The automobile industry is constantly evolving with manufacturing bringing in more features to make the whole driving experience more fun, soothing and comfortable. Some are real leaps and some are just gimmicks. Paddle shifters are one of them or are they?
Earlier they were restricted to high-performance supercars, but recently they have become more common. But are they really that good or just a gimmick? Readers, time to know about paddle shifters in regular cars and do we really need them or not.
What are paddle shifters?
They can be defined as an aid to take matters into your hands in an automatic transmission. There are two levers placed behind the steering wheel, one on the right with a ‘+’ (positive) sign and one on the left with a ‘-‘ (negative) sign. If you have an automatic vehicle and you still feel like taking control, you can simply toggle between these levers(left for downshifting and right for upshift) to change gears. Pretty simple isn’t it?
Paddle shifters came to life in the 1980s when F1 teams thought of developing a new type of automatic transmission which was smoother and easier to use. Earlier they used to have a gear lever like normal road cars; which was a little time consuming out on the race track. Ferrari was the first team to develop a technology like this in 1989.
Paddle shifters blessed road-legal vehicles in 1997 when Ferrari introduced it in their flagship sports cars, the F335 Berlinetta. Though they weren’t a huge hit at first, they evolved with time and when DCT technology came, paddle shifters really took the stage.
From that point, almost every high-performance car had DCT coupled with paddle shifters and they insanely reduced the gear shift timings. Additionally, it was smoother, took a lot less time to change gears and yeah, the rest is history.
Let’s see how a paddle shifter works. In automatic cars with shifters, you can select the ‘manual mode’ or “sports mode’ (depending upon the car) and it gives you control over the gears. The DCT gearbox (ideally) assigns the odd gears to one shaft and the even gears to the other shaft. So whenever you upshift or downshift it’s a lot faster, smoother and overall hassle-free compared to say, a manual shifter.
Are Paddle Shifters Useful?
The main advantage of having paddle shifters is more control of your vehicle. You don’t have to reach for the shifter every time you feel like shifting, as you can do it by the flick of your finger. This makes the whole drive seamless, intense and much more driver-focused.
Do we really need them in regular cars?
Time to address the elephant in the room. Do we really need paddle shifters in regular cars? In our opinion; no. And we will tell you why. Firstly most mainstream Indian cars don’t have that kind of power which can cause issues in controlling the vehicle. So rather than excitement, all you will get are lousy boring up and downshifts.
Secondly, most budget Indian cars have CVT, which only has one clutch. Paddle shifters are not a pleasant combination with CVT; since there is only one clutch the computer cant assign gears and that makes the shifts very delayed; overall making the driving experience boring and somewhat frustrating.
It’s a great technology if you have a great car. Fellows, don’t waste money on the paddle shifter option on your Amaze, instead, save up money for a couple of years (maybe decades) and buy an Aventador! Till then this is all you need to know about paddle shifters in regular cars.