Topic 5 Posts



Test-driving EV crossovers.

Overall niceness

  1. VW ID4
  2. Nissan Ariya
  3. Hyundai Ioniq 5

Toyota BZ4X

Cushy driver seat

All top 3 are comfy.

  1. Ariya
  2. Ioniq5
  3. ID4

BZ4X cramped

Ride on rough road

  1. Ariya: mid-smooth
  2. Ioniq 5 : meh
  3. ID4: meh


  1. Ioniq 5: base trim has all tech you need. Great deals.
  2. Ariya: base trim has power driver seat, leatherette, HUD. “Zero G” driver seat is very comfy. Great deals.
  3. ID4: higher-priced, no deals

BZ4X: expensive, cramped, no deals



• Comfy
• Spacious
• Great value

• Specs are mid

• Cheesy, flat, fake-wood capacitive buttons have poorly implemented haptic click, delayed like half a sec after you tap

• Acceleration decent, but felt artificially delayed so it’s like gas

Toyota BZ4X

• Small steering wheel easy to drive
• Binnacle screen right in front

• Poor specs (charge speed, range, efficiency)
• Weird black quarter panel
• Cockpit design with closed center console is cramped
• Expensive
• Sales so surly and ignorant, seemed designed to steer away from EVs

Crossing over

Am test-driving crossovers for parents. Stunning how far back most legacy automakers are, just not competitive on EV price/performance.

VW ID4 Plus top trim had choppy zoom, scroll and control animations. Slow charging. 275 mi. Voice control didn’t recognize “play radio.” Rough ride and creaks on a rough road. Less cushy driver seat than Ioniq. No true one-pedal or frunk. Significantly more expensive than Ioniq 5 lease.

On plus side, white plastic screens and controls, and capacitive buttons, feel more refined IRL than the toy-like look in photos. 3D model of the car you can rotate and control. Neat throbber stripe at base of inner windshield for voice control and presumably charge status. Swipe capacitive strip to retract glass roof shade. Perforated massage seats. Quiet ride.

Ioniq 5 was ~strictly better, almost no tradeoffs. 12 min 20 → 80% charge. 303 mi. Responsive screens. Cushier driver’s seat. Looks big but not when driving, just a larger Bolt / tall hatch. True one-pedal.

Physical buttons for frequent functions. V2L putting out 1.9 kW for camping / tailgating / power outages on SEL mid trim. Quiet. Cheapest lease deals of any EV if you use a broker.

UI a little geeky / Android. Very Korean: good electronics, specs monster, decent software with unrefined UI.

Afeela need, a need for speed

Afeela EV mockup (Sony / Honda JV)

No handles, face recognition

Streaming PlayStation game from cloud, also Sony movies. Whole demo was heavy on Sony IP, devoid of car stuff (range, charge speed, autopilot).

Built-in seat speakers

Screen above front bumper can show charge status, images, and text like “Happy birthday” or “Get out of my way.” Black bar is a camera artifact.

Lidar, rear seat screens

Honda, Tesla using same icon for door button


Steer-by-wire gives you variable ratio turns, which eliminates hand-over-hand wasted motion. It also lets you control multiple parts (front and rear-wheel steering, plane aero surfaces) without complex mechanicals. Used on Cybertruck.

Accelerate- and brake-by-wire are already common. EVs smoothly blend physical and regen braking, and let you set different driving profiles like chill or sport.

You need a lot of power to steer large craft like ships and planes. Simpler to apply that directly to the part than to inject it at the controls and transmit it all the way back.

Steer-by-wire de-links the controller. Turning the Cybertruck steering wheel doesn’t turn the wheels when power is off. So the autopilot no longer pointlessly spins the steering wheel.

(I wonder whether the steering wheel position is misaligned with the wheels when you take over from autopilot.)

Steer-by-wire requires more power than the old 12V system can practically deliver, so Cybertruck switched to 48V, a multiple of 12 and around the limit of what’s safe to touch.

Steer-by-wire on Cybertruck is rumored to use a consensus voting system like planes, where 2 of 3 redundant sensors must agree.

Love to see this trickle down to mainstream #EVs.

Glass cockpits

Say your car had a touchscreen with fixed climate buttons which never move or change. What’s the difference?

Physical buttons give you tactile feedback for location and activation, but are more expensive and unreliable.

Soft buttons can be updated, improved, usability fixed. They can be overloaded to control more features.

There are damn good reasons spaceships, planes and phones went glass cockpit. You just want the handful of constant-use features to be physical controls.