The Truth about the Rev-Matching Paddles - 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: The Truth about the Rev-Matching Paddles

December 30, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

It's possible you've read about our 2014 Corvette Stingray's rev-matching feature which is activated via paddles like this on both sides of the steering wheel. It's also possible that what you read is wrong. Or at least partially wrong.

Specifically, the idea that these paddles are a cost-cutting effort on GM's part. Truth is, that couldn't be further from the truth.

I'll be honest: I like the paddles. I find the feature useful, I like the placement of the paddles and I prefer this method of activation over a separate dedicated button.

Not everyone agrees.

Regardless, it's the idea that these paddles are cost cutters that I'd like to address here. After all, those same paddles are used to actuate up- and downshifts on automatic-equipped cars so it's not a stretch to think that their use on manual transmission cars to activate or disable the rev-matching feature is a cheap, lazy move.

Not long ago I spent an a few hours behind the wheel of a C7 Convertible with the car's chief engineer, Tadge Juechter, in the passenger seat. So I pressed the obvious question: why his team chose to use the paddles to activate rev matching. His answer was as coherent as it was thorough.

There were four options corresponding to four different cost levels, Juechter explained. The first was free: integrating the rev-matching activation into the "vehicle setup" menu on the car's touchscreen display. This was a matter of programming and would have cost virtually nothing. It also would have left users no way to quickly enable or disable rev matching so it was ruled out immediately.

The second was a dedicated button somewhere else in the interior, which is an option Nissan uses on the 370Z. This, of course, would have required drivers to remove their hands from the wheel. Some people would like it, some wouldn't.

Third, they could have used one paddle to turn the feature on and off. "Then the question becomes which side?" says Juechter. "It made the most sense to use both paddles." And that's the option they chose. It's also the most costly choice, about $22 per car, according to Juechter.

"That doesn't sound like much," he says "but those are the most expensive switches in the interior and we need to be as cost effective as we can."

I believe they made the right choice. That's $22 well spent.

Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor


Comments

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    Still doesn't make sense to me. Both sides? Who does that? There is a reason you would want it turned off and on and off and on while driving? I'd have to believe that the 80/20 rule would be that people would either want it on or off. Sounded like a button or the Vehicle Setup would've been better options. I wouldn't be surprised to see this changed in future years.

  • evodad evodad Posts:

    I'm a fan of this kind of insight. People forget that there are decisions made not based soleyl on 'cost cutting'. Obviously the engineers didn't just say 'screw it lets make the auto's paddles do it so we don't have to think about anything else'. It's not the cheapest solution as stated, but it's not the most expensive. Being able to (de)activate it without removing your hands from the wheel or looking down for a button/touchscreen menu is certainly beneficial. To a degree it's cost cutting but on the flip side it makes the most sense from a functional standpoint although perhaps the least from an aesthetics view to someone that is bothered that much by it. I feel if something so minor bothers a person so much perhaps they may be better off looking elsewhere (porsche?)

  • Honestly it's hard to believe his answer. It doesn't make sense to use two big paddles to activate a feature which might be used once in a while. The notion that a manual driver doesn't want to remove her hand from the wheel is absurd, how are you gonna downshift if you don't want to take your hand off the wheel? I think most people who choose manual transmission would rather have a simple and clutter free steering wheel. The real reason is probably cost cutting through streamlining production/supply chain. The only other plausible explanation is that designer forgot about this feature during design or added it later during design cycle and once they noticed and wanted to add it it was too late to design and order a whole set of parts (steering wheel/switch and probably different trim pieces around the switch).

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    I'm in @kirks corner. If you liked the feature it would be set on once and left there, or off once and left there. I would prefer a button, only for the benefit of multiple drivers.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I understand the both sides thing. Can you imagine the flame wars of people disagreeing over left or right placement?

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    I'm with metallurgist. I don't buy this one bit. It's not the cost of the buttons or paddles themselves. The savings are in having one steering wheel assembly for automatic and manual versions of the car. The more things they can keep the same between the two the simpler it is to assemble and manage inventory. Paddles make sense to allow for shifting without removing hands from the wheel. There is no reason for a driver to need to frequently turn rev matching on and off without removing hands from the wheel.

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