The Subaru Outback’s new EyeSight system is a suite of electronic safety features of the type normally found in luxury cars.
It uses two cameras to monitor vehicles in front. It can help you prevent or minimize a rear-end collision, for example, by sounding an alert or even applying the brakes if you’re approaching a vehicle too quickly.
Studies have found that automatic braking systems significantly reduce the number of accident claims. In most cases, if the speed difference between cars is less than 20 mph, the system should prevent a collision. Above that, it still might apply the brakes in time to reduce damage.
The EyeSight system also monitors lane markings and will warn you if your car begins drifting within or out of its lane.
Adaptive cruise control is also included, which lets you maintain a set distance behind a car. It automatically slows your car in congestion and can even manage the throttle and brakes in stop-and-go traffic.
EyeSight works well overall, but we thought the lane-detection system was too sensitive. It can be turned off, but the overhead switch is awkward to use. We also wish EyeSight included a feature that detects blind spots.
The system doesn’t come cheap: It retails for $1,295. And it’s only available on top-of-the-line Limited models as part of a $3,940 options package that also includes a moonroof and navigation system. Still, the Outback and Subaru Legacy sedan are the least-expensive cars to offer such a system with autonomous braking capability.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "A New But Pricey Safety System."
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