2013 Infiniti JX35: Adapting to Adaptive Cruise Control
July 18, 2012
Observant readers will notice that in this photo the cruise control is set to 70 mph but the car is only going about 26 mph. Welcome to the wonderful world of adaptive cruise control.
Infiniti calls its system Intelligent Cruise Control and uses forward-looking laser sensors to watch the speed of the car in front. If the car ahead speeds up our speed increases up to the preset maximum speed. But what happens when -- as so often happens in Los Angeles -- the car in front of you goes slower and slower until it isn't moving at all?
I tried this last night on the freeway and found that the JX reduces the speed all the way down to a full stop. Then, a chime is heard, the system is cancelled, and the SUV begins to creep forward again. This adaptive cruise control system works with another JX feature called Distance Control Assist (DCA) which reduces the throttle input, then applies the brakes, when traffic ahead slows.
During my freeway test it was really hard to make myself keep my foot off the brake. After years of driving, that's what I do when traffic slows down. But I suppose I could get used letting the car do this for me. The question is, would I want to? And would this ultimately create a dangerous situation? Would I eventually rear end the car in front of me and then turn to the JX and say, "I thought you were going to step on the brakes!?" But I guess that's why they bundled this with DCA.
I've always thought of cruise control -- and adaptive cruise control -- as features to use out in the wide open spaces where there is only the occasional car straying into my path. But used responsibly it could be a stress-reducing feature for a commuter in Los Angeles or another traffic-snarled urban area. Assuming you know who is in control -- you or the car.
Infiniti has created a page of videos explaining these features.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @4,904 miles