Almost every new Lexus model will now come with either standard or available driver assist technologies that help in making us not only better drivers, but safer ones. Lexus Safety System+ offers drivers a suite of connected safety systems including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Keep Assist and more. This new advanced safety package comes standard on the 2017 IS, ES, RX, GS and LX so, if you are driving any of these popular new Lexus models, then you may want to know how you can make sure everything is on and activated. Here we explain the various settings and how each feature is activated as well as go over a few lesser known driver assist features.
Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
This incredibly impressive system is designed to help anticipate, avoid and mitigate collisions as well as help detect pedestrians and vehicles under certain conditions. Using a grille-mounted radar and camera, this system activates audible and visual alerts, in addition to brake assist if the driver applies the brakes, followed by automatic braking, if the driver does not brake in time and a potential collision is detected.
The great news is, this system is activated every time you turn on your Lexus. And, although the system can be disabled using the PCS OFF switch (in the MID settings), the Pre-Collision System will reset to ON at each ignition cycle.
What activates and when:
Pre-Collision Warning operates when the vehicle speed is between 7 mph and 110 mph and for detecting a pedestrian, vehicle speed is between 7 mph and 50 mph.
Pre-Collision Brake Assist will engage/assist when needed and the vehicle speed is between 19 mph and 110 mph. For detecting a pedestrian, vehicle speed is between 19 mph and 50 mph.
Pre-Collision Braking activates as needed when vehicle speed is between 7 mph and 110 mph and for detecting a pedestrian, vehicle speed is between 7 mph and 50 mph.
Adjust PCS Warning timing in the MID (Multi Information Display) settings – this is accessed with your steering wheel controls. Timing can be adjusted between Far, Middle and Near.
High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
Both High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses a grille-mounted radar designed to detect the preceding vehicle and its speed. The system will then adjust your vehicle speed (within a set range) to help maintain a preset distance between you and the car in front of you. High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is part of the standard Lexus Safety System+ for the new Lexus IS, ES and GS F. This system is also available on the RC, RC F, GX (part of Advanced Driver Assist Package). All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control goes one step further and can decelerate your Lexus down to a stop- should traffic speed be reduced. All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is part of the standard LSS+ on the 2017 GS, LX and RX. This system is available on 2015-17 model year NX and 2013-2017 model year LS (and most/all 2017 LS’s built for sale in our area will have this as a “standard added option”).
To activate either system you need to first activate cruise control (press the ON/OFF button). The radar cruise control indicator will come on and a message will be displayed in front of the driver on the MID. Accelerate or decelerate, with the gas pedal, to your desired speed (above 30 mph) and push the cruise control lever down to set the speed. You will know this is set when the SET indicator light displays – the vehicle speed is set at the moment the lever is released.
- You are in DRIVE (shift lever is in D) or range 4 or higher if driving in S
- Vehicle speed is above 30 mph OR if driving in the 2017 RX, GS or LX and have All-Speed DRCC, a preceding vehicle is detected – even if traveling at a speed at or below 30 mph
It is important to note that the vehicle-to-vehicle distance control mode is automatically canceled if the vehicle speed falls below 25 mph (and/or there is no preceding vehicle detected for All-Speed DRCC). The system will also cancel if Vehicle Stability Control is activated or Traction control is activated for a period of time. Other reasons why the system may cancel or tell you “Radar Cruise Control Unavailable” on the MID include: driver is not wearing their seatbelt, the driver’s door is open or the vehicle has been stopped for about 3 minutes.
- Your vehicle following distance can be changed between Long/Medium/Short by pressing the distance control button during activation.
- You can also opt to only use your constant speed cruise control (conventional cruise control) by pressing the cruise control ON/OFF button and holding it for 1.5 seconds.
Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
The lane assist feature is part of the standard Lexus Safety System+ package that comes on the 2017 IS, ES, GS, GS F and RX. It is available on 2015-2017 NX (usually requires triple beam LED light upgrade). Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist uses a camera system to detect the white and yellow lane markings. If your vehicle deviates from its lane, LDA with Steering Assist alerts the driver with both a visual and audible warning or steering wheel vibration. **The GS F will not have steering vibration This intelligent system also provides assistance by operating the steering wheel to avoid further deviation from the marker lines.
- Pretty simple: press the LDA button on your steering wheel to turn the system on. You will know the system is on when the LDA indicator light is illuminated in front of the driver on the MID. **The Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist System will remain in the last condition either ON or OFF – the next time the engine is started.
- To turn on or off the Steering Assist function, go to the Settings display in the MID and set “Steering Assist” to “ON”.
LDA with Steering Assist will work as intended once it is turned on (if you see the LDA light then it is on). You can tell if the system has been able to detect the lane lines when the MID is switched to the driving assist system information screen (accessed by toggling over to the cog symbol then going down the menu until you see LDA information screen listed). The lane line indicators will be solid when the system has detected the lane lines and hollow when lane lines have not been detected.
