Guide to Forward Collision Warning

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Forward collision warning (FCW) systems provide visual, audible, and/or tactile alerts to warn a driver of an impending collision with a car or object directly in its forward path. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data show that FCW reduces rear-end accidents by 27 percent. Some systems let drivers adjust the timing of this warning to early, standard, or late.

Forward Collision Warning (FCW): A warning that alerts the driver of an imminent collision in its forward path.

FCW With Pedestrian Detection (FCW-Ped): Detects pedestrians in front of the vehicle and alerts the driver to their presence.

In a recent survey, we asked CR members to rate their experiences with the advanced safety and driver-assist systems on their model-year 2015-2019 cars. Respondents answered questions about their satisfaction with the systems and told us which ones helped them avoid a crash. The survey covered about 72,000 vehicles. See the highlights below.

Which Brands Do FCW Best?

Most satisfying systems, according to CR members: Chrysler, Lincoln, Ram, Lexus
One Chrysler owner shared his experience with FCW and automatic emergency braking (AEB), saying, “It works! I was driving in slow stop-and-go traffic. Something to the right of my Pacifica got my attention and I turned my head to the right to see it. The car ahead of me applied normal braking; my Pacifica emitted a loud verbal warning and applied the brakes as I turned my head back toward the front.” A Lincoln driver explains the impact of an FCW alert, writing, “It is very startling when the lights flash and the alarm goes off. It definitely can’t be ignored!”

Least satisfying: Jaguar, Honda, Acura
A Jaguar driver explained, “It is very difficult to know the real danger. Sometimes it beeps for no reason.” Honda drivers had similar frustrations, with one Ohio owner stating, “It activates too often when there is no need for it to come on.” A common complaint among Acura owners was that their vehicle would issue a visual “BRAKE” alert on the dash, but it wouldn’t bring the car to a stop. This underscores the value of having both FCW and AEB.

CR’s Take: More automakers are making FCW and AEB available in new cars, but these two important safety features are still not standard equipment across the industry. CR believes these systems should come with all trim levels, given their ability to protect and save lives. CR awards extra credit to a model’s Overall Score if it has systems that can operate at highway speeds and detect pedestrians as standard equipment.

Forward Collision Warning
Do owners like it?
Say the system helped them avoid a crash
Trust the system to work every time
Source: Consumer Reports' Advanced Safety Systems Survey.

Guide to Advanced Safety Systems

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

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

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Make FCW Name/Package
Acura Forward collision warning/AcuraWatch
Alfa Romeo Forward collision warning
Alfa Romeo Forward collision warning plus
Audi Pre sense front
Audi Pre sense city
BMW Frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation
BMW Collision warning with city braking function
Buick Forward collision alert
Cadillac Forward collision alert
Chevrolet Forward collision alert
Chrysler Full speed forward collision warning plus
Chrysler Full speed forward collision warning with active braking
Fiat Full speed forward collision warning with active braking

Forward collision warning with brake support


Pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking (AEB) (pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support)/Ford Co-Pilot360

Genesis Forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection
GMC Low speed front automatic braking
GMC Forward collision alert

Forward collision warning/Honda Sensing


Forward Collision-avoidance Assist


Forward collision-avoidance assist w/pedestrian detection

Infiniti Forward emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Infiniti Predictive forward collision warning
Jeep Full speed forward collision warning with active braking
Kia Forward collision avoidance (FCA) with pedestrian detection
Kia Forward collision warning (FCW)
Lexus Pre-collision system/Lexus safety system+2.0
Lexus Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection/Lexus safety system+2.0
Lexus Pre-collision system/Lexus safety system+2.0
Lincoln Forward collision warning/Lincoln Co-Pilot360
Mazda Forward obstruction warning
Mazda Smart city brake support
Mercedes-Benz Pre-safe brake with pedestrian recognition
Mercedes-Benz Active braking assist
Mini Frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation
Mitsubishi Forward collision mitigation system
Nissan Intelligent forward collision warning
Nissan Automatic emergency braking (AEB)
Nissan Intelligent forward collision warning
Porsche Adaptive cruise control with Porsche active safe (PAS)
Porsche Warn and Brake Assist

Pre-collision braking—EyeSight

Toyota Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection/TSS-P
Volkswagen Front Assist
Volkswagen Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring
Volvo City Safety
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keeping Assist
  • Rear Cross Traffic Warning & Rearview Cameras

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