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Acura ZDX to Sebring: Adaptive Cruise Control Done Right

There’s a lot of I-75 between Michigan and Florida, so the ZDX’s cruise control has been on for hundreds of miles. Since our ZDX is an Advance trim, it’s equipped with radar-based adaptive cruise control that will automatically slow the vehicle as it comes up on another car. We’ve been critical of such systems in the past, but Acura’s execution is so good that we actually enjoy using it. Here’s why:

It follows at a reasonable distance. On the highway, the ZDX will follow at about three to four car lengths when set to maintain the smallest possible gap. That’s not enough to keep anyone from cutting in between your train, but it feels like both a safe and natural distance. Some other automakers keep the follow distance so large, that you get the feeling you’re making traffic less efficient. It’s aggravating.

It is smooth and confident. The Acura does use the brakes in some situations where a human driver would simply stand off the gas pedal, but when the ZDX brakes, it tips in gently and gradually builds effort. When another car changes lanes into your path, the ZDX doesn’t panic. It acts on the speed differential between the two vehicles rather than the distance, reacting in a much smarter manner.

It isn’t hesitant to accelerate. Just as the ZDX is judicious with the brake pedal, it is well trained in how to accelerate. When following another car, the ZDX flexes the gas pedal perfectly to maintain an even distance. When the road opens up, so too does the throttle. It’s always enough to provide satisfying acceleration but rarely calls for a downshift, keeping the cabin relaxed.

It can be switched off. Our biggest gripe with many other adaptive cruise control systems is that they can’t be used like a traditional cruise control. In the ZDX, you simply hold the distance control button to switch between adaptive and standard cruise modes.

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