Toyota Shows off Neo Steer Steering Wheel with Hand Controls
When it comes to steering wheels, the vast majority in production vehicles are round. There have been concepts over the years for joysticks, yokes, and other unusual steering wheel designs, but few have made it into cars you can actually buy. I can only think of two current production vehicles offering yoke-style controls: The Tesla Model S and the Japanese-spec Lexus RZ 450e. Now Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, is exploring a different kind of yoke steering wheel, dubbed “Neo Steer.”
What sets Neo Steer apart from other yoke-style steering wheels is that this one replaces the conventional accelerator and brake pedals with hand controls like those on a motorcycle. This not only frees up foot space for the driver, but it could also provide factory-installed hand controls for people with disabilities – something that usually requires costly aftermarket installation. Another advantage of the low-mounted Neo Steer yoke is that it improves the visibility of both the instrument panel and the road ahead. It also makes getting in and out of the driver’s seat easier since you won’t be bumping your knees on the bottom of the wheel, as I’ve often encountered.
The steer-by-wire setup in the Lexus RZ has been given high marks by those who have tried the yoke controller in that vehicle because of its very quick steering ratio. Assuming the Neo Steer system has a similar setup, it could be a great addition to future Toyota vehicles. For those attending the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Toyota will be showing off a cockpit featuring the Neo Steer controller.