- Self-driving features are becoming available on a wider range of vehicles. That makes them accessible to more customers, regardless of budget.
- These features aren’t a replacement for driver awareness. They can only be used in specific scenarios.
- It’s important to review the driver-assistance technology offered on a vehicle. Not all systems work exactly the same.
So far, no one has released a vehicle that can safely drive itself under any and all weather and traffic conditions. However, several prototypes are getting closer to this feat. There are several different levels of autonomous driving. Although it will likely still be a while before entirely self driving vehicles can be marketed to the masses, many models are already offering some type of autonomous driving features.
This guide covers some of the best vehicles with self-driving features. Keep in mind that every driver assistance system currently available still requires an attentive driver, ready to take over at any moment. So don’t buy one of these models thinking you can watch Netflix or stretch out for a nap while your new car drives you around. Pay attention to the road!
What Are Self-Driving Features?
There are different levels of autonomy that a vehicle can achieve. Level 0 is a complete lack of self-driving ability, while Level 5 is a totally self-driving car requiring zero input or attention from a human. Most cars these days have Level 2 or Level 3 capabilities. Even something like lane keep assist is defined as self-driving technology. However, every Level 2 or 3 vehicle still requires an active driver ready to take over full control if needed.
Adaptive cruise control is another example. It detects the vehicle ahead of you and adjusts your speed to keep pace with it. Some vehicles now have cruise control systems that take this even further. They will bring your car to a complete stop in traffic and then move forward with the vehicles ahead.
Self-Driving Features Aren’t a Replacement for Driver Attention
Some of the most advanced autopilot features can drive your vehicle on controlled access routes without you needing to touch the wheel. They can keep the vehicle centered in its lane, perform passing maneuvers, and know when to stop to avoid an accident.
However, we haven’t yet reached a point where self-driving vehicles can truly drive themselves. No matter which model you choose, there will be times when you may need to take over the wheel. These systems aren’t yet capable of handling roads with sharp curves, merging lanes, driving through intersections, or maneuvering through bad weather conditions.
Tesla Model S
Tesla has been at the forefront of the race to create a truly autonomous car. They offer some type of self-driving technology with all its vehicles. The Model S is fully electric and offers self-driving on highway roads. It’s fairly expensive with a base price of $94,990. However, the interior and infotainment system have been recently updated, making it extremely luxurious.
It has a center screen in the back to keep passengers entertained with TV shows or movies. Other features includes a 22-speaker surround-sound stereo system, a tri-zone climate control system, and seating made from the finest leather. If you want power and sports-like handling ability, the newest 2022 trim delivers in a big way. The Model S accelerates from 0-to-60 mph in less than three seconds when fully upgraded.
The Cadillac Escalade is a full-size luxury SUV that takes comfort and entertainment to new levels. It offers seating for up to eight people, a spacious interior, and several high-tech features that allow you to manage your phone contacts, music, media and mobile devices while on the go.
The Escalade also offers Super Cruise. It’s a system that takes command of the wheel on the highway and makes automatic lane changes when it needs to maintain the speed you’ve set. It has a starting price of $76,295, and lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist are standard features for 2022.
With an aggressive, muscular stance and a lavish interior, the BMW X5 brings luxury to new heights. Extra attention to design elements brings an optional center shifter that looks like it’s made from diamonds to the 2022 model, along with sharp exterior lines and a powerful, responsive engine.
The X5 starts at $60,600. On top of that, its self-driving features won it an IIHS Top Safety Pick award. It offers blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, stop-and-go cruise control, and traffic jam assistance. It also allows you to take your hands off the wheel while on the highway for short periods.
The brand new Lucid Air is the realization of Lucid Motors’ goal of developing a full-electric vehicle with a range of more than 500 miles. It’s a direct challenge to Tesla. With a base price of $77,400, it’s accessible to a larger market of interested buyers.
The base trim offers a range of 406 miles. However, upgraded engine options can increase the range up to 520 miles. The Lucid Air offers an extremely competitive technology package, advanced safety features, and the ability to drive completely hands-free on the highway. However, it does require driver input when taking sharp curves.
The Audi A5 hasn’t reached full autonomy yet. Then again, neither have most other models. The A5 does, however, offer stop and go cruise control, the ability to set the distance you want to maintain with vehicles ahead of you, parking assistance, and a camera system that lets you see your vehicle from above when moving through tight spaces.
The A5 starts at $45,600 and offers strong performance and handling while surrounding you with comfort and connectivity. The 2022 model features multiple new wheel designs, two new appearance packages, and a trim with an improved sport suspension. There’s also a monthly subscription service that includes navigation, satellite radio, and other improved infotainment features.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford has been on the cutting edge of technological advancement in vehicle manufacturing lately. The Mustang Mach-E is a shining example of these innovations. It’s an all-electric SUV with a base price of $43,895, featuring a range of to 314 miles. It also has power, sprinting from 0-to-60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
On the self-driving front, the Mach-E includes Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 system. This package includes lane centering, traffic sign recognition, intersection assistance, pre-collision braking, and evasive steering assistance. Upgrading to Blue Cruise allows you to take your hands off the wheel entirely while on the highway. The 2022 model offers new color choices and an upgraded battery for better range.
The Hyundai Elantra was the North American Car of the Year. It’s easy to see why, considering everything you get at a base price of $19,950. Driver assistance features, such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking, are standard. You can add adaptive cruise control and a feature that can detect pedestrians and bicyclists entering your path. It applies the brakes faster than humanly possible and reduces your chances of hitting distracted people who wander into the road.
The gas-powered Elantra gets up to 43 mpg on the highway. You can also upgrade to a hybrid to go even farther on each tank of gas. A new trim with a punchier engine is also available for 2022.
The Honda Accord comes in gas and hybrid options, so you can choose the option that suits your needs. Honda brought the sport trim level to the 2022 model. The base Accord begins at $26,100 and features the Honda Sensing system. Using sensors throughout the entire vehicle, the Accord can detect obstacles when you’re backing, moving forward or shifting lanes.
You can also set the distance you’d like to maintain behind vehicles on the highway, and the cruise control seamlessly adjusts your speed accordingly. If you’re in danger of a collision, the Honda Sensing system automatically applies the brakes for you. This feature works both in forward and reverse.
The Hyundai Sonata isn’t a truly self-driving car, but it offers the ability to park and retrieve your car using its sensors and input from your cellphone. If you’re stuck because someone parked too close or you want to park in tight spaces, this is an incredibly convenient feature to have.
The Sonata has a base price of $24,350 and has other simple self-driving features, such as automatic reverse and forward braking and lane-keeping assistance. The Sonata also comes in a hybrid version. If you’re looking to increase your gas mileage, the tax credit you get may be worth the upgrade.
With a base price of only $20,800, the Mazda3 brings self-driving technologies to the mainstream. It offers adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and blind-spot monitoring. The adaptive cruise control has a stop-and-go function, so aside from needing to steer, the car handles everything else for you on the highway.
The Mazda3 provides exceptional value for the money, and it’s loaded with luxury features, including a connective infotainment system and plush seating. The optional upgraded engine also adds power if you want a sportier driving experience. The 2022 model is largely the same, except for a new trim level that features a 12-speaker Bose stereo system, new interior design and additional color options.