Blind-spot warning now factored into CR's Overall Score.
Photo: Volvo

Consumer Reports is now adding points to the Overall Score for vehicles that come standard with blind-spot warning, a safety feature we feel is a valuable aid with the added benefit of high owner satisfaction.

Blind-spot warning (BSW) monitors a vehicle’s flanks, warning when another vehicle is alongside, perhaps in a blind spot. It’s one of a group of safety features that automakers have developed over the years that are designed to prevent collisions.

Blind-spot warning is a desirable, proven system, and we think it should be more widespread. CR believes that vehicles that provide this safety feature are better choices, and by adding points to the Overall Score, we’re encouraging automakers to make the investment. 

CR believes automatic emergency braking (AEB), forward-collision warning (FCW), and now BSW should come standard on all new vehicle models.

CR surveyed nearly 75,000 owners of vehicles from models years 2014 through 2017 to ask them about their experiences with advanced safety features. Among those that had BSW, 66 percent reported that the feature had helped avoid a crash.  Survey respondents touted the feature in a recent CR survey.


“This is by far the best safety system on this vehicle,” said the owner of a 2017 Cadillac XT5. “It can see very well what is around in traffic.”

Likewise, a 2014 Lincoln MKZ owner reported that it “can see a vehicle that you may not see if you’re just turning your head.”   

Today, blind-spot warning is available on 85 percent of new models but is standard on only 15 percent. Car buyers often have to buy pricier trim levels or expensive options packages to get the feature.

“We don’t think people should have to pay for equipment that they don’t need or want in order to get a key safety feature,” says Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports.

The move to add points for blind-spot warning mirrors the action we took a few years ago with FCW and AEB, features that can help drivers avoid or mitigate a collision. Through the efforts of CR and other safety-focused organizations, there has been a dramatic increase in market penetration for these features.

When it comes time to buy your next car, we recommend that you consider getting a car with these features. And if you’re shopping for new models, we hope you will find forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot warning to be standard equipment.  

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