Audi Q5
Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.

Read time of 5 minutes.

Cars that come with adaptive cruise control

Wave goodbye to leg cramps – adaptive cruise control is here to save the day. And your calves.

Motorway journeys should, in theory, be smooth. Just you, your car, and the long stretch of road ahead.

Unfortunately, you’re rarely alone on a motorway.

While you can control your own driving, you can’t control how other people around you drive, and this often means you’re having to quickly respond to cars braking, changing lanes, or speeding up.

And this can mean leg cramps, especially if you’re on a longer journey.

Luckily, cruise control is here to rescue your legs – and your sanity.

Traditional cruise control has been around in some form for longer than you might think. It was first engineered for steam engines way back in the seventeenth century, and started appearing in cars at the beginning of the twentieth century.

But traditional cruise control systems limit you to telling your car simply the speed you want it to run at – you still have to do all the work in speeding up and slowing down, depending on what the vehicles around you are doing.

And so adaptive cruise control was born.

Tesla Mode 3 interior

What is adaptive cruise control?

Adaptive cruise control is a system that allows you to set a max speed, and accelerates and decelerates the car in response to the other vehicles around you to maintain this speed.

It’s not a self-driving system.

It is semi-autonomous, but you still retain the majority of the power and responsibility. While it will react if the vehicles around you speed up or slow down, you still need to be ready to step in and take over.

Adaptive cruise control works by allowing you to set a max speed, as well as a gap in either seconds or metres between your car and the car in front. If that car decelerates, your car will also slow down to match and maintain that gap.

If the car in front moves lanes, your car will either accelerate until it hits your max speed, or until its your preferred gap from the car in front – i.e., five seconds.

If you brake or accelerate independently of the adaptive cruise control system, it’ll shut down and you’ll have to set it again.

Be aware that not all adaptive cruise control systems work in the same way, so you’ll need to check your car's manual to see exactly how your cruise control works.

Pros and cons of adaptive cruise control

There are advantages and disadvantages to opting for adaptive cruise control.

Adaptive cruise control not only makes your car lease safer, but because it keeps the vehicle travelling at a steady speed it can also improve your fuel economy.

It also helps to reduce driver fatigue by taking some of the control away, so you’re not having to use your feet as much to control the car. It’s still good practice to take a break every two hours, but your legs shouldn’t feel as tired when you get to your destination.

However, like with everything good in life, there are some downsides.

Because the system relies on sensors, it’s not always entirely accurate in bad weather. There’s also no one size fits all option; every adaptive cruise control system works slightly differently, and some react slower than others do.

Volvo XC60

Cars with adaptive cruise control

The following cars all either come with adaptive cruise control as standard, or have it available as an option:

Do you know which other safety features you should be looking out for?