The Tesla Model S Yoke steering wheel has not won over the writers at Consumer Reports, but then again, what at Tesla has? In another dismissive review of the Yoke, CR’s Keith Barry stated that the new Tesla wheel shows “little benefit” and has “potential safety pitfalls.”
Following the scathing review of the Model S Plaid last week from Edmunds, controversy surrounded the Yoke. Interestingly enough, Edmunds reviewers couldn’t keep smiles from their faces while driving the Plaid Model S, but the Yoke was considered a joke by their reviewers, and CR hasn’t veered far away from that narrative in their new review of the steering wheel.
After complaining about achy hands, Barry details Tesla’s decision to axe the full-sized steering wheel for the Yoke. “Tesla swapped the tried-and-true round steering wheel for a flat-bottomed, rectangular yoke reminiscent of what pilots use to steer an airplane. A traditional circular steering wheel is no longer available on the Model S nor on the mechanically related Model X SUV, even as an option,” he writes. CEO Elon Musk recently stated that the full wheel was ditched by Tesla because it was “boring” and blocks the massive center touch screen.
However, Barry’s review detailed issues with turns, control, and functionality, stating that normal maneuvers to the left or the right were difficult due to the lack of real estate to grab onto. Add in a “slippery” feel to the wheel and a non-existent turn signal stalk, and it stumped the reviewer, even though vehicles are his expertise. Additionally, the Yoke, which was used to set the track record at the Nürburgring in Germany last week, could provide some issues in an emergency situation, according to Jake Fisher, Senior Director of CR’s Auto Test Center. “I am concerned if I would be able to control the vehicle well in an emergency situation,” Fisher said.
Interestingly, many users of the Yoke have not complained about the newly designed wheel. Not only is the Yoke now preferred by Tesla as the manufacturer, but it is also completely street legal, and the NHTSA told Teslarati earlier this year that it was up to Tesla whether or not it should be included. Discretion comes down to the automaker in these instances, and the Yoke seems to be the ideal option with where Tesla appears to be headed with autonomy and overall aesthetics.
It’s tough to take a CR review with much credibility when it comes to Tesla, especially as the agency only performed Advanced Driver Assistance System trick tests on Teslas earlier this year. A later study showed that other ADAS systems could be tricked with the right materials and accessories.
Nevertheless, reviews are opinionated, and CR is undoubtedly entitled to write whatever they wish about the Yoke. However, before making a dead set conclusion on the Yoke steering wheel, be sure to try it for yourself and let us know what you think!
Check out Consumer Reports‘ review here.