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GMC Introduces First-Ever 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate

GMC Introduces First-Ever 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate

2022-05-03

DETROIT – The GMC Yukon helped create the Denali brand — now the 2023 GMC Yukon Denali Ultimate trim elevates the iconic sub-brand.

Distinguished with exterior and interior details, next-level materials, innovative available technologies and impressive capability, the new 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate is the most premium Yukon ever offered.

In addition to its elevated interior and exterior design, Yukon Denali Ultimate introduces the available class-leading, trailering-capable Super Cruise1 driver assistance technology to Yukon, including the capability to automatically change lanes or tow while driving hands-free on compatible roads2.

The 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate also brings elevated comfort and conveniences, such as 16-way power front seats with massage. Additionally, the 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate introduces an advanced 18-speaker Bose Performance Series audio system to GMC for the first time, including head restraint-based speakers for front-row passengers. Etched metal speaker grilles provide an elegant look that fits seamlessly into the premium interior of the Yukon Denali Ultimate.

The 2023 Yukon Denali Ultimate goes on sale this fall with a standard 6.2L V-8 or available Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel. Both engines are paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Capability remains important as ever with standard Magnetic Ride Control, standard Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, standard Active Response 4WD™ system with electronic limited-slip differential and Auto Track two-speed transfer case.

See below for more details about the Yukon Denali Ultimate’s unique features or download the fact sheet.

1Class is Large SUV. Excludes other GM vehicles. Late availability. Always pay attention while driving and when using Super Cruise. Do not use a hand-held device. Visit https://www.gmc.com/connectivity-technology/super-cruise for compatible roads and full details.
2Automatic Lane Change and Lane Change on Demand are not available while trailering.

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Next-Generation GMC Canyon to Bolster Off-Road Performance with AT4X

Next-Generation GMC Canyon to Bolster Off-Road Performance with AT4X

A new standard in advanced off-road performance to be revealed summer 2022

2022-04-14

DETROIT – Today, GMC teased the next-generation Canyon mid-size truck and confirmed the introduction of the AT4X trim to the Canyon lineup. The Canyon will become the second vehicle in GMC’s lineup to adopt the AT4X trim – GMC’s off-road optimized performance trim that offers serious capability and uncompromising refinements.

The current generation Canyon debuted in 2014. Since then, GMC has upgraded the mid-size truck over the years to include the AT4 trim and an off-road performance package that adds a 1-inch suspension leveling kit, off-road rocker panel protection, and front and mid skid plates. Most recently, GMC revealed the Canyon AT4 concept last year, which included a number of off-roading and overlanding accessories.

The next-generation Canyon AT4X signals the next chapter for GMC’s mid-size truck with the teaser previewing the Canyon AT4X’s badging, rocker protectors and 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels.

GMC will reveal the next-generation Canyon including Canyon AT4X in summer 2022.

AT4X: The peak in premium off-roading performance
First introduced on the 2022 GMC Sierra, the AT4X trim is the off-road optimized evolution of GMC’s increasingly popular AT4 sub-brand.

About GMC
With a strong foundation of manufacturing trucks since 1902 and now selling in a dozen countries across the world, GMC offers purpose-built vehicles designed and engineered to the highest standard. From the all-new compact SUV Terrain to the Sierra HD, our trucks and crossovers deliver GMC’s signature combination of intuitive technologies and premium execution, with the popular Denali representing the pinnacle of GMC design, performance and amenities. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @GMC or at www.facebook.com/gmc.

All-Access, All-Electric: Feature-Length Documentary Chronicles the GMC HUMMER EV’s Origin Story

All-Access, All-Electric: Feature-Length Documentary Chronicles the GMC HUMMER EV’s Origin Story

“REVOLUTION: GMC HUMMER EV” premieres March 27 in The HISTORY® Channel’s DRIVE block and follows the team tasked with bringing the GMC HUMMER EV to life

2022-03-15

DETROIT GMC and A+E Networks® announced the television premiere of “REVOLUTION: GMC HUMMER EV,” a new documentary showcasing the development of the all-electric supertruck.

First airing in the DRIVE block on The HISTORY® Channel on Sunday, March 27, at 11 a.m. ET, the 60-minute film follows the hand-selected group of General Motors team members that helped launch the company’s first all-electric pickup in record time – just over two years. Thanks to the documentary crew’s unfettered access, viewers will go behind the scenes of key moments in the development of the GMC HUMMER EV, from inception to start of production.

