When Tesla unveiled their redesigned Tesla Roadster 2 years ago, people were left astonished by the unique design of the yoke-style steering wheel. This led to Tesla also using this in their Tesla Model S Plaid. Now logically, this type of steering wheel is mainly used in the race industry like Formula 1 and Indy Car.
It’s good if you need to take sharp turns and not lose control with letting your hands slip along the ream of the steering wheel like a regular car but do you really think this is practical for everyday driving?
Chances are if you buy a Toyota bZ4X, you might have some young ones in the back seat. Afterall that is the number one reason why parents by an SUV instead of a sedan as a family car. Think of it this way, this “fighter jet design” that the EV sector is starting to like is cool and all, but it’s not really practical. When driving every day, you want to feel as comfortable as possible. For most people, that position includes having your hand on the top of the steering wheel and 12 o’clock. This is like a resting position for most drivers including me.
Now just think you are cruising at highway speeds on a long trip, and you have to keep your hands rested at 3 and 9 position. That puts a slight strain on the elbow muscle and after awhile you start to feel it hitting.
The 2023 Toyota bZ4X has the option to come with a yoke steering wheel and I highly suggest that you do not get it unless you plan to take it to the track which is probably no one since this thing only makes like 200hp. Granted if you want to look cool sure, I give credit where credit is due but at the same time you should think of personal comfort levels.
I think that unless you can really manage a way to not strain your arms while driving a yoke steering wheel, then you may need to either find some sort of aftermarket accessory for the steering wheel or maybe just opt for the regular steering wheel too. Funny enough, the Tesla Plaid has a drift mode but one of the most important parts of drifting is being able to let the steering wheel slide from your hands and catch it. That would be near impossible with a yoke steering wheel.
At the end however, it’s a cool feature and I think if you plan to use some sort of future FSD from Toyota then you may want to opt for the yoke just for looks. However, for the time being I don’t see the yoke wheel on an SUV being that much of a practical feature.
Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun and on YouTube at Toyota Time for daily Toyota news.