Every once in a while, I am compelled to drive through the lot of a car dealer. This ’04 Chevrolet 2500 was calling my name for some weird reason.
Yes, it’s forest service green – an odd but not unpleasant color. While I don’t know the mileage,
the bed is in great shape; hauling air is easy on a pickup. If I had to guess, somebody at the dealer keeps an eye on Uncle Sam’s General Services Administration auctions, something I have done many times. The Mark Twain National Forest has its headquarters about sixty miles south of me so I’m wondering if this pickup has spent the first part of its life down there.
Looking inside this pickup yielded an unexpected surprise. You don’t see that long, narrow stick on too many Chevrolet’s of this vintage, do you? They aren’t going to become any more common either; there is no reference on the Ford, Chevrolet, Ram, Nissan, or Toyota websites for any manual transmission availability in half-ton pickups. The Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, the only compact pickups left on the market in the United States, do still offer a manual transmission. Several years ago during my fleet gig, I was going to purchase three F-450 trucks. While specifying options, I learned even these were only available with an automatic.
Various towing guides for 2004 Chevrolet’s reflected there being no difference in towing capacity for manual vs. automatic equipped pickups with the 6.0 liter gasoline engine. I distinctly remember seeing something a few years ago where Ford had a higher towing capacity with an automatic than with a manual in some weight ratings.
While this reminds me of the Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy, my question is aimed a slightly different direction – and, it’s a two-part question.
All things being equal, do you prefer an automatic or manual transmission in a pickup or any other vehicle? And, is the proliferation of automatic equipped cars and pickups an advantage or disadvantage?