COMPARED to just a few years ago, today’s automobiles could accurately be viewed as veritable fortresses on wheels. Indeed, safety has become one of the highest priorities for customers when it comes to choosing a new car and the ever increasing demands of legislators have resulted in manufacturers introducing technologies that would have seemed unthinkable in less enlightened times.
Would you feel confident driving a car designed and built before the advent of computers on your daily commute? Or does the very idea of being in a vehicle without airbags or intelligently engineered crumple zones give you the jitters? Certainly occupants of older vehicles are more vulnerable to danger and modern advancements in vehicular safety have made the chances of surviving a collision or other accident higher than they have ever been. But there’s far more to the issue than occupant safety and in recent times car companies have risen to the challenge of protecting pedestrians, too.
It can be easy to forget about the outside world when we are cocooned in our safe, efficient and refined vehicles but that complacency cannot be shared by those who design, manufacture and supply those cars in the first place. There is a duty of care that must be shown to all and that means protecting members of the public who share the same spaces as the cars we use – a consideration that was not on the collective radar of most manufacturers until quite recently. These days, however, vehicle safety systems must be proactive rather than reactive. Prevention, after all, is always better than cure.
Expensive luxury cars have always, traditionally, been the first to be equipped with cutting edge safety technology but Nissan is determined to change that perception by making it the preserve of all, right across its range of passenger vehicles. Anti-lock brakes (ABS), airbags, side impact protection – even impact bumpers, laminated glass and inertia reel seatbelts – are things we rightly expect to find available on any new car for sale, yet initially they were reserved for range topping luxury automobiles only. That’s perhaps understandable, with these advancements having cost untold sums to develop, but Nissan recognizes that its responsibilities as a manufacturer are not limited to those with the deepest pockets.
Which is why Nissan models, like the Altima, Maxima, X-Trail and Patrol are all available with safety advancements that protect those inside and out alike. The acronyms used by various companies to identify these functions can be confusing, so let’s consider some individual cases and what they actually do to enhance safety.
First the Altima – a mid-size saloon car that represents terrific value for money – which is available with an impressive array of safety features as standard. Aside from regulars such as ABS and a plethora of airbags, the Altima comes equipped with Forward Emergency Braking (FEB), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCA), all of which help avoid accidents from happening in the first place. FEB, for instance, detects obstacles in the driver’s path and, if the system detects a lack of deceleration on the part of the driver, it applies emergency braking to avoid colliding with the obstacle in question. RCTA alerts the driver of any other vehicles in the vicinity while reversing, while PFCA actively predicts danger ahead, warning the driver of potential collision threats even when they remain unseen by the human eye.
The Maxima takes things further by adding Moving Object Detection (MOD) – a system that uses cameras to monitor the car’s surroundings while at a standstill or moving slowly. It also comes equipped with Driver Attention Alert (DAA), which monitors the inputs of a driver and politely suggests they take a break if it is judged that concentration levels might be waning.
X-Trail, a consistent best seller in the region, is available with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), which alerts a driver when the car strays from its lane without the use of the relevant indicator. Safety when parking is heightened with its Around View Monitor (AVM), a system that uses multiple cameras to provide a ‘birds-eye’ encompassing view on the central display screen.
Luxury is a byword for the legendary Patrol, which solidifies its reputation as the ‘Hero of all Terrains in Life’ with class-leading refinement and equipment levels but not at the expense of important, intuitive safety features such as Blind Spot Intervention (BSI), which helps avoid collisions with unseen vehicles while changing lanes. This is complemented by the inclusion of Back-up Collision Intervention (BCI), which identifies crossing traffic while reversing and even applies the brakes in an emergency, and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) – a system that keeps the Patrol in its lane by detecting unintentional drifting and applying braking to appropriate wheels if the driver is unresponsive to audible warnings.
These functions are not mere gadgets fitted for the sake of it. Rather they are present to make driving safer for everyone, be it the occupants of the car, other road users or pedestrians. They represent the application of technology in its most responsible manner and reiterate Nissan’s desire to improve the quality of life for everyone. While competitors often reserve these potential lifesaving technologies for owners of their most expensive models, Nissan is committed to widening their availability and thus, in the process, is making its cars better value for money than ever before.
Of course, an army of protective technologies is at work in all of Nissan’s vehicles, over and above those previously mentioned. Constantly monitoring, calculating, adjusting and protecting, they operate unseen without obtruding or annoying. They have been developed and engineered by Nissan to ensure that each and every journey is as safe as possible and they help the company achieve its own lofty targets for corporate social responsibility. We are surrounded by mor