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Smart throttle: Great idea, but where do I find it?

Consumer Reports News: June 08, 2010 07:38 AM

Smart-throttle technology, also known as brake override, can mitigate the risks associated with unintended acceleration by allowing the driver to quickly, intuitively bring a car to a safe stop by depressing the brake pedal and therefore negating throttle input. We have applauded its use on several models we have tested, and we have advocated for adding it on all cars as a helpful safety measure.

But, what cars have it now? There is not a tidy list available, so our team compiled one.

Not all manufacturers responded to our requests. Some confirmed current availability with a simple “yes” or “no” while others said that several cars would have it in the future beginning with the 2011 (or later) model year. Some manufacturers said they are actively studying its feasibility and timing. The following chart gives a detailed list of which makes/models offer smart-throttle technology as of mid-2010.

BRAND MODELS WITH SMART THROTTLE
Audi All models
BMW All models
Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep All models except the PT Cruiser
Ford/Lincoln/Mercury Only on the Ford Fiesta--coming to more models soon
GM All models by the end of 2012. Currently on  Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro V8, Malibu 4, Colorado V8, Cobalt, HHR, GMC Canyon V8, and Cadillac CTS-V
Honda/Acura None. All by the end of 2011
Hyundai Sonata; Azera; Genesis; Genesis Coupe; Tucson; Santa Fe; Veracruz
Jaguar/Land Rover Did not respond to repeated requests for information
Kia Borrego; Forte; Optima; Rondo; Sedona; Sorento
Mazda None. Will rollout with the2011 Mazda2.  All by the end of the 2011 model year
Mercedes-Benz All models
Mini All models
Mitsubishi None. Planned for 2012 model year: Lancer and Sportback
Nissan/Infiniti All except the Altima Hybrid
Porsche Did not respond to repeated requests for information
Saab Did not respond to repeated requests for information
Smart All models
Subaru None yet
Suzuki Only the Suzuki Equator
Toyota/Lexus All hybrids. Will be added to most new models by end of 2010. Toyota will also install it on 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2009-2010 Venza and 2008-2010 Sequoia, 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, and the 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350, 2006-2010 IS 350, and 2006-2010 IS 250 models
Volkswagen All models
Volvo None


Currently, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act is moving through the House and Senate and if passed, it will mandate brake override in all vehicles.

For more on smart throttles, see our sudden acceleration guide.

Related:
"Track test: How does brake-override affect enthusiast driving?"
Consumers Union calls for changes to strengthen U.S. car-safety net
Eight things that can dramatically improve auto safety
Five key fixes automakers should make now to reduce unintended acceleration

Liza Barth & Mike Quincy
   

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