Super Cruise smashed Autopilot in CR testing
Test shows semi-autonomous cars aren’t
Every new model launch brings a slightly different form of driver assistance system to market, it seems. But while many of them sound similar, they don’t all do the same thing. Some are better than others, and Cadillac Super Cruise is the best, according to Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports first ranked these active driver assistance suites back in 2018, when there were just four. One from Cadillac, one from Nissan and Infiniti, one from Tesla, and one from Volvo. This time, there are 17 systems, including the original four, which have gotten some updates along the way.
It’s important to note that none of these systems is designed to replace the driver. They’re meant to take away some driving stress on highway drives, but all but Cadillac’s makes you keep your hands on the wheel, and even that one requires you to be looking at the road. In short, these are not self-driving cars.
CR engineers looked at the comparative performance of the linked adaptive cruise and lane-keeping assistance features, and how they maintained distance and kept the vehicle inside the lane lines.
Cadillac’s Super Cruise won this year’s test handily, and the biggest reason is that it does the best job of making sure you’re still driving, even if you are hands-off. It watches your face to make sure your face is watching the road. The system scored second to Tesla Autopilot for capability and fell below it in ease of use, but it pulled well ahead in driver engagement, letting you know when it’s safe to use (where Tesla tied for worst score), and for dealing with an unresponsive driver.
Super Cruise and Autopilot stood out from the field in this testing, both offering high levels of capability, while others scored lower because, well, they’re largely intended to help guide you in the lane and keep your speed, rather than handle driving themselves. They were generally ranked as more difficult to use, worse at keeping you engaged, and not being clear when they are safe to use. Mazda, which received the lowest score for its i-Activsense features, replied to CR that its system was designed to keep from exiting a lane, not for lane centering, and that the automaker didn’t think it met the criteria to be included in this test.