By on June 14, 2019

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid - Image: Toyota Canada

Fans of excessive idling will want to consider a 2019 Toyota model rather than a 2020. The automaker has announced two new safety features destined for most of its lineup for the 2020 model year, one of them being a system that shuts off the engine if left running for too long. How long? That’s for Toyota to decide.

The second feature is one employed by automakers with unconventional transmission shifters that really want to keep litigation at bay.

Currently, Toyota’s venerable Smart Key System issues a two-step alert to hassle the driver into shutting off the engine — a reminder that’s easily ignored. After the 2020 update, the vehicle will go ahead and turn itself off after a “pre-determined period of time.” The Auto Shut Off feature will add smartphone app notifications sometime in the future, Toyota claims.

While idling a car has its benefits (Northerners know what’s No. 1 on the list), there’s an obvious safety issue when that vehicle is humming away in a garage. A New York Times article last year detailed the 28 accidental carbon monoxide deaths in the U.S. since 2006; more than half of the vehicles involved were Toyota or Lexus products.

It looks like the automaker is taking action to stamp out the phenomena.

The second of the two new features is something that came into vogue following a spate of highly publicized rollaway incidents, mainly involving Fiat Chrysler and Ford vehicles. Automatic Park prevents unplanned, driverless journeys by your personal vehicle by ensuring the car is in “Park” when you exit your ride.

“The feature will be available in vehicles with electronic means of shifting and/or applying the parking brake, and is designed to automatically shift the vehicle into the “park” position and/or apply the electronic parking brake, in the event the driver exits the vehicle without placing the vehicle in “park,” the automaker stated.

[Image: Toyota]

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27 Comments on “Additional Safety Features Coming to Toyota Vehicles for 2020...”

  • avatar

    At this point can Toyota do no wrong.

  • avatar

    Toyota’s safety systems are awful, I drove a Camry as a rental and the steering wheel jerking me every time I got too close to the side of the lane or it detected a road defect was nearly enough to cause a wreck.

    I would not buy any of these new systems as I have yet to find one that could operate anywhere near a normal alert human. These systems are all for inattentive kids and senile men.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      All of these “driver assistance” packages are designed for the lowest common denominator. For the rest of us, they are intrusive, distracting and annoying. Toyota’s systems seem to be among the worst of the lot because they are programmed by their legal department – not the engineering department.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota put a button on the steering wheel, directly in front of your face, where you can turn off lane keep assist if it displeases you. And it will stay off. Toyota has been really good about letting you disable all these safety systems if you so desire.

      If you had actually paid attention like an normal alert human when you were driving your rental camry, there would be no call to be a luddite about any of this.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve driven an ’18 Camry SE rental, and yes, you can turn off lane departure assist and blind spot monitoring, and change the sensitivity of the automatic emergency braking, or turn it off completely. AEB also doesn’t activate below 23mph. Why 23? I don’t know.

      • 0 avatar

        I realize you can turn it off and it was turned off after nearly wrecking before I knew the car had it. Playing with it and trying to figure out how it was suppose to work simply resulted in me realizing that it was never implemented properly to begin with.

      • 0 avatar

        On some rentals, I’ve had to consult the driver’s manual in the glovebox. A couple rentals didn’t have them, so I had to familiarize myself with the controls on some cars before I left the garage. Now the manual is on the display screen – if you know how to access it.

        Bottom line, if you don’t like these safety “features”, you’ll really hate what’s coming. The Europeans have a list of additional items they’ll force on euro-makes, and American makers will eventually follow suit, and salmonmigration is right – they’re set up for the lowest common denominator, people who shouldn’t have passed their driving test.

    • 0 avatar

      Our 2018 TourX has only ABS and stability control. It doesn’t even beep or flash lights when coming to close to traffic. So nice and quiet to drive without the nannies.

    • 0 avatar

      Conversely, Honda systems have grown-up nicely! No false alarms with the auto-brakes in my new 2019 Accord, the auto-stop on the adaptive cruise is awesome, and the lane-centering is damn near seamless in operation; the car will track itself around a gentle curve, as long as the car senses you applying steering force.

      Only thing I do miss occasionally is the LaneWatch camera, because unlike many manufacturers, Honda’s blind-spot assist doesn’t kick in until the car is moving, so changing into a lane of moving traffic on the right from a dead-stopped adjacent lane is more of a challenge, since that camera on the passenger mirror provides a better view of the lane and oncoming traffic to the in-dash screen. Curiously, that feature is still available on Canadian Accords! One wonders why we can’t get the low big-juice warning on the dash like they do, along with a larger tank!

