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Here’s Why I Love Adaptive Cruise Control

I tell anyone who will listen about my love for adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I’m sincerely thrilled to have it — here’s why.

As many of you know, I have three cars: a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG station wagon, a 1997 Land Rover Defender and a Ford GT. I drive the Defender and the GT most of the time, but I bring the E63 wagon along when I have to go on long drives, typically to film my videos. For these trips, I often have to go up to Orange County (an hour and a half from where I live) or Los Angeles (two hours or more from where I live), so it’s nice to have the more comfortable car.

And it’s also nice to have adaptive cruise control.

Although adaptive cruise control is designed for use at highway speeds, to slow down and speed up based on traffic in front of you, I’ve found that I’m extremely lucky in that the adaptive cruise control system in my Mercedes, called Distronic, works at low speeds and even goes down to zero. What this means is that I can use adaptive cruise in heavy traffic, and I don’t have to worry about my footwork. Basically, I just steer, and the car does all the starting and stopping for me — and in Southern California traffic, that’s really, really nice.

As a result, I use this car pretty much every time I’m on the highway and every time I’m in traffic, just to use this feature. I took my Mercedes wagon across the entire U.S. back in June when I moved to California, and I never turned on cruise control once — but on a typical Thursday afternoon coming back from filming in Orange County, I’ll use it for 75 percent of the entire drive. And this means I don’t have to worry about stopping and starting in traffic — and it also means I don’t get as frustrated by traffic, since the car is doing the hard stuff. I love it.

Naturally, the car enthusiasts reading this will rail against the arrival of robots to drive for us, but I remind you that I also have my Defender and my Ford GT. On the occasions when I actually want to drive, and when I want to go have fun, I bring those cars — usually at least once every day or two. That way, I can drive when I want to actually enjoy driving. But on the occasions where driving is no fun, where it’s borin, slow and awful, adaptive cruise does the work for me. It’s a great setup — and I’ll never again buy another daily driver without adaptive cruise control.

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  1. While I am a huge fan of Adaptive Cruise Control (called Adaptive Cruise Control on my 2017 Volvo S90 T-6 Inscription), it fails miserably in weather conditions not experienced in Orange County. A little Midwest wintry mix produces enough road spray slush to completely muck up the sensors and thus deactivating the function. Volvo does however provide the option to turn off the Adaptive Cruise Control and make it function like a regular cruise control. Despite that, I wouldn’t drive without it. Couple that with the Pilot Assist option and you can lay back and let the Volvo do the driving. 🙂  Automation be damned! 
  2. I love adaptive cruise control and without it being able to do the low speed following, what really is the point? 

    I got a new Honda Accord with it partly because find it used on any vehicle that makes it optional is impossible.
    • For Mercedes, you can search for “distronic” in the keyword field, or “eyesight” for Subaru, “autopilot” for Tesla, etc. And for Hyundai/Kia plus a few others, you can look closely for the radar sensor in the grille. But for most other cars, yeah, I agree. 

  3. I’ve said it before but I foresee a future where self driving cars will become mandatory unless you pay very high insurance and increased health insurance, I sincerely hope the car community will fight this, I think the golden era of driving will be when flying cars become the norm, When almost no one drives on roads anymore it means we have free reign on the highways with little to no enforcement and possibly no speed limits on high ways since the roads will be for enthusiasts only practically who will use it at their own risk. But I don’t see this happening for at least another 30 years when I’ll be in my mid 60’s… But at least I may finally own my dream car then.

  4. The 2004 Cadillac XLR had adaptive cruise control….worked very well with the heads-up display. Very ahead of its time!

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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