Heated steering wheels are BestRide’s new favorite interior feature. However, finding them is not always easy.
Even affordable cars and crossovers now come with heated steering wheels, particularly on top trims. We knew they had gone mainstream when our under $24K 2017 Kia Soul tester had one. The odd thing about this great feature is that it seems to have caught automakers by surprise. The existing designs didn’t leave a spot for the heated wheel button, so car makers are plunking them down anyplace they find some space.
Our top of page image shows the heated steering wheel of a Kia Sportage. What you can’t see are the controls for the heated steering wheel. Like many automakers, Kia places the heated steering wheel controls at various place in the cabin, other than on the wheel itself.
The image above is from a Kia Niro Touring. We liked this location for the heated steering wheel and heated seats because one can’t help but see them there. At least Kia put them where they won’t be missed.
Our least favorite place to access heated steering wheel controls is in the infotainment menu of a vehicle. Jeep makes users tap through menus to get to the on-screen icon to activate its heat controls for seats and steering wheel. Another odd location we often find this button is down under the left side of the dash.
Call us crazy, but we think that heated steering wheel controls should reside on the actual steering wheel. Acura is on the right track and added a sort of paddle to its wheel. This is pretty close to perfect, but it looks and feels a bit like an after-thought.
So who does the best job with the location of a heated steering wheel button? Jaguar nails it. The control button for the (optional) heated steering wheel is in a very logical place shown with a red arrow above.