For as complicated as the EyeSight system seems and as complex as it is, using it is simple: Set a speed and let it work. Nothing to it!
EyeSight helps a driver follow at a safe distance with often-subtle adjustments to speed and, if necessary, with braking. Set speeds at 5-mile-per-hour increments with the steering wheel toggle switch.
Leaving crowded city streets behind, I found a high-speed highway, set the speed to the speed limit, and toggled through the three distance settings to the one with which I felt comfortable. EyeSight took over, and it told me it had locked onto the vehicle in front of me via an image on the instrument panel. It reminded me of fighter pilots locking onto their targets!
As traffic accelerated and braked between traffic lights, I usually was unaware of the decreases and increases in speed because the system works so smoothly. EyeSight kept the Legacy a relatively long distance away from the vehicle ahead – adjusting that distance to be farther when we were going faster.
EyeSight also took us to complete stops, and we started up again with either a tap on the accelerator or flip of the RESUME switch on the steering wheel.
At first, allowing the system to stop the vehicle completely without intervening was unnerving. Doing that runs counter to the reactions that you’ve developed after years of driving.
However, I can see that after a longer period of familiarization, a driver would enjoy using EyeSight. I found that instead of making me less aware of surrounding traffic and the lane changes other vehicles were making, I was actually more aware and ready to react.
At interstate highway speeds, with the speed set to a higher limit, EyeSight widened and maintained the distance between us and the vehicle ahead – again, by quiet increases and decreases in speed.
When another vehicle would change lanes and violate the set distance between the EyeSight Legacy and the vehicle ahead, the system would lock onto the interloper and back off the throttle until the set distance was reached.
Disabling functions is easy, too. Two buttons at the base of the EyeSight housing turn off lane departure warnings and pre-collision braking. Plus, you don’t use the system where you normally wouldn’t use cruise control.
Although it struck me as otherworldly at first, I don’t think it will take long to acclimate to the system. It runs smoothly and intensifies your attention.
Pulling into the parking lot from which we started, I realized that I had “psyched” myself before the drive. I knew too much going into the situation. I knew about the functions and overrides, about the technology and what it can and cannot do.
I wasn’t expecting a system as sophisticated and pleasant to use as EyeSight proved to be.
Currently available on 2013 Legacy and Outback Limited models, Subaru has plans to bring EyeSight to all of its models in the future.