By on April 23, 2016

2015 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Overland

Like an unoccupied Dodge Charger stuck in “Drive,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ gear selector controversy was rapidly building momentum before yesterday’s announcement.

Responding to numerous instances of runaway vehicles and an expanding National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation, FCA voluntarily recalled 811,586 vehicles in the U.S. and 52,144 in Canada, and a further 265,473 in Mexico and overseas.

The recalled models — certain 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees — were equipped with the company’s eight-speed automatic transmission and featured a gear selector that bewildered many owners. Some drivers exited their vehicles after mistakenly believing the selector was in “Park,” leading to 41 known injuries.

In a statement, FCA said the accidents were due to driver error, and emphasized that the gear selectors — though confusing — functioned as designed:

The vehicles affected by this recall are equipped with electronic shift levers that return to the same position after each manipulation. Gear-selection is conveyed to the driver by multiple sets of indicator lights, not gear-selector position, and unless due care is taken, drivers may draw erroneous conclusions about the status of their vehicles.

The automaker stopped using the gear selector after complaints piled up. The NHTSA began investigating those complaints last summer.

FCA said a warning chime sounds when the affected vehicle’s engine is running, the driver’s side door is ajar and the gear selector is out of Park, but that warning will be upgraded.

Other safety measures are planned, though the automaker remains vague on exactly what the fix will be. In their words, “The enhancements will combine warnings with a transmission-shift strategy to automatically prevent a vehicle from moving, under certain circumstances, even if the driver fails to select “PARK.”

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91 Comments on “Roll With It: FCA Voluntarily Recalls 1.1 Million Models With Confusing Gear Selector...”


  • avatar
    Audiofyl

    Mercedes and BMW vehicles with electronic shifters of recent vintage automatically “park” the transmission if it’s in gear and running and the drivers door is opened. Some what of a shock if you’re in a hurry getting out of your vehicle for some people.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      So if I open the door while I back down a boa tramp, so I can see the trailer wheel, the car will engage go into park?

      That’s just one example of when you might want to be in gear with the door open. I hope they include an override feature.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I think you can over-ride it if your foot is on the brake, but I’m not 100% sure.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          BMWs are stupid annoying when loading them on a flatbed or pushed off the road. BMW cannot imagine one of their’s needing a tow???

          With a low/dead battery you can jump it, to put it neutral, but it’ll jump back into “P” when you pull the jumper cables. So it’s easiest to drag them up the bed.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            they don’t have an emergency park release? FCA cars and trucks with the electronic shifters have a hidden park release lever if you need to push/tow them; usually behind a panel somewhere in the center console.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I meant “P” as in “Park”. Now that does have an override, some are under the dash and other BMWs you need to pull/pop out the trim/boot around the shifter to find the ‘override’

        • 0 avatar
          cbrworm

          Yes, as long as your foot is on the brake it will stay in gear. Lift your foot from the brake while your head is turned around looking out the open door as you move the vehicle and WHAM!

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        No, instead they will sell you a $1000 automatic boat launching option.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        Would that be the tramp wearing the boa by the dumpster behind the bar on East Main?

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      So Dennis Weaver, in the movie Duel, wouldn’t be able to wedge his briefcase against the accelerator and jump out the driver side door? The parking brake would foil his attempt to ram the truck?

      I suppose in a remake, he would need to crank down the window and jump out it instead. :)

  • avatar
    r plaut

    Not being familiar with these new FCA vehicles I assume they all have parking brakes.

    “P A R K I N G – B R A K E S”

    Is that true? What am I missing here?

    50 years ago my father told me to always set the parking brake in the Packard first, and then put the shift lever into “Park”. He said “that keeps most of the pressure off the parking pawl in the transmission and helps make shifting out of park easier”.

    But then the Packard’s Ultramatic transmission only had 2 gears (plus lockup), so maybe life is getting really too complicated with eight gears.

    • 0 avatar

      No – they don’t.

      My Hellcat 2016 Charger has a traditional automatic shifter. No electronic parking brake.

