Features on new US models: use of advanced driving stability systems expands

Equipment on new models introduced by GM/Ford/Chrysler in the US



 Reported below is a summary of major equipment, either standard or optional, on new models (new and fully-remodeled passenger cars and light trucks) released for sale in the United States by GM, Ford and Chrysler in and after the second quarter of 2011.

 Among the driving stability systems, the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is required by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) starting with the 2012 models (not shown in the table below). Advanced driving stability systems available on select models include the Roll Stability Control, and the Torque Vectoring Control (a slight braking force is applied to the inside drive wheel during cornering so that more torque is transmitted to the outside wheel to improve turning performance).

 As for collision safety systems, the Driver Knee Airbags are now standard on an increasing number of models partly because of the fact that protection of the lower limbs and neck regions was added to the DOT crash safety tests starting with the 2011 models (tests have been limited to the head and thorax regions for the 2010 models and earlier). Also becoming increasingly available are the chest or pelvic region airbags for the rear seat occupants.

 The Automatic Braking, a new driver-assist system introduced in the new models, automatically applies brakes when potential crash is detected to avoid collision or otherwise reduce the damage. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert, an increasingly available feature, alerts the driver of other vehicles approaching from behind when backing up from the parking space onto the street.

 Among visibility enhancement systems, the Auto High Beams that automatically switches the headlamp mode between high- and low-beams, and the Automatic-dimming Side Mirror are available on more models than before. As for the seats, the Ventilated Seats for front seat occupants and the Heated Seats for rear seat occupants are available especially with luxury models.

 Systems designed to increase comfort and convenience include the newly-introduced Reconfigurable Gauge Cluster which is a freely reconfigurable LED instrument panel, and the Power Liftgate which is a rear gate that opens and shuts electrically.

Related reports: 
Features on new Japanese models (March 2012)
Features on new Hyundai/Kia models (June 2011)
Equipment on new European models (1), (2) (October 2011)

Advanced equipment made available by GM/Ford/Chrysler in their new models released in and after the second quarter of 2011

Driving stability Roll stability control Lincoln MKT, Dodge Dart
Torque vectoring control Ford Escape, Lincoln MKT
Collision safety Driver knee airbag Chevrolet Malibu Eco, Chevrolet Sonic, Cadillac XTS,
Buick Verano, Ford Escape, Dodge Dart
Rear-seat mounted airbags Chevrolet Sonic, Cadillac XTS, Buick Verano, Dodge Dart
Driving assist Automatic braking Cadillac XTS
Rear cross traffic alert Cadillac XTS, Ford Escape, Lincoln MKT, Dodge Dart
Visibility Auto high beams Lincoln MKT, Dodge Dart
Automatic-dimming side mirror Cadillac XTS, Lincoln MKT
Seat Ventilated front seats Cadillac XTS, Lincoln MKT
Heated rear outboard seats Cadillac XTS, Lincoln MKT
Comfort &
Reconfigurable gauge cluster Cadillac XTS, Dodge Dart
Power liftgate Ford Escape, Lincoln MKT

GM: Safety Alert Seat available on Cadillac XTS alerts the driver of impact hazard with seat vibrations

 GM launched a new Cadillac flagship sedan, XTS, equipped with a number of advanced features. The Magnetic Ride Control is a standard driving stability system in the form of the suspension using a magnetic fluid to instantly control the damping force as required. The driving assist systems available on the XTS include the Safety Alert Seat that alerts the driver with vibration of his/her seat bottom when the sensor detects potential collision, and the Front/Rear Automatic Braking and Automatic Collision Preparation that apply brakes automatically to lessen the impact severity. A large LED instrument cluster display and Cadillac's new-generation infotainment system, CUE, are two of the convenience enhancing features that are available.

 Among the collision safety systems on GM vehicles, the front seat knee airbags are standard on all four new models. A set of ten airbags, including airbags for rear seats, are standard on the Chevrolet Sonic, Cadillac XTS, and Buick Verano.

