In an age where automakers are trying to shrink the steering wheel and even get rid of them, Ford have gone the opposite way to create something very interesting. The Blue Oval Company has made the good old steering wheel cooler. While Tesla is trying to improve on something that has been perfected for a century with the Yoke, which is largely cosmetic in nature, Ford seems to have tweaked it to offer more utility.
Across the pond, reserved for the new Ford Tourneo and Transit vans, revised steering wheels can tilt to form a flat surface. Thanks to the use of a plastic cover, it turns into a gorgeous table, which can be used to conveniently place a laptop and even have a healthy meal on the go.
Adding this feature to the van is a smart approach as van drivers have a very busy life on the road. And this smart feature alone will save you a lot of time and keep things organized. This modification does not prevent the normal functioning of the steering wheel and the position of the driver’s airbag also remains unchanged.
While this feature deserves a separate sub-heading, Ford Pro decided to be humble and just mention it in their press release for the new E-Tourneo van range. With this cool feature and many more, Ford plans to turn interested eyes away from all-electric vans in the new Tourneo and Transit lineup. These include the long-awaited Volkswagen ID.Buzz and the Mercedes-Benz EQV, which are quite popular in Europe.
A smart tilt steering system has been introduced in the new Ford electric vans
The best usage scenario for such a smart feature is in commercial vehicles. And that’s exactly where you’ll find it. The all-new Ford E-Tourneo Custom introduces a unique steering function currently limited to Europe. So, this feature is introduced to make the work van look and make things cooler.
The impressive part is how Ford has managed to plant a folding element on the steering wheel, leaving it hidden in plain sight. The interesting part is that this feature was introduced after hours of consultation with long-time van drivers. Ford took all the feedback into consideration and came up with this smart feature. The steering wheel swings up from the bottom and locks into place when completely flat.
A plastic cover can then be attached to the top to turn it into a utility circular table. Truck drivers can eat lunch or work on their laptop without moving an inch! The bottom of the steering wheel has a retractable clip to help keep the laptop in place without sliding off. The temporary table is large enough to easily accommodate a Big Mac Combo Meal.
The ingenious steering wheel design ensures smart space management
In addition to making life much easier for the driver, this Ford Smart Steering feature also improves other aspects of the van. If the driver still gets the airbag in the designated place on the steering wheel, the passenger’s airbag is relocated to the roof. This helps free up more space on the passenger side of the dashboard.
This has helped Ford increase the glove box space, which can now easily fit a 14-inch laptop and other smaller gadgets. This has helped Ford declutter the cockpit and allow the driver to manage the space even better. The Ford Tourneo model range (including the all-electric version) is equipped with a column-mounted gear selector.
This helps clear things up between driver and passenger and makes life on the road much easier. They’re simple things we rarely think about, but Ford has brought them into the spotlight in terms of function and style.
The Euro-Spec Ford E-Tourneo gets this feature and more
This nifty feature is not limited to the E-Tourneo, but also finds its way to the Ford Transit Custom, albeit as an optional feature. The center console is short and sticks out a bit. But it does have a wireless charging dock and a hidden storage compartment that comes with a stylish-looking slider.
More versatile in the cabin is the highly customizable seating arrangement of the E-Tourneo passenger models. The six individual seats in the second and third rows can be mixed and matched in multiple patterns and even removed to increase cargo space.
Will we see Ford’s smart steering feature in the US?
Although nothing is concrete, we think this cool new steering wheel will be a productive addition to any truck, especially the 2023 Ford E-Trans and the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning. Lacking an ICE powertrain, Ford’s all-electric offerings have more flexibility to make the most of this feature. However, this feature is currently only offered on the Ford Tourneo and Transit models across the pond.
Sources: Ford Europe, Ford Corporate