General Motors is preparing to push its Super Cruise driver-assist tech to more of its brands in the coming model years. For now, though, the hands-free driving feature is exclusive to Cadillac. The setup relies on regularly updated high-definition maps, which work with the adaptive cruise control and lane-centering self-steering functions to accurately locate and place a so-equipped vehicle on more than 200,000 miles of Super Cruise-friendly highways with little-to-no driver interaction required. Additionally, an interior-mounted camera monitors the driver’s attention as a safeguard to ensure the individual behind the wheel can take control of the car if necessary. And aside from the tech’s upfront cost, using it is free—for a time.
You see, Super Cruise is not a permanent fixture in such-equipped GM models. The automaker currently offers the feature in Cadillac models on a three-year trial basis, after which customers must pay a fee of $25 per month to keep Super Cruise operative. Alternatively, customers can spend $15 each month and bundle the cost of Super Cruise with certain OnStar plans (Cadillac did not outline the specific plans that allow for bundling in an email it sent to us). The monthly fee covers the various map updates and GPS corrections required to keep the hands-free driving setup as safe and reliable as possible (it also allows the car to connect with an OnStar Emergency advisor in case a driver fails to respond to the system’s alerts).
For what it’s worth, Cadillac is offering owners of Super Cruise-equipped 2018 Cadillac CT6 sedans a complimentary fourth year of Super Cruise service. That said, owners who opt out of the Super Cruise service will subsequently lose their vehicle’s hands-free driving functionality. Nevertheless, a Cadillac spokesperson assured us that these vehicles’ adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist features will remain operative with or without an active Super Cruise subscription.
Whether Super Cruise is a luxury worth paying for ultimately depends on individual customers. Those who regularly travel on Super Cruise-mapped roads will likely find the service’s costs worth it. Others, though, may decide to forfeit the feature once their Super Cruise trial expires, just as some choose to do with the likes of OnStar or SiriusXM satellite radio.
Update: This article, originally published on August 10, 2020, has been updated to include specific pricing figures related to maintaining Super Cruise functionality after the system’s trial period ends.