Volkswagen's Front Assist technology wants to cut down on front-end collisions. By using a series of sensors and software, the car monitors the road in front of you and takes action if it suspects an imminent collision by applying the brakes.
That's pretty great. Except...
Owners say it will also apply the brakes when there is no imminent collision. Sometimes it will detect something that's not there and stop the car in the middle of the road.
So while it might reduce the chance of you hitting something in front of you, it increases your chance of getting hit from behind.
Front Assist was first offered in certain trim levels of 2015 models. It's a premium feature that can be found as part of VW's driver assistance package.
The Front Assist feature was an available option beginning with 2015 premium Touareg SUV models and was expanded to the 2016 VW Jetta, Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R and Golf SportWagen, depending on the model and trim line.
A front assist warning comes on at low speeds in slow moving traffic
Front assist is suddenly unavailable, even with a clean sensor and sunny days
The system turns off in inclement weather, disabling adaptive cruise control
Random braking can make driving a miserable experience.
Insurance won't cover accidents caused by a technological error
Any problems with Front Assist are difficult to replicate at a dealership, and can lead to many awkward "i promise this really happens conversations with service representatives. Usually the only solution is to recalibrate or replace the sensors, at a high cost to owners.
This problem has popped up in the following Volkswagen generations.
Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.