“Our goal was to upend what an electric vehicle is capable of and push the boundaries from 100 years of vehicle development experience,” said Josh Tavel, executive chief engineer. “This documentary captures the soul of a team capable of incredible innovation and resilience. Their learnings are laying the foundation of vehicle development for decades to come.”

GMC selected Detroit-based WTP Pictures and Hiatus to produce the film, and director Sean King O’Grady to bring the team’s journey to life. Join the team in the freezing temperatures of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as they test the limits of the GMC HUMMER EV on snow and ice. Then, head to the scorching heat and steep red rocks of Moab, Utah, as the team fine-tunes the truck’s off-road capability. Along the way, viewers will dive deeper into GM’s testing and development facilities – previously unseen by the public – including the storied halls of the GM Design building at the Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, and the company’s rigorous proving grounds in Milford, Michigan, and Yuma, Arizona.

Viewers will also go inside the massive undertaking to build out and retool GM’s Factory ZERO Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. The documentary also showcases the development of GM’s Ultium Platform, a dedicated EV architecture and propulsion system that provides flexible applications in nearly every type of vehicle. Alongside the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV, this trifecta reinforces GM’s commitment to an all-electric future.

“The story we discovered while filming was far more fascinating than anything we could have hoped for,” said O’Grady. “We witnessed a bold and passionate team bring GM’s first major entry into this extraordinary transformation of the auto industry. This was an incredible opportunity to go deep behind the scenes of the development process to discover what it takes to bring a vehicle to life, and to capture this moment in automotive history as it happened.”

“Throughout the film, we incorporated imagery of the team fine-tuning the GMC HUMMER EV and testing across a variety of rugged terrains and cutting-edge industrial settings,” said Jesse Ford, founder of WTP Pictures and producer of the film. “We’re excited to show audiences how hobbies and experiences inspired real world features like CrabWalk1.”

Following the premiere on The HISTORY® Channel, there will be an encore showing of the film on FYI™ on Thursday, March 31, at 9 p.m. ET. The documentary will also be available for streaming via History on Hulu and History.com on Sunday, March 27 as well as on GMC’s YouTube channel starting Sunday, April 3.

“A+E Networks is proud to collaborate with GMC to bring car enthusiasts behind the scenes of the making of the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV, GMC’s first all-electric vehicle,” said Mike Buccella, vice president, Enthusiast Ad Sales, A+E Networks. “DRIVE viewers on The HISTORY Channel and FYI have an incredible passion for automotive innovation and adventure and this documentary delivers those in spades.”

The 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup2 is the first all-electric vehicle in GMC’s portfolio and features revolutionary architecture that delivers off-road capability and on-road performance. Throughout the documentary, see how the team developed industry-leading innovations, including the available CrabWalk1 and the revolutionary Watts to Freedom3 launch control mode.

Production4 of the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup began in late 2021 at GM’s Factory ZERO Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center – a 40-year-old facility revamped with a $2.2 billion investment to support GM’s all-electric future. The first customer deliveries began in December of last year and will continue throughout this year. GMC’s electric lineup will expand with the 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV5, which will go into production at Factory ZERO in early 2023, and the all-electric Sierra Denali6.

Reservations for available models are currently accepted at GMC.com/HummerEV.

About GMC
With a strong foundation of manufacturing trucks since 1902 and now selling in a dozen countries across the world, GMC offers purpose-built vehicles designed and engineered to the highest standard. From the all-new compact SUV Terrain to the Sierra HD, our trucks and crossovers deliver GMC’s signature combination of intuitive technologies and premium execution, with the popular Denali sub-brand representing the pinnacle of GMC design, performance and amenities. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @GMC or at www.facebook.com/gmc.

ABOUT A+E NETWORKS
A+E Networks® is a global content company comprised of some of the most popular and culturally relevant brands in media, including A&E®, Lifetime®, The HISTORY Channel™, LMN®, FYI,®, VICE TV® and Blaze®.  A+E Networks’ portfolio extends across platforms and genres with a scripted production division, A+E Studios™; unscripted production, Six West Media™; and independent film unit, A&E IndieFilms®. A+E Networks Digital™ includes watch apps, games, FAST channels, AVOD, and SVOD products Lifetime Movie Club® and HISTORY Vault®; and podcasts such as History This Week™. A+E Consumer Enterprises™ includes experiential/branded live events such as HISTORYTalks™ and E-commerce; and A+E Networks International® includes branded channels, content distribution and scripted/unscripted co-productions around the world. A+E Networks’ content reaches more than 414 million households in 200 territories in 40 languages. A+E Networks is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/aenetworks and Facebook at facebook.com/AENetworks.

