Mike Simons drove a truck with an automatic transmission for the first time in his career as a professional truck driver.
The unit that he drove as a loaner truck in December 2014 was a Freightliner Smartshift.
Mike listed the pros and cons as follows:
- No shift on the floor
- Shifts evenly when the truck is in cruise control
- Allows for automatic and manual shifting
- Allows driver to focus on driving
- Has a digital gear display
- Goes through gears at its own rate
- Truck started off in second gear (as opposed to a higher gear which could be selected with a gear shift)
- Acceleration was not smooth when starting from a stop
This view of the dash through the steering wheel in a Freightliner Smartshift shows the gear shift on the steering column.
This is a close-up view of the gear shift in a Freightliner Smartshift.
The gear shift has a switch to allow for movement between manual and automatic shifting, as well as settings for
- reverse (R),
- neutral (N),
- drive (D) and
- low (L) gears.
To shift up, pull. To shift down, push.
In this photo, the button on the gear shift is positioned on “N” for neutral.
In keeping with the photo above (in which the gear on the gear shift is on “N” for neutral), this close-up view of the digital gear display shows the truck in “N” for neutral.
This photo shows the dash instructions in a Freightliner Smartshift.
Not only are there written instructions but a diagram to show the various settings.
On a scale from “A” (best) to “F” (worst), Mike rated the automatic transmission in this truck as a “B”.