      My 2015 Jeep SRT has the ZF 8-speed monostatic shifter. There are problems with it specifically when you shift from D to R to P.

      Traditional Automatic shifters should NEVER be messed with.

      These new electronic shifters cause plenty of problems when you need to do something out of the ordinary such as parking the car with the door open, towing or other atypical situations.

  • avatar

    I originally used the ZF monostatic shifter on the Audi A8.
    I knew there were gonna be problems because it popped off when I hit it with my knee.
    What I didn’t realize till later was how difficult it was to *feel* whether the car was in Reverse or park – since Reverse was one soft nudge up from Neutral.

    When I drive my Jeep SRT, the shifter is easily to accidentally put in Neutral if I accidentally hit it.

    When trying to put in Reverse, it is not as intuitive as a typical automatic shifter because you can pass right past R and go to Park.

    The SMARTER THING to do would have been to make it impossible to shift at all without holding down the button – and make the Reverse position or Park *lock* like the automatics in other cars do.

    I made a video about this already.

    I will be in Colorado this weekend April 30th reviewing/critiquing prototype vehicles and I plan on giving them an earful. It’s MY JOB to not allow this kinda nonsense to make it past BETA testing.

    I’m happy I’ll get the newer shifter system from the 2016 added to my new 2015 SRT Jeep. The new shifter is traditional and THE OLD WAYS SOMETIMES SHOULDN’T BE MESSED WITH.

    Except “manuals” those should be killed off immediately.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Exactly. The shift level can feel like you’ve changed gears when you haven’t really, like hitting a key on your keyboard, feeling the click, but not seeing the result on the screen. I always had to look at the gear indicator on the dash to see what I was doing. Didn’t trust it

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      FCA should hire you as their CEO. They’re gonna die anyways, might as well make the process fun while they’re at it.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The rotary dial gear selector IS a badly designed & implemented switch, controlling a critical feature.

    I know of intelligent, diligent people who had minor fender benders or close calls in bigger potential incidents because of it, in part.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t like the rotary shifter because it feels like a cheap wannabe of the Jaguar XJL’s.

      And if you’re used to driving a Mercedes Benz or BMW, you reach for it unconsciously attempting to change the radio.

      The dials DO NOT fit the character of a Chrysler 300, 200 or Jeep ANYTHING.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      except the rotary knob isn’t what’s being recalled, it’s the previous “stubby” lever from the first 8 speed vehicles.

      the picture is right up there.

      as for the knobs and pushbuttons, I don’t know what the best solution is. The only reason to use a lever anymore is familiarity; “PRNDL” made sense when transmissions had 3 and 4 gears. But when you have autos with 8,9, or 10 speeds, what does “L” mean?

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Damn right. Mopars should come with pushbutton transmissions or nothing at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The rotary shifter in the 200 and RAM is fine if you ask me, but for the fact that on the 200, it’s placed near the audio and climate controls, and you’ll reach for it and engage it accidentally while you’re driving….which is bad UI. Jaguar and Land Rover use a similar mechanism on several of their cars, but do a better job of differentiating it. The Ford Fusion will also get a rotary dial gear selector for 2017.

      Meanwhile, I don’t see the problem with the joystick-like gear selector on the larger vehicles. It’s no more confusing than the ones BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Bentley and Kia use. In fact, it’s almost identical to the one Audi uses in the A8, and you don’t see any complaints there. Then again, the demographic between a Dodge Charger and an Audi A8 is profoundly different.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        a lot more FCA cars were sold with this, I imagine, so there’s a greater chance of some of those buyers running into trouble.

      • 0 avatar

        “Meanwhile, I don’t see the problem with the joystick-like gear selector on the larger vehicles. ”

        If you own a Jeep Grand Cherokee for a long enough time, you’ll realize what’s wrong with it eventually.

        I’m on my second.

        It’s a stupid piece and I can’t wait to get the one froe 2016.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I didn’t mind the one in my X5. It saved quite a bit of space and it was cool.

