In a perfect relationship between rider and horse, small, precise hand movements of the reins are all that’s required to communicate commands. It’s this kind of direct, emotional connection that Lexus has sought to achieve in the design of the driver’s cockpit in its all-new NX luxury SUV.
The concept has been named Tazuna – the Japanese word for the reins of a horse – and it is being used for the first time in a Lexus production car.
The aim is to help the driver focus on the business of driving: “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.” It’s a simple principle, but many different elements have to be brought together in harmony to achieve it, from the driver’s position at the wheel to the shape and location of different controls and the way in which important vehicle and journey data are communicated.
Takeaki Kato, the NX Chief Engineer, explains: “We have redefined the ideal cockpit space as the contact point between the driver and vehicle, aiming for a design that enables a deeper and more intuitive connection and allows for more faithful controllability of the vehicle.”
Take your seat at the wheel of the new NX and you immediately experience what the Tazuna concept means. The human-centred design ties together the door, instrument binnacle and centre console in a unified cockpit that gives you intuitive access to the controls and information with minimum movement of hand and eye.
The primary information sources – the multi-information and instrument displays, multimedia screen and head-up display are positioned so they can be read at a glance, with high-definition graphics. The number of physical switches has been reduced and they are grouped according to their function, with the driving-related controls closest at hand.
New touch-tracer switches on the steering wheel can be customised to operate your preferred functions and you don’t have to look down at the wheel to find the control you need – when touch the switch, its operation is shown in the head-up or multi-information display.
The feeling of being control and connected with the car is also communicated by the shape of the driver’s seat, steering wheel, shift lever and pedals, defined with exacting attention to detail. For example, the front seat side bolsters have cut-out areas so there’s no elbow obstruction when operate the controls. The shape and cross-section of the new steering wheel have been precisely determined by Lexus’s Takumi craftspeople to provide the ideal grip feel – the key point of connection between driver and car. The shift lever, too, is compact and perfectly angled.
Drivers come in all sizes and statures, so the Tazuna cockpit can be adapted to provide comfort and easy operation for all with a wide range of power adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel. Lexus also researched the different shoulder-to-fingertip reach measurement of people from around the world to calculate an optimum design. One of the results of this was to increase the length of the centre console – another example of Lexus’s human-centred design approach.
Following its introduction in the all-new NX, the Tazuna concept will be applied to future models, making its intuitive control a key part of the Lexus driving experience.
For more information about the all-new Lexus NX, visit www.lexus.co.uk.