- Vehicle speed is approximately 32 mph or more
- System recognizes lane lines
- Width of traffic lane is 9.8 feet, at least
- Turn signal is not in use
- You are driving on a straight road or around a gentle curve
- You can turn Steering Assist ON or OFF
- You can change the Alert Method: Steering Vibration or Audible Alert
- You can adjust the alert sensitivity: STANDARD or HIGH
Did you know that the 2017 IS and the 2016-2017 model year ES, GS, GS F, RX and LX with Lane Departure Alert also includes Vehicle Sway Warning? Vehicle Sway Warning monitors the vehicle’s position within the lane and the driver’s steering operations in order to detect vehicle sway, which tends to occur when the driver’s ability to concentrate is lacking or deteriorating due to drowsiness, texting or other distraction. If Vehicle Sway is detected (this may occur if the driver departs its lane multiple times), an audible alert sounds and a message is displayed on the MID to alert the driver: ahem, PAY ATTENTION! You can turn this feature ON or OFF as well as adjust the sensitivity, but we recommend leaving it on.
Another useful feature included with Lexus Safety System+ and on some 2010-12 RX with Navigation is Intelligent High Beam. Intelligent High Beam Headlamps utilize a camera system to access the brightness of the lights of vehicles ahead, streetlights, etc. and will automatically turn the high beams on or off, as necessary. This feature is especially helpful for anyone driving in the Texas Hill Country or surrounding areas to North Park Lexus at Dominion! To turn this feature on, all you have to do is push the headlamp control lever away from you and toward the front of the car with the headlamp switch in the ON or AUTO position then either press or make sure the Intelligent High Beam switch is on – you can tell if it is on or needs to be pressed if you see/don’t see the IHB indicator light display on the MID.
The “Better-Known” Driver Assist Features
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert comes on almost every new Lexus to-date and was first introduced on the ES in 2013. This safety feature can be found on the 2014-2017 IS; the 2013-2017 ES, GS and LS; 2015-2017 RC, RC F and NX; 2016 RX and 2016-2017 GX. BSM employs quasi-millimeter-wave radar installed at the back of the vehicle to assist the driver in making critical safety checks when changing lanes. The system will alert the driver when there is a vehicle in a blind spot or if a vehicle is approaching at speed from the rear within a blind spot by flashing an indicator light in the corresponding outer mirror.
Blind Spot Monitor Activation & Operation:
Blind Spot Monitor remains on, unless turned OFF in the settings menu in the MID (for RX, GX, LX) or by pressing the BSM button (see above).
BSM is operational at all times it is turned on and the shift lever is in any position other than R (reverse). You also have to be traveling at a vehicle speed greater than 10 mph.
The Rear Cross Traffic Alert function is tied in with BSM so you will know it is on and ready to assist as long as BSM is turned ON or has not been switched off in the settings menu. RCTA only works when in R (reverse) and the approaching vehicle is traveling 5 to 18 mph.
Intuitive Parking Assist
Intuitive Parking Assist, or Park Assist is an invaluable feature found on most 2013- 2017 Lexus models (with exception to the CT which only had this feature as a limited option for 2016-17) that alerts the driver with a “beeping” noise anytime you get too close to objects either in the front or rear while parking or slowly driving through a parking garage. You will know Park Assist is ON when you see the green “P” illuminated on the MID.
The New Arrivals: Lesser Known Driver Assist Systems
Panoramic View Monitor debuted on the 2016 RX and comes on most/all 2017 RX’s equipped with the Luxury Package and majority of AWD RX F SPORT models. The new Pano-View assists the driver in viewing the surroundings, when operating at low speeds, by combining the front, side and rear cameras, and displaying a vehicle overhead image on the 12.3-inch navigation screen.
You activate Panoramic View when you press the camera view switch (above) or shift the lever to R (reverse) while your RX is on. You can also press the camera view button (above) while in P (park), which will animate a rotating view of the vehicle.
Advanced Multi-View Monitor on the Lexus LX
This new-er feature comes on the 2016-2017 LX exclusively and provides several multi-camera views to assist in low-speed maneuvering and specific off-road views available while in L4 range. LX drivers can activate Advanced Multi-View by pressing the camera view switch or shifting into R (reverse) while the car is on.
- When in H4: and in Park, Drive or Neutral, you can display/change views between the front and front side. Switch the LX to Reverse and the angel mode button changes the view between normal and wide view.
- When in L4: while in P, D or N- pressing the camera view switch changes the display view from normal to magnified. You can also select the under vehicle terrain view buttons to change the under vehicle view magnification. Switch to R and selecting the angle mode button changes the view between normal and wide view.
Check out how the Advanced Multi-View Monitor works here or stop by Lexus at Dominion for a personal presentation.
Our last Driver Assist Technology System that we will explore in this post is the Wide-View Front and Side Monitor System that is available on the Lexus GX 460. This lesser-known feature is an option that comes on select 2011-2017 GX models. You know you have this feature if you have a GX steering wheel with the same buttons as the GX pictured below.
Activate the Wide-view Front and Side Monitor system by pressing the camera view switch on the steering wheel while the GX is on.
Once ON, the Wide-view Front and Side Monitor system displays on-screen when the GX is traveling less than 7 mph. The display can be changed from 2-screen mode to 3-screen mode by selecting the screen selection button on the display screen (NAV screen).
Learn more about all of the Lexus Safety Features and new Driver Assistance Technology by test driving your favorite Lexus model at North Park Lexus Dominion. Click here for directions or schedule a test drive online, now.