You Can’t Have It – Japan Innovates Again and We Lose

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In the past, Japan has typically been perceived as a bit ahead of the game with respect to technology. However, in the last few years the US has been closing the gap, and most people would argue that currently, we’re pretty much on par.
However, today I was paging through the newest issue of Option (their 400th!!), and ran into the new Defi Sport NV!

Defi snv-trial0-100goal

The Defi Sport NV is by far the coolest, most feature-packed portable navigation system ever!!

The main features include:

A set of electronic gauges with analog and digital modes with peak warning settings:
• Tachometer with 5,000/7,000/9,000/11,000rpm adjustable scale and a shift light
• Speed meter that reads up to 400km/h (250mph)!!
• Voltmeter
• Trip meter
• Average speed

Trial mode:
• Road course maps
• Data Logging which can be saved via a micro SD card slot
• 0-100km/h (60mph) times
• 0-400m (1/4mi) times
• Analytics


GPS Navigation


1seg – Japan’s mobile digital audio/video and data broadcasting service that many commuters in Japan typically utilize via their cell-phones to watch TV on the go. (Super cool or as the Japanese say kakoii!!!)

Media Player that allows playback of picture, movies and music via downloadable data and via a micro SD card

The most interesting aspect of the Sport NV is “Eco Mode.” It’s essentially a series of “gauges” that track driving habits like how many times the engine is turned on and off, engine idling time, and average speed. It then uses these times to calculate a score via a special points system.

The electronic gauges can also be viewed like this:


It’s what I call “edamame mode;” a little soybean pod that uses each round bean as incremental counters for each “eco level.” It kinda works like the little “Smart Gauge” that Ford has on their hybrids, where the more carefully you drive (read consistently low RPM), the more the bean pod grows. The worse you drive, the worse the sky background gets, and the edamame withers.

There’s also a tree version of this mode that works similarly, but for idling duration. The Smart NV automatically switches over to this mode when the engine sits idling for 10 seconds. The longer you idle, the worse the sky looks, and the more leaves disappear from the tree:


The Smart NV is definitely the best, and only (that I know of) option for those enthusiasts that also care to stay on the green side of things when they’re not hot-rodding it.

Unfortunately, as has been traditionally the case with cool Japanese electronics, there are no plans to sell the Sport NV outside of the land of the rising sun… Which is really sad indeed because if they were sold in North America, I’d buy one of these babies in a second!!!

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