When the 2018 GMC Terrain debuted at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the automotive press took a collective gasp at the push-button shifter design GMC tried selling as “intuitive.” I even wrote an op-ed titled “Really GMC? This Shifter Idea Is Lame!” Needless to say I wasn’t impressed. Well, this week has the all-new 2018 GMC Terrain in my driveway and I have to admit it – the E-shifter isn’t as terrible as I expected it to be.
The buttons are logically arranged in the familiar PRNDL order, so there is no guessing at gear locations. Park is by far the simplest to engage. Just push the large button. Reverse and Drive are selected by pulling the toggle switch with a curved finger. Neutral and Low (which should really be labeled M for manual) are activated by pushes, as well. In manual mode, the (-) and (+) buttons do the obvious to the nine-speed automatic transmission.
Keep reading for more on the 2018 GMC Terrain’s E-Shifter.
I’ve found the E-Shifter doesn’t require extra brainpower to operate, but does require my eyes. That would change the more I get used to where the buttons are located. Admittedly, the E-Shifter also frees up significant room in the center console yet doesn’t resort to the old-school column shift lever.
Still, the E-Shifter has its faults. I’ve found that prematurely pressing park before I’m completely stopped (maybe 1 or 2 mph) will still activate Park. At least GMC saves its transmission by simultaneously slamming on the front brakes. A better solution would to completely lock out the button until the Terrain is completely stopped.
Worse yet, trying to control the transmission manually via the tiny -/+ buttons is laughably dumb. Don’t even think about being all Fast & Furious trying to hot-rod the transmission – though the nine-speed gearbox almost has enough gears to be in the movies. Lastly, I can’t imagine how grimy the crevices behind the Reverse and Drive buttons will be after 100,000 miles. Seems like it would be hard to clean, too.
Still, even with its flaws, the E-Shifter isn’t all that bad. That’s something I’m happy about since I really do like the rest of the 2018 Terrain. Stick around for more stories on focused topics on the GMC’s all-new crossover.
Read our full review on the 2018 GMC Terrain.
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