Rotary Shift Gear Dials Are a Step Back in Vehicle Transmissions

Transmission levers, like several other functions in a car, remained the same through-and-through. Though in recent years, much reinventing has been done to simplify it more than it already is. Nothing affected the stick shift, but automatic transmissions have gotten more variants. Buttons are used more on hybrids and electric vehicles, while rotary ones are assigned to ICE cars. Change is inevitable, and whilst the newer types are taking over, is it worth the unseen complications?


The process still relies on depressing the brake first, so there isn’t much change. Shifting a normal gear lever in an automatic barely requires effort, which makes buttons and rotary dials only a slight enhancement. Many have ridiculed it for people possibly mistaking it as a volume knob; a possible danger that fortunately was thought of by the manufacturers. Sure, it takes less space in the center console and the middle of the seats, but having to make sure and look at it everytime you change directions is rather impractical. A traditional lever is much easier to locate, grab hold and operate in situations where you need to change between gears quickly without paying much attention to what you’re shifting into. Gear knobs have a greater chance of error when over-rotating especially when taking its small size into consideration.


p class=”MsoNormal”>As much as I tend to disapprove of new features, buttons are much more viable as their locations are most likely on the dashboard, ensuring that you press and select the right gear. Then again, an old-fashioned straight/zig-zag patterned gear selector is a tried-and-tested variant that most vehicles still rely on, which does bring hope for practicality in newer cars.


(Thumbnail image sourced from Ford)

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