2012 Jeep GC SRT8: Great Adaptive Cruise Control
May 25, 2012
Adaptive cruise control is usually crap. Any time I get into a test car equipped with it, I reach for the button that can drop the adaptive bit from regular-old cruise control. Sadly, that button rarely exists.
I certainly couldn't find it in our Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, but I discovered that it doesn't actually need it. The ACC in the JGC SRT8 is in fact A-OK.
To illustrate, let's compare the Jeep's ACC system to those found in the Hyundai Equus and Acura MDX I drove recently. One key feature of any ACC is the ability to grow and shrink the distance the car can get to the vehicle ahead. Usually there are three different increments. The Equus' smallest was absolutely enormous and I can only guess that it's greatest distance was something akin to a U.N. nuclear exclusion zone. This gap provides ample opportunity for other cars to dash in front of you, in which case the Hyundai either cuts throttle completely or slams on the brakes. This all-or-nothing approach is annoying to say the least. Even when driven with no one remotely in front, the Equus just felt nervous as if it was gingerly tapping the throttle and brake rather than driving smoothly like a non-crap driver.
The Acura was barely better. It didn't have that nervous feel, but its smallest range was too large and when it locked onto another car, the throttle cut-off or brakes were far too aggressive.
The Jeep's system, on the other hand, behaves like a normal human. In fact, I was using it for about a half hour in fairly heavy highway traffic and my wife had no idea the car was essentially driving itself. She noticed in the Acura. When you come up to a car ahead, the Jeep is more prudent when letting off the throttle as you might be. It still responds if traffic rapidly slows, but it seems to have a better concept of nuance and the speed at which the object ahead is moving.
Now, I still think ACC would be a waste of money for myself, but if this is a feature that appeals to you, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram's is one of the very best I've experienced.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,503 miles