GM: Main features on new Chevrolet/Cadillac/Buick brand models

Models introduced in the US market in and after Q2 2011 are listed.
(◎= Standard on all grades, ○= Standard on certain grades, △= optional)
Model Chevrolet
Car Car Car Car
Launch Jan. 2012 Fall 2011 Q2 2012 Q4 2011
Driving stability
(including fuel
Brake assist
All-wheel-drive with eLSD
Magnetic Ride Control rear suspension (Note 5)
eAssist Mild Hybrid System
(2.4L engine, 15kW motor, start-stop system,
regenerative brake, 115V lithium-ion battery)
Aero grille shutter (Note 6)
Collision safety Dual-stage frontal airbags
Front thorax-side impact airbags
Rear body air bag/Rear thorax air bags
Head-curtain side-impact airbags (front and rear)
Rollover sensor (Note 7)
Front knee airbags
Rearview camera
Forward Collision Alert/Lane Departure Warning ○△
Side Blind Zone Alert/Rear Cross Traffic Alert (Note 8) ○△
Safety Alert Seat (Note 9) ○△
Adaptive Cruise Control ○△
Front/Rear Automatic Braking (Note 10) ○△
Automatic Collision Preparation (Note 11) ○△
Ultrasonic rear parking assist
Ultrasonic front parking assist
Visibility Automatic headlamps
Adaptive forward lighting
Daytime running lights
Power & heated exterior mirrors
Auto-dimming exterior mirrors
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
RainSense windshield wipers
Seat 10-way power driver/passenger seat
8-way power driver seat
6-way power driver seat
Memory: 2 driver presets for driver seat
and outside mirrors
Heated front seats
Heated rear outboard seats/Ventilated front seats
Comfort &
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Tri-zone automatic climate control
UltraView power tilt-sliding sunroof ○△
Rear window electric sunshade ○△
Capless fueling system
Remote keyless entry
Keyless push-button start
Remote vehicle starter system
Heated steering wheel
Eco tachometer/gauge
Bluetooth wireless technology
12.3-inch color reconfigurable gauge cluster (Note 12)
Reconfigurable color Head-Up Display
CUE (Cadillac User Experience) (Note 13)
Chevrolet MyLink (Note 14)
Buick IntelliLink (Note 15)
OnStar (Note 16)
MyChevrolet mobile app (Note 17)
Source: GM's press releases on new models, on-line catalogs as of late May 2012
(Notes) 1. The Chevrolet Malibu Eco is the most fuel-saving version in the all-new Malibu lineup (midsize sedan) and was released before other versions. Equipped with a mild hybrid system, eAssist, the car represents a 12 percent improvement in fuel efficiency from the conventional four-cylinder engine model. The motor is not intended for EV-only mode drive. It only assists the engine during acceleration.
2. The Chevrolet Sonic is the all-new model of the global subcompact car, Aveo, being marketed under the name of Sonic in North America. Co-developed by GM Korea with a Chinese development team. Fitted with a 1.4-liter turbo or 1.8-liter naturally-aspirated engine.
3. The Cadillac XTS is Cadillac's new flagship sedan and a full-size luxury sedan succeeding the STS and DTS. Fitted with a 3.6-liter V6 direct-injection engine and a six-speed AT.
4. The Buick Verano is the first compact luxury model from Buick, and a sister model to the Chevrolet Cruze. Fitted with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed AT.
5. The Magnetic Ride Control rear suspension uses a magnetic fluid as the working medium. The presence of magnetic charge causes the magnetic particles in the fluid to align and block the fluidic flow, thereby changing the damping resistance instantly. The suspension system reads the road conditions every millisecond and changes damping every 1/200th of a second.
6. The Aero grille shutter (radiator shutter) automatically opens and closes based on the engine coolant temperature and the car's speed. When the engine cooling is not necessary, the shutter closes to send a smoother airflow at the front to reduce air drag, thereby improving fuel efficiency.
7. The Rollover sensor activates the Head-curtain side airbag when it detects an impending rollover hazard. During rollover, the airbag remains inflated longer than normal to provide protection for the passenger over an extended period.
8. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert system audibly and visually alerts the driver of other vehicles approaching from behind when backing up from the garage or parking space onto the street.
9. The Safety Alert Seat, the industry-first system (according to GM), coordinates with the Lane Departure Warning and the Side Blind Zone Alert. When potential collision with another vehicle is detected, the system activates the vibrator imbedded in the driver's seat cushion to alert the driver. Two vibrators are imbedded at the right and left sides of the seat and the one in the side of the impending crash is activated. Both vibrators are activated when the crash is likely to take place in the front or the back of the car. Vibration is used in place of an audible alert. It alerts faster and is more directional than an audible alert. In addition, it can be felt in noisy condition and works with people with hearing difficulty.
10. The Front/Rear Automatic Braking coordinates with short-range radar and an ultrasonic sensor. When a crash hazard is detected in the front or back of the car running at low speeds, the system issues an alert and applies brakes if necessary to avoid a crash or lessen impact severity. The system is useful especially against rear-end collision at very low speeds on a congested street or against hitting hard-to-see posts in parking lots.
11. When the driver is alerted of an impending collision with another car running ahead and does not apply brakes as alerted, the Automatic Collision Preparation automatically applies brakes to lessen the impact severity or, if possible, avoid the crash.
12. The 12.3-inch (312mm) color reconfigurable gauge cluster, located on the instrument panel, is a large LED panel that can be configured in any of the four gauge layouts. In addition to the fuel level, speed and other standard displays, the driver can opt for navigation, phone, entertainment and other types of information.
13. The CUE (Cadillac User Experience), Cadillac's new-generation infotainment system, is first fitted in the XTS. The 8-inch touch screen, the heart of the system, is of the electrostatic capacitance type used in smartphones (industry-first, according to GM). It features proximity sensors that respond to a hand approaching the screen, tactile feed-back, multi-touch gestures (swipe to scroll the display, zoom in with fingers, etc.) and other useful functions. The standard mobile tablet used to support the CUE system, iPad, uses CUE iPad App to reproduce the car's center screen. This lets the XTS driver to simulate the CUE anywhere and have answers to questions about the system.
14. The Chevrolet MyLink is GM's new-generation infotainment system released in February 2011. It can be operated by voice commands, touch-screen interface, switches mounted on the steering wheel, etc., and also works with smartphones.
15. The Buick IntelliLink is Buick's infotainment system released in April 2011 and functions the same way as the Chevrolet MyLink. The system is fitted first in the Buick Verano.
16. The OnStar is GM's conventional telematics system and used in the Chevrolet MyLink and Buick IntelliLink as well.
17. The MyChevrolet mobile app is an application developed for smartphones. It allows the owner to access the OnStar features of his or her own car from a distance to unlock the door, diagnose the vehicle, get assistance in an emergency, etc.



