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| Paddle shifters used to be found exclusively in high-performance sports cars, but these days, they’re featured regular cars like the new Ford Escape and even the Honda Odyssey minivan. |
But don’t people buy automatic cars because they don’t want to shift their own gears? Why do so many automatic cars these days have paddle shifters, even if they’re not sporty cars? When and why should you use paddle shifters in an automatic car?
'There’s always cases where someone will want the paddle shifters,' said Erich Heuschle, an engineer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Heuschle works on FCA’s high-performance SRT brand, the folks responsible for cars like the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. He also is one member of an elite group of FCA engineers who are approved to test vehicles at their handling limit, which is to say he’s allowed to thrash development cars until they disintegrate or meet his high standards.
'The paddle shifters are more about fun and engagement, rather than function because the [automatic] transmission shift logic is so good,' he said. 'We put so much effort into making the automatic behave well.'
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