Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com
General Motors is following the industry trend of moving away from conventional gear shift levers in its vehicles. With gear shifts having lost their mechanical link to gear boxes, there is no longer any requirement to have the gear shifter be a handle one pulls or pushes. Furthermore, with paddle shifters now available on almost all types of vehicles, there is no longer a need to engage gears using the gear shift while underway (say to downshift while towing).
One example of the new trend for GM is the 2018 GMC Terrain. The Terrain will use a series of buttons instead of a gear shift. Interestingly, the 2018 Chevy Equinox retains the gear selector we are familiar with.
The Buick line is also moving in another direction, The 2018 Enclave Avenir will feature a gear-selection device that looks straight out of a BMW.
Push-button transmissions are not new to American cars. Edsel and Packard offered push-button transmissions. These came decades after early automakers had used them on early cars.