Adaptive cruise control + collision warning with brake assist | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Adaptive cruise control + collision warning with brake assist


Well-Known Member
July 28, 2016
Reaction score
City, State
Vancouver, BC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2017 Explorer Sport
I've had my 2017 Explorer for a week now and really liking these features. Before I bought it, I didn't get to experience them and was unsure how they would work in practice. And so far, I'm really liking these features. So I'd thought I'd share for the others that might be wondering how this all works.

Collision Warning with Brake Assist
You can control sensitivity in settings. I set mine to be the most sensitive. It's gone off about six or seven times now in a week of driving (500km). Half the time it went off as someone in front of me was turning left and getting out of my way. The other half of the time, it went off when I was taking a turn. I'll put it back and make it back to the normal sensitivity and probably avoid more of the false positives, especially on turns.

Love how non-intrusive it is. The stereo gets muted while the beeping blasts and a row of red LEDs brightly flashes on my windshield like a HUD. It will NOT brake autonomously, but it will pre-charge your brakes if you have slow reactions, so that even the lightest touch of the brakes will apply full force (if the computer thinks you are about to imminently hit the thing in front of you). In all cases, the brakes were not more sensitive, because none of them were "close calls". Because going around a tight corner and touching the brakes and having it apply full force would not be good in a high riding SUV.

The Audis may be more advanced in this regard, but false positives can autonomously apply the brakes without driver input increasing the chance of getting rear ended. One guy had a mylar balloon fly in front of his car and the brakes went on full force. Luckily nobody was behind him. There was another story of someone reviewing an XC90 in the UK, where streets are very narrow and frequently curved, and it was triggering false positive braking on parked cars. But I think Ford was smart to not intervene by autonomously braking for you.

My brother mechanic warned me that the sensors for this system is susceptible to rock chips and that they are very expensive to replace and aren't covered by warranty in that situation. Something I never thought about, but he also said Fords might be better designed. He deals with Jeep/Dodge/Chrysler, and those ones break a lot. He recommended putting a protective coat on it.

Adaptive Cruise Control
My first experience with this, and loved it on my first freeway drive. I like being able to set my target speed and my tailgating distance, which even in the most aggressive settings, is about my normal follow distance. I can speed up and slow down whenever I want, and it'll automatically resume, which is nice. Because I'm breaking in my new car, I intentionally varied my speeds, passed people, slowed down, and generally appearing erratic and probably annoying to other drivers. Breaking in!

But I wasn't sure how well it would work in situations where you had to rapidly slow down. I was in the left lane going 110km/h, following a line of cars in front of me, when someone ahead cut into the left lane triggering a rapid chain reaction of braking. I was prepared to brake on my own, but the car did everything for me, safely and within the realms of my own comfort levels. It broke hard from 110 down to 50 quickly without me touching the brakes. But it wasn't jarring in any way. It started off gradual and got harder and maintained a safe distance at all times. Then it resumed speed very nicely. Like a perfectly tuned programming curve. This is important, because you don't want any autonomous system to do anything jarring.

On the way back, the freeway was totally backed up with stop and go traffic. And once the adaptive slowed to a crawl (maybe 10-20 km/h), the system beeped at me and automatically disengaged at a near stop, forcing me to take over. I was fine with that, but I believe the Audis are better because they work in stop-and-go traffic, making it useful in city driving.

But this system on the Ford is very welcome and great for road trips. Just makes everything more relaxing and still gives you the freedom to drive whenever and however you like. But I would only use it at highway speeds, and not bumper to bumper traffic.

One of my main concerns with this system was whether the follow distance would be so great that I would constantly keep getting cut off, making me not want to use it. But did not have the problem. If I want to be super passive and relaxed, then I won't even care. If I want to be more aggressive, I have that freedom too.

Other Systems
I got a Sport which doesn't come with Lane Assist or Self-Parking, so I have not experienced those. Though I don't think I would ever need those.