Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist System


Whether it’s Rachel Peters hawking a pair of butt-lift jeans or Anne Curtis shrilling her way through a burger jingle, everyone gets distracted behind the wheel once in a while. We don’t want it, we don’t like it, but hey, butt-lift jeans happen and in that split-second before your car’s bumper kisses Manong Grab Driver’s, don’t you wish someone or something warned you before it was too late? It’s times like these you wish your car had Subaru EyeSight.

Vehicle safety is something most car buyers take for granted; and even those who talk about it typically mention things like crumple zones, airbags, or fancy acronyms like ABS and VDC. Granted they all work to protect the car’s driver and passengers in the event of an impending crash, won’t things be better if the crash could have been avoided in the first place? That’s the secret to Subaru’s EyeSight technology: it empowers the driver to prevent accidents, especially those caused by obnoxious hashtag delivery radio ads and other distractions.



The functions that EyeSight offers isn’t new, but what is new is how Subaru’s managed to bring all of them together in a convincing, easy-to-use package. Not to mention, this tech is the most affordable in the market since it cost nothing—nada, zero, zip on top of what you’d fork out for on the pre-EyeSight Subaru XV, Levorg, and Outback.

Moving on, we’re not going to talk about how the Subaru XV drives since this has been extensively covered by our test drive previously. Instead, we’re heading straight to the EyeSight technology itself—how it works and how it performs on Manila’s roads and traffic conditions.



First things first: let me correct the notion that EyeSight encompasses all of the Subaru XV’s safety systems. That’s false. In fact, just like its pre-EyeSight counterpart, driver assist features such as blind spot detection with cross traffic alert and high-beam assist (the middle camera in the EyeSight module) have continued on unchanged. They can be switched on and off through separate controls with the blind spot detection button located by the dash near the driver’s door (it’s the switch on the same row as the Vehicle Dynamics Control) while the high beam assist can be overwritten by placing the headlight stalk out of “Auto” mode.

So what’s the EyeSight system then? Actually, it’s the pair of color cameras located near the rearview mirror sandwiching the high beam assist monocular camera. Its positioning allows it to mimic human vision, particularly our ability to perceive depth. With that, it gives the likes of the Subaru XV abilities which would only be possible with more expensive radar or LIDAR tech: pre-collision braking, lane sway and departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lead vehicle start assist, and pre-collision throttle management.



Now, not all of these functions are on all the time. In fact, only three are on by default whenever the Subaru XV’s started: pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, and lane sway and departure warning. And even these can be turned off by pressing the corresponding override control located on the overhead console near the front map lights for around 5 seconds.

Left to their own devices, we find that these functions already make the whole EyeSight system worth it. Unlike similar systems from other manufacturers which may have the tendency to kick up a false alarm or two, Subaru seems to have finetuned their system to work excellently on Philippine road conditions. And to say that our driving here is “unique” lends gravity to what Subaru has done with the system. After close to two weeks behind the wheel, it didn’t activate the brakes for no reason at all. The only time it kicked in what when it actually detected a potential accident: when a group of pedestrians shuffled across the street just as the Subaru XV was about to speed up.



Moving on, we have the lane sway and departure warning. Not only is this a great conversation piece between two car bros, but it actually works. Capable of working at city speeds (starting at 40 km/h), it can actually rear and decipher our incongruent road markings. Typically, lane keeping assist will only work in places with standard white lane markings; but not EyeSight. This system can actually make sense of the MMDA’s crazy yellow, white, and blue lane markings. It also manages to pick up the faintest of lines too (well, at least in the day time). All in all, it’s a truly practical and non-annoying feature to have. Sadly, our generation of EyeSight has yet to integrate steering assist. For now, it simply blurts out a visual and audible warning whenever it detects the driver veering out of lane.

The next two features—adaptive cruise control and lead vehicle start assist only work when Cruise Control is turned on and engaged (you’ll know because the “EyeSight” screen flashes on the multi-function display). Just like the other functions of EyeSight, it seems well-tuned to our road conditions. Unlike other adaptive cruise control systems, this one works from a standstill; holding the brakes automatically if it detects that the car in front is stationary. If you think this is an advanced version of automatic brake hold, you’re not too far off. Anyway, once the car ahead pulls away and the driver doesn’t budge, it alerts him of his inattentiveness. Pressing down on the gas pedal or flicking the Cruise Control’s “RES/+” toggle moves the Subaru XV up to a predetermined speed (minimum 30 km/h). If it detects that the vehicle ahead is slowing down, it slows down appropriately too and even halts completely when necessary potentially making stop-and-go traffic a single pedal or no pedal driving affair. What’s even better is that EyeSight does all this smoothly and at a distance between cars that’s Manila appropriate (i.e. close to the vehicle ahead) compared to other similar systems.



