How Did Lexus Mess Up a Heated Steering Wheel?


A heated steering wheel is 1 of those comfort characteristics that after knowledgeable you wonder how you ever managed to live without it.

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That’;s been specifically correct this winter close to Automobiles.com’;s Chicago headquarters, in which the temperature has dipped beneath zero degrees on 22 days and a lot more subzero climate is on the way.

That also is why some Vehicles.com editors had been mildly frosted — although none suffered frostbite — when they lately test-drove Lexus designs with steering wheels that were only partially heated.

The indignity.

2014_GS450_3Lexus gives leather and wood steering wheels in which only the leather portions on the sides (when its centered) are heated. In contrast, other producers, such as Jaguar and Land Rover, supply a selection of all leather or wood/leather steering wheels, and in either case, the total rim is heated.

No biggie, you say? Just put on gloves and quit beefing?

Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder mentioned that other luxury brand names as effectively as some non-luxury brands have a greater grip on heated wheels.

“It genuinely does not support also a lot unless of course the complete wheel is heated. I drove 2 Lexus designs with wood higher and reduced, and these sections remained frigid,” Wiesenfelder explained. “The warmed leather portion made up the minority of the rim. I have driven a Chrysler 300C with wood on the steering wheel in which the entire factor was heated.”

In truth, after driving a selection of Lexus versions this winter, which includes the GX 460 (prime photo) and LX 570 SUVs as properly as the GS 450 (over and beneath images) and LS 460 sedans, the sort-of heated steering wheels managed to tick off most of the editors on employees.

Lexus spokeswoman Allison Takahashi said in an email that only the leather portions of the steering wheels are heated due to the fact Lexus makes use of true wood on them. “The wood is so thick that if we were to place a heating device underneath the wood, the heat would not transfer.”


Lexus also offers numerous kinds of wood with varying degrees of density and hardness, which could have an effect on heat transfer. For illustration, the ES 350’;s steering wheel can be both bamboo or bird’;s-eye maple, and in the LS sedan, the choices are walnut, ash or bamboo wood as effectively as Shimamoku Espresso wood veneer.

Nevertheless, some Lexus owners say they have been stunned to discover out that what was advertised as a “heated steering wheel” turned out to be only partially heated.

A current discussion of this issue on the Club Lexus owners’; forum went on for 8 pages, with some have been much more amused by the topic than alarmed.

At least one proprietor accused Lexus of “false advertising” by not disclosing the limitations, and other individuals mentioned that their BMW or other luxury automobile had a totally heated wheel. Other folks carped that the heated leather portions are only at the 9 and 3 o’;clock positions, which are the hand positions suggested by most driving instructors.

“No one that I know holds their hands in those positions,” an irate proprietor mentioned in a forum submit. “I never know what the designers have been considering. Bad design and style by Lexus,”

Other Lexus owners disagreed.

“The salesman actually informed me that it only heated the 2 positions during the check drive. I really have no problem with this, since none of my prior dozen vehicles even offered it. And, it does perform as advertised,” mentioned a forum member. Yet another dismissed the discussion by saying, “The remedy is soooo straightforward. Want warm hands? Hold them on the leather element of the steering wheel.”

Another clear answer is to put on gloves, but gloves that in fact maintain hands warm in subzero climate can be bulky, producing it difficult to operate dashboard controls, and they will not allow the driver keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.

No matter how a lot of a steering wheel is heated, even though, spring can not come as well soon.

Cars.com images by Evan Sears

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