5 cars with automatic braking as standard equipment

  • 2018 Nissan Murano Nissan

    You fail to notice that the car in front of you has stopped, and before you can hit the brakes, your car rear-ends the one ahead.

    The number of such very common rear-end accidents can be cut in half by the latest automatic braking systems that first warn you of an impending crash and then slam on your brakes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

    The problem is that you often have to pay more to get automatic braking and other safety features as options. But now an increasing number of cars offer automatic braking as standard equipment.

    Twenty major automakers reached an agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to put automatic braking into all their light-duty vehicles by 2022. But progress now is running well ahead of that deadline.

    For 2017 models, four automakers had automatic braking installed in more than half of their vehicles. They were Tesla (99.8 percent), Mercedes-Benz (96 percent), Volvo (68 percent) and Toyota (56 percent).

    Things are only improving for 2018 models, according to a list provided to MoneyWatch by the IIHS. As usual with automotive technology, luxury brands lead the way. Audi will have seven 2018 models with automatic braking that have been tested by the IIHS, Mercedes-Benz will also have seven, and Lexus and Volvo five each.

    Among mainstream brands, Nissan has moved to put automatic braking in virtually all its 2018 models and has four that have been tested with a top rating of superior for the system. Toyota has seven models whose automatic braking was rated superior by the IIHS, with autobrake installed in another six models that haven't been tested yet.

    Here's a closer look at five vehicles that give you automatic braking as standard equipment and that got a superior rating from the IIHS.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.