2016 Toyota Prius: Seat Heater Controls are Difficult to Find
by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on May 11, 2016
Our 2016 Toyota Prius has heated front seats, but you'll have a hell of a time finding the control switches. Look at the picture above. You won't find them in the usual spots, which are somewhere near the air-conditioning controls or on the center console. They also aren't on the door like some Mercedes or in a touchscreen menu.
The switches are located in front of the cell phone charging tray, underneath the floating shifter panel. I have no idea why they are so far away from the driver, or in such an awkward location. In order to press it, I have to squash my right leg over and under a steering wheel that doesn't tilt up far enough. Then I have to lean forward and reach under to hit the toggle switch. Hit down for thaw and up for toast. At night, you have to remember which is which, because "HI" and "LO" are not illuminated.
There's also a little light next to the driver's heater switch to let you know if the passenger seat heater is turned on. It's kind of nifty, but it's a workaround for a problem that really shouldn't have existed in the first place.
There are a couple unnecessary HVAC buttons that could be excised and replaced by normal seat heater buttons. The OFF button can be removed, with that control shared with the fan speed button. I am unsure if the S-FLOW feature, governed by the button in the top right corner, is one worth having on the car at all. S-FLOW limits if and how much air comes out of the various cabin vents based on how many passengers are in the car.
Do away with those buttons, put the seat heater controls in their place and you're good to go. Or just throw another couple buttons in the massive blank space on the shifter panel. Or put them near the cupholders. Anywhere but where they are now.
Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 1,650 miles