I was not planning to test the Collision Mitigation Braking System in the 2016 Acura ILX. As it turned out, I did test the system and I’m happy to report it gets two thumbs up.
My test came on Metro Boston’s Route 128 at rush hour. I was headed against the flow. My side was moving along at about the speed limit, and traffic was relatively light. I was using the car’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to maintain a safe distance from a pickup truck ahead of me, and I’d say the ACC was set at about the speed limit of 55.
Perhaps I zoned out, maybe I reached to change the radio station. Honestly, I am not sure. I am sure I was not using a phone for any reason.
Suddenly, while both my feet were on the floor the car braked abruptly and I simultaneously said “What the…” and my eyes snapped forward, to the position they should have been in the first place. It took me a split second to understand the situation.
Across all three lanes including the middle one I was in, cars had stopped just one-deep in front of me. I could not swerve left or right and maintain my speed. I glanced up at the rear view mirror to see if I was about to die from being rear-ended by a semi, and was relieved. Then I looked forward again and realized I was now stopping rapidly, and I was braking the car myself, having taken over on instinct.
I later found out, after a close look at the technology, that this is exactly how Acura’s Forward Collision Prevention (FCP) system was designed to work.
Across all the lanes and the breakdown lane, a flock of turkeys were darting around. Somehow the turkeys had decided it was worth dying to get to the other side, and the people had decided stopping was safer than hitting them. The pickup in front of me saw a break in the flock’s progress and floored it. I did the same. Being hit from behind was a real risk. Once past all this, I did a mental “after-action” rundown of what I had learned, as I always do when I almost crash a car. Here are my observations not necessarily in order.
- My gut tells me the chance I would have braked in time without the FCP System is maybe 30%
- The Acura FCP System probably saved me from crashing a car on-loan, and possibly losing my job.
- FCP may have saved me from injury and/or hurting another person.
- Despite my 30 consecutive years without an accident, I am not perfect, and I will be getting less perfect until I stop driving.
- I need to focus better 100% of the time when driving.
- So glad I had previously advocated for this technology in my publications.
I always look for the good in the vehicles I review, and I had a short list already started for this vehicle. My running list included good knee room, excellent two-tiered infotainment screens, and awesome fuel economy (32 in combined driving).
These all seem sort of banal now compared to “Keeps inattentive people from crashing.” The FCP system in the Acura ILX worked perfectly. Feel free to pile on in the comments below and tell me we don’t need these systems, but that idiots like me just need to focus on the task at hand. However, if you found any good in this story and want to read another like it, you may want to check out Ezra Dyer’s Popular Mechanics article.
(Images Courtesy Acura, Bosch, John Goreham)