DRIVE Q: Recently, I looked at some Ford Five Hundred literature and saw that the Limited series has adjustable foot pedals as an option, but the SE and SEL series don't even offer them. How come? Adjustable pedals are an important option for my family. -

A: Then you'll have to purchase the top-of-the-line Five Hundred Limited, because, as you say, the SE and SEL don't offer them. Ford spokesman Dave Reuter said power adjustable pedals had been an option on the midsize Taurus, but few ordered them, so they were dropped from Taurus.

Because Five Hundred offers all-wheel-drive, Ford wanted power adjustable pedals because it expects those who have that feature in their sport-utility vehicles and minivans will want it as they move back into sedans. They'll be offered in only the Limited version initially, but should spread into other models if, as expected, it proves more popular in Five Hundred than it was in Taurus, Reuter said.

Q:I love the new Mazda3, but the five-door is available only in the expensive "S" version. Does Mazda plan to offer the five-door in the less expensive "i" version? -- B.T., Bartlett, Ill.

A: Mazda spokesman Jeremy Barnes said there are no plans to offer an "i" version with a 2-liter, 148-horsepower 4-cylinder in the five-door because it has the sportier body style and only will be offered in "S" version with 2.3-liter, 160-horsepower 4-cylinder.

Q: I've been shopping for a 4WD Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon pickup with a manual transmission. Dealers have them only with automatic. They'll order one with a manual, but I was told if the truck arrives with a manual and I don't like it, I still have to buy it. I'm willing to make a deposit, but I'm not going to buy a truck with a manual and hope it has good performance. -- M.W., Chicago


A:Sorry, but we side with the dealer. So few of those trucks are purchased with manual transmissions that the dealer could be stuck with it for months if you refuse to take delivery.

The same is true when the consumer orders a stripped vehicle or one with a bunch of oddball options. You need to call dealers to learn whether any have a manual in stock to try before you order -- or get automatic.


Jim Mateja writes about cars and trucks for the Chicago Tribune.

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