1Limited to low speeds. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.
2Edition 1 Pickup limited availability by waitlist. Additional GMC HUMMER EV models available Fall 2022.
3Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.
4From globally sourced parts.
5Edition 1 SUV limited availability early 2023 by waitlist. Additional GMC HUMMER EV SUV models available Spring 2023.
6Electric Sierra availability to be announced at a later date.

GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1 Pickup in Production, Ready for Customer Deliveries

GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1 Pickup in Production, Ready for Customer Deliveries

Proceeds from VIN 001 benefit Tunnel to Towers Foundation

2021-12-17

DETROIT The first 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickups have been produced at Factory ZERO, and customer deliveries will now begin. The revolutionary GMC supertruck represents the first of many Ultium-based consumer vehicles to be produced as part of General Motors’ vision for an all-electric future.

“We brought this truck to market with speed and agility and brought GM another step closer to an all-electric future,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “With our Ultium Platform as the foundation for a broad range of applications, the GMC HUMMER EV offers our customers the ultimate in capability and performance.”

VIN 001 of the Edition 1 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup was auctioned March 27, 2021, at Barrett-Jackson at a hammer price of $2.5 million with proceeds benefitting the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an organization established to honor the memory of Sept. 11 first responder Stephen Siller. The foundation builds mortgage-free, accessible smart homes for the most catastrophically injured veterans and provides mortgage-free homes for Gold Star families and the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. More information is available at www.tunnel2towers.org.

The GMC HUMMER EV Edition 1’s design features an Interstellar White exterior, unique Lunar Horizon interior and is powered by GM’s new Ultium Platform. Its revolutionary capability offers a GM-estimated up to 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 lb-ft of torque. It has a starting MSRP of $110,2951. Signature features include:

  • 4 Wheel Steer featuring CrabWalk2 – allows the rear wheels and front wheels to steer at the same angle at low speeds, enabling diagonal movement of the vehicle, for even greater maneuverability on challenging terrain.
  • Adaptive Air Suspension with Extract Mode3  enables the suspension height to be raised approximately 6 inches (149 mm) to help the GMC HUMMER EV negotiate extreme off-road situations such as clearing boulders or fording water.
  • Watts to Freedom4 – a driver-selectable experience that unleashes the full acceleration capability of the EV propulsion system, including GM-estimated 0-60-mph performance in approximately 3 seconds.
  • Super Cruise5 – a driver-assistance feature offering hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles (approximately 322,000 km) of enabled roads, and a new automatic lane changing feature, where the system can determine when a lane change is optimal and initiate the maneuver while following signaling protocols.

Though reservations for Edition 1 models are sold out, reservations for available models are currently accepted at GMC.com/HummerEV.

The GMC HUMMER EV leads future production of zero-emission vehicles at GM’s Factory ZERO Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, which has been retooled, upgraded and expanded with a $2.2 billion investment by GM. Factory ZERO will serve as the launchpad for the company’s multi-brand EV strategy6.

About GMC
With a strong foundation of manufacturing trucks since 1902 and now selling in a dozen countries across the world, GMC offers purpose-built vehicles designed and engineered to the highest standard. From the all-new compact SUV Terrain to the Sierra HD, our trucks and crossovers deliver GMC’s signature combination of intuitive technologies and premium execution, with the popular Denali sub-brand representing the pinnacle of GMC design, performance and amenities. Details on all GMC models are available at www.gmc.com, on Twitter at @GMC or at www.facebook.com/gmc.

1MSRP excludes tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment.
2Limited to low speeds. Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.
3Late availability. Model-year 2022 Edition 1 models will require a no-charge software update. Standard on model-year 2023 Edition 1 models.
4Read the vehicle Owner’s Manual for important feature limitations and information.
5Even while using the Super Cruise driver assistance feature for compatible roads, always pay attention while driving and do not use a hand-held device. Requires properly equipped vehicle, active Super Cruise subscription, working electrical system, cell reception, and GPS signal.
Of domestic and globally sourced parts.