Ford: Torque vectoring control and other driving stability systems available on the Escape and Lincoln MKT

 Standard stability control systems on Ford vehicles include the Torque vectoring control, fitted in the Ford Escape SUV and the Lincoln MKT crossover, that applies a slight braking force to the inside drive wheel during cornering so that more torque is transmitted to the outside wheel. The Curve control, standard on the Lincoln MKT, automatically applies braking when the corner entry speed is too fast.

 Among the collision safety systems, a knee airbag is available for the driver's seat of the Ford Escape, and an inflatable seat-belt for the rear seats of the Lincoln MKT. The Hands-free liftgate, a convenience feature on the Ford Escape, automatically opens when the person holding the key puts his or her foot under the rear bumper.

 Standard features on the Ford Focus Electric, an electric vehicle, include the Eco-friendly Seats made of recycled and bio-based materials, and the Brake Coach, a convenience feature that indicates the amount of energy captured by regenerative braking each time the driver applies brakes to help the driver learn better braking techniques.

Ford:Main features on new Ford/Lincoln brand models

Models introduced in the US market in and after Q2 2011 are listed.
(Lincoln MKT is partially remodeled but introduced here as many of its features have been updated)
(◎= Standard on all grades, ○= Standard on certain grades, △= optional)
Model Ford
SUV Crossover Car
Launch Spring
End of
Driving stability
(including fuel
EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution)
Roll stability control
Curve control (Note 4)
Lincoln Drive Control featuring continuously controlled damping
Torque vectoring control (Note 5)
Intelligent all-wheel drive
Collision safety Dual-stage front airbags
Front seat-mounted side airbags
Side-curtain airbags
3-row side-curtain airbags
2nd-row inflatable outboard safety belts (Note 6)
Driver's knee airbag
Emergency brake assist system
SOS post-crash alert system
Reverse sensing system ○△
Forward sensing system ○△
Rear view camera
Blind spot information system/Cross traffic alert (Note 7)
Integrated blind spot mirrors
Adaptive cruise control/Lane keeping system/
Collision warning with brake support (Note 8)
Active park assist
Visibility Automatic headlamps
Adaptive HID headlamps/Auto high beams
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Power mirrors with integrated side marker lamps
Auto-dimming driver's side mirror
Heated exterior mirrors ○△
Rain-sensing front wipers
Seat 10-way power driver's seat
6-way power driver's seat
Heated front seats
Cooled front seats/2nd-row seat with heated outboard seating
2nd-row heated and cooled seats
Eco-friendly Seats (Note 9)
Memory feature for driver's seat and exterior mirrors
Comfort &
Tri-zone electronic automatic temperature control
Dual-zone electronic automatic temperature control ○△
Heated steering wheel
Brake Coach (Note 10)
MyKey (Note 11)
Remote keyless entry
SecuriCode invisible keyless entry keypad
Intelligent access with push-button start
Power liftgate ○△
Hands-free liftgate (Note 12) ○△
Easy Fuel capless fuel filler
SYNC (Note 13) with MyFord Touch (Note 14) ○△
Lincoln SYNC with MyLincoln Touch
SYNC with MyFord Touch with unique EV content (Note 15)
MyFord Mobile App for your smartphone (Note 16)
2nd-row refrigerated console
Power adjustable pedals with memory
Source: Ford's press releases on new models, on-line catalogs as of late May 2012
(Notes) 1. The Ford Escape is a new compact SUV that uses the same global C platform as the new Focus. The Ford Escape sold in North America is fitted with a 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter EcoBoost or 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in combination with the six-speed automatic transmission. Launched under the name of Kuga in other areas.
2. The Lincoln MKT is a high-end, full-size crossover with seven seats in three rows. The first-generation was introduced in 2009 and was face-lifted in November 2011. Fitted with a 3.7-liter V6 gasoline engine or a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine in combination with the six-speed automatic transmission.
3. The Ford Focus Electric is an electric vehicle fitted with 23kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92kW motor. The EV has a maximum cruising range of 76 miles (EPA rating).
4. When the system senses that the vehicle's curve entry speed is too fast, the Curve control applies brakes on four wheels separately as needed to reduce vehicle speed by up to 10 mph (16km/h) in one second to stabilize the vehicle. The system uses sensors to measure roll rate, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, wheel speed and steering wheel angle, and runs calculations based on those inputs a hundred times every second. The Curve control activates when the vehicle is not turning as much as the driver is steering. Taking a curve too quickly represents a situation found to contribute to approximately 50,000 crashes on curves each year in the United States, and Ford plans to make the Curve control available on 90 percent of the company's North American crossovers, SUV, trucks and vans by 2015.
