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Not Sure About the Shifter - 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited June 2014 in Ram
imageNot Sure About the Shifter - 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

Our 2014 Ram 1500 has a unique dash-mounted shift knob. It has its advantages, but does it belong in a truck?

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    adamb1adamb1 Member Posts: 122

    There are times when you are stuck and having to rock the vehicle forward and back or jockeying a trailer in tight quarters that a lever can be operated without looking. I don't know that I would have the same confidence in the feel of a dial. It also takes your hand farther away from the steering wheel.

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    kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Member Posts: 863

    Wow, I can't believe they did this. A knob? Wasn't variations of push-button shifting and such failures in the past? To me, changing the drive should require a little bit of force psychologically so you can "feel" when making such big changes even if its not technically required. I would HOPE that there would be no force required as using your fingers isn't the best way to do that.

    If I had that in a rental car, I'd be staring down at it worried that I might have accidentally moved it to neutral.

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    legacygtlegacygt Member Posts: 599

    Not sure I love the knob interface either but definitely don't like the location up on the dash. The transmission should be able to be controlled while comfortably seated in your driving position. The location of this knob (and some other systems like the shifter on the Grand Caravan, the new MKZ and others) require that you lean forward slightly. Not the biggest deal and something you barely think of if you put the car in Drive and take off. But if you're doing a 3 point turn or parallel parking or rocking the car back and forth, it is annoying to keep having to reach for a control that's just outside your grasp.

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    ebeaudoinebeaudoin Member Posts: 509

    Agreed. Shifting ought to be a tactile action, even in an automatic. I like when the lever I grab is attached to mechanical components. Shifting vehicles with push button, rotary or joystick (read: Prius and BMW) shifters is just not quite as satisfying or reassuring. Call me old school, but I know what I like.

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    bassrockerxbassrockerx Member Posts: 24

    i guess this is something easilly fixed with paddle shifters on the steering wheel considering ram is now owned by alfa its just a matter of time before this trickles down to a truck at least as an option.

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    joner800joner800 Member Posts: 80

    after 4k miles i am surprised this is the first mentioning of the strangeness of this knob in a Ram. it was the first thing i thought when i read the feature: this does not belong in a truck.

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    agentorangeagentorange Member Posts: 893

    I HATE the "warp field adjuster" gearshifts with a passion. It's the one reason all Jags excpet the F-Type are dead to me.

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    trmckintrmckin Member Posts: 10

    i test drove a 5.7 v8 ram with the 8 speed yesterday with the rotary shift. It actually has a decent tactile feel to it. Gears are easy to select and there is a fairly solid sound and feel to it. From park.. one turn and click for reverse. Then 2 clicks for Drive. Very simple and feels solid. It is definitely different but after a few rounds, it was fine to me. I'm fairly tall so i can reach it with my back firmly planted against the seat. Maybe a smaller driver or someone with T-rex arms would struggle with it but I didn't mind it. As far as rocking between reverse and drive situations for parking or getting unstuck.. 2 clicks each way. Shifts are instant so i don't think that would be an issue. Easier than a gated Auto shifter. I really liked the truck but I'm still leery of the rumors on the 4 wheel drive system. Would like to see edmunds test the difference in 4 auto and 4 Hi lock to see if there is any. Have read that there is really no 4 lock in this transfer case. Even in 4 lock, it supposedly takes the front wheels a while to lock. that could spell trouble during the winters here.

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    dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926

    I've owned a 2014 Ram Big Horn 5.7 with the 8HP70 eight-speed transmission for six weeks now and the rotary shift knob has become as second nature to me as using my right foot to brake. Whatever misgivings I had about it were initially overcome very quickly by the fact that this is the smoothest transmission I have ever driven in my life (I'm 66 years old). I find it strange that some humans can sit in a darkened room for ten hours playing video games with a controller, play patty-cake with their iPads, type on miniscule little keypads on the iPhones, yet fear the loss of masculinity using a rotary shift knob in a pick-up truck. Not only is the eight-speed giving me between 21-23 on the highway, I'm getting a solid 18-19 around town, with one tank rendering 24.4 MPG. The shifts are imperceptible about 95% of the time, and extremely smooth and quiet. I might add, it appears to make the Ram about 1 second faster, too, and a real rip for passing!

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    jfroejfroe Member Posts: 3

    I have a 2014 Laramie with the 8 speed. I love the dial shifter. Took a long time to get used to it, but I never miss a shift with it. Very tactile and solid feeling. Cleans up the clutter on the dash very nicely. Smoothest transmission ever and makes the most of the hemi.

    I second Trmckin's comment on the 4wd system for the Laramie. I would love to see some hard measurements showing if there is wheel slippage in 4wd lock or 4Low. Would be interesting to compare this to 4wd auto to see the difference.

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    dieselonedieselone Member Posts: 5,729
    edited August 2014

    I agree. I have a '14 Laramie as well and I really like the dial shifter. I can easily reach it from a normal driving position and have never had issues shifting. Makes 3 point turns a breeze. Now the console shifter in wife's car feels cheap and impresice. I like that manual override of the trans is a simple push of a button on the steering wheel and you don't have to move the gear shift to a manual mode make it active.

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    dougndodougndo Member Posts: 136
    It took 30 seconds to learn how to use it. I've now got over 7,000 miles on the truck, and the only problem I've ever had is forgetting to shift to P when I shut it off. That's a mental problem, not a mechanical one, and if I'm patient, the knob will self-correct itself into P anyway. Idiot-proof!

    I definitely enjoy the extra space and visibility around the dash, and the +/- shift buttons on the steering wheel are a plus.

    I had a couple of those old Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, and Imperial models with the push button transmissions. They were sort of cool until the buttons started falling off the connecting rods. This rotary dial is light years ahead of that. I like it!
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