Radar Cruise Control

I always look forward to going on a long road trip. It’s one of my favorite things in life. The open road has been a great attraction to me. I love to see different places. But one thing that’s always been a pain is trying to play with the cruise control. Usually, as soon as I put on the cruise control, I have to keep adjusting it.  It never fails. As soon as I get into a good zone, someone inevitably cuts in front of me and then slows down, causing me to readjust.  Okay, so this is definitely a “first world problem.”  However, it is annoying.  Recently, I drove a new vehicle with RADAR cruise control, and I love it!

What is RADAR Cruise Control

So what exactly is RADAR cruise control? It’s available in some new cars, and it uses a form of RADAR to determine the distance between the car in front of you and your vehicle. It then automatically adjusts the speed of your car with the car ahead of you.

To use this feature, click the “on” button. Next, simply set your cruising speed (let’s say 70 mph), just like any other cruise control. You also set how close you want to follow the car ahead of you.  You can adjust it to suit your driving style and preference. In the car I tested (2018 Mazda CX5), there was a visual indicator, showing how many “blocks” you wanted to stay behind the car in front of you. I assume each block was equal to one car length. When I set it, I set it for three or four car lengths.

Giving it a Try

When I tried it, here is what happened.  I initially set it for four car lengths.  I was apprehensive at first and did not trust it at all. I kept my foot close to the brake pedal. I started this feature in pretty light traffic.  At first, it seemed to work like any other cruise control. However, when the car ahead of me slowed down, my car slowed down to keep the same distance between us.  Great! I thought it was pretty wonderful. Then… I hit traffic.

This is where RADAR cruise control really shines. It is awesome! I still kept my foot close to the brake, but then I got used to it. I was surprised to see how well it really worked. As the traffic started to build and we slowed down to almost a dead stop, the car down-shifted automatically. It did not stop the car completely, just slowed it down. It’s important to remember here that this particular car and the system WILL NOT stop the car or apply the brakes. It will only decelerate.  However, it does a great job. It slowed down the car so much, we actually did come to a stop.


Overall, I truly love this feature, and I would highly recommend buying a car that has it. It is truly amazing to use when you are driving in traffic or through construction areas. Warning: you DO need to keep alert (especially when someone cuts you off), but you will find it much nicer when driving.  You do not need to keep turning off the cruise control and turning it back on, adjusting as you go. If you have the opportunity to drive a car with RADAR cruise control, give it a try. I think you will really like it.


Written by Gary Pradel