As my Dodge 1500 approaches the decade mark, it's time to start looking and thinking about what I'm going to replace it with. It's a pretty basic Quad Cab 4x4 1500 SLT... with one less common feature: manual 6-speed transmission. I hate, (hate, (hate())) driving automatic transmission vehicles, particularly in any kind of bad weather. I've acquiesced on this a few times, and have regretted every moment of owning each of my automatic transmission vehicles. This hatred of the automatic transmission (possible bane of our society!) is actually what forced me to switch to Dodge in 2005, when I was trading in my '95 Chevy 1500 4x4 Laramie, also with manual transmission. Chevy had stopped offering manual transmission in 4x4 1500's years earlier. Unfortunately, I see that none of the American pickup truck manufacturers offer a manual transmission in a 1/2 ton these days. I figured it was finally time to switch over to Toyota, based on this, but I see they've stopped offering manual as well! Seems the only real option left for manual transmission is a Dodge 2500 or a Ford 250 both in diesel. I'm forever up against the weight limit on my 1/2 ton trucks, so I could argue myself into justifying a 3/4 ton chassis, but driving barely 5000 miles per year... I cannot really justify the added cost of going diesel ($8000 on the Dodge). I priced the Dodge SLT with manual at $47,000 MSRP. I paid $26k for my current Dodge, and less for the Chevy. I have an office job, so I don't use it for work, but I spend my evenings and weekends playing carpenter / logger / mason / plumber / electrician. I use my 1/2 ton trucks pretty hard, hauling heavy loads of wood and construction materials in the bed, and often pulling various trailers. I have considered going the SUV + trailer route, but it just seems so much less... convenient. Also, you get no respect at the building supply places when you show up in an SUV. Also, I like to rent a heavier tandem axle for hauling wood, and take the trailer off-road into the wood lot... no good with a 3500 lb. SUV. Options? I had really planned to keep the next truck purchase closer to $30k, and I just don't see a manual transmission option out there in that price range. If I try to justify the added cost of the 2500 based on wood hauling (the activity where I hit the weight limit most frequently), I'm bound to be reminded that we're doing all this work of heating with wood to save money, "right?"