Also known as Manual Automatic Transmission, Sport Shift is a method by which the driver of a vehicle can control what gear is used with the touch of a button. Generally, a car with Sport Shift can be set to full automatic transmission for stop and go traffic and then switched over to "manual" mode when the driver wants to go a little crazy.

This is the way that most race cars and high-performance street cars (such as the Acura NSX) are set up these days, with paddles at the steering wheel which the driver hits to switch gears. The shifting action itself is controlled by the car's onboard computer systems, making for a quick, smooth, efficient transition.

If you ask me, Sport Shift is a cop out. I know, cars these days are able to handle the shifting activity much more smoothly than a human being, and thus are able to get better accelleration, yadda yadda yadda. I've been driving manual transmission vehicles since I learned to drive, and when I was test driving cars before buying my Toyota Celica GT I tried out a Mitsubishi Eclipse with Sport Shift. Ugh. It made shifting boring, first of all, and the transitions were generally unresponsive. I liken it to the passing gear that an automatic transmission will go into when you bury the pedal. You smash the pedal, wait a bit, and then are downshifted pretty much whenever the car feels like it. That was the feeling I got with Sport Shift. You press the button/lever, and the car shifts whenever it gets around to it.

I suppose it would be good for people who want to drive a fast car, don't drive stick, but realize that people who drive fast cars don't use automatic transmission. But then again, it's just that: manual transmission for people who won't bother to learn to drive a manual.

IMHO: put your cellphone down and drive the damn car!

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