Guide to Rear Cross Traffic Warning and Rearview Cameras

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When moving in Reverse, rear cross traffic warning (RCTW) systems give visual, audible, and/or tactile notification—such as a vibrating steering wheel or seat—of an object or vehicle that is out of rear camera range but may be moving into your path from behind or from either side. Some systems will automatically brake to avoid a crash. (See CR's Guide to Automatic Emergency Braking.)

Rear cross traffic warning (RCTW): A warning that an object or vehicle could be approaching from either side of the rear of the vehicle, out of rear camera range, while traveling in reverse.

Backup camera: Uses a rear-facing camera to present a view of the surroundings behind the vehicle.

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.

Which Brands Do RCTW Best?

Most Satisfying RCTW Systems, according to CR members: Hyundai, Lincoln, Cadillac, Genesis, Jeep
One Lincoln MKT owner wrote, “It is very good at warning both of proximity of obstacles, and of approaching side traffic. I use it in conjunction with all of the mirrors.” That is the right way to use the system, as a supplement to safe driving practices, rather than replacing them. Or as a Cadillac SRX owner described it, “Dependable assistance.”

Least Satisfying RCTW: Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Audi
One Mercedes-Benz C-Class owner complained that “It too frequently sounds an audible when there are not other vehicles nearby.”

CR’s take: These systems are helpful in increasing the driver’s view into hard-to-see or obstructed areas. But drivers shouldn’t rely on just the system; they still need to turn their head, check their side mirrors, and look out windows for objects that may be out of range of the camera or sensors. Drivers have complained about occasional false alerts from the systems that warn them or brake for them. And drivers have been surprised by warning beeps when they can’t see anything, or when the car brakes unexpectedly.

Rearview Camera
Do owners like it?
Say the system helped them avoid a crash
Trust the system to work every time
Rear Cross-traffic 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 Name
Acura Rear cross traffic monitor
Alfa Romeo Rear cross path detection
Alfa Romeo Cross path detection
Audi Rear cross traffic assist
Audi Cross traffic assist rear
BMW Rear cross traffic alert
Buick Rear cross traffic alert
Cadillac Rear cross-traffic alert
Chevrolet Rear cross traffic alert
Chrysler Rear cross path detection
Fiat Rear cross path detection
Ford Cross traffic alert
Genesis Rear cross traffic collision warning
GMC Rear cross-traffic alert
Honda Cross traffic monitor
Hyundai Rear cross-traffic collision alert
Infiniti Backup collision intervention
Jeep Rear cross path detection
Kia Rear cross traffic collision warning (RCCW)
Lexus Rear cross traffic braking system
Lincoln Cross traffic alert
Mazda Rear cross traffic alert
Mercedes-Benz Rear-cross traffic assist
Mini NA
Mitsubishi Rear cross traffic alert
Nissan Rear cross traffic alert
Porsche NA
Subaru Rear-cross traffic alert
Toyota Rear-cross traffic alert
Volkswagen Rear traffic alert
Volvo Cross traffic alert
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning & Lane Keeping Assist

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