5. When the inside drive wheel (front wheel) starts to slip during cornering, the Torque vectoring control applies a slight braking force to that wheel so that more torque is transmitted to the outside wheel to improve turning performance. This prevents understeer and increases stability during cornering.
6. The second-row inflatable outboard safety belts are inflated like airbags and are designed to protect especially the children and elderly passengers who are more likely to be sitting in the rear seats and are more vulnerable to head, chest and neck injuries. The safety belts are deployed during a front or rear crash and maintain protection for a few seconds.
7. When the car is backing up from the garage or parking lot, the Cross traffic alert warns the driver by lights and sounds when it senses a car approaching from either direction.
8. The Collision warning with brake support uses radar sensors to detect moving vehicles ahead and audibly warns the driver when the other car slows down. In the event of a collision risk, the driver is alerted visually by a red warning light flashing on the windshield. The brake support works in several steps: (1) If the driver is warned but fails to apply brakes, the system pre-charges the brakes to prepare them for quick response when they are actually applied; (2) if the driver lifts quickly off the accelerator pedal, the system applies the brakes to a nominal level to start decelerating the vehicle faster than the driver can move his or her foot to the brake pedal; (3) If the driver presses the brake pedal rapidly, the system provides full braking to avoid or reduce the potential risk.
9. The Eco-friendly Seats use 100 percent recycled material on the outside and the cushion is made of foam made from vegetable seed oil.
10. Each time the driver applies the brakes, the Brake Coach displays on the dashboard screen the percentage of energy recaptured by regenerative brakes. The visual information helps the driver learn how to optimize their use of the brakes as more energy can be recaptured if the brakes are applied early and smoothly. The vehicle's cruising range can be maximized by increasing the recapture percentage as close to 100 percent as possible.
11. The MyKey has a chip embedded in it to allow the owner program the preferred driving conditions as deemed appropriate. When a car is shared by two persons and each person inserts his or her key into the ignition, the programmed settings are read instantly. This feature is useful especially when a teen has access to his or her parent's car as the parent can limit the top speed or the maximum volume on the audio system, and even mute the audio sounds until the front seat occupants fasten their safety belts.
12. The Hands-free liftgate automatically unlocks and opens the hatch when the person with the Intelligent Access key places his or her leg under the rear bumper. Two motion sensors, often used in video games, are located in two places in the rear bumper. One detects the shin and the other detects the leg motion. The combination of detecting the two sensors and the key is necessary to unlock and open the hatch and safeguard against an unintended activation caused, for instance, by an animal crawling under the vehicle. This feature is useful especially when both hands are occupied. The height of the liftgate can be set to high or low and the system programmed accordingly.
13. SYNC is Ford's infotainment system. The multi-functional system can connect the user to such services as navigation taking congestions into consideration, latest news and weather forecasts, and iPod and other digital media, coordinate with emergency and other communication systems, and route and company location guidance services by operators.
14. MyFord Touch provides interface for using SYNC and consists of an 8-inch touch panel type center screen, 4-inch cluster screen, USB port, Wi-Fi, etc. The user can control audio, air conditioning, hands-free phone call, information services, etc., by using voice commands, touch screen controls, or switches mounted on the steering wheel.
15. EV-only functions provided by SYNC with MyFord Touch with unique EV content include the available cruising range (battery level) indicated by butterfly graphics, and EcoRoute that shows the most fuel-efficient route.
16. MyFord Mobile App is a smartphone application for EV users. It lets the user check the battery charge levels on a smartphone from anywhere, and find the nearest charging stations and the shortest route to get there.



