Subaru has declared NZ tests of EyeSight a success and will launch it next year, writes Alastair Sloane
Subaru will next year roll out a new electronic system which uses cameras beside the rear-view mirror to provide preventative safety functions.
It is called EyeSight and has already been trialled in New Zealand on a Legacy, driven between Auckland and Queenstown by Subaru engineers from Japan.
The system has had 12 months of testing in Australia and will be available in premium models there in December.
Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper says the company in New Zealand will follow the same pattern next year.
"We originally thought we would pick up on the Australian timing, but they will get it first because of greater production numbers.
"It's now a matter of choosing a production date [for EyeSight] for New Zealand.
"It works well. The Japanese were very confident about it after the Auckland-Queenstown run.
"It will go into Legacy and Outback and then perhaps as an optional extra across the range. Later it might become standard equipment. We are not sure yet."
Dumper said he hoped insurance companies would take note of EyeSight when it came to premiums.
EyeSight includes pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and brake assist, lane departure warning, vehicle sway warning and lead vehicle start alert.
The pre-collision throttle management is designed to avoid or reduce the impact of carpark accidents by inhibiting throttle inputs when an obstacle in front of the car is detected.
Subaru says the feature could also be useful when a forward gear is inadvertently selected when the driver intends to reverse.
Adaptive cruise control, like similar systems from other carmakers, maintains a safe distance from the car in front when cruise control is in use.
Unlike some systems, it is operational across the vehicle's full speed range, including coming to a complete standstill in traffic and moving off from stationary when the vehicle in front does so.
Pre-collision braking and pre-collision brake assist apply the brakes if the system anticipates a collision before the driver reacts.
Lane departure and vehicle sway warning alert the driver if the system detects the car drifting across or swaying between lanes - usually signs of driver fatigue.
The appearance of Subaru's new XV crossover in trials on roads in Northland in December is the first stage of an ambitious plan by parent Fuji Heavy Industries to boost global sales over the next five years.
It is expected to be on sale on both sides of the Tasman in March/April next year. It will be the first of a handful of new all-wheel-drive models - including a hybrid and replacements for the Impreza WRX and STi - that Subaru plans to launch by 2016 to meet a global sales target of 900,000 vehicles, up from 657,000 last year.