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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i live in southern california and have been trying tirelessly to find an EX element with all-wheel-drive, side-airbags, and a manual transmission. it is impossible. first i had to convince the dealerships that the car actually exists, and even now they all claim that there are no elements available in california like that, and that there won't be until the 2004s come out in november.

i knew it was going to be a hard car to find, but i'm not willing to give up on the 5-speed or on the side-airbags, and i really wanted to get it before i have to drive across the country in september. could anyone give me any advice? i've tried to special order it from local dealers and they say that they can only wait until one shows up in the state, then trade for it, they can't order it directly from honda, and i've also been on the phone with a guy from carsdirect.com who has been completely unhelpful. i'm thinking about looking into out-of-state dealerships, like in nevada perhaps, or in new jersey, where i'll be living from september on, but i'm running out of time and ideas.
 

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I had trouble locating a manual EX awd even after the dealer printed out the entire inventory schedule for 6 states. Good luck finding one with the airbags, I didn't see a single one of those on the list here in the midwest.
 

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2003 2WD MT GG, 55K as of 3/20(!), It’s a Fun Box
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Just a caution--California has strict regulations about registering cars bought out of state so be careful.

I wanted a EX manual 2WD in green--at the time I was looking only 3 were scheduled to come to CA over a 2 month period and I was lucky to get a deal on one of those. Same problem--they ship mostly automatics to CA--apparently around here people are worried about driving over hills and avoid manuals like the plague.

The dealers that say that can't request the model you want from the build schedule are not accurate though--they can. They have visibilty to the build schedule and--IF Honda is building EX 4WD manual side-airbag models during a given week--the dealer can request one specifically as part of their allotment. A dealer here made that explicitly clear to me--he said that many dealers wont admit to that because they want to sell the inventory that is on the lot now.
 

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I bought mine at the end of June. I told the salesdude I wanted a 5-speed DX & he looked at his inventory sheet & said he didn't have one. I pointed one out on the lot & he became momentarily cornfused. We walked the lot & found a green EX AWD 5-speed as well. The DX wasn't the color I wanted, so I made a deal on the green one. Had side airbags too. The sales manager had other dealerships trying to trade for it, but he figured he could get a few extra bucks for it if he sold it locally instead. Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the replies. all of a sudden one just turned up at a dealership 15 minutes from home, i couldn't believe it. once i heard it was there, however, i made the trip in like 5 minutes, just to make sure no one else snagged it. of course, like you said, there's not a big market for the manual in california. it's such a nice shift, though, i'm loving it.
 
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