Japanese market new model features (1): Toyota, Lexus and Honda

Expanded adoption of connected features and single-lane driving assistance systems



The following is the first part of two reports that will focus on the major features available in new models (including mini cars) released for sale in Japan by the Japanese OEMs during the period of May 2017 to April 2019. The two reports will feature 23 new and fully redesigned models consisting of five vehicles from the Honda brand, four each from Toyota and Suzuki, three from Lexus, two each from Nissan, Mitsubishi and SUBARU, and one from Mazda (rebadged cars are excluded).

Regarding features for improving driving performance, there has been increasing adoption of cornering stability control systems that help the vehicle trace the driver’s intended path through a turn. Use of active variable suspension systems that constantly regulate damping force for each of the four wheels in response to road surfaces and driving conditions has also expanded. As for collision safety features, SUBARU has installed pedestrian protection airbags in more of its models that will provide protection at the lower part of the windscreen and the A-pillar in the event a vehicle collides with pedestrians.   

In regard to driving assistance features, availability of collision mitigation braking systems that provides protection for pedestrians at night is expanding. As technologies that will lead enabling advanced autonomous driving capability in the future, more OEMs are adopting driving assistance systems to support acceleration, deceleration and steering during single-lane driving on expressways. Toyota has equipped its Lexus brand vehicles with lane change assist systems that allow the vehicle to perform automatic lane changes when the driver activates the turn signal as well as driver emergency stop assist systems that automatically decelerates and stops the vehicle within its lane when it detects driver irregularities such as inattentiveness.

As for features to enhance visibility, the use of digital rearview mirrors that show images captured by a rear camera on an embedded display in the rearview mirror has increased. Toyota has introduced the world’s first digital side-view monitors to be equipped on a mass-produced vehicle on its Lexus brand cars. The digital side-view monitors replace the door mirrors, showing the images captured by small cameras at the right, left and rear of the vehicle on the display monitors located inside the cabin at the base of front pillars. Regarding comfort and convenience features, there is increasing availability of connected functions using onboard communication units that enable the vehicle to always connect to the internet. The connected functions offer a broader range of services such as maintenance notifications based on vehicle data at the optimal time and automatic connection to an operator in the event of an accident or sudden illness. An increasing number of vehicles have adopted active sound control that provides engine sounds generated electronically in response to engine speeds and driving modes through onboard speakers to make the driver feel a sense of unity with the vehicle.


Advanced features made available by Japanese OEMs in their new models

(New models launched in Japan from May 2017 to April 2019)

Features Models
Driving performance Cornering stability control system Lexus ES/UX, Honda Clarity/Insight/Civic/CR-V, Nissan Leaf
Adaptive variable suspension system (AVS) Lexus LS, Toyota Crown/Corolla Sport
Collision safety Pedestrian protection airbag SUBARU Forester/XV
Driving and parking assistance Autonomous braking system for night time pedestrians Lexus LS/ES/UX, Toyota Crown/Corolla Sport/RAV4, Mazda CX-8
Single-lane driving assistance technology (on expressways) Lexus LS, Nissan Leaf/DAYZ, Mitsubishi eK wagon, SUBARU Forester
Lane change assist Lexus LS
Driver emergency stop assist Lexus LS
Visibility Digital rearview mirror Lexus LS/ES, Toyota Crown/RAV4, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi eK wagon, SUBARU Forester
Digital side-view monitor Lexus ES
Comfort/ convenience Connected function Lexus LS/ES/UX, Toyota Crown/Corolla Sport/RAV4, Honda Clarity/Insight/CR-V, Nissan Leaf, Mazda CX-8
Active sound control Lexus UX, Honda CR-V


Toyota Crown Toyota Corolla Sport
Toyota dubs new Crown and Corolla Sport its first-generation connected cars


Related reports:
Toyota’s CASE Strategy: Seminars from Automotive World and CES 2019 (Feb. 2019)
Toyota: Accelerating Transition to Becoming a Mobility Company (Dec. 2018)
Toyota's Mobility Strategy: Introducing DCM as standard equipment (Aug. 2018)
Toyota Automated Driving: The Guardian and Chauffeur approaches (Mar. 2018)
Honda's electrification strategy: Launching the "Honda e" compact EV in Europe and Japan (Mar. 2019)
Honda: Partnering with IT companies in Japan, the U.S., and China on advanced technologies (Oct. 2018)
Honda's Product Plans: Aggressive introduction of electrified vehicles (Sep. 2018)
Features in new Japanese models (1): Toyota, Lexus and Nissan (Mar. 2017)
Features in new Japanese models (2): Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki, and Daihatsu (Mar. 2017)


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