          I *did* mind that it would have eventually failed to operate, leaving me stranded yet again.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          I’ve had mine for about 15 months now and have had zero problems. It’s second nature and I don’t need to look at the dash out the gear selector to know what I selected. I don’t understand why people have problems with it.

      • 0 avatar
        Sgt Beavis

        Generally speaking, I like the rotary shifter on my 2014 RAM. It takes the gear selector off the center console which opens up a great amount of storage space. The only problem is that I sometimes reach for the volume knob on the radio and instead grab that gear selector. I’ve made sure to put myself into the habit of using the volume buttons on the steering wheel.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al From 'Murica

          know what else takes it off the console…putting it on the column where God intended truck shifters to be.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            But where would they put the stalks for the turn signals and headlights and high beams and emergency flashers and windshield wipers and washers and steering column adjustment controls? A lot of those controls were knobs (and buttons on the floor for high beams), but they were replaced with AC vents and put on the column.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I like it a lot. I used a rotary in a 200 for a week when my 300 (with the shifter in question) was in for an oil pump.

      With the rotary, you crank it all the way left for Park, and all the way right for Drive. There are hard detents on the way to each, and a hard stop when you get there.

      In my 300 the detents aren’t hard enough, or somehow the shifter doesn’t reach Park, and you’re left looking down or working it 2-3 times to be sure.

      I’m all for the rotary. It saves a ton of space and I never had one problem with it. After 1 or 2 times hitting the radio knob instead, everything worked out just fine. They just need to shrink the surround bezel.

      In my mind, the smaller rotary knob makes 2 things possible in the 200: a huge cargo area under the console, and smaller instrument/control panels overall (which frees up knee space).

  • avatar

    I REFUSE TO ALLOW FCA TO TAKE THE BLAME FOR THIS.

    I’m going to make it my business to “remind” EVERYONE IN THE WORLD that this started on AUDI VEHICLES and was never rectified.

    Nothing worse than these idiots who blame it on Jeep when it wasn’t their fault.

    youtube.com/watch?v=uGa0q6K2G8c

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      As far as I know, the 2011 Audi A8 was the first and only Audi to have that style of gear selector. It only trickled down to other models that were recently redesigned, like the A4 and Q7. It’s only different than the one BMW’s been using *for years* (since 2007, starting with the E70 X5) in its shape, but it mostly operates the same.

      I don’t understand the confusion, either. But people who buy these FCA vehicles simply may not want that kind of technology. A lot of traditional automatic gear selectors are electronic and don’t actually make a physical connection with any linkage anyway. I guess the least-confusing implementation of a space-saving gear selector—as long as you don’t put the start/stop button near it and style it the same—is Lincoln’s row of P-R-N-D-S buttons…which was actually done first by Chrysler on the Imperial way back when.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is:

        #1 You can’t feel the tacticle difference between R and P

        #2 It too easily shifts from D to N since you needn’t push the button to make it shift (really stupid actually).

        #3 It too easily shifts from D to S if pulled backwards.

        My Recommendations:

        #1 all paddle shifters MUST HAVE OFF SWITCHES.

        #2 all sport shifting monostatic shifters MUST HAVE OFF SWITCHES

        #3 This shifter shouldn’t able to do ANYTHING unless the button is pressed in.

        #4 HARD DETENT SHIFT SPOTS for R and P

        there ya go – I just saved you billions of dollars.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “My Recommendations:
          #1 all paddle shifters MUST HAVE OFF SWITCHES.
          #2 all sport shifting monostatic shifters MUST HAVE OFF SWITCHES
          #3 This shifter shouldn’t able to do ANYTHING unless the button is pressed in.
          #4 HARD DETENT SHIFT SPOTS for R and P
          there ya go – I just saved you billions of dollars.”

          Nope. You just added cost to an already functional system. Clearly it is only we conceited Americans who are actually having problems with this because we’re unwilling to accept CHANGE.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “CHANGE” that only benefits the manufacturer, the assembly/warranty process, just to shave a couple pennies, I don’t need or want. Give me back my linkages, cables, handles, levers, pedals (parking brakes), cotter pins, etc, right frickin’ now.

