order came in three days.

    Return Policy: Return anytime for refund. Customer pays shipping.

    Phone/Web Experience: Web site was easy to navigate.

    Comments: The only kit we tested that didn't give away that we were calling from a car. Call recipients had no trouble hearing us.

    S.M. Distributors
    Wireless Co-pilot, $29.95
    800-826-8513
    www.smdistributor.com

    Quality: Best Value. Compact, easy to use. Spring-loaded cradle adjusts to different phones. The setup wasn't pretty, but it held our StarTac phone firmly.

    Shipping Cost/Time: UPS ground shipping, $8.95, six to 12 business days. Order arrived on time.

    Return Policy: Return within 30 days for refund or exchange.

    Phone/Web Experience: Website was busy, with products from beauty aids to Ginsu knives, but relatively easy to navigate.

    Comments: Low price made this unit stand out. Calls are heard on car's audio system. Sound quality was good enough, but not great.

    Sharper Image
    Car Cellphone System,$129.95
    800-344-4444
    www.sharperimage.com

    Quality: Though nicely put together, the large, heavy unit seemed too clunky for use in a confined front seat.

    Shipping Cost/Time: Standard delivery, three to seven business days, $15.95. Order arrived on time.

    Return Policy: Return within 60 days for exchange or refund.

    Phone/Web Experience: Finding product on Web site was easy, but ordering online seemed to take more time than ordering by phone.

    Comments: Though loaded with features like call recording, we found this unit inconvenient and distracting to use.

    800.com Electronics
    Motorola Original Portable
    Hands-Free Kit, $79.95
    800-353-2876
    www.800.com

    Quality: It looked like the most solid of the bunch, but performance was nothing special. Lack of a cradle left us plopping our phone in the cup holder.

    Shipping Cost/Time: $18.95 for overnight delivery. Package arrived on time.

    Return Policy: Return within 30 days.

    Phone/Web Experience: Relatively rapid online search and ordering process.

    Comments: A 20% discount was in effect when we ordered, knocking $15.99 off our bill.

    CellularAccessory.com
    FM Hands-Free Kit, $39.95
    800-228-9727
    www.cellularaccessory.com

    Quality: We didn't want to glue the cradle to the dash, as instructed. So we used a
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Did you recently purchase or lease your first full-size pick-up truck? If so, The Wall Street Journal is curious about your experience with it, especially if you traded in a car for the truck. Please post here at Talk to the Press or send your response directly to me at [email protected] Please include the model truck you drive, your city and state of residence, and your e-mail address.
    Thanks as always,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Hi all,
    A reporter with a major wire service is looking for Baby Boomers (born in 1946-1964) who would describe themselves as new and devoted fans to NASCAR. Being a new fan -- i.e., within the past several years to the present -- is critical for the story; she is not looking for those who have been lifelong fans. If you have a story to share, please post it here or send it to me at [email protected] As always, please remember it is helpful for you to include your e-mail, phone number and city/state of residence when you respond. Deadline for submission to this one is February 27. Thanks as always for your input!
    Very best,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Is anyone out there participating either in a formal or informal "car-sharing" deal? I'm looking for folks (other than spouses) who co-own luxury vehicles. If you fit the bill, or know someone who does, I'm hoping you'll contact me by Wednesday, March 6 with your contact information, the type of vehicle you share, and your city and state of residence. Thanks much!
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
    [email protected]
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Hi friends,
    For a feature for a major women's magazine, a journalist is looking to talk with women who use the Web to amuse themselves. Perhaps your participation in Edmunds.com Town Hall qualifies? If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact Paula Spencer at [email protected] by March 11.
    Stay in touch!
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • pdalpsherpdalpsher Posts: 136
    LOL
    I do web work for research for my work but do things for amusement as well on my own time. rather dull stuff tho, email, edmunds.

    I have met some friends via the web...not brave enough to try matchmaking though.

    Right now I'm researching my summer vacation...taking my new car on the road following the route of Lewis and Clark (this is approximately of course as they traveled by canoe most the their trip).
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Sorry to hear we fit in the "dull" category for you, pdalpsher! If you want a break from practical everyday automotive info, maybe you should check out the exciting coverage of the Ferrari 550 Maranello at http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/longterm/articles/49771/article.html, the Maserati Spyder at http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/roadtests/firstdrive/49770/article.html and the video of our comparison test between the Corvette, Viper and Mustang Cobra at http://www.edmunds.com/video/comparison.html#americanexotics!
  • pdalpsherpdalpsher Posts: 136
    didn't mean edmunds was dull in fact I use it as a great break several times during my day at work. It is my internet use that is well, not exciting but from my perspective that is a good thing. And routine or predictable would have been a better description. I'm not out chatting up a storm all night although I have done that in the past. I'm over in the I don't like SUVs forum and holding my own...some days that's more than enough excitement!

    delete that post if you want...I really didn't mean to say that about Edmunds but that's how I wrote it. Really put my foot in my mouth.

