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Mark Phelan: 2022 GMC Sierra one-ups Tesla with two new hands-free highway maneuvers. I liked them both

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

General Motors' Super Cruise, the only hands-free driving system that's available on production vehicles, will add a couple of important new features for the 2022 model year: the ability to tow trailers and 100% automated passing when you come up on a slower vehicle.

The features will debut on the GMC Sierra light- and heavy-duty pickups. That makes the addition of hands-free driving while towing a particularly big deal.

Super Cruise, which combines sensors and an extremely precise map of limited access roads in the United States and Canada, has only been available in high-end Cadillacs till now. Only the Cadillac Escalade offers it for the 2021. Adding it to segments like full-size pickups will make it available to a wider audience.

GM is adding Super Cruise to vehicles quickly, after a deliberate rollout that began with a single vehicle, the 2018 Cadillac CT6 sedan.

Super Cruise only works on roads covered by its detailed digital maps.

In addition to the Sierra, 2022 models of the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup: Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sport sedans, and GMC Hummer EV pickup will offer Super Cruise. It'll be on a total of 23 vehicles in the 2023 model year, including the upcoming Hummer SUV and Cadillac Lyriq electric vehicles.

 

Tesla's frequently touted "auto pilot" driver assistance feature is supposed to be used only with the driver's hands on the wheel, a fact frequently obscured by the automaker's claims and policy of testing potential updates on public roads in customers' personal vehicles.

Hands-free driving while towing

I tested both of the new features driving 2022 Sierras on a closed course at GM's proving grounds in Milford.

They worked as advertised, convincing me Super Cruise will reduce drivers' cognitive load on long trips, increasing safety and how far drivers can go before they tire.

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