Tag: gearshift

By on October 16, 2018

Image: Adam Tonge

A certain Lincoln owner I know was forced back to the dealership yesterday. The problem? A worrying diagnostic message on his crossover’s gauge cluster. Don’t worry, he’s covered, and the trip offered him a chance to roll outta there with all the swagger of John Shaft — surrounded by all the opulence a Ford Fusion platform can carry.

Naturally, this man, who we’ll call Adam T. (or A. Tonge, whatever he prefers) jumped at the chance to pilot a Continental loaner for a couple of days. Who can blame him? It remains an intriguing, plush sedan that unfortunately garners fewer buyers with each passing month. As he triumphantly posted images in our Slack chatroom, a conversation sprung up around a feature common to all present-day Lincolns, something for which no one can muster much enthusiasm: the push-button shifter.

In the Continental, the placement of the buttons just to the left of the center touchscreen calls to mind a bank of radio presents and generally seems out of place. Lincoln’s not giving up on this, however. So, if buttons there must be, where and how would you like to press them? (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2017

Shift By Wire shifters - Images: BMW, Toyota, Lincoln, Chrysler, GMC

Center-mounted in a vertical fashion, the shifter in the fifth-generation 2018 Honda Odyssey profiled yesterday by Chris Tonn requires drivers to push a rectangular button for park, pull back an indented button for reverse, push another rectangular button for neutral, or depress a square button for drive.

In the new, second-generation 2017 GMC Terrain, a low-slung horizon of shift buttons mandates pushes of a rectangle for park and a small square for neutral plus a slight pull for reverse or, farther to the right, drive.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the lengthy push-button shift mechanism in newer Lincolns, where buttons for ignition, park, reverse, neutral, drive, and sport are laid out vertically on the driver’s side of the centre stack.

Some automakers are trying out rotary knobs, or shifters with separate park buttons, or monostable shifters that have earned a bad name.

They’re here to stay. Blame technology. Hope for reliability. Don’t expect standardization. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2017

2017 Chrysler 300 Interior, Image: FCA

Once upon a time, a three-on-the-tree shifter or a floor-mounted unit with a lever the length of a ski pole was the norm for rowing through the gears. Then GM graced us with the automatic transmission, and the world soon grew used to a column-mounted shifter with a selector gauge mounted atop the steering shaft, smack dab in front of the driver’s eyes.

With a few exceptions caused by automakers trying to be sexy, this trend carried over into console-mounted shifters. Americans liked their beer cold, their country free, and their PRNDL choices straightforward and obvious.

Unfortunately, with mechanical linkages no longer required, a shifter can now be anything the automaker wants it to be, leading some companies — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles especially — into new and potentially deadly territory. With backlash against unorthodox shifters growing, it seems FCA has received the message. (Read More…)

By on January 23, 2017

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Parking your car at Walgreens shouldn’t require a tutorial.

That’s the gist of comments made by outgoing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind, who really doesn’t like fancy, overly complex automatic transmission gearshifts.

In fact, if Rosekind had his way, automakers would need a green light from the country’s road safety regulator before incorporating a new gearshift design into a production vehicle. (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2017

2013 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Interior, Shifter, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

First, it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products with a tendency to roll away, even after owners placed them in park. Then, Ford decided to make sure vehicles with rotary shift knobs didn’t do the same thing, offering a “Return to Park” feature on the 2017 Fusion.

Two weeks ago, it was FCA’s turn again. The automaker found itself the focus of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation after more reported rollaways, this time with rotary-shift Rams and Dodges.

Well, NHTSA now has Jaguar Land Rover in its crosshairs. Care to guess why? (Read More…)

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