    One of the most exciting things I've done with the Internet involved Edmunds. I had stopped at a Toyota dealer to see the new Camry, I had heard an ad by a particular dealer that they really had one. When I arrived...I discovered the Highlander instead. Drove it, loved it. Dealer was a jerk and wouldn't even discuss going down from sticker. I went home. Next day I checked out the Highlander like I was on fire but decided I'd probably have to wait a bit because I'd probably have to special order one.

    That same week I took my trusty '90 Camry (223k miles) in for annual inspection. I got caught by a salesman taking a peek at the Highlanders on my way to the parking lot where the Camry was. They had some in stock that didn't come with every concievable option. Caught them at the right time of the month I guess and drove a Highlander home that evening. When I pulled Edmunds' numbers out of my briefcase, there was no nonsense and the deal went very smoothly. If I hadn't done the research I know I would have paid too much. I laugh at the Camry commericals...you want one. I know that feeling LOL I still love the Highlander as much as the day I got it. It is a great car...thanks for the suggestions but I'm a bit past the sports car stage. I learned to drive on a muscle car ('67 Chevelle 396) when it was new so you can figure my vintage without too much trouble. I do miss the standard transmission I had in the Camry but not enough to trade the Highlander for one.

    From discovery of the HL to owning one in less than 5 days...I'm going to have a blast on vacation this year. I still love to drive after all these years
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Sounds like you do fit the journalist's criterial after all:
    For a feature for a major women's magazine, a journalist is looking to talk with women who use the Web to amuse themselves. Perhaps your participation in Edmunds.com Town Hall qualifies? If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact Paula Spencer at [email protected] by March 11.
    Go for it, if you are so inclined!
    Meanwhile, enjoy your Highlander...although it doesn't sound like I need to encourage that much...
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    A journalist with a major magazine is looking for consumers who recently purchased 3-5 year old vehicles. If you are interested in participating, please respond by Wednesday, March 6 by posting here and/or writing to me at [email protected] It is always helpful if you provide your phone number, type of vehicle purchased, and city/state of residence.
    Thanks much!
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    If you are a female pick-up truck driver, you are part of a growing segment, and a major daily newspaper would like to speak with you.
    If you are eligible and interested in participating, please post here and/or write to me at [email protected] no later than 3/19/02. It is always helpful if you provide your phone number, vehicle model, and city/state of residence.
    Thanks much!
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Hi all,
    A major midwestern newspaper is interested in speaking with folks who have anecdotes and opinions on rear wheel drive vs. front wheel drive in winter driving conditions.
    We're also looking for people who recently switched one way or the other and what they like/dislike about what they're driving now.
    If you are interested in participating, please provide your city/state of residence and your daytime phone number to [email protected] no later than March 20, 2002.
    Thanks as always,
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What if I have all three? My wife has FWD, and I own both AWD and RWD. I previously owned FWD myself, so I guess I switched to AWD and RWD. You think I qualify?

    -juice
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    I've just switched, but here in the Northeast, we haven't had snow.

    -hh
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    '74 Old 98 RWD
    '83 Ramcharger RWD
    '91 Escort FWD
    '86 Lebaron GTS FWD
    '88 Subaru XT6 AWD
    '00 Trooper LS RWD/AWD

    -mike
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Thanks for the responses. I'll leave it to the journalist to determine who qualifies...since each of you have provided your e-mail addresses to me one way or another, you may very well hear from the journalist directly.
    Keep those thoughts coming!
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    Here's what I'm looking for:
    -people that have successfully haggled for a lower price when buying a certified used car
    -people that have met resistance when asking the cert. used car dealership if they can take the car to their own mechanic
    -and people that have been persuaded NOT to buy the car they wanted because of comments on a chat board like edmunds' town hall.
    My number is 212-830-9275 and my email is [email protected] Please respond by March 15. Thanks.

    As always, you can also contact Jeannine Fallon,
    PR Director for Edmunds.com, if you have questions about this process or anything else relating to Edmunds.com.
  • prlady1prlady1 Posts: 573
    A newswire reporter is looking for anyone who has recently purchased a vehicle and received interest-free financing or some other special deal. If you are eligible and interested in participating, please post here or send your contact info to [email protected] by Wednesday, March 13.
    Thanks!
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