Chrysler: Ten standard airbags and advanced driving stability systems available on the Dodge Dart

 Dodge Dart, a compact sedan by Chrysler based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta's platform, is fitted with a number of safety and driving stability systems. Among them are ten airbags including front driver and passenger knee airbags and rear seat airbags. Driving stability systems include the Electronic-roll mitigation that prevents rollover, and the Brake-lock differential that applies brakes to the spinning wheel and transmits torque to the drive wheel.

 Driving assist systems that are available on the Dodge Dart include the Ready-alert braking that monitors the speed of the driver's pedal change and supports braking operation, and the Rain brake support system that automatically removes moisture from the brake discs to increase braking performance in wet conditions. Convenience features include the reconfigurable LED cluster panel that allows the driver to change the display information and the cluster layout.

Chrysler:Main features on new Dodge brand model

A model introduced in the US market in and after Q2 2011 is listed.
(◎= Standard on all grades, ○= Standard on certain grades, △= optional)
Model Dodge Dart
Launch Q2 2012
Driving stability Brake assist
Electronic-roll mitigation (Note 2)
Brake-lock differential (Note 3)
Electronic brake force distribution
Collision safety Dual-stage, adaptive-venting front airbags
All-row side-curtain airbags
Front-seat-mounted pelvic and thorax airbags
Two rear-seat-mounted pelvic airbags
Front knee airbags
Emergency braking assist
Front reactive head-restraint system
ParkView rear back-up camera
ParkSense rear park assist
Hill start assist
Blind spot monitoring system
Rear cross-path detection system (Note 4)
Ready-alert braking (Note 5)
Rain brake support system (Note 6)
Panic brake assist (Note 7)
Visibility Automatic headlamps
SmartBeam headlamps
Daytime running lamps
Heated and power mirrors
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Seat 6-way power driver seat
Driver seat with power adjustable lumbar support
Comfort &
Dual-zone automatic temperature control
Floating Island Bezel (Note 8)
Uconnect Touch Media Center (Note 9)
Keyless Enter-N-Go with push-button start
Heated steering wheel
Source: Chrysler's press release on new model, on-line catalog as of late May 2012
(Notes) 1. The Dodge Dart is a compact sedan and Chrysler's first model based on a Fiat Group (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) platform. Powered by three types of four-cylinder engines (2.0-liter, 2.4-liter, and Fiat's 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo) in combination with three types of six-speed transmissions (MT/AT/Dual Dry Clutch Transmission).
2. The Electronic-roll mitigation uses input from the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) to determine if the vehicle is at a risk of rolling. If necessary, the system applies appropriate braking force to individual wheels and adjusts the throttle to avoid rolling.
3. The Brake-lock differential allows the vehicle to maintain forward motion if one or two wheels are spinning and the differential gear prevents torque from reaching the drive wheel. The system applies braking force to the spinning wheels and transmits torque efficiently to the drive wheel. It provides the same function as the locking differential at low costs.
4. The Rear cross-path detection uses the rear sensor and audibly alerts the driver of other vehicles approaching from right or left when backing up from the parking space onto the street.
5. When the Ready-alert braking detects that the driver has released the accelerator pedal very quickly, it anticipates that the driver will then initiate an emergency brake and applies a small amount of brake pressure to the brake system to press the brake pad against the rotor. This reduces the lag time before full brake application.
6. When the windshield wiper activates, the Rain brake support system intermittently pushes the brake pads lightly against brake rotors to remove moisture. By keeping the rotors dry, the system assures maximum braking performance when needed.
7. When the driver floors the brake pedal very quickly, the Panic brake assist recognizes the situation as an emergency brake and increases the brake pressure.
8. The Floating Island Bezel, identified by red LED lights in the instrument panel, houses the 7-inch customizable LCD instrument cluster display and the 8.4-inch touch screen, Uconnect Touch Media Center.
9. The Uconnect is Chrysler's infotainment system using the touch screen as the media center. It allows the user to control air conditioning, navigation, audio, phone, etc., also with voice commands or from the switches mounted on the steering wheel.

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