Naughty or Nice: Steering Wheels

Steering_wheel_NON
The steering wheel is an important piece of a car’s success or failure. It is, after all, what drivers interact with the most, whether commuting to work or sawing away on a racetrack. A great steering wheel combines a natural-feeling grip with a stylish layout and technology functions to complete the overall experience. It's not as easy to design one as you might think.
 
More Naughty or Nice Picks

Steering wheel Camaro

Naughty: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro

For 2012, Chevrolet ditched the Camaro’s unique three-spoke steering wheel that adorned the 2010 and 2011 models and replaced it with a generic one found in other Chevrolets — even the Volt. The old wheel complemented the Camaro’s retro interior, and it’s lost for 2012 as the Camaro’s steering wheel now looks like the ones used in Chevrolet’s subcompact and compact cars. It’s a nice wheel, but it doesn’t match the rest of the Camaro’s aggressive and nostalgic presence in any way. 
 
Steering wheel CLS63

Nice: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG

Although it may have four doors, the 518-horsepower CLS63 AMG has a steering wheel with the grip and style of a supercar’s. Unlike the Camaro muscle car that shares its steering wheel with a $14,000 Chevrolet Sonic, the CLS63 uses an Alcantara-highlighted, flat-bottom wheel with genuine aluminum paddle shifters that are similar to the ones in Mercedes’ $190,000 SLS AMG coupe. They didn't even use the perfectly acceptable wheel found in the $71,300 CLS550. Adding this touch appropriately matches the CLS63’s brute performance and personality.

Comments 

sheth

I see the price of the car with the superior steering wheel design wasn't mentioned. In case people didn't know, the Camaro starts life at a $23k car. That's probably got something to do with the fact that they replaced the ergomically flawed unique wheel with an existing design. Of course, if they priced it like the CLS63 AMG Im sure they could afford to provide a totally unique design.

ermatthe

I hope my old driver's ed instructor isn't reading this but,
I wish the 3 spoke design would just go away. During a highway commute or whenever it's so much nicer being able to rest your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel (6 o'clock) instead of having that spoke there.

ermatthe

oh, and even on a sports car, I just don't see the advantage of 3 spoke vs 4 spoke design.

GSK

Holding the bottom of the steering wheel is a dangerous practice on highway if you encounter the cross wind.

WTF

It is recommended to keep your hands on the outside of the wheel. In the event of an airbag deployment you want your arms to be able to release the wheel and stay out of the path of the inflating bag.

Mike

I recently was in a Corvette, but after a closer look, the steering wheel is the exact one that's on the Cobalt....yuck.

sheth

Mike:

The vette had a smaller diameter wheel than the Cobalt. The Cobalt is gone and the 2012 Vette has an updated design.

Derrick G

The previous steering wheel on the Camaro garnered many complaints about comfort and reaching the controls on it, including from this site. At least give GM credit for fixing that.

Lance

I agree that a vastly more expensive car should look better. Having said that, there is no excuse for the Camaro's to be butt ugly along with the dash in front of it. Man, even Hyundais are much better looking than that and they cost even less.

ermatthe

looks like my drivers ed instructor reads this after all.

ermatthe

In heavy winds the natural thing to do is to put both hands on the steering wheel.
In traffic or around town, the natural thing to do is to put both hands on the wheel so you can make turns easier.

But to say that after some time behind the wheel on the highway that your limbs dont tend to drift toward the most comfortable position is silly.

I guess that means the center armrest is just for the front passenger, or just to store your junk in. Or the drivers door arm rest is for...?

Who hear can say they drive at 9 and 3 all the time every time!?

ermatthe

hear = here

jyd

The steering wheel of the Camaro is out of place with the rest of the dash and interior. The dash and interior of the new Camaro is the most hideous, laughable and misguided attempt at style I have ever seen. The steering wheel is just ugly.

They seem the same to me, I mean who cares if it doesn't match the rest of the car.

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