Features in new Japanese models (1): Toyota, Lexus and Nissan

Use of front pedestrian braking expands; autonomous driving technology debuts



Nissan Serena adopts single-lane autonomous driving technology
The Nissan Serena adopts single-lane autonomous driving technology (Photo: Nissan)

  This report is the first of a series of three that will focus on new features available in models released for sale in Japan by Japanese OEMs during the period August 2015 to February 2017. The first two reports will feature 21 new and fully redesigned models and one face-lifted model. The vehicles that will be profiled are as follows: five from the Suzuki brand; four from Honda; three each from Toyota and Lexus; two each from Nissan, Subaru and Daihatsu; and one from Mazda (rebadged cars are excluded).

  Among features for improving driving performance, there has been increasing adoption of torque vectoring systems, which improve cornering performance by distributing optimum torque to each of the drive wheels. Use of continuously variable damper systems that constantly regulate damping force in response to driving conditions expanded, mostly in high-performance vehicles. As for collision safety features, Subaru adopted pedestrian protection airbags that cover the lower part of the windscreen and A-pillar, a first for cars produced in Japan.

  Regarding driving assistance features, availability of front pedestrian braking is expanding significantly. Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism started evaluations for automatic braking systems that respond to other vehicles and lane departure warning systems in 2014, and for front pedestrian braking in 2016 under the assessment of preventive safety features. Moreover, Nissan adopted single-lane autonomous driving technology in a mass-produced vehicle, another first for a Japanese OEM.

  Among visibility features, an increasing number of vehicles installed compact and energy-saving single-LED, bi-functional projector headlamps that are capable of switching between high- and low-beam with a single LED. Utilization started for LED sequential turn lamps, wherein a string of lamps illuminate sequentially from the innermost to the outmost lamp. As for comfort and convenience features, hands-free automatic sliding doors and rear doors are finding expanded use. Toyota and Honda models are increasingly equipped with driving support systems that use vehicle-to-X and vehicle-to-vehicle communication (traffic signal information for Honda vehicles).

  This report focuses on features available in Toyota, Lexus, and Nissan brand vehicles. The second report will focus Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki, and Daihatsu models. The third report will focus on equipment in new mini vehicles.

Advanced features made available by Japanese OEMs in their new models

(New models launched in Japan from August 2015 to February 2017)

Features Models
Driving performance Torque vectoring system Lexus GS F, Subaru Impreza Sport/Levorg STI Sport
Continuously variable damping system Lexus GS F/RX/LX, Honda NSX/Accord, Subaru Levorg STI Sport
Collision safety Pedestrian protection airbag Subaru Impreza Sport
Driving/parking assistance Front pedestrian braking Toyota Prius PHV/C-HR/Prius, Lexus GS F/RX/LX, Honda Freed/Accord/Clarity Fuel Cell, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Impreza Sport/Levorg STI Sport, Suzuki Swift/Ignis/Solio Bandit
Single-lane autonomous driving technology Nissan Serena
Visibility Single-LED, bi-functional projector headlamp Toyota C-HR/Prius, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Impreza Sport, Suzuki Swift/Ignis/Solio Bandit, Daihatsu Boon
LED sequential turn lamp Toyota C-HR, Lexus RX/LX
Comfort/convenience Hands-free automatic sliding door and rear door Lexus RX, Nissan Serena
Driving support system using V2X and X2X communication Toyota Prius PHV/Prius, Lexus RX, Honda Freed/Accord

Related reports:

Equipment on new European models: PSA, Renault, FCA, GM, Ford and Volvo (Nov. 2016)
U.S. OEMs expanding use of front pedestrian braking on new models (Sep. 2016),
Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi extending active safety features (Oct. 2016),
Increased prevalence of advanced safety packages on new Japanese models (Jul. 2015),
Innovative features in Japanese minicars (Jul. 2015),
Major features of new Hyundai-Kia lineup highlighted by increased use of ADAS (Jun. 2015)