Cruise Control: Everything You Need to Know for a Relaxing Drive

Cruise control stands as one of the most practical and innovative technologies within the realm of automobiles. This feature significantly enhances the comfort of individuals who frequently navigate expressways. With a cruise control mode, drivers can effortlessly sustain a steady speed as long as it’s set, catering to the specific type of vehicle. This not only alleviates fatigue, a particularly welcome benefit during extended drives, but also simplifies the driving experience. Cruise control technology not only makes driving a breeze but also contributes to fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

What is Cruise Control?

In essence, cruise control is a function that keeps a car’s speed at a level predetermined by the driver, without the need for them to use the accelerator or brake pedals. This capability allows the vehicle to maintain the set speed automatically, without any active input from the driver. Thanks to this feature, the car remains at the chosen speed, preventing any increases or decreases. Notably, this feature is now even available in the top-tier versions of some affordable cars in India.

How it Works?

In its essence, cruise control is a feature that mimics the driver’s actions of accelerating and braking to sustain the vehicle at the designated speed. Nevertheless, it accomplishes this without the driver needing to physically apply the accelerator or brake pedals, thus ensuring a consistent speed. Initially, this system relied on cables to manage acceleration without manual interference. The adjustment of speed was achieved by activating the throttle through an actuator that was controlled by a cable. Depending on the speed set by the driver, this actuator regulated the throttle’s position to generate the necessary power and maintain the desired speed.
With the advancements in modern technology, cruise control systems have become fully electronic. They no longer rely on cables; instead, the system manages the throttle using an array of sensors connected to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). As soon as the driver sets a desired speed, the ECU calculates the necessary throttle position to maintain that speed and controls the throttle wirelessly. This allows the speed to be upheld consistently, regardless of the road conditions, by adjusting the throttle electronically.

How to Use Cruise Control?

Before engaging your car’s cruise control, it’s important to remember that this feature is not intended for use in adverse weather or unpredictable road conditions, such as rain or low visibility. To use cruise control in your car, follow these steps:

Reach the desired speed you want to maintain with cruise control.
Once you’ve reached your chosen speed, activate cruise control. Typically, you’ll find this option on the steering wheel.
Release your foot from the accelerator. The car will then sustain the speed at which you released the pedal.
Always keep a vigilant eye on the road to avoid any unexpected events.
If you wish to increase your speed, press the “+” button on the steering wheel to accelerate.
To reduce your speed, press the “-” button on the steering wheel. Alternatively, you can use the brake pedal, but be aware that this will disengage cruise control.
The placement of cruise control buttons may vary from one car to another, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with their location before you begin your journey.

Advantages of a Cruise Control in Car

Of course, the biggest advantage of cruise control in car is that it makes driving more convenient. But like many other features, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are some advantages of cruise control in a car-

Reduces Fatigue – The basic role of cruise control in car is to maintain a speed without the driver having to regulate it through the accelerator pedal. So, the driver can simply rest his right foot and stay relaxed. This reduces driver fatigue on long journeys.
Enhances Fuel Mileage – Once a constant speed is maintained, the engine doesn’t get stressed as there is no need for its RPM to change. Simply speaking, once an engine runs at a constant RPM, it uses less fuel. This way, the fuel mileage is improved.
Helps You Drive Within Speed Limit – On engaging the cruise control at a legal speed, it will maintain that speed under all circumstances. This will help you avoid getting fined for overspending by mistake.
Increase/Decrease Speed Through Buttons- Instead of using the accelerator or brake pedals to increase or decrease the speed of the car, you can simply use buttons. This way, you won’t need to re-engage the cruise control at the new speed. It also helps you not use your right foot at all.

A great option for automatic cars- Cruise control in automatic cars doesn’t warrant the use of the left foot owing to no manual operation of the clutch. With cruise control, you can even relax your right foot a bit. This helps you control an automatic car simply using the steering.

Disadvantages of a Cruise Control in Car

Let us now look at some disadvantages of having cruise control in car –

Not useful on all Indian roads – Cruise control is best suited for wide straight highways with disciplined traffic. While India is fast getting some great highways, most roads are still not wide enough. Moreover, most of the drivers are not disciplined. Their unpredictable driving can render cruise control a risky affair.
Increases Reaction Time – As your right foot won’t be on the accelerator pedal, it might take longer for you to quickly press the brake pedal in an emergency situation. Plus, as you’ll be in a more relaxed state than usual, even your reaction time could be longer. So, with Indian roads having indisciplined traffic and the infrastructure not being good enough, having cruise control might end up being quite risky.
Can Make You Drowsy – Using cruise control over a longer duration could make you so relaxed that it might induce drowsiness. So, it’s the best idea to disengage cruise control every 10 minutes and control the car manually for a while before re-engaging it.
Can’t Be Used at Nights – The cruise control system is useless in night driving due to poor visibility. This is simply because your reaction time would be longer in case of low visibility. Hence, it gets simply too risky to use this feature in the dark.
Not a Good Option for Manual Cars – Does cruise control work with manual transmission? Now, this is a pretty common question. While manual cars often offer cruise control mode, it’s not at all a good idea to use this feature. This is simply because one needs to change gears manually. Hence, to maintain a speed, it can be irritating to manually change gears to maintain the optimum RPM. This reduces the convenience that’s expected out of the usage of this feature.

