Ever since the annual list of new stick shift cars for sale in the U.S. was released, it made me wonder about what other features, or the lack thereof, are slowly dying in the new car market. This led me on a hunt to find the last few cars soldiering on without standard air conditioning.
Before I get into the details, I would like to point out that not having A/C actually has a lot in common with manual transmissions. Stick shifts normally only poke out of the center consoles of extremely cheap cars, or purpose built cars for enthusiasts. As you will find out, this is the case with cars that do not have standard air conditioning, but the definition of enthusiast will vary per model. Also, please let me know if I missed any cars.
Anyway, out of all the brands selling automobiles on U.S. soil, Chrysler seems to enjoy leaving the air conditioning condenser on the factory floor the most. They offer four different models that do not get standard A/C. These models include the Dodge Dart SE, Jeep Renegade Sport, Jeep Wrangler Sport, and the Jeep Patriot Sport, which is amazingly still for sale, despite debuting in 2006. Interestingly, the Jeeps can be had in their respective version of all wheel drive or four wheel drive, even without air conditioning.
So, the Dart and Renegade can be classified as the models striving to be as cheap as possible, the Wrangler can be classified as an enthusiast’s car, and the Patriot can be classified as the car for enthusiasts of haggling with the cashier at Walmart.
Now, Chrysler isn’t the only manufacturer still leaving A/C out for the common man. Nissan is part of the prestigious club, as well. They still offer the Frontier King Cab S without any extra cooling ability. Keep in mind, the Frontier was introduced in 2005, so it makes more sense for it to still be holding onto its A/C-less feature. However, it is important to note that the base Nissan Versa now comes with air conditioning. That’s right, the cheapest car in America comes with air conditioning as standard equipment, and Chrysler doesn’t include it in their Dart, which costs $5,000 more.
The last brand to not have air conditioning in their models is Porsche. But, in a move that goes against pretty much any other manufacturer, Porsche actually offers an option to delete the air conditioning from their cars. You can remove the A/C from the Cayman GT4, the 911 GT3 RS, and the 911 R. Of course, there is logic behind this decision. Porsche knows that some of their customers are hardcore track day enthusiasts. They want their cars to be as light as possible, and they’re willing to pay for it.
But if you are one of those track day freaks without the new Porsche budget, I would recommend turning to the used market. There are many more options there, like the Pontiac Solstice with wind up windows and, of course, no A/C. You could even find the Patriot, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you either plan to race it in LeMons or burn it. Air conditioning wouldn’t make a difference then.
Update: I forgot to include the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, which also does not get standard air conditioning. Thanks ItsSpelledD-R-U!
Photo credit to CarMax, Bow-Mel Chrysler, Top Auto Speed, Wikipedia, Royal Subaru, Cole Subaru, Car and Driver, and Business Insider