Backing Up Blind: Chrysler's Rear-Cross Path System at Work
On my last trip to the grocery store, I squeezed the large Chrysler 300 sedan into a less-than-large parking spot and ran in for some supplies, not giving the car or the spot a second thought. When I returned, it was flanked by an SUV and a pickup truck, blocking my view to the sides as I tried to back out.
I had two choices: Hold my breath and hope no one was charging down the aisle while I did the blind backup, or rely on the 300's Rear Cross Path detection system, which I was betting would be more effective at preventing accidents while in Reverse than simply crossing my fingers.
Rear Cross Path uses two bumper-mounted radar sensors to detect oncoming traffic and prevent a potential collision. If a car approaches from the either side, the driver hears a chime and sees an illuminated icon in the side mirror. Accident avoided.
The system was introduced in Chrysler's minivans in 2009, and then it trickled down to the rest of the lineup. It's even available in the new-for-2013 compact Dodge Dart sedan. Unfortunately, through, Rear Cross Path isn't a stand-alone option on the 300; it's available only in the Safetytec Package and not on base model 300s. The package costs $2,420 and includes other goodies like blind spot alert, a front- and rear-obstacle detection system, adaptive cruise control, adaptive and self-dimming bi-xenon headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.
Rear Cross Path automatically engages as soon as the car is in Reverse. It's unnerving to rely solely on technology to be your eyes while backing up, but the rearview camera also helps, providing a view straight back. Luckily, this time no one was coming while I inched out. But if someone had been, I was prepared.