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

Most Recommended Comments

By metallurgist
on 12/30/13
9:58 AM PST

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).

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By kirkhilles
on 12/30/13
7:18 AM PST

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.

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