Over 10 years ago, BMW offered customers the next echelon of luxury comfort amenities when they debuted their then-new 2003 BMW 7-series flagship luxury car. A heated steering wheel was one of the many available luxury options available.
Similarly, Audi also offered a heated steering wheel option (linked to their heated seats) in their 2001 Audi A6.
These days, you don’t have to purchase a $120,000 luxury vehicle to enjoy the latest in comfort and convenience features. What were once high-end novelties like air conditioning, power locks and windows, heated steering wheels have become optional or even standard equipment virtually industry wide in most vehicle classes these days.
Have you ever sat in a vehicle with heated seats? The principles on how a heated steering wheel works are the same.
Essentially, a heating element in the steering wheel heats the rim of the wheel so that the whole touch surface is toasty warm once you lay your hand on it. There’s no need to wear bulky gloves to try to keep your fingers and hands warm and the system is activated simply with a flick of a dash or steering wheel mounted switch.
Some cars with factory-installed remote starter systems also tie in the heated seats and heated steering wheel functions so that they are both preheated before you even get into the car. Perfect for a cold Canadian morning if your car is parked outside overnight or all day outside at work.
A few examples of non-luxury brand vehicles that offer heated steering wheels include:
Toyota has a great (and adorable) video discussing the feature on their all-new 2014 Highlander:
So if you park your vehicle outside frequently and are shopping for a new ride, be sure to check out this feature on your next test drive!