Is it Possible to Add Adaptive Cruise Control to an Older Lexus LS Model?

In the arena of luxury vehicles, Lexus has always stood out for its world-class comfort, plush interiors, and advanced safety features. One such feature that has revolutionized driving experience is the adaptive cruise control system. Or, as Lexus calls it, the ‘Dynamic Radar Cruise Control’. This game-changing feature is now a standard in new Lexus models. However, some owners of older LS models might question: Is it possible to add adaptive cruise control to their prized possession? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore this query in depth, delving into the essential aspects of Lexus’ cruise control system, and the feasibility of its installation in older Lexus LS models.

Understanding the Adaptive Cruise Control System

Before we address the main question, it’s essential to understand what the adaptive cruise control system is and why it’s such a sought-after feature in luxury vehicles. Introduced as a step-up from traditional cruise control, this advanced system not only maintains a set speed but also adjusts to the speed of the vehicle in front of you. It uses cutting-edge technology to detect the distance and speed of the vehicle in front, slowing down or speeding up to maintain a safe following distance.

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In Lexus vehicles, this technology goes a step further with the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. This advanced system uses radar technology and a front-facing camera to monitor the traffic conditions ahead. It automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a predetermined distance from the vehicle in front. This hands-free system greatly increases driver safety and improves the overall driving experience.

Retrofitting Adaptive Cruise Control in Older Lexus LS Models

Now to the million-dollar question: Can you retrofit your older Lexus LS model with adaptive cruise control? From a technical standpoint, it seems possible. However, it is neither a straightforward nor cost-effective process.

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The adaptive cruise control system involves a myriad of complex components including front-facing radar, a control module, and a specific steering wheel. These components need to be carefully installed and their seamless integration with the vehicle’s existing control system is critical. The vehicle’s control module must be compatible with the new system, which often means an upgrade to the entire control system. The steering wheel may also need to be replaced to include the control buttons for the new system.

This process may require extensive modifications to the vehicle’s existing system, and it’s important to consider whether such alterations might impact the vehicle’s integrity or warranty.

Professional Installation and Safety Considerations

Given the complexity of this system, professional installation is highly recommended. A certified Lexus technician or a highly skilled auto-electrician should be entrusted with this task. A botched installation could not only render the system ineffective but could also compromise the vehicle’s safety.

It’s crucial to remember that the adaptive cruise control system is a safety feature. Therefore, any modification must be done without jeopardizing the vehicle’s safety standards. Any compromise could lead to serious consequences, given the high speeds at which the system operates.

Comparison With Newer Lexus Models and Mercedes Vehicles

Although retrofitting older Lexus LS models with adaptive cruise control is doable, it’s worth considering whether upgrading to a newer model or switching to a different luxury vehicle brand like Mercedes might be a more sensible decision.

Newer Lexus models come with the adaptive cruise control system as standard. They also boast a host of other advanced safety features such as lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Seated in plush leather seats, drivers can use a heads-up display to control these features without taking their hands off the wheel.

On the other hand, Mercedes vehicles also offer a comparable suite of advanced safety features. Their Intelligent Drive system includes the DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control system, which is very similar to Lexus’ system. The key difference is that Mercedes vehicles offer hybrid models with advanced regenerative braking systems, which can generate electricity and store it in the battery while on the move.

Ultimately, the decision rests on the driver’s personal preference and budget. Retrofitting an older model may be a way to retain an adored vehicle while enjoying the benefits of newer technology. However, upgrading to a newer Lexus or Mercedes model could offer a broader range of up-to-date safety features and luxuries. In any case, safety should never be compromised in the pursuit of advanced technology.

Upgrading the LS Model vs Purchasing New Luxury Cars

To make an informed decision about retrofitting an older model or upgrading to a different luxury vehicle, it’s essential to understand the features offered by comparable market competitors.

Mercedes Benz and BMW are both known for their advanced safety and luxury features, comparable to those offered by Lexus. The Benz Class comes with the Intelligent Drive system that includes the DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control, offering similar functionality to the Lexus Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. On the other hand, the BMW Series provides a range of options in luxury sedans, including hybrid plug-in variants. They all come equipped with features such as lane departure warning, navigation system, and wheel drive control.

As for Lexus’s direct competitors in the large luxury vehicles segment, the Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, and Tesla Model S all offer adaptive cruise control as standard. The Tesla Model S, with its advanced AutoPilot system, even allows for semi-autonomous driving.

If fuel economy is a deciding factor, then hybrid versions offered by Mercedes Benz and BMW could be an attractive option. Cars like the Mercedes Benz Class plug-in hybrids and BMW Series plug-in hybrids offer excellent fuel economy with regenerative braking systems that generate electricity while the vehicle is in motion.

Conclusion: Retrofit or Upgrade?

Weighing up the pros and cons of retrofitting adaptive cruise control in an older Lexus LS model can be a challenging task. There’s no denying the charm and nostalgia an older model holds for its owner. Retrofitting an older model offers the chance to retain the vehicle’s character while integrating modern technology.

However, installing an adaptive cruise control system in an older Lexus LS model may involve considerable cost, effort, and potential risks. A professional installation is non-negotiable, and even then, it may affect the vehicle’s warranty and integrity.

On the other hand, upgrading to a newer Lexus model or switching to a Mercedes Benz, BMW Series, Range Rover, or other high-end luxury vehicles could offer a wealth of advanced safety features and luxuries combined with peace of mind.

In the end, the choice between retrofitting an older Lexus LS model with an adaptive cruise control system or upgrading to a vehicle already equipped with this technology comes down to personal preference, safety considerations, and budget constraints. Whatever the decision, it’s crucial to remember that safety should always be the top priority. After all, the cruise control system is designed to enhance comfort without compromising on safety.

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