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Beginning of the end for the (Auto) "Stick" Shifter?
Old 08-21-2017, 08:51 AM   #1
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Beginning of the end for the (Auto) "Stick" Shifter?

I guess it was going to happen eventually, and I've seen a few somewhat token shifters lately (e.g. Prius), but the new car DW is looking at (with an automatic trans) won't have a "shifter" at all - just buttons. I guess it's no big deal with an automatic trans, just very different.

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Old 08-21-2017, 09:01 AM   #2
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Back in the early 70's a friend of mines' father drove a car that had the those push buttons on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. Have no idea what the car was.

Mike
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wrigley View Post
Back in the early 70's a friend of mines' father drove a car that had the those push buttons on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. Have no idea what the car was.

Mike
You're right! Now that you mention it, I'd forgotten. Plymouth, Rambler and some others tried to eliminate sticks many years ago too. And I'm sure several have gone that route again recently, I just hadn't noticed until DW started looking at new cars again.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...C0&FORM=IDBQDM
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:10 AM   #4
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I guess it was going to happen eventually, and I've seen a few somewhat token shifters lately (e.g. Prius), but the new car DW is looking at (with an automatic trans) won't have a "shifter" at all - just buttons. I guess it's no big deal with an automatic trans, just very different.

I don't think I'd like that at all. The "shifter" ("on the tree" or on the center hump) is easy to find (no groping around), requires no looking, and provides a kinesthetic cue as to what you've selected.
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:52 AM   #5
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Chysler's PowerFlite transmission was pushbutton controlled starting in 1956.
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:56 AM   #6
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Chysler's PowerFlite transmission was pushbutton controlled starting in 1956.
Ah, what's old is new again...

They have been pretty pointless for a few years now.
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Old 08-21-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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I think I'd like it. That big old lever just gets in the way. In many cars, I can't really tell from the 'stick' what position I'm in anyway - they provide an indicator on the dash. Which I'm not a big fan of - the dash is sort of 'dis-associated' with the stick position, I prefer to have the PRNDL indicator where the stick is. Often a red line to mark where you are.

A button, with indicator would be fine for me.

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Old 08-21-2017, 11:35 AM   #8
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I'd be glad if they got rid of the whole space wasting console area. It is mostly hollow anyway.
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:42 AM   #9
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I don't think I'd like that at all. The "shifter" ("on the tree" or on the center hump) is easy to find (no groping around), requires no looking, and provides a kinesthetic cue as to what you've selected.
+1 - bad idea
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Old 08-21-2017, 12:03 PM   #10
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Back in the early 70's a friend of mines' father drove a car that had the those push buttons on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. Have no idea what the car was.
My grandfather had one in the early 60s. It was a Rambler.
rambler.jpg
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Old 08-21-2017, 12:54 PM   #11
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Chysler's PowerFlite transmission was pushbutton controlled starting in 1956.
That turned out to be a novelty that didn't catch on then. We'll see what happens this time, who knows...
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:17 PM   #12
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In early times, some cars had an accelerator pedal in the middle, between the brake and clutch. Others controlled speed with a lever near the steering wheel, like we now control windshield wipers. Even if there were a strong argument for center accelerators I don't think you'd find many manufacturers changing to them.

IMO transmission control is one of the many things where safety and familiarity trumps innovation. IIRC the feds long ago outlawed PNRDL transmissions and required PRNDL. No options. Buttons, lever, whatever. That user interface ought to be standardized for safety. Lately I have driven a few cars where use of the transmission selector lever was far from intuitive. Too much creativity had been permitted.
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:25 PM   #13
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Even if there were a strong argument for center accelerators I don't think you'd find many manufacturers changing to them.
I worked hard to get good at using a Dvorak keyboard in the 80s, and really liked how much more efficient it was.

But I had to use several different machines from time to time so finally gave up and went back to QWERTY.

[sigh]
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:49 PM   #14
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I worked hard to get good at using a Dvorak keyboard in the 80s, and really liked how much more efficient it was.

But I had to use several different machines from time to time so finally gave up and went back to QWERTY.

[sigh]
Yup. Standardization has both costs and benefits. Different countries choosing to drive on different sides of the road is another one with costs and benefits. I remember reading about the day that Sweden (or maybe it was Norway) switched sides. A Sunday, IIRC.
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:03 PM   #15
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One of the cars I test drove had the buttons instead of a shift knob...I thought it was a great idea. If you think about it, almost every other function in a vehicle uses buttons or dials...why not the same to shift?
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:16 PM   #16
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Yup. Standardization has both costs and benefits. Different countries choosing to drive on different sides of the road is another one with costs and benefits. I remember reading about the day that Sweden (or maybe it was Norway) switched sides. A Sunday, IIRC.
Since 90% of the world is right handed, RHT/LHD like the USA is right, and LHT/RHD is simply wrong. I easily convinced a U.K. friend of mine in a pub a few weeks ago...

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Old 08-21-2017, 02:19 PM   #17
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One of the cars I test drove had the buttons instead of a shift knob...I thought it was a great idea. If you think about it, almost every other function in a vehicle uses buttons or dials...why not the same to shift?
We'll see what the market does this generation (didn't work last time automakers tried), but I'd agree for an automatic transmission. And it appears paddle shifters have/are displacing traditional manual stick shifts?
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:37 PM   #18
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We'll see what the market does this generation (didn't work last time automakers tried), but I'd agree for an automatic transmission. And it appears paddle shifters have/are displacing traditional manual stick shifts?
Yeah, it definitely looks like paddle shifters have replaced a manual stick. After driving a stick for 20 years I've had enough and am more than willing to let the car's computer do the work so even if my next car had the paddle shifters, I'd probably just put it in drive and ignore them.
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:54 PM   #19
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One problem is the operation of buttons too often requires the driver to take his eyes off the road, especially if the buttons are tiny or arrayed in large quantity. Additionally, buttons often provide no tactile feedback as to their setting. Dials IMO are better for certain functions, for example heating/cooling, because by simply touching the control one can feel how far it has been rotated and thus know its setting, all while watching the road.
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Old 08-21-2017, 02:59 PM   #20
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Since 90% of the world is right handed, RHT/LHD like the USA is right, and LHT/RHD is simply wrong.
There is something sinister about that statement.
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