I am in the market for a lightly used pre-owned auto. The daily driver 2004 Mazda3s is to the point I need to put a couple grand of work into it, and frankly I would rather get something else and give it to my daughter as a first car. And that’s great, she should learn to drive a manual and even if she burns up the clutch it would be worth about the same as a trade in either way.

I am now 45 years old, and performance is not as important as it used to be for me. My daughter will be going away for college in a year, and something comfortable with good MPG for visits just makes more sense. I don’t want a huge payment after six years without one, and I really don’t have the money to just drop straight cash on a car, so I am looking at the usual suspects: some offerings from Hyundai and Kia (I have found some great local deals on 2015 Sonatas and Optimas, and this weekend I drove an Elantra on a long highway trip and managed 44 MPG, holy cow), the Ford Fusion, the new Mazda3, and the Ford Focus.

So about the Ford Focus: As you all know, the DCT in the Focus has been the recipient of consumer complaints out the wazoo, and while the majority of those complaints are due to dumbasses not understanding how a DCT works there are actual design flaws that can lead to leaking seals and bombed clutches. I really like the looks, handling, and steering feel of the Focus, but taking a chance on that DCT blowing up in my face out of warranty is just not worth the risk. And shit, if I am going to buy a Focus I am going to enjoy that handling while rowing my own anyway.

So I plugged in Focus, manual, to all the usual car-buying sites and the local dealer sites. Wow, there’s a lot of manual Ford Focuses around here, I thought.

No. There is exactly one that is not of the ST variety.

Without fail, three-fourths of local dealers list the DCT as a manual. As a gearhead, I can appreciate that. Fuck yeah, DCT, like an auto but really like a manual. Or something like that. But that isn’t what I am looking for; I want an honest-to-God three pedal Focus with a damn handle to put my car in my control and my fears at rest. A DCT is NOT going to do that for me.


Why in the hell do these dealers do this? Are they stupid? Possibly. These are not Porsche dealers that would put PD-FUCKING-K in an ad. Do they not understand cars? Very likely, the usual car sales manager is in charge of selling payments, not cars. Are they making this a pain in the ass for me? Absolutely, you bastards.

Has anyone else had this exact experience with online car shopping? DCT’s listed as manuals? I know half the listings fuck up the options on a car, but this is a little more important that if the car has lighted vanity mirrors. Assholes.