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Discussion Starter #1
I know eyesight has added additional features over the years like lane keep assist, reverse braking, etc. but I'm most interested in how smooth and responsive the adaptive cruise is, across model years and models.

The only information I could find was that the introduction of "color cameras" with 40% longer range which upped the minimum stopping speed differential from 19 to 30 mph, from reference [1], which started in the 2015 Outback (Foresters seem to have had the "old" version until the 2017 update). But no "official" improvements since then.

From personal experience, I've found the adaptive cruise on a 2017 Forester appears to be smoother than that of the 2016 Outback (the Forester also had 3 follow distance settings, instead of 4), quicker to accelerate to close a gap and gradually braking sooner. This is with both 2.5i models, with second-closest follow distance.

For Outback owners with Eyesight (please specify model years) who have used adaptive cruise on other cars, how does it compare? Is the 2018 Outback adaptive cruise smoother than the 2015? I found this reference [2] that mentions 2016 Outback eyesight is much more responsive than 2018 Honda Clarity adaptive cruise (with "low speed follow") -- has anyone had experience with the CR-V (2017+ with "low speed follow) or Civic (2016+)? Are Subaru's newer models based on the Global Platform even smoother, perhaps comparable to Tesla's Autopilot adaptive cruise?

Edit: Please specify the make, model (Outback 2.5), year and distance follow setting.

References:
1. Search for "Subaru updates EyeSight system with color-detecting cameras"
2. Search for "Low speed follow--Have you used it much?"
 

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2018 Outback Touring 3.6R
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My wife has noticed (and commented) that the ACC isn't the smoothest when in control. And I have to agree with her. I can control the speed far more smoothly than the ACC. Throttle control isn't bad, but the braking is a little abrupt and uneven.

I just had a RAV4 rental last week that had ACC, and I have to say that it was quite a bit smoother with its throttle and brake control. That said, I still prefer my Subaru Eyesight by far over the Toyota. Once I hit 30 MPH (slowing) it disengages, so no full stop ability.
 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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I have a '15 Outback and a '16 Forester both with Eyesight and the Eyesight in the Outback is much smoother and quicker to respond to changes then the Forester, and the Forester will not hold a stop like the Outback will.

The latest Eyesight system with the color camera's came in the '17 Forester so I would think that model year would react like my '15 Outback but not with the stop hold.
 

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2016 Outback 3.6R Ltd. w. Eyesight
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My 2016 OB is the only car with ACC I've driven, so I can't compare, but I find the ACC to be more abrupt with throttle inputs than non-ACC cars I've owned. Particularly when a vehicle in front of me exits "radar range" the ACC pretty much mashes the throttle down. My fuel mileage also takes a small hit with ACC; actually, with any type of CC on any car -- I can always coax more MPG driving manually, not that I'm a big worrier about a few MPG. All said, I really like my OB's ACC and wouldn't trade it for any non-ACC system. I once went nearly 150 miles on a moderately-traveled interstate without touching the gas or brake pedals, and did it safely.
 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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This is the 6th vehicle we've owned with some form of adaptive cruise. I find it to be quite responsive and very smooth. Typically we only use it on highways, although I have used it on a two-lane road while (intentionally) following someone for a long period of time. That was the ideal situation really...it kept a perfect distance and I didn't have to even think about follow speed.

Comparatively....the OB system is definitely smoother than some of the older models. Compared to newer models, it's still smoother than our Acura MDX. I prefer the system in my Yukon Denali though, but only because the following distance on the Yukon is tighter at highway speeds. Even set to the shortest distance, the OB leaves a gap big enough that people will try to pass on the right when you're in a line of passing traffic. I usually take over control in the OB to shorten the gap until the lane clears up, but the Denali keeps it tight. Also, I find the OB slows down long before necessary when approaching slower traffic.
 

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'18 Outback Touring Dark Blue Pearl 3.6r
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I prefer the system in my Yukon Denali though, but only because the following distance on the Yukon is tighter at highway speeds. Even set to the shortest distance, the OB leaves a gap big enough that people will try to pass on the right when you're in a line of passing traffic. I usually take over control in the OB to shorten the gap until the lane clears up, but the Denali keeps it tight. Also, I find the OB slows down long before necessary when approaching slower traffic.
What you're saying is that the Outback reacts like a good driver, and the Delali doesn't? >:)
 

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2019 2.5i Limited Forester (hers) (4th Subie), 2014 Impreza Premium (mine)(#5)
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Forester will not hold a stop like the Outback will.

The latest Eyesight system with the color camera's came in the '17 Forester so I would think that model year would react like my '15 Outback but not with the stop hold.
Forester isn't going to be able to hold the stop until the '19 model, when it gets the electronic parking brake. What happens when ACC slows you to a stop in the Outback is that the electronic parking brake then engages to hold you stopped. The Forester (and the current Crosstrek & Impreza models) has manual parking brakes.

So that's why the Forester does NOT hold when engaged.
 

