Vehicles that offer automatic braking are on the rise and the systems are better than ever according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The IIHS put 19 different new vehicles (photo from previous testing) with front-crash avoidance systems to the test and fourteen of the models were given a Superior rating, while the other five earned the title of Advanced. To get the Superior rating, vehicles must have an autobrake system that “can avoid a crash or substantially reduce speeds in both tests,” while for Advanced, the vehicle must “have autobrake and avoid a crash or reduce speeds by at least 5 mph.”
These systems work with a combination of lasers, radar or cameras, to detect objects in front of a vehicle. If a crash is deemed imminent, the vehicle will grab the brakes automatically to avoid a collision or at least mitigate the effect of the crash. A Basic rating is also handed out to vehicles that feature forward collision warning systems that do not effect the brakes.
The Superior rating was handed out to the 2016 Acura ILX, MDX, RDX and RLX; 2016 BMW X3; 2015 Chrysler 300 and its twin, the 2015 Dodge Charger; 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (both Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Pre-Safe Brake equipped versions), CLA (both Collision Prevention Assist Plus and Distronic Plus equipped versions) and E-Class; and the 2016 Mazda 6 and CX-5.
In the Advanced category, we have the 2016 Volkswagen Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta and 2015 Volkswagen Touareg. The BMW X3 is rated an Advanced with the camera-only system called City Braking Function, while adding the camera- and radar-based system bumps it up to Superior.
While most of these systems are available as options, Mercedes is the first automaker to offer a Superior rated system as standard equipment on its vehicles. That doesn’t mean you need to buy a luxury car to get an advanced automatic braking system though, as the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Mazda6 and CX-5 are all moderately priced vehicles with Superior auto braking available.
This technology is on the rise too, with the IIHS saying that 27 percent of all vehicles available for 2015 offer some type of autonomous braking, doubling the amount available back in 2012. Forwrd collision warning, which does not automatically brake for you, is now available on over half of all vehicles available in 2015.