Every car I owned as a teenager had hand-crank windows. Not because power windows didn’t exist—I’m not quite that old. My cars had crank windows because I wanted them. I couldn’t exactly explain why, but I was never quite satisfied with a button doing the work for me. The benefits of avoiding power windows are minimal, but they have a few positive impacts. For one, if you wash your car on a cold day and the doors freeze shut, you can always force the window down by hand. I guess that’s pretty helpful, right?
But can you still buy a car with manual windows? Yes, you certainly can. When I needed a new car in 2017, I bought one with manual windows. That’s right—I bought a brand new 2017 vehicle with crank windows. And then I bought another one in 2019. Those cars (and more) are still available without power windows in 2020. So if you’re looking for a bit of basic technology on today’s ultra-computerized cars, stay tuned and see what’s still available. Here’s the thing—they’re (almost) all trucks.
5. Ford F-150 XL
Ford has one of the best looking pickups on the market, and you can still get a new one with manual windows in the base-model XL trim. Most people choose the inexpensive 101-A option group on the XL, which includes power windows, among other features. Crank windows are available on two and four-wheel-drive F150 models and with nearly every engine choice. Thanks to Ford, you can still build a classic single-cab short bed truck with a V8, a vinyl bench seat, and manual windows. Awesome, way to go Ford.
4. Nissan Frontier S
The Nissan Frontier is the longest-running pickup truck available in the American market. The basic body style and the interior hasn’t changed since 2005—and Nissan buyers like it that way. It’s a great truck with a powerful engine and minimal frills. Plus, you can have one for less than $20,000. The base-model S frontier is available in extended cab and crew cab, with optional four-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission. Manual windows are still standard on the four-door crew cab model.
3. Ford F250 XL
Ford gives another nod to the past in the newest versions of the F250. The F250 is available in two and four-wheel-drive (like the F150), and manual windows are an option on the base-model XL trucks. And yeah, you can still get a 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel with crank windows in multiple cab configurations. Plus, that is one good-looking pickup just as it is, with or without the fancy bells and whistles.
2. Jeep Gladiator Sport
Jeep absolutely nailed it with the new Gladiator. The truck has a solid front axle, the proven 3.6L Pentastar V6, an available manual transmission, and loads of off-road options. Plus, you can still get a base-model Jeep Gladiator Sport with manual windows in 2020. The next vehicle, which Jeep also produces, is the only one on the list that isn’t technically a pickup truck.
1. Jeep Wrangler Sport
To be clear, you can get a new Jeep Wrangler with power windows—most people do. You can also get a base-model ‘Sport’ trim Wrangler with crank windows, which is a huge draw for the Zippo lighter and cassette tape crowd. It makes the doors easier to remove and improves the long-term ‘cool-factor’ of the vehicle. Plus, it’s pretty damn satisfying to roll the windows down by hand. Thanks, Jeep.