2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Stupid Wheel Paddles
November 15, 2013
Conventional wisdom says that cars with manual transmissions shouldn't have shift paddles on the steering wheel. Our 2014 Corvette does and they're dumb.
In the most obvious and annoying display of cost-cutting on an otherwise impressive interior, Chevy has decided to offer one steering wheel for both the manual and automatic-equipped 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray.
At first blush, this isn't a big problem. The wheel doesn't care which transmission you've got, right? Then comes the realization that the automatic-equipped car comes with shift paddles and thus, so does the one with a manual.
Now, of course these paddles don't shift the transmission on the C7. Instead, they turn on/off the Corvette's automatic rev-matching system. (I'll leave the actual functioning of that system for a later date. Short story: It's ok.) Click the paddle to turn it on and the gear indicator turns from white to yellow. Click the paddle to turn it off and the number goes back to white.
From a functionality standpoint, it's simple and effective. The paddles are a nice, heavyweight plastic that doesn't pretend to be metal and they're big enough to use without looking. The downsides win out, though.
First, they're slightly in the way. There's not a lot of room to grip the wheel in the 9-and-3 position if you've got fat fingers.
Second, they're slightly confusing. If you've spent any time in a car with paddle shifters, you'll come up on the Corvette's redline quick, feel the paddle somewhere near your pinky and instinctively try to tap it. This can be curbed by holding the shifter at all times, but then you're that guy.
Finally, it's cheap. Chevy killed it on the interior of the new Corvette. It's a great place to spend time. But they dropped the ball here in a big way. It's not one of those things you only come across once in a while, it's one of those things you see every. single. day. One of those things that reminds you that the Corvette is built to a price. One of the things that Porsche would never do (even if they do charge you $490 for one with paddles and $615 for one with stereo controls).
Mike Magrath, Features Editor @ 2,247 miles