You can find several advanced safety systems in today’s modern cars, even in base models. The higher the trim, the more of these systems come standard or are offered as an optional upgrade. However, not all of these systems are well-integrated into their respective vehicles. If safety is a top consideration for you when you buy your next car, here’s a look at the four automakers with the best and most well-integrated Forward Collision Warning (FCW) car safety systems in their vehicles, according to Consumer Reports.

What is a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system?

Consumer Reports notes that Forward Collision Warning systems are advanced automotive safety systems that alert drivers about cars or objects immediately ahead. These alerts may be audible, tactile, or visual, depending on how the system is configured. FCW systems often provide alerts before a driver sees an object in front of them, giving the driver more time to react appropriately to avoid the car or object ahead.

By offering drivers more time to react, FCW systems can effectively reduce accidents. Not only can they help drivers avoid hitting an object in front of them, but, by giving drivers more time to slow down, they also provide drivers behind them time to slow down and help avoid rear-end collisions.

FCW systems typically come in two types. The standard FCW system alerts drivers if there’s a vehicle in front of them. There is also FCW with Pedestrian Detection (FCW-Ped), which can sense people in a driver’s path and send appropriate alerts. Both systems are often integrated with another advanced safety feature, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), which will stop the car if the driver doesn’t or cannot do so in time.

Which automakers offer the best FCW systems?

car accidents, car safety, consumer reports

2023 Chrysler 300C steering wheel with mounted controls | FCA

Forward Collision Warning systems are highly regarded by consumers and automotive publications alike for their effectiveness in minimizing the risk of accidents. Consumer Reports notes that the best FCW systems should be able to operate when cars are moving at highway speeds, include pedestrian detection, and be integrated with AEB systems for maximum effectiveness. They also note that FCW systems should be standard across all trim levels.

Consumer Reports notes four automakers offer FCW systems with the highest owner satisfaction survey scores. These four are Chrysler, Lexus, Lincoln, and Ram, all brands that offer some of the best vehicles on the market. All Ram trims come with FCW, while Chrysler’s vehicles come with what they call full-speed collision warning and FCW with active braking. Lexus offers its FCW-Ped system as a part of its Lexus Safety System+2.0, and Lincoln’s FCW comes in their Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite. 

These four automakers aren’t the only ones who offer FCW as a standard feature. However, drivers who own one of these brands give them the highest marks possible for their vehicles’ well-integrated systems. Even if you’re not thrilled by the latest Ram 1500 or Lexus GX, these vehicles will help keep you and your passengers safe.

Other important advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)

While FCW is tremendously effective, it’s just one of several systems it’s good to have included in your next purchase. As mentioned, AEB systems are available and often standard. These systems will kick in when they sense a collision is imminent and start to apply the brakes. Today, most new cars are offered with FCW and AEB as standard features rather than optional ones.

You also may want a vehicle with Lane-Keeping Assistance (LKA), Lane-Centering Assistance (LCA), and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). LKA helps you steer more effectively to help them stay in their lane, while LCA systems will nudge the car automatically to the right or left to keep it in the center of its lane. Lastly, LDW systems offer alerts when you are starting to drift out of your lane.

These systems don’t typically come as standard features. Nor do they work automatically; they each require you to remain an alert and engaged driver. If you’ve never used them before, there may be a bit of a learning curve as these systems may be interlinked. Sometimes, they come integrated with other systems like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). This system will keep you driving at a set speed but start reducing speed automatically amid slower-moving traffic. Meanwhile, LCA systems can be tricky when you’re towing a trailer or operating a large vehicle that requires you to make wide turns at corners or curves.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking to buy a new car, look for one with FCW and AEB systems at a minimum. Even if you need to pay a couple of grand extra, LKA, LDW, LCA, and ACC systems are also great safety options.


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