Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
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No Side Mirrors? 2019 Lexus' Digital Side Mirrors! - Vol.421

Are you tired of using side view mirrors to see around your car? It seems that Lexus is, too. This luxury car manufacturer has done away with them completely.

The new Lexus ES sedans are coming off the assembly line without physical side mirrors. Does this mean that you will soon have drivers that don't look behind and to the sides when they're driving? Not exactly.

Drivers of new 2019 Lexus ES will be treated to digital side mirrors instead. Are these an improvement to physical side mirrors? Check out this article and decide for yourself.

Analog Side Mirrors vs. Digital Mirrors
Side mirrors or wing mirrors are mounted on the exterior corners of your vehicle's front doors. Generally, they are used to see areas around the outside of your car. But they are the bane of car engineers. And they've been searching for a way to replace these mirrors for years. Some reasons include:
- Ugly appearance
- Aerodynamic drag
- Blind spots

However, carmakers think they have a solution. And that solution is digital mirrors. Many carmakers are getting on board with this new way of seeing the world outside of your vehicle. Besides the obviously improved car appearance, advocates for digital mirror use also list these potential benefits for putting them on all cars:
- Noise reduction
- Reduced drag may lead to lower CO2 emissions
- Improved fuel economy
- Increased field of vision

Replacing side view mirrors with digital mirrors may also save you some money down the line. If you've ever had your side mirrors taken out by a careless car or passerby, you know how frustrating it is to replace. Digital mirror cameras are significantly smaller than side mirrors which may make them less likely to receive accidental damage.

Lexus' Digital Side Mirrors
Lexus plans to roll out new digital side-view monitors to replace analog side mirrors in Japan starting with the 2019 ES sedan. A compact, high-definition camera projects what it sees onto small LCD screens. The screen size is approximately the size of an average portable GPS.

Some positive aspects of the new Lexus digital side-view mirrors include:
- Increased forward side visibility
- Reduced blind spot size
- Wind noise reduction
- Software that senses and notifies the driver of other vehicles in one of the three-quarter rear areas
- Outside view even when windows are fogged
- Improved visuals
- Control camera angles via mirror controls on door console

And what about those unsightly mirror extensions? You would think that digital mirrors would do away with those little wings. But that's where the cameras are located.

So you do still have side arms sticking out from the side of the car. They may be relatively thinner and more streamlined than your average car side mirror. However, they are still there.

In addition, the little digital screens mounted inside the car doors may be obstructive for some people. And yes, they mount to each side of the car. So you do still need to turn your head and look towards the mirror as you would an analog side mirror.

Final Thought
So far, only Japanese legislators have approved the use of digital side mirrors (for the Japanese market). It may be a while until they are approved in other nations. So if you long for digital side mirrors, you may have to go to Japan to pick up your Lexus sedan.

This isn't your only hope for digital mirrors, though. And Lexus is not the first manufacturer to change their analog mirrors. Cadillac used digital central rear view mirrors for some of their models in 2016. Car manufacturers are slowly moving towards this type of technology to replace analog mirrors. So you just have to wait until they are approved in places near you.