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11 Cars With Steering Wheel Paddles That Aren’t Paddle Shifters

These paddles aren’t made for shifting gears.

Greg FinkWriterManufacturerPhotographer

Chevrolet Bolt

With its direct-drive transmission, the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt's lone steering-wheel-mounted paddle has no effect on the gearbox's given ratio. Instead, drivers hold the left-side paddle down to increase the Bolt's regenerative braking, which helps slow the hatch more quickly than by simply lifting off the accelerator pedal.

Opt for a 2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1, SS, or ZL1 with a six-speed manual transmission, and the Chevy sports coupe or convertible includes a pair of paddles on the steering wheel to activate and deactivate its active-rev match function. The V-8-specific feature all but eliminates the need for Camaro drivers to manually heel-and-toe downshift. It also guarantees every downshift includes an epic throttle blip that's sure to catch the attention of passersby every time you roll up to a stoplight or stop sign.

Honda lets owners of the 2020 Clarity PHEV plug-in hybrid gasoline-electric vehicle control the aggressiveness of the car's regenerative braking by way of steering wheel shift paddles. Tapping the right paddle strengthens the regenerative-braking function and allows for something more akin to one-pedal driving. Meanwhile, hitting the left paddle weakens the car's regen when lifting off the accelerator pedal. In all, Clarity drivers have four regen modes to choose from.

Like its Clarity sibling, the 2020 Accord Hybrid's steering wheel features paddles that control the regenerative braking system's aggression. With four regen modes, the Honda hybrid allows drivers to choose between limited regen when lifting off the accelerator pedal to enough regen to almost allow one-pedal driving.

As Honda's cheapest gasoline-electric hybrid, the 2020 Insight sports a mere three regenerative braking settings to its pricier Accord and Insight siblings' four. Just as in those models, though, Insight drivers swap between the various regen modes by pecking at a pair of steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

All 2020 Hyundai Ioniqs feature steering wheel paddles that adjust the efficiency-minded hatchback's regenerative braking force. That said, only the Ioniq Electric battery-electric vehicle allows its driver to hold the left paddle to bring the EV hatch to a halt without needing to touch the brake pedal. Meanwhile, gasoline-electric Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid models are also able to use their paddles as shifters to swap between the cogs of their respective six-speed automatic transmissions when in Sport mode.

Hyundai Kona Electric

As on the Ioniq Electric, the 2020 Kona Electric's steering wheel paddles adjust the amount of regenerative braking when lifting off the right pedal. Likewise, holding the Kona Electric's left paddle allows the driver to bring the EV crossover to a halt without ever needing to tap the brake pedal.

The hydrogen-powered 2020 Hyundai Nexo features paddles that allow its driver to increase or decrease regenerative braking when lifting off the accelerator pedal.

Kudos to Karma for letting the steering wheel paddles of its plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle do more than just adjust the strength of the powertrain's regenerative braking. Sure, tapping the right paddle swaps between three regen modes, but pull on the left paddle and the 2020 Revero switches between its three driving modes: Stealth, Sustain, Sport. As its name implies, Stealth mode wards off the car's gas-powered engine and instead relies on electric propulsion for as long as possible. Meanwhile, Sustain uses the gas engine as the primary energy source and maintains the battery pack's charge. Finally, Sport relies on both power sources in order to ensure the Revero brings its performance A-game to the proverbial table.

Like other hybrid vehicles, the plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV relies on paddles to adjust the strength of its powertrain's regenerative braking. Five regen settings are available by tapping at the Mitsubishi crossover's chunky steering-column-mounted paddles.

Subaru WRX STI S209

Unlike the standard WRX STI, the 2020 Subaru WRX STI S209 adds a pair of paddles to its steering wheel. That's not because the S209 trades the run-of-the-mill WRX STI's six-speed manual gearbox for a self-shifting unit, but because the limited-edition model sports an intercooler water spray system that's operated by fiddling with the steering wheel's two paddles.