All the weird ways you can shift an automatic

Transmission shifters have come in all shapes, sizes and locations since the beginning of time. Even manual transmissions could be had with shifters on the steering column (“three on the tree”) in addition to the usual “stick shift” that grew out of the floor or center console, but it’s obviously the automatic that has enjoyed the widest array of shifting options. The PRND shift order used to be assured, with the most common variants being a big fat stalk mounted on the steering column, or some sort of stick sprouting from the center console. Sometimes that stick needed you to first press a button to move, sometimes it needed to make its way through gates.

Now, there was occasionally some experimentation over the years with pushbutton shifters, especially in the 1950s and ’60s, but for the most part, drivers in recent decades didn’t really need to think too much when going from car to car. And then the electronic shifter became commonplace. Free from the need to be physically connected to the transmission, they allow designers and engineers to create new, novel ways to select Park, Reverse and Drive. Usually, what they come up with are just examples of being different for the sake of being different. When properly utilized, however, there is an actual advantage to them: they take up less space (or none at all) on the center console, which allows for bigger cupholders, additional storage or infotainment controls. It’s pretty obvious which of the below shifters do a better job of this space efficiency than others, as well as which fall into that “different for different sake” category.

And holy cow are there a lot of electronic shifter designs these days. We’ve broken them down into general categories below, and we’ve almost certainly missed a couple. If all this seems overly complicated, maybe just stick to a manual?

The Ubiquitous Monostable Shifter

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e PHEV

BMW

We’re mostly going alphabetically here, but it’s fitting that BMW goes first as it was one of the first brands to introduce and popularize what has become the most common type of electronic transmission shifter. Roughly akin to a joystick, the term “monostable” indicates that no matter which direction you push or pull it, it returns to its original position. In most cases, you push forward through a detent to get to Reverse and back through a detent to get Drive. In the case of BMW, you then slide it laterally to find a separate “gate” devoted to up and down manual shifting. This functionality has remained the same over the years even if BMW has changed the knob design. It also set a precedent for other brands. 

2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo

This works exactly the same as BMW’s. It was upgraded to have a nicer piece of hardware for 2021 complete with a little Italian flag at its base. Ciao!

2019 Audi A62021 Audi SQ5 Sportback

Audi

The monostable found on many Audis (above left) works similar to BMW’s but the shift knob design is quite different. It usually doubles as a place to rest your arm while using a touchscreen. 

2022 Chevy Silverado High Country

GM

Found in Cadillacs in particular, this monostable above left works basically the same as BMW’s. Earlier versions had an unusual dogleg design for Reverse that made you push up and to the left to engage. This was supposedly for safety, but was confusing. Above right you can see the new 2022 Silverado has a monostable that would seem to function the same but has a more Audi-like design.

Jaguar

The Jaguar F-Type has always had a cool monostable shifter that felt like the butt of a futuristic space gun in your hand. It gradually spread throughout the Jaguar-Land Rover lineup, frequently replacing the old rotary shifter. Unfortunately, the space gun is being replaced in all Jaguars but the F-Type with this nobby little sledge instead. Boo. 

Land Rover

Land Rover uses monostables, but has different knobs. The Defender’s unique, dash-mounted knob is shaped like a bent nail, while the Discovery and new Range Rover get the nobby little sledge (or “palm shifter”) shared with corporate sibling Jaguar.

Mercedes-AMG

The Mercedes-AMG GT coupe and sedan both feature a monostable shifter on the center console, versus the column-mounted shifter found on all other Mercedes (see below). Its small size puts in on the border between this category on the next, mini monostable category.

2020 Mini Cooper SE in Miami2020 Mini Cooper SE in Miami

Mini

The electric Mini Cooper SE has a monostable shifter that works the same as those in parent company BMW’s cars. The knob is different, though.

Nissan and Infiniti

The new Nissan shifter, found in the Rogue and show above left, is a monostable design. It’s a bit smaller than the norm, but not quite to the same level as the mini variants shown below. Sister company Infiniti also uses a monostable in its QX50 and QX55, shown above right, but it’s a heftier, higher-quality piece that also locates the Park button separate of the knob itself (which is annoying).

