These are the most disappointing features of your car

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My experience is anecdotal and is with two rental vehicles, so take it with a grain of salt, but…

I had two Toyota rental cars recently. Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist sucked. I did two long drives from Denver to Kansas City and back, so quite a long and relatively straight stretch of road. I own a 15 year old car that doesn’t have this tech, so I decided to give it a try (I really had no choice with adaptive cruise since it’s on by default).

What I found was that the adaptive cruise control was extremely variable. I set the tracking distance I wanted, but it didn’t really matter. Sometimes it would get uncomfortably close to the vehicles in front of me, and other times it would start braking far, too far back; it didn’t matter if it was a car, a van, a tractor-trailer, flat, hilly, winding, whatever, but it was so incredibly inconsistent. Lane-keeping assist wasn’t much better, especially on the windy Kansas run. Sometimes he tried to take the exit, sometimes he just slipped quietly into the lane. The worst part was when I got a big gust of wind (which was quite common) and it would screech and swerve as it tried to fight the wind and stay in the lane. I mostly keep lane-keep assist off, but would occasionally try it out just to see if it was me imagining things or if it was really that bad. It was so bad. I also found that I had to keep my hands on the steering wheel firm enough to keep the features on, but that often ended up canceling the lane-keep assist. I found it incredibly unnecessary and just a huge nuisance and waste.

The annoying thing was that since I didn’t know the car, I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the adaptive cruise control either. So while I could turn off lane-keep assist, I couldn’t figure it out with adaptive cruise control, so I just took care of that headache.

Adaptive cruise control and lane-centering systems can be incredibly handy on long drives, but they need to work well and you need to be able to control them. If you can’t get into an unfamiliar car and quickly learn to deal with its features, that’s bad design.

Submitted by: Dr. Martin van Nostrand

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