Automakers have begun replacing traditional shifters by installing knobs or buttons mounted on the center console to cycle through drive modes, for example. The new designs can be dangerous if used improperly. (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Bloomberg) – Automakers have been replacing traditional gear shifts with buttons, knobs and wheels to spruce up vehicle interiors — but that is confusing motorists and diminishing safety, Consumer Reports says.

The Yonkers, New York-based magazine docked scores of 50 vehicles evaluated as part of its 2017 annual auto brand rankings, which were released Tuesday. It flagged designs on Honda Motor Co.’s Acura brand, General Motors Co.’s Cadillac and Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln as potentially confusing. Certain shift designs from Chrysler, Jaguar, Audi and other brands lack countermeasures to prevent rollaway accidents, the magazine said.

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