Categories: Modification

[Hundred Questions]What is the design of the column gear shifter behind the steering wheel? Introduce the reason for its disappearance and how it was used at that time

table of contents
●The car with the gear lever on the column behind the steering wheel is extinct?
●Is "difficult to operate" a shortcoming? Efforts made by the manufacturer
●MT car adopts the layout of gear lever behind the steering wheel, which is easy to make mistakes.
●What is the reason for the reduction of the gear lever on the steering wheel?
One of the reasons for the rapid increase in the number of cars with central control vertical gear shifting design

The car with the gear lever on the column behind the steering wheel is extinct?


At present, the vehicle gear lever mainly adopts the design of "saddle gear lever" which is arranged next to the knee. But in the past, many cars were designed with a column behind the steering wheel.

The gear lever on the steering wheel is the same as the turn signal and the wiper lever, and they are all located on the machine column behind the steering wheel.

Recently, however, fewer and fewer cars use this type of gear design. After investigating this part, the author found that by 2023, almost no vehicles will adopt the steering wheel gear lever design. So what is the reason for this phenomenon?

Is "difficult to operate" a disadvantage? Manufacturers' efforts for this

Mercedes-Benz "GLC 220d" adopts gear shifting behind the steering wheel

After the 1990s, MPVs and small cars mostly adopt the gear shift design behind the steering wheel.

Its advantage is that it is relatively close to the steering wheel. In addition to being able to operate quickly, it can also expand the space for the front and passenger seats (seats, feet), and the front seats can also be changed to a connected design.

But the disadvantage is that it is difficult to confirm the current gear and the hands will be touched when operating the direction lights and wipers, so the operation is not easy.

Because the steering wheel gear lever is said to be "difficult to operate", something that can resolve this shortcoming was derived.

Mercedes-Benz cars launched around 2016 use a gear lever that can be operated with fingers. The author has also driven the A-Class car model with this design.

Although it was not smooth at the beginning, as long as you remember to move the gear lever down to the D position, and up to the N and P positions, after you get used to it, it will be as smooth as operating the direction lights.

The layout of the gear lever behind the steering wheel of the MT car is easy to make mistakes

We interviewed active driving instructors who had conducted technical training in vehicles designed with a steering wheel gear lever layout in the past.

"Accustoming to the position of the gear lever has a great influence on the operation, so it cannot be asserted that the saddle gear lever must be easier to operate. In the questionnaire implemented by the driving training class, the proportion of people who think that the 'saddle gear lever' is better" is relatively high."

Ask people who think that the "saddle gear lever" is better, their answer is "the layout of the steering wheel gear lever will not know the current gear", "It is different from the explanation in the textbook (basically, the textbook is about the saddle gear lever operation method), it is more difficult to understand".

In terms of difficulty in confirming the gear position, the AT car will have a mark on the dashboard, as long as you are used to the operation of the steering wheel gear lever, it is not a problem.

In addition, in the past experience, MT cars do often have steering wheel gear lever operation errors. Some people say, “Because the gears are frequently operated, the hands will mistakenly touch the operating levers of the direction lights and wipers, which makes them very nervous. Moreover, depending on the car manufacturer and model of the steering wheel, the power control of the steering wheel gear lever will also vary. It has also happened before. The MT car originally planned to shift to second gear but shifted to fourth gear, and the AT car originally intended to shift to P gear but shifted to R gear.” It may take a while to get used to it.

What is the reason for the reduction of the steering wheel gear lever?


Now the steering wheel is equipped with control functions such as shift paddles and audio switches.

The author's car has functions such as shift paddles, automatic cruise switch, audio volume switch, and telephone answer button on the steering wheel.

The addition of joysticks and switches around the steering wheel will also increase the complexity of operation. In order not to affect the operation of these functions, the design of the steering wheel gear lever is gradually reduced, and the saddle gear lever has become the mainstream design at present.

However, in addition to the factor of inconvenience, there are other factors that reduce the design.

A salesperson working at a domestic car factory said, "Due to the development of electronics, the design of the steering wheel gear lever has been reduced."

"With the electronicization of vehicles, it is no longer necessary to change gears in a physical way like in the past, and now you can change gears just by pressing a button. Due to the popularity of electronic and AT vehicles, the need to frequently operate the gear lever is reduced. In addition, the installation place It has become much more free, so the size of the gear lever can be reduced and placed in an easy-to-operate position. AT cars do not need to frequently operate gears, and only need an intuitive operation interface.”

This is also one of the reasons for the rapid increase in the number of cars with central control vertical gear shifting design.

A saddle shifter would make the front seats impossible to use with a connected seat design.

The design of recent light vehicles is also based on the premise of having a spacious interior, and the spacious front seat is also a great attraction for car owners. Therefore, the gear configuration of the vertical plane of the central control is derived, and this design can make the front seat more spacious.

The shifter is designed with the same saddle shifter configuration to ensure the spaciousness of the seat. Cars with this layout allow access to the rear seat without getting out of the car.

At present, space-conscious vehicles such as MPVs and light vehicles mostly adopt this gear layout.

The gear lever has been changed from the previous "control lever for changing gears" to "electronic switch". Because now you only need to press the switch, so it has gradually evolved into an era where easy operation and not easy to touch by mistake are included in the conditions of car selection.

Original source:What is column shift?Introducing the reason why it disappeared and how to use it at the time
Want to see more:MOBY

This post was last modified on August 17, 2023 6:29 am


Dreamer is what I am, but unlike many, I struggle to make my dreams come true. I own, seo, admin and site editor. I am a father, married, Christian, Northeastern/Brazil and Libran. I love cars <3

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