Lexus Pre-Collision Technology Upgrade

New Toyota Safety Tech

Toyota has announced two new safety technology systems that are expected to appear in Lexus vehicles some time in the near future.

The first, illustrated above, is an improvement on the current pre-collision radar system that detects probable collisions. The system, which uses millimeter-wave radar, can sense moving objects in the vehicle’s path, and now with this upgrade can now detect potential accidents with a wider coverage area (illustrated above in red).

The second technology is also an upgrade on a current safety technology — when the vehicle detects a imminent crash, the pre-collision system automatically brakes, tightens the seatbelt, deploys the airbags and straightens the seatbacks. Now, this new improvement will let the rear bucket seat rotate to improvement passenger position.

These technologies are expected to debut in the Japanese Toyota Crown before making their way stateside.

[Source: Automotive News via Cnet]

Edmunds Reviews the 2010 Lexus RX 450h

2010 Lexus RX450h

With the new Lexus RX 350 now available in North American dealerships, the auto reviewers have been turning their sights on the upcoming RX 450h. Edmunds, who had plenty of good things to say about the non-hybrid version, didn’t end up all that impressed with the hybrid:

The 2010 Lexus RX 450h hits 60 mph from a standstill in 7.6 seconds (7.2 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and completes the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at 91.8 mph, trailing the [outgoing] RX 400h by nearly a half-second in each category. Though certainly not slow, these results don’t reflect that in routine driving the RX 450h isn’t particularly eager to leap off the line unless you really give it the spurs. This lackadaisical response might be a trade-off for the RX 450h’s more fuel-friendly ways.

If you’re the kind of buyer who previously gravitated to the RX 400h, this drop in speed by the RX 450h will be of little concern. Same with the RX 450h’s meek personality. Just as its predecessor never quickened a pulse, so, too, doctors could prescribe the RX 450h to patients as a sedative.

A good note in the review — Edmunds didn’t complain at all about electric-to-gas lag mentioned in a recent Detroit News review:

There’s also less of a jolt in the powertrain when the V6 finally fires up to help the electric motors propel the RX 450h, too. We won’t go so far as to say Lexus has exorcised all the hybrid telltales in the RX 450h, but it’s made noticeable progress.

[Source: Edmunds]

Toyota and Lexus Hybrids Top One Million Sales in the U.S.

1,000,000 Hybrids

Toyota announced today that the company has now sold 1,000,000 hybrids in the USA since the Prius’ introduction in 2000. An extrodinary number to say the least, it’s certainly a clear indicator that hybrid technology is a strong selling point. From the press release:

The sales milestone was achieved with an industry-leading six Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles including the Toyota Prius, the world’s first mass-produced gas-electric hybrid and the all-time worldwide leader in hybrid sales.

With the expansion of its hybrid technology to a diverse group of vehicles, Toyota has commanded nearly 75 percent of all hybrid vehicles sales in the U.S. over the past 10 years. Overall, cumulative worldwide sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids have exceeded 1.7 million vehicles through January of this year.

“One million hybrids in less than nine years indicates how quickly American consumers have accepted this important technology,” said Jim Lentz, TMS president. “Toyota’s hybrid leadership will continue to expand in the U.S. and around the globe. With 10 new hybrid models between now and 2012 in various global markets, we plan to sell one million gas-electric hybrids per year, worldwide, sometime early in the next decade.”

More than 70% of the hybrids sold were the Toyota Prius, leaving the remaining 300,000 or so divided up amongst the Lexus GSh, RXh, LSh and the Toyota Highlander & Camry. What’s more, Jim Lentz mentions that there will be a total of 10 hybrids by 2012.

Adding the Lexus HS 250h brings Toyota’s hybrid count to 7 — what about the other 3? My guess: Lexus GX/4Runner, Lexus ES, and the Toyota Yaris.

[Source: Toyota]

Lexus RX Commercial Digital Effects Explained

Lexus RX Commercials

Dexigner has posted an in-depth article detailing the production of the new 2010 Lexus RX commercials, including how some of the digital effects were created. This part was especially interesting:

“City” opens on the RX sitting in traffic. But the vehicle has a secret weapon-XM real-time traffic monitoring that reveals driving conditions on the road ahead. Suddenly, massive cranes descend from the sky, picking up the offending traffic and lifting buildings from their foundations so the driver can travel unimpeded to his final destination.

During the live-action shoot, the RX was shot sitting in downtown Los Angeles, surrounded by about 10 cars. Digital Domain augmented the traffic by adding an additional 60 all-digital vehicles. The artists also did rig removal on three cars shot in-camera as they were being suspended by cranes, added the metal claws and dozens more CG cars also being lifted by the giant machinery. And because silver cars are notorious for acting as mirrors when captured on camera, Digital Domain replaced the RX with a digital version at the end, just before the vehicle arrives at an independent music store, also constructed entirely in CG.

It’s funny, because back in December I posted photos of some Lexus’ suspended by cranes in downtown Los Angeles, and couldn’t figure out which models they were. Mystery solved!

[Source: Dexigner]

Lexus RX 450h Test Drive Videos

Today we have two unique 2010 Lexus RX 450h videos that are the equivalent of an Internet test drive — no dialogue, POV angles, long ambling drives down deserted highways — all to give an insight into potential ownership.

The first video is from Lexus Japan, and is likely taken from a promo DVD — it benefits from some upbeat music and some quirky cuts:

This second video is a much longer affair, and is almost certainly the unedited footage from an Autopista RX review. At eighteen minutes long and no dialogue, it’s not for the impatient. (Watch for the RX backup camera demonstration at the 2:11 mark):

Still amazes me how quiet this new RX is, at one point I heard birds chirping over the engine.

(Thanks Hube & Jay!)