2016 Volkswagen Lineup Offers New Driver Assistance Systems
The 2016 model year is here, and with it Volkswagen is offering a variety of driver assistance features for many of its most popular compact sedans and compact hatchbacks. The features include both new additions and carryovers from other models, with the people’s car company saying it wants to “democratize driver assistance.”
The new features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Parking Steering Assistant, Park Distance Control and Automatic Post-Collision Braking.
Models slated to receive these features include the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle, 2014-2015 Volkswagen CC, 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, 2015 Volkswagen Golf, 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, 2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, 2015 Volkswagen Jetta and 2015 Volkswagen Touareg, with availability dependent on the model and trim line.
VW is already battling against quality concerns in the minds of U.S. consumers, so these features could do well to bolster VW’s premium image. However, for that to happen, the feature rollout will need to go smoothly, which isn’t always the case with the latest automated features (just ask Acura).
Read on for a full breakdown of each system and which models will get them as either a standard or optional feature.
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Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive Cruise Control, or ACC, uses a radar system attached to the front of the vehicle to maintain a steady speed and distance in relation to the vehicle ahead. Settings are controlled via buttons on the multifunction steering wheel, with inputs for the throttle and braking deactivating the system. Messages regarding system functionality are displayed on the central multifunction screen.
If the road ahead is clear, the system simply maintains a preset speed. For Touareg, CC, Golf, Golf GTI and Golf SportWagen models equipped with an automatic transmission, the ACC system will automatically stop the car if the vehicle in front slows to a halt. The system will then resume operation if the driver presses the throttle or hits the “resume” button on the steering wheel. Golf R models with a DSG transmission will automatically resume driving within a set time period (or if the driver elects to continue), while the ACC will stop operating below 19 mph on Golf and Jetta models equipped with a manual transmission.
ACC standard models: CC V6 4Motion Executive, Touareg Executive
ACC optional models: Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta TSI/TDI, Touareg Lux/Sport with Tech
Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking
This system, also called Front Assist, can detect an impending frontal impact, warning the driver with an auditory tone and visual symbol in the instrument cluster. If the driver fails to brake, the system will automatically apply the binders for him. If the braking pressure is too light, a Braking Support system kicks in to slow the vehicle more quickly.
Front Assist standard models: CC V6 4Motion Executive, Touareg Executive
Front Assist optional models: e-Golf (late availability), Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta TSI/TDI, Touareg Lux/Sport with Tech
Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert
Using two radar sensors in the rear of the car, Blind Spot Monitoring scans for the presence of vehicles in nearby lanes. If the driver indicates a lane change with the turn signals while an obstruction is present, a flashing LED icon will appear on the edge of the side mirror. Stationary objects and vehicles more than a lane away will not trigger the warning.
The Rear Traffic Alert system helps drivers back up safely by detecting objects directly behind the vehicle, as well as those approaching from the sides. Approximate range is between 65 and 80 feet, depending on the model. If an object is detected, an auditory and visual warning is issued, while the brakes will be applied automatically if an imminent collision is detected. This system is activated by selecting the reverse gear or via the Park Distance Control.
BSM with RTA standard models: CC V6 4Motion Executive, Beetle, Beetle Convertible (SEL), Jetta GLI and Hybrid (SEL), Touareg (excluding Sport)
BSM with RTA optional models: Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta TSI/TDI
Lane Departure Warning
Also known as Lane Assist, this system uses an onboard camera to recognize road markings, thus assessing if the vehicle is straying into an adjacent other lane. Only active at speeds above 40 mph, the system will steer the vehicle back into the lane if needed. If the driver takes his hands from the wheel for a certain period of time, or if the car crosses into an adjacent lane, an auditory and visual warning will be displayed.
The system will work at night and in the fog, but will not activate if it cannot accurately read lane markings. If the driver indicates a lane change with the turn signals, the system will not activate. The driver can also “override” the system by applying “minimal force” to the steering wheel. VW also notes that the driver is still responsible for actually steering the car.
On the Touareg, the system will not actively countersteer back into the lane, but will rather vibrate the steering wheel while highlighting the crossed lane markings in the multifunction display.
Lane Assist standard models: CC V6 4Motion Executive, Touareg (excluding Sport)
Lane Assist optional models: Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen
Park Assist will automatically steer a vehicle into both parallel and perpendicular spaces. Drivers simply put the car into reverse gear, depress the Park Assist button (once for parallel parking and twice for perpendicular parking), and control the throttle and brakes while the system handles the steering.
The system can be deactivated at any time by either manually turning the steering wheel, disengaging reverse gear or pressing the Park Assist button. At speeds below 25 mph, the system will actively scan both sides of the road for available parking spaces, with the driver confirming either left- or right-side parking by activating the turn signal.
Park Assist optional models: e-Golf (late availability), Golf, Golf GTI, Golf SportWagen
Park Distance Control
This system uses ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers to gauge distances up to five feet ahead and behind the vehicle, which is particularly useful when maneuvering around tight spaces (such as in an urban setting). The system is activated when reversing and when traveling at speeds below 9 mph.
The system also feeds information to the camera screen when reversing to further help the driver assess distances, issuing an auditory and visual warning when approaching stationary objects like a parked car.
PDC standard models: CC V6 4Motion Executive, e-Golf (SEL Premium), Jetta Hybrid, Jetta GLI, Touareg Lux/Executive
PDC optional models: Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Touareg Sport with Tech
Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
Analysis of vehicular crash data in Germany showed that roughly 14 percent of accidents involved some kind of secondary collision after the initial impact. This system was designed to prevent that by applying the brakes after the airbag sensors detected a collision, reducing the chance of additional damage.
APCBS standard models: Beetle, Beetle Convertible, all Golfs, Jetta, Touareg
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