Volvo and Polestar

Electrified corporate cousins of Volvo and Polestar share a common monostable shifter unit, but the knobs differ. Range-topping Volvos get a knob furnished out of Orrefors crystal. Fancy. The Polestar shifter works the same, but instead of crystal, there’s a hole in it. Wacky.

The Miniature Monostable

2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT

Audi

Audi, like other Volkswagen Group brands, has introduced a sort of Monostable Mini that broadly functions in the same Forward/Reverse and Back/Drive orientation, but it uses a variety of weird, tiny, nub-like controls. We don’t really like them, mostly because they look unsubstantial and a bit lame. The Audi S3 is above left, the Audi e-Tron GT is above right.

 

Audi e-Tron

Yet another Audi take on the monostable. You still push forward for Reverse and pull back for Drive, but here, the shifter is effectively flopped on its side and operated with your thumb (Reverse) or index finger (Drive).

Porsche

This is basically the same as what you’ll find elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group, but it just looks extra-dopey in Porsche. Even if a shifter is rarely used in an automatic Porsche, there’s something so unsubstantial and unrewarding about using this little tab. It’s located on the center console in the 911 (above left) and on the dash in the Taycan (above right). Other Porsches have more traditional automatic shifters.

Volkswagen

Again, pretty much the same nub deal as what you’ll get in an Audi or Porsche, but in a Volkswagen. Also, again, in a performance vehicle like a GTI (left) and Golf R (right), it just seems a bit lame. 

The Rotary PRND

Chrysler Pacifica, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer, Most Ram Trucks

This simple rotary design basically replaces the north-south PRND shift knob and replaces it with an east-west knob. It also saves space by allowing for a dash-mounted placement, thereby keeping the center console area open in both the Pacifica and six-passenger Ram. It just looks fancy in the new Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer.

Ford

The rotary shifter has been found throughout the Ford lineup for nearly a decade now, albeit with variously different knob hardware. This one is slightly different, in that there aren’t hard detents “at the end” of its travel for Park and Drive. The “P” lights up to let you know you’re in Park, but you can keep twirling the dial past that point. According to Ford engineer Leeway Ho, “Our extensive customer research showed that users understand ‘P’ and ‘D’ as the two end points and the most commonly used positions … so they just twirl freely and know there’s no danger of overshooting their desired position, which is what a physical stop prevents. A quick rotation of the wrist without discreetly counting indentations will put the car into ‘P’ or ‘D,’ depending upon which way you’re rotating, without the harsh endstop you would encounter otherwise. In addition, the customer will see Park position in the cluster, and the car provides a subtle audible feedback when you’ve selected ‘P.’”

The Rotary Monostable

Genesis

Genesis utilizes a rotary shifter, but its functionality differs from those of the others. It’s vaguely similar in concept to the monostable where you twist left for Reverse and twist right for Drive. You then press the Park button in the middle. Of course, the Genesis GV70 (above right) complicates things by adding a second knob of virtually the same size adjacent to it that controls the infotainment system. In the G80 and GV80 (above left), the infotainment controller is more like an old iPod flush-mounted scroll wheel. 

The Rotary Glowing Orb

Genesis GV60

The rotary “Crystal Sphere” shifter of the new electric GV60 selects a gear in the same method as the other Genesis rotary shifters: twist left for Reverse, twist right for Drive, press button for park. But, there’s a wrinkle. When parked, a glowing glass hemisphere with an intricate lattice pattern sits on the center console. The lighting within can be customized with dozens of preset colors (or a hue of your own choosing) to match the ambient lighting on the doors and dash. When you’ve authenticated yourself as the driver, the orb flips over to reveal the ornate rotary gear selector. Genesis claims it’s actually a safety feature because you’ll clearly know when the car is actually on. That can be an issue in a car without an internal combustion engine, but any claim that a fanciful electronic shifter is a safety feature does seem dubious. 

The Column Shifter 2.0

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes was one of the earliest automakers to widely adopt electronic shifters, and immediately seized upon their advantage of freeing up center console space by removing it from the center console altogether. Virtually every Mercedes, apart from select AMG models, has an electronic column shifter. It works a bit like a monostable on its side: flip up for Reverse, flip down for Drive and press the button on the end for Park. Pretty simple. It can take a bit to remember where the shifter went, but once you do, it immediately becomes second nature. In fact, after swapping out of a Mercedes test vehicle and into something else, it’s quite common for us to turn on the new car’s windshield wipers when trying to put the car into Drive. 