How to Install a Cruise Control in a Car?

The question of whether you can install cruise control in a car has a bit of a complex answer. Yes and no. Aftermarket cruise control kits are available for older vehicles that don’t rely on an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to manage the engine. However, the system may not function as seamlessly as it does in modern cars that come equipped with it from the factory.

On the other hand, attempting to install an aftermarket cruise control system in modern cars heavily reliant on electronics can be a challenging endeavor. Modifying the car’s electronics is no simple task, and even if done correctly, it could void the vehicle’s warranty.

For practical purposes, it’s typically best to choose a car with cruise control as a factory-installed feature rather than planning to add it later. In most cases, it’s more convenient and cost-effective to acquire a vehicle with this feature already in place.

Adaptive Cruise Control

In the realm of modern cars, a more advanced iteration of cruise control has emerged, known as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). True to its name, this feature excels at automatic speed adjustments based on the vehicle ahead. It plays a pivotal role in collision avoidance by reducing speed or even bringing the car to a complete stop when it detects an obstacle in its path. ACC proves especially valuable on highways and during rush hours, significantly mitigating driver fatigue.

In essence, this system enables you to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead without any manual input. This distance is upheld even when the vehicle in front alters its speed. It’s an integral part of Level 1 Autonomous Driver Assistance Technology, utilizing radar to gauge the speed and distance of the leading vehicle. The system then adjusts the throttle to sustain a constant separation from the vehicle ahead.

While ACC has typically been a feature of premium cars, it’s rapidly becoming available in more affordable models, making this advanced technology increasingly accessible.

Adaptive Cruise Control Vs Normal Cruise Control

The table presented below offers a concise comparison between Adaptive Cruise Control and Cruise Control:

Cruise Control

Adaptive Cruise Control

Maintains the speed as designated by the car’s driver.
Maintains a consistent speed in relation to the speed of the vehicles ahead.
It cannot sustain a consistent distance from the vehicle ahead.
It can calculate the speed and distance of the vehicles ahead and regulate the vehicle’s speed to maintain a constant distance from them.
Utilizes sensors to determine the throttle position to be employed.
Utilizes radar technology to assess the speed and distance of the vehicles ahead and adjusts the speed accordingly.
A suitable choice for high-speed driving on expressways.
Can be used both in the city and on highways.
Now accessible in the majority of cars, except for budget models.
Predominantly found in premium cars exclusively.

What distinguishes cruise control from a speed limiter?

The fundamental distinction between cruise control and a speed limiter is that cruise control upholds a speed specified by the driver, whereas a speed limiter restricts the vehicle from exceeding a predetermined speed but doesn’t sustain a manually set speed.

List of Cars having Cruse Control in India

Cruise control is a feature that is rapidly becoming widespread. While it was previously offered mainly in premium cars, it is now accessible even in more budget-friendly models. Here’s a list of some popular cars with cruise control in India.

Hyundai i20
Maruti Ciaz
Skoda Rapid
Maruti Swift
Skoda Kushaq
Jeep Compass
Renault Duster
Mahindra Thar
Hyundai Tucson
Kia Sonet
Maruti Dzire
Tata Safari
Tata Harrier
Mahindra XUV300
Honda Jazz
Honda WR-V
Maruti Vitara Brezza
Mahindra XUV500
Honda Amaze
Maruti XL6
Hyundai Aura
Nissan Kicks
Mahindra Alturas G4
Honda City
Hyundai Venue
Volkswagen Polo
Nissan Magnite
Toyota Fortuner
Hyundai Creta
Volkswagen Vento
Ford EcoSport
Toyota Innova Crysta
Tata Nexon
Tata Altroz
Hyundai Alcazar
Hyundai Verna
Kia Seltos
Toyota Camry

List of Cars having Adaptive Cruse Control in India

Adaptive cruise control is a feature primarily found in more expensive cars. Here is a list of some popular cars in India equipped with adaptive cruise control:

MG Gloster​
​Volvo XC90
Volvo XC60
​Volvo XC40
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz G-CLass
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Volvo S90
Volvo V90
Volvo S60
​Land Rover Discovery


As you’ve just learned, cruise control is a valuable option for reducing driver fatigue during long journeys and aiding in preventing speeding. However, like any technology, it has its own set of drawbacks. One major concern is that it may result in delayed reaction times during emergencies, potentially leading to accidents. Therefore, the prudent use of this feature is highly recommended.

While the introduction of Adaptive Cruise Control has mitigated some of these risks, this feature cannot completely replace the necessity for manual control and judgment. So, even as you make use of cruise control to enhance your driving experience, it’s crucial to remain fully aware of your surroundings while using it.

Q. Is cruise control a standard feature in all cars?
A. No, cruise control is available in either expensive cars or in the top-end variants of certain affordable car models.
Q. Can cruise control be added to a car?
A. In theory, it’s possible. However, it’s highly impractical and could result in permanent damage to your car’s electronics. It may also void the warranty. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid attempting aftermarket installation of this feature.
Q. Where is the cruise control button located in my car?
A. In most cars, you can locate the cruise control button on the steering wheel. However, the precise placement may differ from one vehicle to another.
Q. Can cruise control function with a manual transmission?
A. Yes, some manual cars are equipped with the cruise control system. However, due to the absence of automatic transmissions, utilizing this feature is often less convenient.

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