            These systems were simple and dead reliable. No microchips, circuit boards, modules, servos, actuators, diodes, relays, wiring/plugs, etc, to do the simplest of tasks.

            It’s also “CHANGE” that’ll help ‘load’ cars into the crusher and “cruise ship” bound for China.

            I want stuff I can limp to the hardware store and fix in the parking lot, 20 years from now.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          I have an electronic shifter in my Nissan, but it emulates a manual transmission shift stick with a traditional shift pattern. So, if you’re used to a manual, you feel right at home. Reverse is left and up. Forward is left and down. Neutral in the center. The shifter returns to a home position each time you shift it, so it is a little different. You can change some of the different performance modes by shifting into forward twice. The “sport” mode is a button on the steering wheel for quick access in an emergency. Park is a big button at the top of the shifter knob, although it will automatically set if you shut the car off.

      • 0 avatar
        cbrworm

        Perhaps they should add the ‘Park’ button like BMW used or uses.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Now Now BTSR, your beloved FCA is the one recalling their cars for this problem, little old Aud seems fine w it, now they may have some other issues at the moment ( I do not think the A8 comes in TDI form) but just another great FCA engineering feature. When o when will FCA realize they need you to solve all the problems. I am sure Sergio will make that happen and we will see Hellcat engines across the board even in the minivans.

    • 0 avatar
      Silence

      So…wait…Audi forced FCA to adopt a dumb design?

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      It’s ZF’s stupid design and FCA put it in their cars without a failsafe. It’s like if Audi and FCA were people holding guns and Audi had a holster that prevented the user from shooting themselves in the foot and FCA thought it was fine to put the gun in the user’s pocket.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It’s all well and good that this is working “as designed”, but when a very large pile of drivers make the exact same mistake, that is not “user error” that is “designer error”.

    This would never happen to me because I use the parking brake out of reflex, but plenty of auto drivers do not.

  • avatar
    WestoverAndOver

    I own one of these vehicles, specifically a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Limited, Pentastar). The joystick control is annoying and leaves too much room for driver error. I have learned to live with it for the past 2.5 years, but it is needlessly annoying. Other than replacing it entirely with a different type of unit, I don’t know what else they could really do about it. Clearly, they are moving on from it, so that is good. This type of control should be absolutely idiot-proof, and this one is not. Despite all this, the car is awesome and I wholeheartedly agree with those who have nominated for TTAC 10 best. The shifter is this car’s only shortcoming, in my humble, biased opinion.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    My wife and I test drove a ’14 Grand Cherokee when we were looking for a new vehicle for her. Neither of us liked the electronic shifter. We found it confusing. One really couldn’t tell what gear was selected. We believed that a simple thing such as a shifter shouldn’t have a learning curve.

    As it now turns out, we weren’t the only one that found it confusing.

    We ultimately went with an Acura MDX Technology. She found it more car-like and was more comfortable driving it, and getting in and out of it.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Another perfect example of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Hey where’s the guy who was calling folks luddites and dinosaurs in the “knobs vs. touchscreen” article?

      NEWER IS ALWAYS BETTER AMIRITE?

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Yes! Every new electronic gizmo is an improvement over the primitive, misguided mechanical predecessor. There are no downsides or unintended consequences to be concerned about.

        Only Luddites have such thoughts. Get with the program, please.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Demand your linkages back! This “tech” is strictly to ease the assembly process, cut costs, with less mechanical, moving parts. Likely less warranty claims too.

    And it’s more “planned obsolescence” for your enjoyment. Not that FCA cars aren’t especially, disposable junk.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    This kind of thing, in theory, could legitimately make a so-called “unintended acceleration” event into a legitimate problem if the driver can’t find Neutral, or if, God forbid, the electronics in the selector failed at the same time.