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2017 Outback Premium 2.5i 2016 VW Passat SE
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I prefer the system in my Yukon Denali though, but only because the following distance on the Yukon is tighter at highway speeds. Even set to the shortest distance, the OB leaves a gap big enough that people will try to pass on the right when you're in a line of passing traffic. I usually take over control in the OB to shorten the gap until the lane clears up, but the Denali keeps it tight. Also, I find the OB slows down long before necessary when approaching slower traffic.
It's interesting you think the Outback provides too much following distance. My Passat leaves way too much room at the closest following distance, I jump in my wife's Outback and I feel it's too close. I wonder if there is a change between '17 and '18 Outbacks? Or a difference between the 3.6L and 2.5L cars (which I would highly doubt). Or is this a funkiness of the EyeSight system with alignment/adjustment of the cameras which cause the car to judge distance slightly differently car-to-car?
 

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2018 Touring 3.6R
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It's interesting you think the Outback provides too much following distance. My Passat leaves way too much room at the closest following distance, I jump in my wife's Outback and I feel it's too close. I wonder if there is a change between '17 and '18 Outbacks? Or a difference between the 3.6L and 2.5L cars (which I would highly doubt). Or is this a funkiness of the EyeSight system with alignment/adjustment of the cameras which cause the car to judge distance slightly differently car-to-car?
What speeds are we talking? At 45-55mph I also think the OB is too close on the lowest setting...I'd classify it as tailgating and I usually increase the distance. But at ~70mph it is too far for my liking. Like I said...enough of a gap that cars think I'm lane hogging and want to zoom around. Acura is the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Comparatively....the OB system is definitely smoother than some of the older models.
Which model year outback, MDX and Yukon Denali?

I didn't mention in my original post (2016 Outback 2.5), but I use the second-closest following distance of the four, mostly in stop-and-go traffic, and it seems to be the best balance. With longer following distances, eyesight responds too slowly to sudden slowing, and the closest follow setting leaves less time to intervene if manual braking is needed. Given the 2017 Forester I tested only has 3 follow distances, I wonder if the longest one was removed (due to sluggish responses), or do the 3 span the same range as the Outback's 4?
 

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What speeds are we talking? At 45-55mph I also think the OB is too close on the lowest setting...I'd classify it as tailgating and I usually increase the distance. But at ~70mph it is too far for my liking. Like I said...enough of a gap that cars think I'm lane hogging and want to zoom around. Acura is the same way.
According to the manual, the spacing is based on time, not speed. So at higher speeds the distance increases because it travels so much further in the same amount of time. But that time spacing doesn't change at higher speeds. The "standard" for spacing is two seconds between your car and the car you are following. Per the manual, when 4 bars is selected on the Outback, you are following a little over 2 seconds behind the leading car. 2.3 seconds if memory serves me. Yes, in heavier traffic that seems like a lot of space at freeway speeds, but that's what it should be for safety.
 

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What speeds are we talking? At 45-55mph I also think the OB is too close on the lowest setting...I'd classify it as tailgating and I usually increase the distance. But at ~70mph it is too far for my liking. Like I said...enough of a gap that cars think I'm lane hogging and want to zoom around. Acura is the same way.
I would agree with you here. At 70-80 mph, I have a huge gap between me and the car in front of me. Sometimes people think I am the slow driver and then go around me on the right. At 45-55 it is too close for me in its closest setting.

To answer the OPs question, I think the ACC is super smooth especially when going up hills. It is not as smooth I can drive at times, but it also cant predict the roads ahead or traffic behavior. I really like to use it in stop and go traffic on the highway during rush hour. Set it at the furthest distance and sit back and relax. It leaves a pretty large gap but is also driving fast enough to keep people from cutting into my lane.
 

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OK, I didn't phrase that well. The chart shows distance at a speed, but if you do the math you will see that those distances are close to the same amount of time at those speeds.

At 60 MPH you travel about 88 feet per second. So one bar is just a hair over one second following distance. A two second following distance means you are following 176 feet behind the lead car. So four bars is just over two seconds.

At 25 MPH (40% of 60 MPH) you travel 35.2 feet per second. Four bars is 95 feet following distance, while 40% of the 60 MPH following distance is 70.4 feet. This is 2.7 seconds, so they've increased spacing at slower speeds.
 

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Three comments:

1. Sorry, I don't have a comparison of the 2015 Outback to other cars.
2. Almost always a driver controlling the car can be smoother and anticipate conditions better than ACC can, but it is a lot of work, which is the point. A driver may also do a worse job of controlling the car.
3. Concerning following distance, habits of drivers on crowded freeways are such that people follow at closer than safe distances and whether it is ACC or under driver control anyone keeping a reasonable distance in the passing lane will be perceived as the lane hog slow up and be passed on the right.
 

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What speeds are we talking? At 45-55mph I also think the OB is too close on the lowest setting...I'd classify it as tailgating and I usually increase the distance. But at ~70mph it is too far for my liking. Like I said...enough of a gap that cars think I'm lane hogging and want to zoom around. Acura is the same way.
Highway speed, around Charlotte that's 70-75mph (both cars get too close at surface street speed AKA 45-50mph, in my opinion with only 1 bar of distance).
 

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Just got my 2019 2.5L and I've been testing it the last few days. I was keen on the Subarus because they rated pretty well in many automatic braking tests published.

My opinion after a few days testing is that the braking when it approaches a slowing car is too hard. This is on full-distance setting. Acceleration is not too bad, but it's the late braking that makes me nervous with my foot hovering over the brake pedal. And that takes away some of the pleasure of the system.

It's a shame the 2019 doesn't have the Eyesight characteristics settings that the 2018 Crosstrek and 2020 Outback has. It let's you adjust how urgent the system reacts.
 
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