Is moving a lever to change gears the way of the past? It is for a few car models. For most of the history of the automobile, when you want to change gears, you moved a lever. When automatic transmissions came out, the lever was connected with a cable to a lever on the transmission itself. Nowadays automatic transmissions are completely electronically controlled, which means a physical connection isn’t needed as much.
The current Ram pickups have a rotary knob for selecting gears, and the new Honda Pilot has a push-button shifter. Each selection has a different size and shape of button to make it easier to use without looking, but I still feel like it would be harder to use quickly than a lever where it’s a simple forward or backward. Most people don’t need to shift an automatic’s ranges quickly, but if making forward and backward maneuvers in a tight area you’ll need to switch multiple times, and this might slow you down.
I haven’t used the Ram’s rotary knob shifter, so I’m not sure if I’d prefer that to the buttons. Both designs save a lot of space which can be put to better use, with no lever mechanism to make space for.