2015 Kia K900: Electronic Shifter Saves Space, Feels Odd
October 31, 2014
This is the shifter in our 2015 Kia K900. It may control the swapping of eight different gears, but it only moves half an inch in any one direction in the process. It's basically one big electronic switch.
Kia isn't the first carmaker to go this route. BMW has been doing it for years with varying degrees of success. I got used to the one in our X5 after some time but once again I find the lack of actual movement in our Kia a little odd.
Part of it comes down to its size. When you see a lever this big you expect it to move. Why else would you make it so big? It's not like you need any leverage to nudge it half an inch one way or the other.
I also don't like that you have to push the button in to select a gear instead of just pushing it up or down. It's like that in the standard gate, but if you move it to the manual gate it switches to a simple bump and shift setup.
If I had my choice, I would prefer something more along the lines of the shifter we have in our Mercedes CLA. It's just a simple stalk on the side of the steering wheel and it feels appropriately sized to the job. That positioning also frees up extra console space which is always in short supply.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 4,143 miles