If you've been looking for a new car, you might have noticed that several of them offer something known as adaptive cruise control, though the same technology has been referred to as active cruise control, radar cruise control, autonomous cruise control, and intelligent cruise control by different manufacturers. No matter the name, you'll need to understand what these systems do and why they can be beneficial if you're to know whether your new car needs one to be equipped.
What is Adaptive Cruise Control?
Like a normal cruise control system, adaptive cruise control systems allow drivers to set a maximum speed. However, these newer systems employ a monitor mounted either behind the front grille or under the bumper to read the road ahead of you. That means that the system will know how far ahead the vehicle in front of you is; it can then slow down or speed up accordingly in order to keep pace with that vehicle. You'll normally be able to set, within reason, how many seconds behind the car ahead you want your own vehicle to remain.
Should You Opt for Adaptive Cruise Control?
Adaptive cruise control is one of the most advanced upgrades that you can give to a new vehicle; it's usually only included as standard with luxury sedans, though it should be available as an option with many mid-range models. Adding one usually means either having to opt for an upper-level model or to pay a significant amount to have the system added as an option, but the benefits that come along with doing so can make it a worthy investment for many drivers.
Here are the top advantages that come along with adaptive cruise control:
- It Makes Traffic More Manageable: Adaptive cruise control is always going to add a measure of convenience to your drive, but it's particularly beneficial for drivers who frequently find themselves in constantly changing traffic. If your daily highway commute tends to involve frequent traffic, a traditional cruise control system becomes ineffective, while adaptive cruise control is extremely convenient.
- It Usually Comes with Additional Safety Systems: Adaptive cruise control systems are usually paired with a forward collision warning function that alerts you if you're too close to the vehicle ahead; this system will be engaged even when adaptive cruise control isn't. Manufacturers will also tend to bundle adaptive cruise control with other advanced driver assistance systems. Examples include lane departure warning, which alerts you if you begin to deviate from your chosen lane without signalling.
- It Enjoys High Approval Ratings: Despite the price, people seem to enjoy their adaptive cruise systems. Surveys have indicated that 76-93% of respondents would buy the system again, while nearly half reported a reduction in stress.
Adaptive cruise control systems represent the cutting-edge of automotive technology. That makes them a pricey addition to your new vehicle, but the benefits are often compelling enough to justify the cost for certain drivers.