Every time you get behind the wheel, the Lexus RX has your safety at heart. It is constantly checking the traffic around you and the road ahead, on the alert for potential accident risks. When it detects a danger, it will warn you and, if need be, adjust speed, steering and braking to help you avoid an accident – or make the consequences less severe if an impact does happen.
The range and capability of its safety and driver assistance features are greater than ever before, thanks to the latest-generation Lexus Safety System +, a package that comes as standard on every RX model.
The quality of these technological advances has helped secure a top five-star rating for the new RX in the independent, rigorous safety testing and assessment programme carried out by Euro NCAP. They combine with the fundamental strength of the car’s construction and its ability to protect driver, passengers and pedestrians should an accident occur. The test scores show overall results of 90% for adult occupant protection; 87% for child occupants; 89% for vulnerable road users; and 91% for the performance of safety assistance features.
The car’s Pre-Collision System (PCS) now uses a combination of a radar and camera to gain a wider detection range and recognise more hazard types. For example, when you’re making a left or right at an intersection, it can detect a head-on collision risk with oncoming traffic and crossing pedestrians. Response time has been made quicker and Emergency Steering Assist (ESA) with Active Support has been introduced, which instantaneously provides steering and braking assistance to help keep the car stable and within its traffic lane if you suddenly swerve to avoid an obstacle.
The PCS can detect sudden, unintended use of the throttle when moving at low speeds and suppress potentially dangerous acceleration. The Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto-braking (RCTA) support safe overtaking and manoeuvring, while Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA), part of an extended safety package option, warns of approaching vehicles from either side at junctions with poor sightlines. The Blind Spot Monitor also plays a part in the Safe Exit Assist (SEA) function for the car’s e-Latch door opening system, which prevents doors being opened inadvertently into the path of vehicles coming from the rear.
It's only natural that drivers grow tired on a long journey, affecting their attention and reaction levels. Lexus addresses this issue with features that reduce the burden of driving and also keep track of the driver’s alertness.
The Driver Monitor uses a camera mounted above the steering wheel to constantly check the condition of the driver, recognising if they have lost concentration through tiredness or being unwell. In a world-first, the monitor is linked to the car’s active safety systems: if the driver fails to respond to alerts, it will suppress acceleration and bring the vehicle to controlled halt, activating the hazard lights.
Proactive Driving Assist (PDA) comes into play when driving at lower speeds around town. It uses the car’s front camera to spot hazards such as pedestrians about to cross or walking along the edge of the road, parged cars and cyclists.
On long highway drives, the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) keeps a safe, set distance from the vehicle ahead, slowing the RX down to a standstill if necessary. It can now respond to voice commands, and will automatically adjust vehicle speed when you approach a curve, to ensure smooth, stable progress. The system can also adjust speed to prevent “undertaking” – passing a vehicle on the wrong side on a multi-lane road.
Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) both help keep your car correctly centred in its lane, while Road Sign Assist (RSA) repeats warning and command signs on major route in the driver’s multi-information display, with a link to the DRCC for easy adjustment when a speed limit changes. Night-time driving is also made safer with automatic headlight adjustment between low and high beam – an Adaptive High-beam System (AHS) or Automatic High Beam (AHB) according to the model specification.
While these features provide a comprehensive package – together with automatic parking functions – this is not the end of the story: over-the-air software updates allow for systems to be updated and extended seamlessly, with no need for the car to be taken to a workshop.