Blind-spot warning (BSW) is a technology that detects and warns of vehicles you can’t see alongside your car. It gives a visual, audible, and/or tactile alert to indicate that it’s unsafe to merge or change lanes. The system may provide an additional warning if you use your turn signal when there is a car in the lane next to you.

(Read our special report, "The Positive Impact of Advanced Safety Systems for Cars.")

Which Brands Do BSW Best?

Most Satisfying: The blind-spot warning safety feature registered high satisfaction scores across most auto brands, but especially for Lexus, Hyundai, and Toyota. The three brands rated at nearly 90 percent very satisfied among owners surveyed. One owner of a 2013 Lexus ES said: “I love it—since all the new cars have such awful blind spots, I couldn’t live without it.”

Least Satisfying: Tesla scored the lowest on satisfaction, with 62 percent of the vehicles with BSW rated at very satisfied. Why? As the owner of a 2015 Tesla Model S explained, “The blind-spot warning system works very well, but it displays on the console and not in the side mirrors like it does on my Toyota. This is inconvenient as I am looking at the mirrors and not the console when making a lane change.”

False Alerts: About 29 percent of the vehicles with BSW gave false warnings. Volvo was by far the worst offender with 54 percent of vehicles giving at least one false warning. Lexus, Subaru, and Toyota had the fewest false warnings, according to the survey, at about 20 percent of vehicles with the feature.

CR’s Take: Blind-spot warning is one of CR’s three favorite safety features, and our subscribers also rate it as a favorite. It makes for safer lane changes, a real boon for drivers in vehicles with big blind spots. Many manufacturers package this with FCW, but even if you have to pay extra, we don’t think you’ll regret it.

Blind-Spot Warning

Brand Names for Blind-Spot Warning

MakeName
AcuraBlind spot information
Alfa RomeoBlind spot monitoring
AudiAudi side assist
BMWBlind spot detection
BMWActive blind spot detection
BuickSide blind zone alert
CadillacSide blind zone alert
ChevroletSide blind zone alert
ChryslerBlind spot monitoring
FiatBlind spot monitoring
FordBlind spot information system
GenesisBlind spot detection
GMCSide blind zone alert
HondaBlind spot information
HyundaiBlind spot detection
InfinitiBlind spot warning
JeepBlind spot monitoring
KiaBlind spot detection
LexusBlind spot monitor
LincolnBlind spot information system
MazdaBlind spot monitoring
MazdaRear vehicle monitoring system
MazdaAdvanced blind spot monitoring

Mercedes-Benz

Blind spot assist

Mercedes-Benz

Active blind spot assist
MiniBlind spot detection system
MitsubishiBlind spot warning
NissanBlind spot warning
PorscheLane change assist
SubaruBlind spot detection
ToyotaBlind spot monitor
VolkswagenBlind spot monitor
VolvoBlind spot information

Guide to Advanced Safety Systems

We tell you which safety systems owners like, and the brands that do them best.