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TUESDAY, DEC. 4, 2012


We did our usual Sunday-at-the-car lot exploration of the new car we’re interested in (to avoid the salesmen hassle) - the Hyundai Sonata - and there were no manual transmissions on the lot. I know they’re not as popular as automatics, but we’re wondering if manufacturing delays are to blame, because we called Monday to ask, and the receptionist said simply “there aren’t any.”


The “there aren’t any” response was broader than you imagined. Hyundai discontinued manual transmissions on the Sonata for 2013. If you’re wedded to the manual transmission, the dealer can probably find a 2012 model with manual - I found several at dealerships by doing a quick search - or you can consider a low-mileage pre-owned Sonata. But know this: If your primary motivation for seeking the manual is fuel economy, the 2013 six-speed automatic gets 24 city/35 highway mpg, identical to the 2012 GLS manual transmission.

Reader Tip:

“We recently got a huge bill for tolls on a toll road we’ve never been on. The state has a device that reads your license plate as you go past certain points and then sends a monthly bill to the address registered as the owner. We called to report the error. They found through photos that our tag was on a truck that was not ours. We were told there’s been a burst of this sort of thing - thugs steal the front plate, put it on their vehicle to avoid toll charges, then ditch it before they get caught and replace it with another stolen plate. I think, after much discussion, we won’t be held liable. But it’s been a time-consuming ordeal, and we had no idea our plate was missing. Please warn your readers to regularly check their front plates (which we’d never done).”

Good advice. Consider it done.


In a recent column I gave the wrong width for Dodge Darts of yesteryear. The 1961 Dodge Dart was 78.7 inches wide; the 1972 coupe was 71.7 inches wide, according to, the website with scads of info about Dodges, Chryslers, Plymouths and Jeeps. Various sources may give slightly different measurements - on this and every other vehicle - as occasionally the measurements include side mirrors. But my original source was incorrect with or without mirrors.

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, training and loving your pet. Email

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