    @BTSR or others, is there some sort of “fail-soft” procedure on that selector? (Almost seems as though they should take a page from the “‘Park’ when the driver’s door opens” book, and kick the transmission into Neutral if the driver’s door opens above, say, 3mph, where the transmission could suffer damage by going into Park.)

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I believe the shifter in question was the zf design which went along with the transmission. No doubt it was ridiculous. It didnt free up any space and just confuses people. The old style column shifyer is still the best for an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I like the stick shift manual emulation in my Nissan. Most of the other cars in the household are manual and they have all have the same pattern for reverse – stick left and up/forward. Even my daughters Prius is stick that’s shifted left and up. Before my son got his 6 speed manual Toyozda, he had a Toyota Echo 5 speed with reverse right and down. It was backwards from the other cars and confusing.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    So for the benefit of those of us who haven’t encountered one of these in the wild, what the hell is a “monostatic” shifter?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I think it’s used it to clear up yeast infections.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Probably any gear selector that’s like a soft switch, in which the actual lever does not have a path of travel in the gate, but can merely be pressed in certain directions to indicate gear changes. To some extent, many cars with traditional gear selectors already have a monostatic component, because if there’s a manual gate, you’ll tap the gear selector up and down, but it returns to its original position in that manual gate.

      Monostatic gear selectors free up space, but they can be confusing.

      Here’s the FCA unit in question:

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Okay, so two of my cars have electronic shifters that follow a path through gates, but return when released. So that wouldn’t be monostatic because they follow a path – right? Another car has paddles and it sounds like they are monostatic.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Ah, so it’s a bit like the PowerShift in a John Deere 8000 or 8000 TEN series tractor. Flick the lever forward with a single finger to upshift, then it springs back to center. Pull it back to downshift, it springs back. You have to pull it out of the Forward range to put it in N, R or P.

        http://www.farmforumequipment.com/images.aspx/id-10537333-w-492-h-369/1996-john-deere-8300-333-p2.jpg

        Note that in the Reverse range, directions are flipped, so pulling the little shifter back will upshift (making you go faster backwards) and forward will downshift.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      From “P” to “D”, pull back and hold for a second (one long bump), release and the ‘shifter’ returns to the ‘static’ straight-up position, then drive away.

      From “D” back to “P”, one long bump forward.

      From “P” to “R”, “R to “P”, “R” to “N”, “N” to whatever, it’s just one quick bump forward or back. Or 3 quick bumps from “P” to “D”.

      Every selection requires a thumb-button press and a step on the brakes, and or coming to a complete stop, except into “N”.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Thanks for the explanation. The benefit of this setup is lost on me. Most console shifters have clear stopping points that are visibly marked for each of the gear selections, so you have tactile and visual confirmation of what you’ve done. With the setup you’ve described there now has to be a threshold for how long you’ve held the tap, increasing the chances of getting it wrong. That is needless complexity, and the photo of the Grand Cherokee console suggests they didn’t save any space by doing this.

        I wasn’t fond of the futuristic-for-no-reason shifter in the Prius, but at least it has defined gates for each gear selection.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    “Gear-selection is conveyed to the driver by multiple sets of indicator lights, not gear-selector position”

    That’s not reassuring. My auto has the PRND lights on the dash, and I still don’t look at them after owning the car for four years. I still feel for the gate, and if I’m not sure I look down.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      I’m partial to the staggered outbox gate that has D at the bottom, which I got used to pushing the lever down as you can’t miss. The Mazda’s 4AT made the manual +/- gate moot not to mention it’s upside down vs. other carmakers’ designs. Now, I occasionally find myself going past D with the old Sienna’s gate, thanks to too much force.

