When it isn't unusual to get into five or six different cars a month, you realize you spend a lot of time figuring out how, and how many ways, one can shift the gears in an automatic or double-clutch car. Where is the shifter? How many settings does the shifter have? How do I get into manual shift mode? Once there, how does it work? Are there paddle shifters as well? Do the paddle shifters move with the wheel or not? And so on...

Road & Track surveyed a number of automakers about how they set up their manual shifting modes. Some require you to push the lever forward to upshift, while for others that's a downshift, and a couple demand you move the lever side-to-side. The 13 makers examined all have their reasons, the loose consensus being that the forward-for-downshift bunch is modeled after driving dynamics, the forward-for-upshift bunch based on intuitiveness and customer feedback.

At least two makers have two cars that use different shifting methods. And if not for Subaru, Audi, and Porsche there'd be a nice way to classify the forward-for-upshift crowd as being for buyers who aren't into sporting driving. As far as we're concerned, forward should be for downshifts, and single-function paddles should be mounted on the wheel, not the column. But you can tell us what you think in the comments.

[Source: Road & Track]