Friday, June 03, 2016

Land Cruiser Inclinometer

I've been shopping for a used G-Wagen for months.  Several factors have conspired to yield very few attractive choices.  As a result, I've expanded my search to include used Land Cruisers.  While researching the Land Cruiser online, I came across something interesting.

The 2016 Land Cruiser has a very cool feature.  A 2-axis inclinometer can appear on the LCD displays.  The image below shows it in the "Multi-Terrain Monitor" on the large center display.  The manual describes a way to also display it on the Multi-Information Display in the dash behind the steering wheel.  This big display shown below is great.  

I've used mechanical inclinometers meant for RVs as well as iPhone apps.  When using those, I have always been too busy on the steepest hills to look at them.  I like the way Toyota combined the inclinometer with off-road camera views.  This display is quickly summoned by pressing a hard button on the dash, just to the right of the steering wheel.  The manual says it shows the above display when in L4 and the speed is less than 7 mph.  That seems reasonable.  The display is different if in H4 or driving faster than 7 mph.  Some day, maybe Land Rover will return to their off-road roots and include such a handy feature.

While I commend the wonks at Toyota for adding this, I want to punish them for another "feature."

The same 2016 Land Cruiser also includes something called "Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection."  You probably already know where I'm going with this.  Yes, the car will automatically apply the brakes if it thinks you're getting too close to a pedestrian.  The key words in that sentence are: "thinks", "too close" and "pedestrian" because the car is never going to be very good at any of those, and the Toyota lawyers will surely make it err on the side of "safety."

I am positive that the car will think all the creosote and small trees along the trails I drive, are people.  Even Toyota thinks this because the manual says this feature should be disabled when driving off road.  It also says to disable it when: driving "in a sporty manner", driving on a spare tire, loaded with heavy luggage, being towed, and 11 more situations.  The manual also says the system might activate: "When passing a vehicle or pedestrian" and "When changing lanes while overtaking a preceding vehicle" and "When overtaking a preceding vehicle that is changing lanes" and "When overtaking a vehicle that is making a left/right turn" and 19 more situations.  Most of those situtations happen in normal city driving.  Sounds like they haven't worked out the bugs yet.

You can turn it off by pressing and holding a button for > 3 seconds.  It restarts each time you start the engine.

It takes a lot of effort to not launch into a Lewis Black-esque tirade: "Are you sh**ing me?"

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