PSA: Don’t Buy a New Car Unless it has this Feature


So you’re about to buy a new or new-to-you car. You have your money saved for a down payment and financing lined up from your local credit union. Now its time to buy that car, truck, or SUV, but wait! Your new car needs this one new feature that has seemingly flown under the radar: adaptive cruise control.

Adaptive cruise control works like traditional cruise control, but with one important new feature, it uses sensors to adjust your car’s speed based on other cars and obstacles in front of it.

In heavy traffic? Your car will come to a complete stop when cars in front of you stop. Simply set your cruise control to say, 70 mph, and though your car will never exceed 70, it will slow down for slower cars or even come to a complete stop in an emergency. Pretty cool, right?!

I finally had the opportunity to drive a car with this feature, a 2018 Subaru Outback, with Subaru’s Eyesight feature. And boy was it sweet.

Here’s an overview of Subaru’s version of adaptive cruise control, Eyesight:

As you saw in the video, technology like Eyesight, automatically stops your car to help you avoid collisions. It also makes driving on freeways a lot easier, because you don’t need to constantly mess with cruise control for slow drivers or when you’re in congestion.

The crazy thing is, adaptive cruise control and automatic breaking are not yet standard features for most manufacturers. What’s more, if you buy a used car, even one that’s only a couple years old, chances are that it won’t have this cool and liability reducing feature.

Wikipedia has a great chart of the makes, models, and years of cars with adaptive cruise control available. Scroll to the section titled “Vehicle models supporting adaptive cruise control”, and focus on the columns listed “Full speed range ACC”. This chart can be a good jumping off point as you car shop.

Though this author has a dream of owning a fully autonomous vehicle, auto manufacturers are not quite ready to release true self driving tech to the public. I get into some of the reasons why in another article on driverless cars. In the mean time, adaptive cruise is a worthy compromise for semi-autonomous driving. Don’t invest in a car without it.

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