      • 0 avatar


        “LaneWatch camera”, I had it on 2016 Accord, is the dumbest thing Honda ever put on a car, never used it as it is distracting, thank god it’s gone on 2018, replaced by blind spot monitoring that is way better and also alert you with a beep if you put the blinker on and there is a car on that side.
        Also, the button transmission on the 2.0T, is something I can’t get used to but it has some smart features that I like, it will go into P if you open the door with no seatbelt on, and, when you park the car, you only need to shut of the engine, it shift to P automatically.
        The AEB works in any speed, the lane departure feature is way more sensitive (annoying) than the one I had on the 2016.

  • avatar

    The “excessive idling” feature would be a deal-breaker for me. On hot summer days, at various events, idling with the AC on while taking a nap is a necessity. This “feature” sucks. Stop, nanny.

    • 0 avatar

      I imagine you’ll be able to disable it.

      • 0 avatar

        Or one of the companies that produce workarounds for CAN-Bus electronics (overriding the speed input, and lockouts, for infotainment; allowing videos on the infotainment screen) will.

        Trying to find one of those lockout-killers for my new Accord, and would like to find another which will roll up the windows and close the sunroof, if a command is given to lock the doors from the HomdaLink app; perfect for leaving the windows cracked, being able to close them in the event of rain, and not have to run a quarter-mile from my office and back to do same. The latter should be readily available, the former is not, and probably will never be!

    • 0 avatar

      Since the late 70’s it’s been against federal smog law to idle an engine for more than three minutes.

  • avatar

    Yet in the Toyota’s I’ve driven in the past while you can defeat the daytime running lights. We are at a point where the majority of cars have at least daytime lights on if not fully lit by the driver so those that can’t be bothered to turn theirs on are quickly lost in the glare of all the other lights in the rain and other low light conditions. It’s not about what you can see it is about being seen. I get that some may not like daytime running lights but they are there on a large portion of the cars on the road. Add that to the other cars that use there lights as needed or required (lights on with wipers in many municipalities). Often these no lighters are also attempting to drive (overly) safe but a fat lot of good that will do them if I can’t see them between the bright lights of other cars. Also, why can’t people use their auto setting. Please excuse my stereotyping but we are talking Toyota here, why can’t Lexus drivers leave there lights on auto. There will be 50 excuses I am sure all of which can be easily rebutted. Do Toyota’s have the ability to turn their lights on with wipers yet? That is a setting in other cars now such as a 2019 Outback I was in. It was also in my 2002 Grand Cherokee with auto lights. I guess my real rant is I just don’t understand Toyota thinking sometimes.

    • 0 avatar

      ” I just don’t understand Toyota thinking sometimes.”

      Toyota just goes with the flow — whatever is trending.

      Maybe buyers can defeat these features as well.

      My best friend found a way to defeat the auto/start on the 2019 Silverado LTZ by putting the truck in Neutral before coming to a stop and while at a stop.

      Now watch GM eliminate this loophole in their engine management programming.

  • avatar

    “the 28 accidental carbon monoxide deaths in the U.S. since 2006”

    I don’t mean to make light of these deaths but 28 fatalities over 13 years is am extremely rare occurrence.

  • avatar

    Isn’t idling car over certain period of time illegal in EU and you can get ticket for doing that? I remember in Germany it was against rule. In any case I do not have that habit for some reason. There are no good reasons to keep engine idling I can think of especially considering all that brouhaha about climate change.

    • 0 avatar

      In the great white north idling excessively is done to warm the car for people who don’t like wearing jackets or gloves. Also, the allegation is that idling reduces engine wear since the bits “at operating temp” before you set off; the transmission, suspension, steering, other important bits are still frozen by the time you take off.

      I personally like a cold car and so only let the car run long enough to scrape the windows and remove frost.

      • 0 avatar

        tankinbeans I am originally from Moscow region of Russia. You can hardly find climate harsher than there. Germans could not overcome local climate with all their wonder machines. You just need to keep car in a warm garage so you are able to start engine in the morning. Gas is also expensive so I did not want to idle car and waste money.

  • avatar

    Here’s the reality: as the Baby Boomers age, more of these ‘safety features’ become appealing to them. As a car buying demographic, they have a major influence on what manufacturers build into their cars. Back in the day, folks bought Benzes or big road boats because they were seen as safer than everyday sedans. Nothing’s really changed- people of a certain age buy safety, or the illusion thereof.

    • 0 avatar

      VWGTI every generation ages sooner than later, not only baby boomers. And everyone wants safe cars or you think millennials are suicidal?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m a baby boomer, and I hate every one of those passive safety devices. They may be optional, or you may be able to turn them off AT FIRST, but the people who can’t resist telling other people how to live will eventually make those measures, and many more, MANDATORY. If automakers are forced to put these things in cars, at least install them as modules so owners can remove them.

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