2002 Infiniti Q45Enlarge Photo
The entire lineup of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles has brake-throttle override systems, something the company first applied to its products in 2002 on the 2002 Infiniti Q45 and implemented across its vehicle portfolio in 2004. It has been a standard feature on every vehicle since that time.
How it works in Nissan and Infiniti vehicles: The system will not allow for the application of the brake and accelerator pedals at the same time. If they are pressed simultaneously, the electronic throttle will be cut instantaneously, once the brakes are applied. There is also an override for the push-button ignition system.
Nissan doesn’t brand the system, as it considers brake-throttle override to be an important safety feature that’s part of a safety suite of technologies working in the background to protect occupants, just like airbags and anti-lock brakes. But it did market the feature briefly in an ad, “Brake on a dime,” last summer that also appeared at the end of an educational video on the safety technology. Click here to see the video.
And, for a look at the redesigned 2013 Nissan Altima, see our review here.
2013 Subaru Legacy
2013 Subaru LegacyEnlarge Photo
Subaru incorporates brake throttle override in its new EyeSight system debuting on the 2013 Legacy and Outback models arriving in dealers this summer. The comprehensive safety system will be available on subsequent models. See more about the 2013 Subaru Outback in this review.
While EyeSight pricing hasn’t been announced yet, Subaru says the system will be one of the most affordable in the U.S. market.
2010 Toyota Camry
2010 Toyota CamryEnlarge Photo
Toyota began incorporating brake override in early 2010, and it was standard in all Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles by the end of 2010. In addition, it was retrofitted into all vehicles that were subject to the floor mat interference recalls. (For a recap of the Toyota sticking gas pedal and floor mat recalls, click here.) Toyota was the first full-line automaker to have this safety system standard across all car and truck models.
Toyota calls its system “smart stop technology.” There is no difference in how it works if the vehicle is equipped with push button start. The short version of how it works is this: If the accelerator is depressed beyond a certain low-power point and the brake is then depressed, the engine will return to idle speed as long as the brake is depressed.
Mike Michels, Toyota vice president of communications, tells The Car Connection that smart stop technology “is pretty much unnecessary” on manual transmission cars because the nature of the manual transmission makes the clutch readily available to disengage the engine.
Hybrid vehicles use motor/generators. “They are a motor when the car accelerates, and a generator, slowing the car down, when the car decelerates,” Michels said. “The motor/generator cannot do both at the same time, so in the case of the accelerator pedal being stuck and the driver hitting the brakes, it shuts off the electric motors and gas engine, and defaults to a generator to prevent damage and overload. Essentially, it acts like brake override, making any additional brake override logic unnecessary.”
Michels added that there are certain situations where drivers would want to intentionally use both pedals simultaneously, such as starting from a stop on a steep hill, or rocking the vehicle to get it unstuck from snow. For that reason, if the brake is depressed first (e.g., in order to hold the car on a hill), the engine will respond and the vehicle can be driven from a standstill, assuming the brake is then released.
For a comprehensive look at the 2012 Toyota Camry, check out our review of the mid-size sedan.
2002 Volkswagen Jetta
2002 Volkswagen JettaEnlarge Photo
All Volkswagen and Audi vehicles have had brake-throttle override system since 2002. It applies to manual and automatic transmissions.
Called “smart pedal technology,” the Volkswagen system monitors the application of the vehicle’s throttle (gas pedal) and brakes. If the driver applies the brake pedal while driving with an actuated accelerator pedal, the engine control system returns the engine to idle, disregards gas pedal input, or, in situations where a vehicle’s brakes have not been properly maintained, reduces engine torque, allowing the vehicle to be stopped with its brakes.
Learn more about the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, the German automaker’s first American-made vehicle since 1985, in this review.