Why some electronic shifters are terrible

As traditional, mechanical gearshifts slowly disappear, by-wire electric shifters are taking their place. That isn't always a good thing.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole

Electronic gear selectors are getting more and more popular, rapidly replacing traditional mechanical shifters. Naturally, some auto-makers' implementations of tech is this easy to use and well thought out, but other manufacturers have completely missed the mark.

It seems like every new or redesigned vehicle these days features an electronic gear selector, where there's no mechanical linkage between the shifter and transmission. There are countless benefits to going this route, from increasing interior storage space to lighter weight to enabling some seriously innovative new features -- particularly certain advanced driver-assist systems.

For the most part, shift-by-wire is a great idea, even if sometimes automakers' implementations can take time to get used to (or worse, remain super annoying). I'd argue that certain automakers haven't instituted this technology properly, however, and that this can cause more problems than it solves. Check out the accompanying video where I sound off on electronic shifters. Do you agree with my take on this topic, or am I just full of hot air?

Why I hate some electronic shifters

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