IS Owner Blog

Lexus IS Owner Blog: The Charm of Lexus Safety System+

Lexus IS 300 AWD Speedometer

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.

Lexus

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.

Comments
L
  • L
  • May 15, 2018
Once a tech proponent, now fighting against the future robot overlords. It is now impossible to find a luxury car (according to my definition) without tech.
I've spoken before about how I don't like to drive without the blind-spot monitor. I'll add the cross-traffic sensors to that now; they've saved me from potentially being hit by otherwise unseeable cars barrelling down in parking lots when trying to back out from next to a mammoth SUV on multiple occasions.

I'm definitely more wary of full autonomy, but nothing in the LSS+ is what I'd consider scary and you can turn all of it off if you really want to.
Levi
Once a tech proponent, now fighting against the future robot overlords. It is now impossible to find a modern luxury car (according to my definition) without tech.
What made you switch over to the Resistance?

Ian Schmidt
I'm definitely more wary of full autonomy, but nothing in the LSS+ is what I'd consider scary and you can turn all of it off if you really want to.
Agree -- being a passenger in the driver's seat does not suit me at all. I just like these little buzzes and warnings to keep me in check.

There's a fine line between finding this tech useful and relying on it, but Lexus has built in enough monitoring to ensure the driver can not zone out completely.
R
  • R
    RAL
  • May 15, 2018
I am a huge fan as well!
L
  • L
  • May 15, 2018
krew
What made you switch over to the Resistance?
Tech imposes and takes freedom. Tech gives one and takes two.
L
  • L
  • May 15, 2018
krew
What made you switch over to the Resistance?
Tech is not for humans. Tech kills.

But I do not want to develop on this philosophical subject.
The LSS+ is a great equipment group of features and gives Lexus a nice advantage over competitors. I am a big fan as well.
However, depending on the feature, there are some small remarks to be made as far as I am concerned...
- Dynamic radar cruise control: works fine, especially on versions with traffic jam assistant (all speed cruise control). But even in its latest form on the new LS it is still a bit artificial in calculating the right distance. In high density traffic, the distance to the car in front can be just too big (even in closest mode) which causes other drivers to enter just in front of you, which makes your own car brake... So perhaps it can still have a bit of finetuning, depending on the speed.
- Automtic high beams: in theory, this should be a very interesting feature, but I almost never use it. On a deserted road with street illumination I often still want to use the high beams when the automatic system decides that there is enough light... On the other hand, when the system is in use, I still get warning flashes of upcoming traffic telling me that the high beams are on. In reality, they just go out a bit too late... (even on the improved AHS versions with adaptive multiple leds)
- Lane departure alert: very useful item and works perfectly, especially in the versions with buzzerless steering wheel warning. One side remark: the assist that automatically keeps the lane centre is too nervous for me and will always constantly turn slighly to left and right trying to keep the centre... So I keep that last feature in 'off'
- pre-collision with pedestrian and bike recognition: top !
- blind spot monitor (sold separately from LSS+ in Europe): top feature ! Works perfectly.
- Rear cross traffic alert (combines with the BSM): even better feature ! Has already prevented me from having an accident with a pedestrian.

So basically, I really like the Lexus safety systems (and it is indeed rather disturbing to drive another car without these safety items), but the technology may still need some small improvements to make it perfect. ;)
I use all of the Safety features and trust them. The DRCC is wonderful and a big stress reliever.
Joe
- Dynamic radar cruise control: works fine, especially on versions with traffic jam assistant (all speed cruise control). But even in its latest form on the new LS it is still a bit artificial in calculating the right distance. In high density traffic, the distance to the car in front can be just too big (even in closest mode) which causes other drivers to enter just in front of you, which makes your own car brake... So perhaps it can still have a bit of finetuning, depending on the speed.
this is very interesting, i read it from several different people but in my own testing it seems to work well... even on "older" last years systems, shortest distance was about the same as what I would drive at... it might depend on different market requirements and how people drive there but it seems very nice for me. I tested it on C-HR and it seemed like 2m difference between the car in front.
Joe
- Automtic high beams: in theory, this should be a very interesting feature, but I almost never use it. On a deserted road with street illumination I often still want to use the high beams when the automatic system decides that there is enough light... On the other hand, when the system is in use, I still get warning flashes of upcoming traffic telling me that the high beams are on. In reality, they just go out a bit too late... (even on the improved AHS versions with adaptive multiple leds)
I will admit that the automatic high beams are my least favorite feature, as it seems to get easily confused and require manual switching. Love the rest of the safety suite, though!

K
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