2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray: Stupid Wheel Paddles

November 15, 2013

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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.

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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

Most Recommended Comments

By dloop
on 11/15/13
5:41 PM PST

Do you realize how silly you sound? Word of advice: if you really like the 911 that much, drop your hard earned 125 - 150k on it. Porsche will gladly provide you with one. You will end-up with a fantastic (overpriced) car. But complaining about the paddles on the Vette? Complaining that you don't want to keep your hand on the gear shift knob during hard acceleration? These comments seem to reveal you as a (drum roll please, and crank up the reverb and echo) CAR SNOB! The thing about car snobs is that rarely can they afford the cars they admire. If they could they would understand that they are great cars, but there are other great cars as well. As a 911 owner I can attest that they are great cars, and I will also say that the new model is phenomenal. Having said that, I drove a new C7 last weak and it is also phenomenal! Last rant for you and the other snobs. Because one car is phenomenal doesn't mean that the other car cannot be phenomenal as well. So enough of the internet Vette vs 911 BS. They are both great. If you have the money, buy one of each!

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By stovt001
on 11/17/13
5:07 PM PST

I have never had a moment where I forgot what kind of transmission the car I was driving had and reached for a paddle instead of the shifter.

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By legacygt
on 11/16/13
7:46 PM PST

This gripe is legit. While paddle shifters aren't universal yet and many have not driven cars with them, a lot of people have and it's reasonable to expect them to shift an auto up/down. Trying to save money is one thing but confusing drivers is another. I'd rather they rip them out. They're not in a conspicuous spot. You wouldn't even need blanks to cover the holes. Just leave them out and put another dedicated button somewhere to engage rev matching.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in VA is:

$186 per month*
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