      The staggered gate is a Mercedes design from decades ago, but I’m partial to it as there’s no shifter lock button to push or break. But they (and BMW) now have that funky stalk shifter on the right side, which possibly contributed to a fatal car/train crash last year.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Ah, I see. So essentially like a motorcycle’s sequential shift pedal, where the actuator returns to a central rest position when released, or goes to the next gear (or transmission function in the FCA case) when moved in either direction.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Except with a motorcycle shifter, one kick is one gear change. On the Chrysler/ZF design, you have to muddle through a straight line with the vaguest of detents, so you can often overshoot the gear you wanted.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I don’t need to look down at my car’s gear shift indicator to know where I’m at, then again I have been driving the same type of shifter for over 20 yrs.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Funny REAL happening….
    I called my son to pick me up when I was stuck in a sudden downpour while out walking.

    He was late and I was calling him back when I got his frantic text…The Car Won’t Back Up, Dad!!!! I Think Its Broken!!!!

    I finally got through to him and reminded him I always use the emergency brake.
    All my cars are parked with the emergency brake on. It was something I got into a habit with once I moved to the Ozarks and the cars would always roll backwards after putting them in park.
    I just thought that was putting unneeded pressure on the trannies.

    Since then he as well has become accustomed to putting the brakes on in his car.

    But I can see these folks messing up.
    After all…it was me that drove my kids and myself to a movie…got out of the car and was walking away when my one son asked me is it was OK to leave the car running…….
    Damn! Brand new MKS unlocked and running!! Woulda made some nice teenager just walking by turn into a bad kid!

    Probably wouldn’t have even left a thank you note on the spot.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had a brief experience with this shifter in a 300 as a rental once. Certainly not an intuitive design and I can see how people got it wrong. I get the argument that BMW and Audi have done the same thing, but it’s probably better executed. The ghosts of “unintended acceleration” are likely still haunting Ingolstadt.

    This seems unnecessarily complicated for a Chrysler product, any of the ones they put them in. It’s elegant in its small footprint and operation, but elegance over intuitive operation is a no-no. Your average Chrysler buyer is not aware that a BMW or Audi have the same shifter. And if that’s a selling point, I don’t know how to help you.

    Interesting though, how the gear selectors vary. Our ’14 Odyssey is very straightforward, PRNDL with no manual function and a “D4” lockout switch to keep it out of 5th and 6th. The Cruze has PRND with Drive being the bottom. If you want manual control, you slide the lever to the left. This is OK, except I’ve pulled the Honda all the way down and wondered why it doesn’t shift. The glowing red L lets me know I forgot what car I was in.

    The Mazda 5 has a gated shifter with a manual mode separate, but you upshift by pulling down, opposite of the Chevy. Thank goodness for mostly idiot proof engine electronics.

    I do prefer the Mazdas gated shifter, much like the older Mercedes designs. Besides having a manual, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      Having such a complicated design in an FCA product is like Lil’ Wayne releasing an album about the injustices of the Pinochet regime. It’s just going to go over their target audiences heads and piss them off.

  • avatar

    *laughing from his Ivory Tower of stick shifts and cable operated parking brakes*

    My car is always in the gear I think is best for the road conditions, not the gear some blind, deaf and mute computer thinks is best. There are both direct visual and tactile ways to know exactly what gear it is in, not just some indication of the general group of gears it might be in.

    My car is effectively immune to unintended acceleration as there’s multiple mechanical paths to disconnect the power from the wheels and no way for the car to override what I want it to do.

    Ah, progress !

  • avatar

    I kvetch as much as the rest of the B and B, but really, a knob shifter isn’t an issue. I dealt with this in my rental 200, and really, had more trouble with the beer tap shifter in BMW. Mopar is famous for the push button torqueflite, so it kinda made sense.

    I’m old, so I recall when shifters, throttles, etc, were physically connected to the car, but once you are just pushing a switch, who cares ?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      The knob shifter isn’t what’s being recalled here.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Do the rotary shifters physically stay in the gear position you’ve selected, or does it spring back into center? If the former, I’d rather have the rotary than the monostatic. But I still don’t see why PRND in a straight line with a manumatic function to the side is a concept designers are moving away from.