Finally, there’s one added function that doesn’t get a shout out whenever EyeSight is being discussed: Rear Automatic Braking (RAB). Technically not part of EyeSight per se, it’s an added bonus, at least for the Subaru XV. We didn’t dare use this system, but what it does is that when in Reverse, RAB uses the four sensors on the rear bumper to detect any obstructions. If it detects anything, the system can alert the driver with warning sounds and automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision or reduce collision damage.

Vehicle safety isn’t the sexiest thing to consider when purchasing a new vehicle. Yet, it should be a very important consideration. And while the safety topic typically deals with cars post-crash, we think more emphasis should be given to features that help avoid that crash. Not only will this potentially save more lives, but in the practical aspect, it will also lead to lesser costly repairs. Subaru’s move to offer EyeSight essentially for free democratizes advanced safety technology. In the greater scheme of things, Subaru may not reach mainstream status, but what they’ve done is to become the loudest voice yet for safety. It begs to question: if Subaru could do it, why can’t every else. And while everyone else struggles to find an answer to that question, do yourself a favor and consider a driver assist technology that actually works like the Subaru EyeSight.

19 comments:

  1. Actually, you won't need this unless you're an incompetent driver. In that case, you better be not driving. Anyway, great effort on Subaru's part knowing that there are many incompetent drivers out there.

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    Replies
    1. At these times, it doesn't hurt to have additional safety features, no matter how competent a driver you think you are.

      Delete
    2. Anon 9:59am

      There are different angles to consider in an accident. Have you ever heard of a accidental blown tire leading to a major accident? How about a pedestrian who suddenly crossed the street?

      I hope you get into a major accident wherein you get comatosed. We'll visit you in the hospital, spit into your face and tell you, incompetent driver ka kasi eh nabangga ka tuloy.

      Delete
    3. Anon 2:41pm

      Anybody can suffer a blown tire, remember you're here in the PHI that's notorious for having lots of potholes. Even a car that just came off the dealer can suffer a blown tire.

      How am i not surprised, your a Mazda 3 owner and a fanboys yourself. You guys habitually diss off other car makers irregardless of their great features. Too obnoxious and insecure.

      Subaru XV >> Mazda CX3

      Delete
    4. It's easier to show your credentials by giving link than meeting up, genius. Daming palusot, pagagastusin mo pa ako ng plane ticket. LOL. Libre lang magbigay ng link, di kasi ako kasing "yaman" mo. LMAO

      Delete
    5. I'm way smarter than you think, why would i give any link or any credentials via the internet that's prone to anything untowards. You're asking for it, come see me personally then i'll show you.

      Delete
    6. We only remove comments that are clearly trolling--things mentioning "fan gay" or anything of that sort. Aside from that, continue attacking.

      Delete
    7. And don't even start saying anything about resale value. A three year old Mazda 3 skyactiv loses 40% of its value already nowadays. LMAO!

      Delete
  2. So basically everyone who gets into an accident, from full-on fatal accidents to hairline scratches are incompetent drivers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are the one crashed into, you're not an incompetent driver, but if you are the one who crashed your car accidentally due to negligence, recklessness or poor reaction times, yes you're an incompetent driver.

      Delete
  3. Daming mag cut sa subaru nito sa traffic dahil dito

    ReplyDelete
  4. Boy, Carguide has turned into 4chan because of its number of trolls (gets popcorn)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? We're actually thinking of removing "anonymous comments" moving forward if the trolling doesn't stop.

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    2. Please do sir. These trolls only have the guts because they know they can post anonymously.

      Delete
  5. Hi, were you able to know if windshield tint will have an effect on the performance of the Eyesight system?

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    Replies
    1. Officially, Subaru doesn't recommend putting any kind of tint on vehicles equipped with EyeSight. However, locally I understand Motor Image has done some testing and it still works up to a certain gradient.

      Delete
  6. My mom is considering to buy Toyota Rush over Forester (her first choice) because when it comes to maintenance, "Subaru" daw has the reputation for being inefficient due to the availability of its parts. Is this correct and parts have to be imported? Any comment please. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rush is a very different vehicle to the Forester.

      When it comes to maintenance parts, it's quite easy to get Subaru parts. However, I do have to agree that when it comes to collision parts, they are expensive and may take some time to arrive.

      Delete

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