Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
DURING the kick-off event of the recently concluded “Subaru Ultimate Test Drive,” members of the media were given the first dibs to try out the manufacturer’s new smart technologies.
Held at Uptown Parade in Bonifacio Global City last weekend, local distributor Motor Image Pilipinas hosted the event for the public to experience Subaru’s latest offerings. Commissioned models were the XV Crossover and Forester sport-utility vehicle (SUV) for having the highest ground clearance in the lineup at 220 mm.
One of the major highlights was, of course, what Subaru is known for—the boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. A four-stage course was installed to validate the system’s capabilities. The first obstacle was the cross rollers. Here, the test vehicle highlighted its rigid body, vehicle dynamic control and the high ground clearance. Through the alternating ramps, the vehicle demonstrated minimal body rolls every time each corner of the vehicle elevated. Next were the slip rollers, where the vehicle dynamic control and the SAWD systems enabled wheel grip despite the slippery hurdle while distributing the right amount of power and traction to the other wheels in order to move forward, effortlessly.
Then there was the side ramp to showcase the boxer engine’s low center of gravity, SAWD and rigid frame. On a steep ramp, all the combined features allowed the vehicle to move in and out safely while turning, even with one corner elevated. Last, the shell pits of continuous ramps that proved the rigid body and independent suspension setup ability to absorb bumps and uneven road conditions efficiently.
World-leading Driver Assist Technology
SUBARU believes in all-around safety with the pre-collision detection as an important aspect. This is where the manufacturer’s trademark EyeSight Driver Assist Technology comes to play. We had an opportunity to try out this cutting-edge feature throughout the separate sequence with an instructor as the driver and us opting as passengers in order to pay more attention to the execution and results.
This interesting safety feature lies in a device fitted at the area in between the interior sun visors with three camera sensors. These optics act as the main signal receivers to execute the features, such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Sway and Departure Management, Lead Vehicle Alert, Pre-collision Braking System and Pre-collision Throttle Management.
The Adaptive Cruise Control function enables drivers to set a safe distance from the car in front, while the optical system automatically maintains that setting. Aside from monitoring the speed and distance of the car in front, the system also regulates the engine, transmission and brake altogether to keep the speed in line with the traffic flow. As for the Lane Sway Warning, it releases sound and flashing light indicators to alert drivers once the system detects the action from 60 kilometer per hour and up. The Lane Departure Warning, meantime, activates at 50 kph and emits the same set of warnings if the driver inadvertently moves the vehicle closer to the outer lane or while changing lanes without signaling.
Meanwhile, we boarded the XV Crossover with instructor behind the wheel to demonstrate the active pre-collision detections and alert systems. The initial demo showcased the EyeSight’s ability to avoid frontal collisions. With the vehicle approaching the obstacle wall on cruising speed, the system started discharging sound and light signals as we got closer, until the system applied a full-force braking that put the vehicle to a complete stop a couple of meters away from impact.
While on the same spot, we then witnessed how the Pre-collision Throttle Management managed to avoid further movement by drastically cutting the motor’s output even while stepping on the accelerator. This particular exercise also simulates the possibility of engaging the drive shift by mistake instead of reverse and preventing unnecessary rear-enders or even wall crashes. Likewise, several continuous and short beeps along with flashing light indicators were discharged.
Next, the instructor demonstrated the EyeSight’s impressive capability in maintaining safe distance on a stop/start traffic situation. This system also allows the driver to set the distance level through a control switch embedded in the steering wheel. During the simulation, every time the lead car stopped and advanced, our vehicle followed accordingly while maintaining the set distance. Remarkably, the instructor was not even stepping on any pedals while just simply holding on to the helm to control the direction. Last, the Lead Vehicle Alert validated its adeptness to send signals to the driver if the vehicle in front started advancing. You can just imagine how wonderful it is to drive a Subaru vehicle equipped with these advanced features while traversing Edsa during rush hour.