  • avatar
    Paddan

    A new BMW 7 series ran through a store front in my town and could have killed someone when the driver put her car in drive instead of reverse. The driver did that by pulling it back (the normal position to put a mechanical automatic with shift gate into reverse) and giving it gas. On that car, she needed to push the shifter forward, as if putting in park. Stupid design IMHO.

    I had a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee loaner that I agree was not intuitive at all.

    My 2016 Volvo XC90 has what feels like a mechanical shifter. It is very intuitive and works just right. It has an 8 speed transmission.

    Why fix something that isn’t broken?

  • avatar
    ajla

    J-Gate forever!

  • avatar

    There were some slight issues with this when airplanes moved to “nudge” controls. However, it was easier for them because there’s less danger of outside interference (e.g. you should not have a family member bumping your throttle lever while reaching for something in the back).

  • avatar
    rjg

    It sounds like bmws joystick shifter might be the best overall design despite the annoyances since:
    -it goes into park automatically if you turn the car off
    -you have to press a button on the side to engage D or R
    -P is a separate button m:not engaged by moving the shifter
    -the sport mode position is engaged by pulling it to the left and manual shifts are back for up and forward for down. It also automatically pops the shifter out of this position when the car is put in P

    The only thing they need to fix is to make an easier way to override the automatic P selection. but it seems other manufacturers that use electronic shifters miss some or all of these nuances. Overall I actually now prefer the bmw joystick to the traditional PRNDL.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “It sounds like bmws joystick shifter might be the best overall design…”

      I agree. I’ve never had an issue with mine, and I like that it’s easy to downshift to use engine braking. Just bump the lever to the left and push it forward a couple of times.
      .
      .

  • avatar
    makuribu

    Stupid to design a gearshift with no feedback. You’re using an automatic so you don’t need to pretend to be shifting gears, but you do need to know what gear you are in.

    The rotary knob, or better yet the 1960s Chrysler pushbutton tranny. P R N D L in big shiny chrome buttons with lots of feedback. Right next to the AM radio preset buttons, so you can switch to sports radio and accidentally put it in reverse.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Wow, they topped the bewilderingly stupid “hey turn up the volume AAaAAAAAND now your transmission is destroyed” wheel. FCA literally cannot afford these screw ups

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “In a statement, FCA said the accidents were due to driver error, and emphasized that the gear selectors — though confusing — functioned as designed:”

    Blaming the owners? Sergio Marchionne is a jerk.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    The “Shifter for Automatic Transmission” has a long history of problems. I’m just old enough to remember the PNDLR on the column, I think those were GMs.
    Apparently there was a detent to get into Reverse, pull back on the lever, but it was subject to wear. A significant number of drivers got R when they wanted D or L. The results were sometimes bad.
    Next one I recall was the Ford Reverse detent failure of the 1970s. Many cars slid out of P into R due to wear, vibration, and overall bad design of the mechanism. Again more bad endings.
    Then came the Audi 5000 “unintended acceleration”/”pedal misapplication”.
    Out of that came the interlock between the brake and the shift lever. Could not shift out of Park without stepping on the brake.
    Next there was the system to prevent removal of the ignition key unless the shifter was in P.
    Most, if not all, cars and trucks with these devices had a method to bypass them if something failed so the car could be driven, but what happened when someone with no knowledge of this (and the owners manual is long gone) was stuck somewhere?
    Now we have cars without any keys so all these ‘safety’ systems are handled electronically. Of course, those systems NEVER have problems.
    I have not seen anything with the shifter described here. From what some have written there may not be a mechanical Parking Brake on some of these vehicles.
    This all seems lot a lot of trouble just waiting to happen.
    Anyone that leaves a vehicle without setting the Parking Brake (the lever or pedal that actuates some of the brake system) deserves what they get.
    I recall hearing, on a call in radio show, from someone that wanted to know if he could sue the car manufacturer because on the vehicle in question, from the 80s, the key could be removed without the shifter being in Park. According to the caller, the car, on two different occasions, rolled away and crashed into things when he left it. I stand with my statement about using the Parking Brake.
    And car makers that have these bizarre electronic shifters are asking for trouble.

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