Forward-collision warning (FCW) technology provides a visual, audible, and/or tactile alert to warn the driver of an impending collision with a car or object directly in its path. IIHS data show that FCW reduces rear-end accidents by 27 percent.

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

Which Brands Do FCW Best?

Most Satisfying: Eighty percent or more of Infiniti, Tesla, and Subaru owners were very satisfied with the FCW system in their vehicles. A 2016 Subaru Forester owner in the survey said it “saved my life when freeway traffic stopped abruptly and I didn’t notice. [It] absolutely prevented a severe rear-end collision.”

Least Satisfying: Overall, most owners were pleased with the benefits of FCW. Even among the lowest-rated brands—Acura, Honda, and Mazda—more than 50 percent of vehicles were rated by owners at very satisfied. A 2015 Acura TLX owner echoes a common complaint, saying that the “warning comes on even in the absence of a hazard. [The] system has been serviced by [a] dealer several times with minimal improvement.”

False Alerts: About 45 percent of the vehicles with FCW experienced at least one false alert. Toyota excelled here, with only 25 percent of vehicles giving at least one false alert. Mazda and Lexus were also in the mix, at 26 percent and 27 percent of vehicles, respectively. Meanwhile, about 62 percent of Acura, Chevrolet, and Honda vehicles gave false alerts, according to owners.

CR’s Take: More automakers are making FCW available in new cars, but it’s still not standard equipment across the industry. CR believes it should be standard, given its ability to protect and save lives. If it isn’t standard, you might have to move up a trim line, or buy an extra package, which can cost from $1,000 to $2,500. We believe FCW is worth the extra cost.

Forward-Collision Warning

Brand Names for FCW

MakeFCW Name/Package
AcuraCollision mitigation braking system/AcuraWatch Plus
Alfa RomeoForward collision warning
Alfa RomeoForward collision warning plus
AudiPre sense front
AudiPre sense city
BMWFrontal collision warning with city collision mitigation
BMWCollision warning with city braking function
BuickForward collision alert
CadillacForward collision alert
CadillacFront automatic braking
CadillacAutomatic collision preparation
CadillacLow speed forward automatic braking

Chevrolet

Forward collision alert

Chevrolet

Front automatic braking

Chevrolet

Low speed forward automatic braking

Chevrolet

Low speed front automatic braking

Chevrolet

Automatic collision preparation
ChryslerFull speed forward collision warning with active braking
ChryslerFull speed forward collision warning plus
FiatFull speed forward collision warning with active braking
FordPre-collision assist with pedestrian detection
FordForward collision warning and brake support
FordCollision warning with brake support
GenesisAutomatic emergency braking
GMCLow speed front automatic braking
GMCFront automatic braking
HondaCollision mitigation braking system/ Honda sensing
HyundaiAutomatic emergency braking
InfinitiForward emergency braking
InfinitiForward emergency braking with pedestrian detection
InfinitiPredictive forward collision warning
JeepFull speed forward collision warning with active braking
KiaAutonomous emergency braking
LexusPre-collision system/Lexus safety system+
LexusPre-collision system with pedestrian detection/Lexus safety system+
LexusPre-collision system/Lexus safety system+
LincolnPre-collision assist with pedestrian protection
MazdaForward obstruction warning
MazdaSmart city brake support

Mercedes-Benz

Pre-safe brake with pedestrian recognition

Mercedes-Benz

Active braking assist
MiniFrontal collision warning with city collision mitigation
MitsubishiForward collision mitigation system
NissanForward emergency braking
NissanForward emergency braking with pedestrian detection
NissanPredictive forward collision warning
PorscheAdaptive cruise control with porsche active safe (PAS)
SmartProximity warning
SubaruPre-collision braking- Eyesight
ToyotaPre-collision system with pedestrian detection-TSS-P
ToyotaPre-collision system-TSS-C

Volkswagen

Front assist (with autonomous emergency braking)
VolvoCollision warning with full auto brake and pedestrian detection
VolvoCity safety

Guide to Advanced Safety Systems

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