Best cars with adaptive cruise control

Fancy adaptive cruise control that can automatically maintain a safe distance behind the car in front? Check out these affordable options

Matt Rigby
Oct 15, 2021

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an evolution of the standard form of cruise control, which holds your car at a set speed, but is only really practical on clear multi-lane motorways and dual carriageways. This is because basic cruise control systems take no account of the traffic around them.

Adaptive cruise control, meanwhile, gets around this by using radar or lidar (an optical version of radio-wave-based radar) or even cameras to assess the traffic ahead. As a result, it can automatically slow you down or speed you back up to your desired cruising speed, depending upon whether there’s traffic ahead - be it another car that’s moving more slowly, or one that’s just moved into your lane.

Most systems allow you to both adjust the speed and the minimum distance the car will maintain behind the vehicle in front. More modern adaptive cruise control systems can make use of traffic sign recognition capabilities that a car might have to automatically adjust the speed to stay within the limit. As with normal cruise control, you can always override the adaptive cruise control by using the accelerator or brake pedals.

Adaptive cruise control also forms a central part of a car’s autonomous driving aids - where these are fitted - and many of these systems can keep you centred in your lane and steer the car around corners. Some can even change lanes automatically for you when you indicate.

Although adaptive cruise control was pioneered by Mercedes in the late 1990s with its 'Distronic' system, it was for a long time the preserve of high-end luxury cars. In the past decade or so, however, ACC has become available in more and more mainstream cars.

In the 21st century, those with a lower budget can benefit from this stress-reducing technology in all sorts of types of car. Below are some of the best used cars with adaptive cruise control, to suit a variety of needs and a wide range of budgets.

Cars with adaptive cruise control

1. Volkswagen Golf

Used deals from £9,800
Monthly finance from £252*

The VW Golf is one of the most popular family cars in Britain, offering everything from fuel-sipping diesel models to high-tech plug-in hybrids and high-performance hot hatchbacks. It was also one of the first models to bring adaptive cruise control to the masses in an affordable new car.

SE-spec Golfs and upwards get adaptive cruise control fitted as standard. This system is capable of bringing the car to a stop in stop-start traffic jams, although it will require the driver to intervene if the system has to use more than 30% of the car’s outright braking capacity. It will also not sense a stationary tailback or crash barriers ahead, so you need to stay alert when driving - even if you engage the system.


2. Toyota Corolla

Used deals from £14,650
Monthly finance from £0*

The Toyota Corolla is the Japanese company’s answer to the VW Golf. Unlike the Golf, though, Adaptive Cruise Control is standard on every model, gradually slowing you down automatically as traffic in front slows down, and applying the vehicle’s brakes if necessary.

The ACC in Corollas is part of Toyota’s Safety Sense package, which also includes a Pre-Collision System or Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam and Road Sign Assist.


3. Seat Tarraco

Used deals from £23,500
Monthly finance from £0*

If you want a seven-seat SUV that represents good value and features plenty of equipment as standard, then a Seat Tarraco should be on your shopping list. It's spacious, looks good and makes a great all-round family car.

The Tarraco has adaptive cruise control as standard, even on the lowest SE trim level, and because Seat is a sister company to VW, it’s an effective, tried-and-tested system, so you should be able to use it with confidence - though, as with all of these systems, this is merely a driving assistant; it can't take control of driving the car fully, so you need to stay alert and focused on the road around you.


4. Tesla Model 3

Used deals from £42,500
Monthly finance from £0*

Tesla’s Auto Pilot system is one of the most advanced driving assist systems on the market, turning cars equipped with it into vehicles that almost seem to drive themselves. The key word here is 'almost'. The Model 3's adaptive cruise control function is impressive, but you have to remain in control while you're at the wheel.

The Model 3 is capable of scanning the road ahead, turning, braking and accelerating for you and even switching lanes - all the while showing you what its system ‘sees’ in the traffic around you, on a graphical display on the car’s huge central media system screen.

5. Honda CR-V

Used deals from £18,900
Monthly finance from £567*

Honda’s adaptive cruise control, as is the case with many other manufacturers, is part of a safety suite featuring other high-tech driving aids. In the case of the CR-V this technology is branded as ‘Honda Sensing’ and includes brake assist, forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist and traffic-sign recognition, as well as adaptive cruise control.

ACC is standard on all CR-Vs built from 2017 and sold in the UK - even at the basic S trim level. As Honda has a very strong reputation for making practical and reliable cars, the CR-V is a sensible option, whether you're after a comfy SUV for carrying the family around or a high-riding medium car with a little extra all-weather capability.


6. Ford Fiesta

Used deals from £10,200
Monthly finance from £0*

The idea of fitting adaptive cruise control to a basic supermini would have seemed like science fiction until recently, but it’s been an option on the ever-popular Ford Fiesta since 2018. The Fiesta has sold in such large numbers over the last few years that it should be pretty easy to find a used one in the specification you want with adaptive cruise control fitted.

However, while this is an optional extra on many models, it comes as standard-fit on top-spec trims like the Vignale and ST Line. So, if you like the idea of a more luxurious or sporty feeling Fiesta with adaptive cruise control, these are good versions to look out for.


7. Skoda Karoq

Used deals from £14,700
Monthly finance from £0*

If you want a sensible medium-sized family SUV that is easy to live with and simple to drive, then the Skoda Karoq is a great call. Adaptive cruise control doesn’t come as standard but is part of an options pack called the Assistance Package, which so includes Lane Assist.

It’s worth seeking out a model with this fitted, as many Karoqs do have it specified, and these sophisticated bits of safety kit help to make the Karoq feel like a more upmarket machine.


8. Nissan Juke

Used deals Limited stock

As with the Ford Fiesta, you’ll have to specify a high-end version of the Nissan Juke to enjoy the benefits of adaptive cruise control - which Nissan calls Intelligent Cruise Control. With so many used models to choose from, though, you shouldn't have to pay a premium to find a good value and well-equipped Juke.

Adaptive cruise control is standard on the Tekna and Tekna+ trim levels with the Juke. You’ll also need to go for the latest generation model that went on sale at the start of 2020 if you want this; earlier models don’t have ACC available.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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