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Car with gear shift on the steering column

My mother needs a new-to-her car. Due to arthritis, she has a hard time with the shifter on the floor - aren’t there any “3 on the tree” any longer?

Other than this issue, my mother is active – works full-time as a teacher in the inner city and swims a half-mile; so please, no “she should’t be driving” remarks! (If I thought so, I would tell her for sure!) Any advice? Thanks!!

If your mother must have a manual transmisssion, I don’t think there are any column shifts left. The last column shift I remember driving was a 1977 Chevelle. As far as automatic transmissions are concerned, my 2006 Chevrolet Uplander has the transmission lever on the column and the last Ford Taurus I drove which was probaby made about 2005 or 2006 had the transmission lever on the column.

All I can suggest is to walk around some used car lots and look for cars with the transmission lever on the steering column. I’m pretty sure you’re going to be limited to domestic makes, but maybe not. I think Mercedes has some sort of high-tech transmission selector on the column.

I’m sure you’re looking for a car with an automatic transmission, and not a true “three on the tree” manual shifter.

My Ford Ranger pickup has a shifter on the steering column, but I doubt your mother wants a truck.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Look at cars on line. You can find the at cars.com, edmunds.com, and other sites. There are pictures that show the interior. Maybe there are push button transmissions as well.

As far as automatics are concerned, Honda has models with dashboard shifters (CRV). It’s taken a long time, but the return of most shifters to column/dashboard locations can come none too soon.
Prius as well, I believe is dash mounted.

Almost every minivan on the market has the automatic transmission shifter on the steering column. If she has arthritis, an automatic should be easier for her to drive than a “three on the tree” manual.

I’m not exactly sure on which years, but for many years the Ford Taurus offered a column gearshift as an option. Also, until a couple of years ago, the Toyota Avalon offered a column gearshift as on option.

As also mentioned, most minivans have column shifters (a few newer models have a small shifter coming right out of the instrument panel–I don’t know what you’d call it).

There are some cars made now with the shift lever on the dashboard. Honda has a couple.

My Toyota Sequoia has a shift on the column, but this a massive beast of a car. I guess there are a few out there, but not many.

Here’s another post with the best answer being;

  • Shop in person, state your specific needs, and don’t settle for less. -

( never sign anything, tell the sales person you’re shopping all brands and will say no to all hard sell tactics. then, if after all, they have what you want, buy from the salesperson who is helpful and cheerfuly willing to allow you to walk away.)

Also, for a person with her physical restrictions, be sure to shop for other utilities that might matter over the ownership time span as she ages. ie; her ability to use the functions of the car like seat adjustment, mirrors ( she needs to see and comprehend where all corners of the car are ); windows, wipers, gauges, switches, ease of entry/exit from the driver’s seat, fueling and driving ( again,she must know or feel where the 4 corners of the car really are ).

( side note ; My 79 year old dad dumped his E150 van for a Focus and likes it. )

Shop in person, shop for the long term, and shop for the big picture.


Then after puchase, you and her together, open that owner’s manual and sit in the car and review all of the operational specifics of this vehicle. Another week from now do it again so that YOU know her new car as well as she does if any thing comes up later.
This vehicle specific knowledge is hammered home daily right in my back yard where there sits a 79 chevy pickup, a 92 Ford Explorer, and an 06 Ford hybrid Escape. Every single one of those has DIFFERENT operational controls. Wipers, head lights, fog lights, interior lights, heater, a/c, seats, fuel doors, spare tire & tools, door handles, seat belts…ALL DIFFERENT ! I drive the 92 daily and when I hop in the 06 or the 79 I actually have to stop and review the things I need this time.

Toyota Prius.

It may not have a column shift, but its “shifter” is simply a low effort electrical toggle switch.

Your mom’s problem is not uncommon. I have a very close friend who has the very same problem. i’ve been helping her look, and the only advice I have to offer is to take the time to go with her so she can try everything out there.

It’s unfortunate that pushbutton shifters never came back. With today’s technology they’d be a perfect solution. The problems they suffered in the old Dodge Darts wouldn’t have a chance.

If she needs a small car, the only one I can think of is the Toyota Prius. A minivan or SUV should also have column shifters.

As recently as the 2007 models there were three GM models with available column shifter which comes with a split bench front seat. I believe they are still available in the current models.
Chevrolet Impala
Buick Lucerne
Buick LaCrosse

Perhapos a minivan? I think most of them have column shifters.

Yes. Went to the GM lot and they had a couple 09 Impalas with the split bench seat and column shifter.