Changing gear, changing times.
More and more innovative ways of changing gear are being produced. From the older more traditional style manual gear boxes to fully automatic and flappy style gear change mechanisms.
With an increasing range of technology on new cars, there are always new innovation and ideas. However can you have too much of a good thing.
Top gear will often reports on cars that do too much and in particular Clarkson has a clear dislike for bad transmission systems. He seems to bare particular a bad bug and almost grudge with the flappy paddle gear change. He criticises Ferrari for their use of flappy paddle gearboxes. Wilst test driving a Corvette JK says Its a joy to have a proper manual gear box and none of those stupid flappy paddles, take not Ferraris. He also slams a few other cars for their dependency on technology; demonstrating their complexity by showing the process of starting them up.
People are naturally conservative and often resistant to change. The older style manual gear box does do the job, but will they eventually be phased out?
These gear boxes can take away from the driving experience, so some enthusiasts dont like them. New innovations are not perfect from their conception. They often take time to evolve and change. After refinement, could we find that people start to take to the new ways of doing things? The old gear took time to get right. On older cars the change used to be heavy and if we go right back, the first cars sometimes used multiple levers to engage the right ratio. Today though the majority of cars have gearboxes suited to their intended driver. Unless of course, the model of car referred to suffers from bad design.
Full automatics can be boring to drive and they take the fun out of driving. It does leave you to concentrate on other driving issues than changing gear. It could well be said that it improves safety and reaction times. Some vehicles (a very few) though will fully manage their gear setting. This can leave the driver without gearing options such as engine breaking.
Looking at servicing and parts, the reliability of automatics and new style gear changes has improved over the course of time. With an increasing number of used parts becoming available, they have also become more cost effective.
Its not all negative: The flappy paddle gear box and fully/semi automatics have their uses. For those you find changing gear difficult such as disabled or infirm drivers. These gear boxes can enable them to drive the car and thus make them more mobile. In motor racing, some rally drivers use flappy paddle style system and lets not forget where the technology was trial out, Formula One Racing.