I like to think I’ve earned my reputation for rushing in where angels fear to tread

So, I’ve been reading the owner’s manual for the new car, trying to figure out what some of these, um, improvements are.  Honestly, some of the differences between the little green Subaru and Kineo couldn’t be vaster if Kineo did, indeed, fly.

For instance. . . The little green Subaru had a PRNDL stick  (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Low); the new car has a PRNDM stick (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, MANUAL), and two paddles on the steering wheel from which I am to manage my manual driving.

Can someone please explain the point of this to me?  I mean, I have what’s supposed to be a Perfectly Good automatic transmissioned vehicle.  Why would I want to put it into “Manual” and then shift it like a motorcycle?  It seems like a really good way to screw up the transmission, in my view, besides being utterly useless, but I’m willing to learn better.

In other news, I have finished my final pass through the DetCon programming survey, and the coffee is gone.  In a few moments, I’m off to the sofa, with a red pen, a blue pen, a yellow pad and the printout of the Epiphany.  I expect, at some point, to acquire Feline Assistance.  And coffee.  Definitely coffee.


Today’s blog post title comes to you courtesy of Warren Zevon.  Here’s your link.

7 thoughts on “I like to think I’ve earned my reputation for rushing in where angels fear to tread”

  1. My AWD Nissan Rogue also has those “paddles”. I purchased said vehicle in 2009 and have never used them except for the day I bought the car and the sales person was showing me how to use them. I have forgotten all about them since.

  2. When driving in the mountains it is very useful to use a lower gear because it slows you down without using brakes.

    Or if driving very aggressively, you might downshift while braking for a curve so that you can apply maximum power without waiting for the automatic to downshift.

  3. A manual shift option allows the knowledgeable driver to tweak the performance curve. An automatic transmission performance curve is tweaked for fuel efficiency, that is, it typically will shift to the next gear as soon as the vehicle speed and applicable gear ratios allow. Economical … but not necessarily the best choice in all circumstances sometimes you just need to get to highway speed a little faster than “economically” and as Jonathan points out, the option to control low gear in steep incline (and off-road!) situations is very handy.

  4. I use the paddles on my outback to slow down with control in the snow. HUGE difference between that and braking (if there’s time and space – obviously if you need to stop NOW in the snow, slamming on the brakes and using the ABS is the way to go, as my husband found out this year on 95 during a storm…). I also “downshift” coming down hills (like 137 south into Oakland) without destroying my brakes.

  5. In winter driving, you are less likely to spin out in a higher gear.

    For really good control, though, you need a clutch. Much easier to put it neutral when all you have to do is push a pedal. Most skids will stop quickly once it’s in neutral. It’s also much easier to rock it if all you have to do is work your feet.

    If you have to do much winter driving, I recommend hiring a good driving instructor who has a car similar to yours, in the winter. My instructor used pylons to show me the results as I tried different techniques. Stopping time was cut in half, and I could make emergency turns without skidding. My 1991 manual Corolla was a joy to drive in the winter, much nicer than the 2002 van with all the latest safety features but an automatic transmission.

  6. Well. . .I do live in Maine. And stability on the road in the winter is why I have a Subaru in the first place. The last car was a Subaru automatic; I drove it in all kinds of conditions and never really had a problem. I’m thinking the paddles really for, for me at least, a solution in search of a problem.

  7. Yeah, Subarus are good. They even converted Dad, and he lives at the cottage on the Canadian Shield. Could be I’m out of date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.