One of the real revelations of my Lexus IS 300 AWD has been the Safety System+ (LSS+) — safety is hardly the most exciting part of owning a car, but this is a set of features that have transformed the way I drive.
The technology is not new, but Lexus has only started including LSS+ as standard on most models. To break it down, there are the four features that make up the system:
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control maintains a preset speed and following distance from the vehicle ahead.
- Intelligent High-Beams detect oncoming traffic and automagically turns to low-beams.
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist monitors the road and provides audible and tactile feedback to keep the vehicle inside your lane.
- Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection uses radar to detect potential accidents and actively reduce speed or stop the vehicle.
There’s a natural resistance to trusting safety technology, it’s something that requires time to build confidence. Despite driving all kinds of Lexus vehicles, it was having LSS+ in my daily driver that finally acclimatized me to its utility.
My experience prior to the IS was a 2014 CT 200h hatchback equipped with blindspot monitors and a backup camera, or what I would consider the bare minimum on a modern vehicle. It’s the addition of LSS+ and the optional parking sensors that create this protective bubble that augments my spatial sense.
LSS+ offloads the more menial elements of driving — adaptive radar cruise and auto high-beams reduce much of the fidgeting with buttons and levers. Lane Departure Assist is just enough of a barrier, with feedback in the steering wheel that feels like a rumble strip on the road. Herein lies the charm. I’m still in control and have to stay alert, but the heightened awareness added by LSS+ is like a non-vocal backseat driver.
If there’s a downside to all this technology, it’s in the absence when driving other vehicles. My wife’s old Prius tops off at a backup camera, and highway driving without all this additional support system has gone from the norm to almost feeling dangerous.
So here’s the question — how much do you rely on the technology in your Lexus while driving? Do you trust the systems, or are you still fighting against your future robot overlords?
This IS 300 AWD was made possible by the folks at OpenRoad Lexus Richmond, the premier Lexus dealership in British Columbia and a proud sponsor of Lexus Enthusiast.