We do not have a photo of it, but the Lucid Air uses a similar shifter design, likely because of the precedent set by our next entry. 

Tesla

Tesla originally used the same shifter design and hardware as Mercedes, but eventually moved on to unique pieces of hardware. Tesla is moving away from such physical hardware entirely, however. Keep on reading. 

The Button Shifters

Aston Martin

Aston has used button-activated automatic transmission shifters since the DB9, which basically had the same setup as the DBX (above left). The Vantage has its buttons arranged in a triangle low on the center stack.

Hyundai

At present, there are two types of button-reliant shifters offered by Hyundai. The one above left is found in the Palisade, Tucson and Sonata. The other, above right, is essentially Hyundai’s first go at a button shifter and found in the Ioniq Electric.

Jaguar I-Pace

The electric I-Pace is the outlier in the Jag lineup with its button-operated shifter.

The Push-and-Pull Button Shifters

Honda / Acura

The electronic shifter found in most Hondas and Acuras is a common button design. You push buttons for Park, Neutral and Drive, then pull up on a tab-like control for Reverse. The ergonomics of this shifter greatly depend on its placement. The closer it is to where your hand would naturally rest in the car, as in the Acura TLX above left, the more natural it is to use. In the CR-V, above right, not so much.

GM Variant 1: Console Mounted

This new push-and-pull button shifter design, found in the 2022 Chevy Bolt (above left) and Buick Envision (above right) among others, is similar to Honda’s design but you pull for both Reverse and Drive. 

GM Variant 2: Corvette

The Corvette shifter is similar to the others above, but is a different piece of hardware.

2018 GMC Terrain SLT Diesel2022 GMC Terrain

GM Variant 3: The GMC Terrain

One of our least favorite shifters, this is pure “different for different sake.” Although the button design was updated (seen above right) from its original hardware (above left), the functionality remains. Push for Park and Neutral. Pull for Reverse and Drive. Bizarrely, push buttons for + or – gears. This thing also takes up a needlessly excessive amount of space and isn’t ergonomic to use. Silliness.

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

GM Variant 4: Full-Size SUVs

Found in the Chevy Tahoe and Yukon, this is the same design as the Terrain’s, but flipped on its side to be a better ergonomic fit for your hand and placed in a closer, more sensible location between the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

The Piano Keys

Lincoln

Only Lincoln does this. For a while, the brand used buttons stacked laterally adjacent to the central touchscreen. Then, with the Navigator, it introduced the current shifter design that is most comparable to piano keys. It’s simple enough to work, if a bit silly. 

The Nub

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced

Toyota Prius

We break away from our normal alphabetical listing here to highlight the car that basically introduced the world to electronic shifters. And it did so with “the nub.” This squat little doo-dad introduced for the second-generation Prius (the first one that was actually popular) and mounted to its dash is literally a monostable, but differs from the BMW-established norm by requiring you to slide it left and then up for Reverse, or left and then down for Drive. Some versions, as in the case of the Prius, have a B function that replicates engine-braking while going down hill.

2019 Nissan Leaf Plus first drive

Nissan Leaf

Clearly inspired by the Prius, the Nissan Leaf debuted with a flying saucer-shaped shifter that operated in the same way as the Prius nub (minus B mode). It survived to the second-generation Leaf, pictured above.

Lexus

The new Lexus NX and Lexus LC have a variation of the Prius “nub,” even if the models in question aren’t hybrids. The nobs aren’t as nubby, but they functional the same. Left and up for Reverse; left and down for Drive. A Sport transmission mode replaces B when you slide it back. 

The Touchscreen / Telepathy

Tesla

When the Tesla Model S recently received it’s first major refresh, the big news was the adoption of a yoke instead of a steering wheel. Somewhat buried by that news was that Tesla’s previous, Mercedes-like, column-mounted electronic shifter would be replaced by a swiping motion on the touchscreen. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. That functionality was intended to be the “override.” According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the “car guesses drive direction based on what obstacles it sees, context and nav map.” In other words, it should automatically just figure out which direction you want to go. Like, telepathy? In any event, none of the above seems like a good idea. You can see why that might be the case, at least in terms of the yoke and touchscreen shifter, thanks to Motor Trend‘s Christian Seabaugh and his attempt at a multi-point turn. Hey, maybe it would’ve gone better if he just let the car read his mind.