Lexus ES gets new side mirrors

The new camera-based rearview mirrors on the Japanese-market 2019 Lexus ES 300h.						Handout Lexus

The Japanese government lead the way in 2016 when it adopted rules allowing automakers to use cameras instead of mirrors.

The new ES will become the first mirrorless production auto when it goes on sale this October.

Here in the USA, the technology has yet to be made legal, though vehicles are already being sold with video screens that replace the center rearview mirror.

The "Digital Outer Mirror" system, which Lexus claims is a world first on a production vehicle, shows feeds from two exterior cameras on a pair of 5.0-inch screens mounted at the base of the front pillars. If you are excited about ordering an ES with this mirror tech, Lexus says that it will only be available in Japan.

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Besides giving drivers a better view of their surroundings, Lexus claims that another advantage of having digital side monitors is that they no longer block the view outside the front windows. In addition to providing an expanded view and better visibility at night and in poor weather, these digital systems can help yield better fuel efficiency due to the more aerodynamic design of the camera setup.

Then there are the displays: A pair of 5-inch monitors are attached to the front pillars.

The system goes above and beyond by zooming out or enhancing each view depending on when you signal or put the vehicle in reverse. And as the cameras cause less drag than mirrors, there's less annoying wind noise too. The side cameras are shaped in a way to prevent accumulation of rain and snow from blurring the view.