Push My Buttons: Ford Files Patent Application for 'Proximity Shifting'
The traditional console-mounted transmission shifter is disappearing, being replaced by buttons or rotary knobs in many models as shift-by-wire becomes the industry standard. The 2018 GMC Terrain recently debuted — and received criticism for — pushbuttons mounted low in the center stack in order to control the transmission.
Ford is no stranger to these configurations. The Blue Oval uses buttons mounted on the left side of the center stack in the Lincoln MKZ and a console-mounted rotary knob in the Ford Fusion. Now, Ford has an idea for an even more complex shifting system — and this one comes with a bit of retro flair.
QOTD: Is the Column Shifter the Best Shifter Design There Ever Was or Ever Will Be?
Setting aside the glorious wonders of the manual, DIY shifter, is it not becoming increasingly clear that the automatic transmission shifter reached its zenith with the traditional column shifter?
One thing is certain: the column shifter is quickly fading away. The electronic controls behind many shifters are more often linked to unnecessarily complicated shifters than a simple, intuitive, steering column-mounted unit. There are pushbutton affairs on the center stack in Lincolns, rising and falling console-mounted pushbutton arrangements in Hondas and Acuras, rotary dials in everything from the Ford Fusion and Ram 1500 to the Jaguar XJ, monostable shifters with no detents in vehicles of every sort, and a horizontally opposed array of buttons and switches in a GMC Terrain that GMC felt necessary to explain for three hours.
We’re not sure these alternative shifters have shoved society along the path toward enlightenment.
But when Ford’s North American product communications manager, Mike Levine, tweeted a picture of a 2018 Ford F-150 with a 10-speed automatic and a column shifter — merging the past and future — we naturally wondered whether column shifters deserve more involvement in the present.
Blame Technology: Awful Shifters Will Continue Until They're Made Great Again
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.
Piston Slap: Dear Ecoboost Mustang!
Back in December, I purchased a new 2016 Ford Mustang 2.3-liter Ecoboost. Awesome car, my first Ecoboost and my first “sports” car. Anyway, the vehicle only has 2,200 miles and I’m still very much breaking it in.
Much to my dismay, last week while driving home through a wooded stretch, I struck a deer in the middle of the road. The deer was already dead, laying across multiple lanes with no way for me to avoid.
Investigation Into FCA's Monostable Shifter Finds 266 Crashes, 68 Injuries
Like the rapidly accumulating clouds of an approaching thunderstorm, the number of crashes and injuries related to the misuse of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Monostable shifter are beginning to mushroom.
An investigation into the shifter, like the one in the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee which crushed and killed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin, found 266 crashes that injured 68 people. Originally, the shifter was fingered in 121 crashes and 41 injuries.
Did a Defective Jeep Kill Anton Yelchin? (Update)
According to multiple news reports, promising young actor Anton Yelchin, known for his portrayal of Chekhov in the reborn Star Trek movie series, was killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox at his driveway security gate.
The Jeep was parked on a steep hill but found in neutral gear when he was discovered dead.
Considering recent recalls with Fiat Chrysler Automobile shifters, could a badly designed shifter have killed the 27 year old? And could this be the first death attributable to the design flaw?
Piston Slap: The German TL's Audi 5000 Syndrome?
I have a 2003 Acura TL-S with 106K miles. I bought the car in 2013 with 84K and it was/is in excellent shape. I checked and made sure the car had the transmission recalls performed (I know there were a lot of issues with Honda/Acura 5 speed autos) Back in July I noticed on a hot and humid day it was difficult to move the gear selector from P to Drive. It seemed stiff but there were no other indicators of transmission issues.
Piston Slap: DSG = Das Sticky Gearbox?
I have a 2011 VW CC (2.0 turbo) with DSG that is currently at 35000+ miles without any issues. I love the car and take care of it as much as a first time VAG owner and a first time car owner can take care of it. Problem is that over the last 200 miles or so, I have been noticing that the shift lever moves rough/ hesitates to move as quickly as I am used to it moving.
I am not talking about the actual shifts themselves but the shifter itself being rough to move within the case when upshifting or downshifting in DSG model.
Super Piston Slap: NVH = Killing You With Kindness?
While Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH) control built into a modern machine is normally your friend, it often kills you with kindness. That’s when NVH hides things that should never be hidden. Shameful. Cowardly. Pathetic. And while I wasn’t expecting this level of deceit when merely replacing the shift knob on the otherwise stock transmission in my 2011 Ford Ranger…well it was thrust upon me. And it can happen to you, too.
B&M Shifters On The Way For Hyundai Accent, Veloster
Hyundai doesn’t get every bit of a car perfect before introducing it. No auto maker does. But Hyundai does pay attention to feedback from reviewers and owners, and often upgrades its cars in response to criticism. Only in its fourth model year, the Genesis Coupe already has had its interior upgraded twice.
Piston Slap: Shifting In, Wiping Out, Zoom-Zoom-Zoom
I am driving a 2010 Mazda3 2.5 with a 6 speed manual. 9000 miles in, the trans is still sticky, especially going into 1st while rolling. What could help reduce this?
Second, the automatic wipers are amusing to watch. How exactly do they work?
In Panther love, I sighted a sleek black Signature L, a rare one. 6 inches more rear leg room and 1 1/2 inch wider track. Should be a nice ride. The longer wheelbase helps reduce the inverted bathtub look.
Piston Slap: Design Week: Crooked Shift Patterns
TTAC Commentator Karl_Donina writes:
Hi, Sajeev. I want to know why it’s so fashionable for automakers to provide obnoxiously labyrinthine automatic shifter gates. It seems to have started with Jaguar’s innocuous J-shaped gates of the ’80s, but these days it seems to have become passé to provide a simple, easy-to-use linear gate — push button or hold lever to one side to move in a straight line out of park and through the gears, or back the other direction. Now every shift, whether from 1 to 2 or N to R or whatever, requires inconsistent and annoying fore-aft and transverse movements. The gates on Subarus I’ve driven lately are ridiculous, as is the one in the Yaris I rented last week. And there are many more. Thanks for whatever enlightenment you can provide.